I heard “Even Flow” and “Alive” but didn’t really gravitate to those songs. Then I heard them play “Jeremy” at the MTV Awards and it was intense. Then they delivered a drugged up smashing version of “Rockin In The Free World” with Neil Young and I became a fan.
And when I finally got “Ten”, it was the song “Black” that really made me a fan.
So the fourth album was heavily anticipated. Because of this anticipation, it debuted at Number 1, but it started to spiral out of the charts pretty quickly, because we didn’t really like it, so we didn’t spread the word on it like we did on the earlier albums.
And the band was not a happy band. They had legal issues hanging around with the Ticketmaster boycott on the last tour. Because of that they couldn’t play the venues they wanted.
They couldn’t get along in the same room so they did their parts separately. Bassist Jeff Ament, even walked out on the sessions due to Eddie Vedder’s growing control of the creation process.
Plus they recorded this album in between touring. This meant after doing a run of three hours shows, they would then have to find some energy and inspiration to be creative.
Looking at the Spotify counts, the highest is 20.6 million for “Off He Goes”. This pales compared to the 300 plus million that other songs have from the more popular albums.
The band is Jeff Ament on bass, Stone Gossard/ Mike McCready on Guitar and Eddie Vedder on vocals who were joined by new drummer Jack Irons.
Who You Are
Written by Stone Gossard and Jack Irons.
This could have appeared on a “Tea Party” album and it wouldn’t be out of place.
In My Tree
It reminds me of Joy Division and Depeche Mode.
Off He Goes
Written by Eddie Vedder. The song could have been on the “Desperado” album from The Eagles or a Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album and it wouldn’t be out of place.
Written by guitarist Mick McCready, it’s my favourite track on the album. Slow and introspective.
From the many tracks on offer the above four are my favorites.
The album was varied with a lot of different soundscapes.
I like it when an artist experiments. The issue artists have is how much of that experimenting should end up on the album. If they get it right, it’s genre defining. If they get it wrong, it’s their worst selling album.
The tour in North America was short because of their refusal to play venues controlled by Ticketmaster.
Fans also didn’t like it, as the services of the venues that were not controlled by Ticketmaster left a lot to be desired, with purchased tickets never arriving in time, or tickets just proving too hard to get with the “not Ticketmaster” services crashing frequently.
All artists have an album like this. From this point on I was still interested in what came next for Pearl Jam but it was a try and buy approach.
Sepultura means grave in Portuguese. It all came to Max Cavalera when he was translating the lyrics from the song “Dancing On Your Grave” by Motorhead. It doesn’t matter where you look, Lemmy’s influence is everywhere.
I met the brothers, Max and Igor Cavalera at a Utopia Record Store Signing in Sydney. My cousin Mega is a huge fan. Mega turned up with his bashed in snare skin which the guys gladly signed and Mega also gave me a poster which they signed for me and I then gave the poster back to Mega.
Sepultura built up to this moment with their three previous releases in “Beneath The Remains” released in 1989, “Arise” released in 1991 and “Chaos A.D” released in 1993.
“Roots” is their sixth studio album released at the start of 1996. It’s also their biggest. The line-up is the classic line up as I know it. Max Cavalera is on lead vocals and he plays a 4 and 6-string guitar. Andreas Kisser is on lead guitar. Paulo Jr. is on bass guitar and Igor Cavalera is on drums and all things percussion related.
Produced by Ross Robinson, so don’t expect to hear any guitar leads as Robinson has openly stated how much he hates guitar leads.
Roots Bloody Roots
The groove metal riff is so much fun to play. There is this dissonance section in the middle which is chaotic and unsettling before the groove riff kicks in.
It carries the message to believe in yourself, be proud of your heritage and be proud of where you come from.
There is a syncopated riff in the intro which is cool. The rest is run of the mill, Pantera like groove riffs.
The lyrics to “Attitude” were co-written by Dana Wells, Max Cavalera’s stepson, whose death (in part) led to the events which caused Max to leave the band.
“Cut Throat” is about Epic Records who gave the band no love during their previous album “Chaos A.D.” The last words in the song are “Enslavement, Pathetic, Ignorant, Corporations”.
It features David Silveria on drums and Carlinhos Brown on vocals, percussion and a lot of other unique native Brazilian instruments.
The song is a celebration of life in Brazil’s favela slums, which tells the stories of people like Coffin Joe and Lampiao, the leader of an early 1900s outlaw gang from north Brazil, whose head was put on public display after he was captured.
Written by Andreas Kisser and Max Cavalera, it starts off with a military like snare which morphs into a Tool like breakdown before Tool was known to do these kind of breakdowns.
I have no idea what Max is singing, but I don’t really care as the music gets me interested to pick up the guitar.
There is no way you can’t listen to the start and say that doesn’t sound like Tool on the “Aenima” album, which came after.
I also hear a lot of the Nu-Metal like riffs from acts like Slipknot, Spineshank and Mudvayne on this album. Then again Korn was doing something similar as well.
The riff has a hard rock like swagger, something that bands like Buckcherry and Orgy would do in a few years’ time.
It features guest appearances by Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis, then-Korn drummer David Silveria, House of Pain/Limp Bizkit turntablist DJ Lethal, and Faith No More/Mr. Bungle vocalist Mike Patton. The track alone could appear on a Korn or Mr Bungle album. It’s chaotic.
Written solely by Andreas Kisser, it’s more of that Korn and Deftones vibe.
It’s got this industrial like vibe. Like all the songs, I have no idea what Max is singing.
It features an Xavante Tribe chant which also appears on the song “Itsari”.
An instrumental by Andreas Kisser which feels like a tribute to someone.
An instrumental with the Xavante Tribe chants and an acoustic guitar riff that reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s “III” album.
I like the intro on this. It reminds me of stuff that Machine Head would do. It’s “a tribute to murdered South American rain-forest activist Chico Mendes”.
It addresses environmental destruction. Musically it is brutal.
It’s about the 1964 Brazilian coup d’état. It’s fast, punk like and angry.
I would say that “People = Shit” from Slipknot is similar.
A hidden track on the album. It’s a 14 minute native drum instrumental.
The album was massive in Australia, reaching number 3 on our ARIA charts and a Gold certification to go. In Austria it reached number and a Gold certification. Gold certifications followed in Canada, France, Netherlands, the U.K and the U.S.
On top of that it charted in the Top 10 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.
The small subtle change from fast speed metal to groove nu-metal worked. It is the bands biggest album and the last studio album to feature founding member, main songwriter and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera. The offers rolled in for Max to do something on his own. Soulfly would be the answer.
After battling to make a name for himself on the small Polydor label, Yngwie Malmsteen finally got the big label deal in 1992 with the release of “Fire And Ice” on Elektra. While the album did great business in the Japanese and Eastern/Northern Europe market, it failed in the U.S.
The million plus dollar advance from the label was classed as “unable to be recouped” and he was dropped from Elektra.
One door closes another one opens. A Japanese company called Pony Canyon signed Malmsteen. “The Seventh Sign” came out in 1994, achieving a Platinum certification in Japan, followed by “Magnum Opus” in 1995 which received a Gold Certification in Japan.
“Inspiration” is the ninth studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 14 October 1996.
Malmsteen was back to releasing an album a year, in order to remain relevant and in the public conversation during the hostile 90s. If he didn’t do that, obscurity was not too far away. Artists these days whinge about Spotify and how they believe that the service is making them release constant product. It’s not the service, it’s the market. The market demands constant product. It always did.
Yngwie Malmsteen on guitars/bass and Anders Johansson on drums play on every track. The rest is a cast of artists like Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner, Marcel Jacob and various keyboard players.
Carry On Wayward Son
Written by Kerry Livgren.
It shows the reach Kansas had, so that a kid from Sweden would consider the band as an influence.
Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here and his Talisman buddy, Marcel Jacob is on bass. David Rosenthal is on keyboards. During this same period, Malmsteen also appeared on a Talisman release. A sort of, “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” type of agreement.
Malmsteen makes the song sound like an over-indulgent Malmsteen song with his over the top soloing on any part of the song that doesn’t have vocals.
Pictures of Home
It wouldn’t be an influence album for Malmsteen if there was no Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen’s poses and looks are straight from “The Look Of Blackmore”. This is the first of four Blackmore songs. Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here, who also sang on Malmsteen’s most successful album “Odyssey”. Mats Olausson is on the keys.
The lead breaks are Malmsteen lead breaks full of legato runs and of course, sweep picking. A lot of sweep picking.
Gates of Babylon
From Rainbow and Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here. His voice and tone is perfect for the song. David Rosenthal plays the keys here.
The song would not be out of place on a Malmsteen album. The riffs are already what Malmsteen plays and as soon as he throws in his sweep picking and fast classical legato lines, it’s basically a Malmsteen song.
From Jimi Hendrix and like his idol, Malmsteen is on lead vocals. I suppose for all the shredding, Malmsteen doesn’t get credit for being a pretty crazy blues player. Vocally, he doesn’t have the swagger of Hendrix.
In the Dead of Night
From the band U.K., the song is written by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. Mark Boals is on lead vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. And for those who don’t know John Wetton, he’s appeared in King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash and Asia.
But the reason why this track is here is due to Allan Holdsworth being the guitarist. Holdsworth was an unknown name to me until Eddie Van Halen started mentioning him in his interviews in the mid 80’s, which led me to seek out his solo recordings.
Ty Tabor also mentioned in an interview (which can be found on the Wikipedia entry of the U.K album) that the self-titled U.K album is in his “5 Essential Guitar Albums” list, stating that he “had never heard anybody think about playing guitar the way that Holdsworth plays on that record.”
Holdsworth never got mainstream attention. Producers and label heads called his music “without direction”, however to guitarists he was like a god.
You can hear the melodic rock side of Malmsteen here with a bit of progressiveness and how songs like “You Don’t Remember” and “Judas” with the keys and guitars playing great riffs that complement each other.
The solo break groove is excellent, however Malmsteen this time is just too much on the speed, and it just doesn’t fit the groove.
Press play on this track first.
From the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple.
This is the third Blackmore track to appear on this.
Would Malmsteen have covered this, knowing that Coverdale wrote the main riff?
Regardless, the song is perfect for soloing and Malmsteen uses that opportunity to do just that. But if I had to pick a cover version, it is the Whitesnake version with Reb Beach soloing. That solo just hits all the right notes.
Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here with Mats Olausson on keyboards.
On this version, press play to hear the solo that comes in at the 4.20 minute mark. Malmsteen harmonises, its bluesy like “Still Got The Blues” and I like it.
Also stick around for the ending. It’s excellent. Soto really shines here, as he adds in backing vocals that sound like Gospel vocals and while they are happening he is ad libbing his main vocal while Malmsteen is throwing every lick he knows to the Master Tape.
The Sails of Charon
Another guitar player that influenced Malmsteen heavily was Uli Jon Roth, so it’s no surprise that his most classical sounding metal song with the Scorpions is covered.
Mark Boals is on lead vocals here and does a great job on the vocals, however Malmsteen just solo’s way too much here.
Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. I like how Malmsteen included bluesy Deep Purple here and still added his classical licks with bluesy Chuck Berry’isms.
From Rush and Mark Boals sizzles on lead vocals here.
The pace of this song screams energy and I like it. And goddamn it sounds so heavy.
Child in Time
Mark Boals does an excellent job on lead vocals again with David Rosenthal on the keys.
The keys actually take the lead here (i.e. they basically sound like Malmsteen is playing them), carrying the intro and verses. Malmsteen cranks in right when the ohh’s start.
Overall there are six main guitarists that serve as inspiration to Malmsteen. Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Uli Jon Roth. Alex Lifeson, Kerry Livgren and Alan Holdsworth. Pretty cool inspirations if you ask me.
While the massive North American market still had its back turned to Malmsteen along with the U.K and parts of Western Europe, the Japanese, Scandinavian Countries and Eastern Europe markets kept sustaining him.
If you want to hear two songs from this album, press play on “In The Dead Of Night” and “Mistreated”.
It was their 2001 self-titled album that made me a fan and I went backwards. “Darkest Days” was consumed next and then “Whither Blister Burn & Peel”.
Before writing started for this album, main songwriter and guitarist Stuart Zechman departed the band after the “Ungod” tour due to “personal differences”.
So the band for this album is Christopher Hall on lead vocals, guitar and drum machine programming. Jim Sellers is on bass and guitar. Walter Flakus is on keyboards and programming. Andy Kubiszewski is on drums, guitar and keyboards.
Kubiszewski was actually new as well, and when it came to song writing for this album, he played the band dozens of demos he did. Songs like “What Do I Have to Do?”, “Haunting Me,” “Sometimes It Hurts,” “Crushing Me,” “Slipping Away,” “Desperate Now,” and “Goodbye.” These song would appear on this album and the “Darkest Days” albums.
The band thought about finding another guitarist however they went into the studio without any guitar player and decided to play the guitar parts themselves with Sellers and Kubiszewski taking on most of the guitar duties.
I Don’t Believe
Any song that starts off with the words “I’m such an asshole” and “I just keep fucking up” means business. While rooted in the Industrial sounds of NIN, it has a certain arena rock vibe when the Chorus kicks in which the hook “I don’t believe I could be so stupid and naïve”.
The big song from the album. The intro riff is infectious, instantly making me pick up the guitar to learn it.
What Do I Have to Do?
The electronic keys riff with the sound effects is unusual and I like it. My favourite song, which shows a real rock vocal.
Press play to hear how the second verse riff crashes in. Brilliant.
And the hook, is so desperate with the words, “what do I have to do if you don’t want me”
The main music is sound effects, electronics and the keys providing a riff. It all feels so desolate and haunting. But I like it.
Why can’t you see that everything is broken?
These kind of artists got blasted by rock audiences at the grim nature of their lyrics, but as a fan of metal bands and thrash metal in particular, these kind of lyrics are nothing new. All of our heroes have fears and doubts.
It’s like soundtrack music with a vocal melody over it.
The album does fall apart with this song. It has a Ministry like riff which starts off the song full of energy, however the verses really let it down.
This could be on a metal album or a rock album and it wouldn’t be out of place because of the main riff.
Actually Fates Warning have a similar song on their “Disconnect” album from 2000.
It’s like a long lost song from Kurt Cobain. Press play and check out the intro riff. But there are a lot of sections with sound effects, electronics and keys which just take away the good from the intro riff.
There is a cool riff in this song, but you would need to listen through a lot of soundscapes and electronics. But when it comes it around the 2.10 mark, it’s worth the wait.
This one just slipped away from me as the title states, with too much electronica.
The album was a success and supported by the singles “Shame” and “What Do I Have to Do?” they got themselves a Gold certification in the U.S and some heavy MTV rotation. The band also recruited Mark Eliopulos to handle the live element of the main guitar parts.
This is how it was for me between 1995 to about 2005. I would buy an album from a hard rock band I knew and I would be buying albums from so many different artists that looked like they had distorted guitars and played something that could be influenced by metal and rock bands.
Accept in the 90’s didn’t exist for me. It wasn’t until 2008/09 that I started to re-listen to Accept and check out their 90’s output.
But the big problem with anything to do with the 90’s was confusion. The 90’s just kept striking out 80’s bands because they felt lost and didn’t know how to fit in. Gone was the label support and the people left around just didn’t know what to do.
If you don’t believe me, press play on Dio’s “Angry Machines” or Dokken’s “Shadowlife” or “Generation Swine” by Motley Crue. Confused. Yep, so was Ronnie and Don and Nikki/Tommy.
And as a fan of hard rock and heavy metal music, I was even more confused why these popular 80s bands couldn’t keep on releasing great albums in the 90’s.
On this album, Accept is mainly staying true to their roots. They have incorporated some 90’s groove and sounds and a little bit of 70’s Scorpions, however their sound is still AC/DC meets Judas Priest.
I read some of the reviews of this album recently and man, people don’t like it. I can hear why people would hate this album as there are musical elements on this album that can be classed as “what the” moments. But this album shows a band trying to survive in a hostile musical climate towards them. And it didn’t matter to me what new musical element they brought in, as it still sounds like Accept and it still sounds like Metal.
So “Predator” is studio album 11, released in 1996. It was produced by Michael Wagener and it is their last recording with singer Udo Dirkschneider.
Joining Udo here is the great Wolf Hoffmann on guitars, Peter Baltes on bass and drums are played by Michael Cartellone, fresh from his Damn Yankees gig.
This is Accept doing AC/DC and I like it. A lot.
A head banging riff like “Balls To The Wall” underpins this song.
Baltes and Udo do lead vocals on this and the vocals of Baltes just don’t work for me here.
There is also this country like open sting lick played between the Chorus and Verse which I like.
Making Me Scream
This song has a 90’s alternative metal groove as the rhythm, however the exotic lead over it makes it classic Accept.
You could almost say it’s like the embryo of “Black Label Society”. The heaviness also reminds me of the self-titled Motley Crue album.
Diggin’ in the Dirt
Remember that song “Three Little Pigs”, well it reminds me of that. It has a similar vibe.
Lay It Down
The music on this song is excellent.
Baltes does the lead vocals here and he does a great job.
The Chorus is a rocker and anthemic.
There is no way that Zakk Wylde can say he never heard this song, because it so Black Label Society and that band was a few years away, however Zakk had created his embryonic incarnation with “Pride And Glory”.
If this song doesn’t make you bang your head, check for a pulse.
It Ain’t Over Yet
Baltes does the lead vocals again on this sleazy rocker.
I’m not a fan of this song at all.
Its speed metal, old school and I love it. Just press play to hear the wah riff between 1.08 and 1.12. It’s only four seconds but its excellent.
And the lead break is classic Hoffmann. Press play on that as well.
Take Out the Crime
The love for AC/DC is back here.
Don’t Give a Damn
And you get to hear AC/DC again. And I like it.
Run Through the Night
The intro riff reminds me of “Aint Talking Bout Love” from Van Halen. Press play to hear how a derivative riff is created.
The drums sound like they belong on a Gloria Estefan or Janet Jackson album. The song “Black Cat” comes to mind. Baltes does the lead vocals here, but the song is a skip for me. A terrible way to end the album.
“Predator” was the last Accept album for 14-years. Udo would never return.
But I feel they are bigger now than they’ve ever been. “Blood Of The Nations” came first in 2010 and each release afterwards has built on their return.
Mark Tornillo on vocals is excellent and a perfect song writing partner for Wolf Hoffmann. That’s not to say that others didn’t contribute. Bassist Peter Baltes was also a song writing partner while he was in the band and new bassist Martin Motnik contributes along with long time lyricist Deaffy, otherwise known as Gaby Hoffmann.
While hated, do yourself a favour and check out songs like “Hard Attack”, “Crossroads”, “Lay it Down” and “Crucified”. From there you can make up your own mind.
Every label head said Schenker was finished, washed up.
It’s 1991 and a supergroup called Contraband drop their debut album. And it keeps on dropping because it is so bad. The nice advance payment that Schenker got to be involved in the project didn’t do much to enhance or move forward his career. In fact his manager and ex-partner took most of it.
But he stays alive, because he’s a lifer. When you have been in the game for this long, the only thing you know how to do is play. And play he did. He jumped on board the unplugged bandwagon and released an album. He called up Robin McAuley and released another McAuley Schenker studio album.
Then he re-unites with Phil Mogg and they start writing. The songs got the labels interested and the “Walk On Water” album from UFO, released in 1995 surprised everyone. Suddenly Schenker was back on the agenda and he’s getting money thrown at him again. He had a lot of bad people in his life at this point in time, from managers and partners, so it was always going to happen that MSG would return.
I didn’t think it would be that quick. Because a year after “Walk On Water”, “Written In The Sand” is released, the eighth full-length studio album that falls under the MSG brand.
The only thing consistent with all of these MSG albums is the name and Michael Schenker himself. The other members are in a constant flux. For this album, Schenker is joined by Leif Sundin on vocals, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass. All the music is by Michael Schenker and all lyrics by Leif Sundin.
Ron Nevison is doing all the Producing, Engineering and Mixing.
It’s not on Spotify which irks me, but YouTube has it.
Brave New World
It’s got groove, swing and lot of rock and roll. And the first thing that grabs my attention are the vocals from Leif Sundin. His voice is very melodic, fluid and unique. I would say he’s up there as one of the best singers in MSG.
The lead breaks are impressive, with Schenker even soloing over a harmony solo which acts as a rhythm guitar.
Cry No More
Press play to hear the intro. Its heavy and a lot of acts who went alternative to survive weren’t doing riffs like this during this period. The song could have been on a Deep Purple album and it wouldn’t be out pf place.
It’s a ballad that turns into a rocker. It’s not original, yet it is an easy listen.
Back to Life
No one was writing riffs like this in 1996. Its old school and I like it. Barry Sparks is massive on the bass here as well.
Written in the Sand
This track is essential MSG. It has a sleazy bluesy riff and a lot of melody. And Schenker delivers a tasty guitar-solo in the middle and for the outro.
It wouldn’t be an MSG album without an instrumental. This one has an “Eruption” vibe before moving into a fast blues. Think of “Hot For Teacher” when it picks up.
Love Never Dies
Imagine “Finish What Ya Started” merging with the melodic rock genre. Well this is the outcome. Another close favourite with a killer Schenker lead break.
I Will Be There
Press play to hear the verse riff. Schenker makes it sound technical, yet it rocks so fluidly.
Take Me Through the Night
Its classic heavy metal while the singing is happening and the solo section is barroom blues brawling.
It wouldn’t be out of place on any metal album from the early 80’s.
Down the Drain
The album closer showcases how Schenker decorates in a creative way. You cannot ignore how good it is.
While Schenker’s North American career had stalled, he was still a big draw in Japan and certain European markets. And just like that, the whole “Contraband” affair was forgotten. That is if you heard the album. Which wasn’t easy to do.
If the style of the artwork looks familiar, it should. Its Ken Kelly doing the cover. If you have “Destroyer” and “Love Gun” from Kiss, “Rising” by Rainbow, “Space Invader” by Ace and other albums by Manowar like “Fighting The World” and “The Triumph Of Steel”, then you would have been exposed to Ken Kelly.
Should be called “Duller Than Hell” and Motley Crue also want their title back. Or they should have used their war cry “Death To False Metal” as the album title as the songs themselves are too derivative of earlier Manowar and could be classed as false.
It’s their eighth album, released on October 1, 1996. After the expiration of their contract with Atlantic, the band did a big money move to Geffen Records and this is their first offering. For an album on Geffen Records, the production is lifeless. Stale. Which is strange as the album was anticipated. And it was a running joke, if the album would ever get released as they approached four years from the previous studio album. Back then four years was a long time. These days bands go decades without releasing anything new.
Formed in 1980, Joey DeMaio on bass, keyboards is still the head honcho and main songwriter. Eric Adams is still the vocalist. It is the first album to feature guitarist Karl Logan, as well as the return of drummer Scott Columbus.
Dee Snider once posted on Twitter, if people should listen to an artist if they did a crime that doesn’t sit well with you.
Guitarist Karl Logan was arrested in 2019 for child pornography offenses. I questioned myself if I should review this album or not review it. I decided to review it, since all the songs are written by kingpin DeMaio.
My opinion of the album still hasn’t changed.
It’s a parody of their former albums, like “Fighting The World”. The guitar playing is boring.
While former guitarist Ross The Boss played riffs, the new guy plays chords. They might as well have gotten Richie Sambora to play chords. He would have done a more livelier job. And maybe introduced a talk box into their sound.
I was always a Ross The Boss fan anyway and was pretty bummed when he was asked to leave the band he formed with Joey DeMaio by DeMaio himself circa 1988. At first, Ross the Boss was replaced by David Shankle, who left in ’94 after playing on “The Triumph of Steel”. I didn’t want to even listen to the album, but my cousin is a massive fan and he kept playing their new albums for me to check out.
Return of the Warlord
It’s very Judas Priest like. Think “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and “Heading Out The Highway”. Each song has a dedication in the CD liner notes, and this one is dedicated to Mary Hooton for all the years and all the tears.
Lyrically, its dumb and simple. While the musical climate in the 90’s started to get more introspective and introverted, Manowar was the opposite. They stayed big, bombast, epic and aloof.
Check-out lines like, “I got no money or big house just got life, I don’t like to save it’s more fun to spend, If you like metal you’re my friend, And that bike out in the yard well that’s my wife”.
Yep, I know the 90’s were hard on 80’s metal, yet Manowar survived writing stuff like this.
Brothers of Metal Pt. 1
It’s from 1986, so they must have had writers block. The lyrical themes of “Fighting for metal, that is real, brothers of metal standing together with hands in the air” was a running joke in 1996. The song is dedicated to Jeff Bova.
More lyrical Shakespeare with “Our hearts are filled with metal and masters we have none, and we will die for metal, metal heals, my son
The Gods Made Heavy Metal
Judas Priest again comes to mind, circa “Screaming For Vengeance” era. With lyrics that will either make you take up the fight for Heavy Metal or laugh at the parody of Heavy Metal.
We are treated to biblical lines like “the gods made heavy metal and they saw that is was good, they said to play it louder than Hell, we promised that we would”.
It’s dedicated to a person called Rainer Haensel, for always being ready for anything crazy and for never letting the band down.
Another song that was demoed in 1986, it’s a piano ballad in a major key. Very Queen like and on this album it is in memory of Anthony John Columbus III.
But it’s a skip for me.
One more song that was demoed in 1986 which is dedicated to Tom Miller for believing in the band no matter how crazy it seemed.
And Sylvester Stallone should of used lines like these in a “Rocky” or “Creed” movie. “Today is the day all the training through, we have come for the number one not the number two, let the contest begin play hard fight to win, immortality victory and fame”.
More of the same like the previous songs, the song is for the Manowar fans around the world who stand, shout, live and breathe MANOWAR METAL. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Manowar Metal” becomes a new genre in the years to come.
It’s another piano major key ballad for the first 90 seconds before it kicks in to more of the same. “Fighting The World” comes to mind here.
It’s dedicated to John Kalodner, their friend, brother and King. And they do him proud, with the lyrics, “Fight for the crown, fight for the ring, We’re fighting the world, we fight for the king”.
And if you grew up in the 80s you would have seen John
Today Is a Good Day to Die
A 9 minute instrumental that could belong in a Clint Eastwood Western.
They pull no punches in the CD notes when they say this song is dedicated to all the losers in the world who have tried to put Manowar and the Manowar fans down. As the Indians fought and died for their way of life, so shall Manowar. Great Spirit, they only wish to live long enough to urinate on the graves of their enemies.
Probably the best song on the album as it’s pace is frantic. And the Power is dedicated to artist Ken Kelly.
Manowar’s style is 80bpm chugging along rhythms. Most of their music is the key of Em. They celebrate heavy metal the way we knew it in the early 80’s, before it splintered into so many different categories. They make no apologies for it either. They do it their way, they have their core audience who are devoted to them and sustain them.
“Back In Black” from AC/DC is simple and it keeps you interested. “Louder Than Hell” is simple but it doesn’t keep me interested. Not like the earlier albums from Manowar.
Eric Adams on vocals is underrated and never spoken about when it comes to great vocalists. But they should talk about him a bit more. If you talk about Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, then Eric Adams should be in the same conversation. This album doesn’t do him justice, but check out the 80’s material.
Check it out if you want to hear a band carrying on the flag of 80’s Heavy Metal in the wastelands of Grunge, Alternative and Industrial.
In 1996, Sammy Hagar left Van Halen. Both camps tried to set the record straight as to why things happened like they did. It made for great reading, the press had a field day and the fans just wanted new music.
Enter an old flame.
David Lee Roth re-joined briefly and recorded two songs with the band for the 1996 compilation “Best Of – Volume I”. There is a story about this saga as well, but other sites on the web cover it better. As is the norm, Roth and Eddie clashed again and Roth was out, eventually replaced by Gary Cherone from Extreme.
However we got a “Best Of” album. And it sold well. I guess the public’s appetite to hear Roth with Van Halen again was sky high. I know in Australia it got a Platinum certification and in the U.S it was 3x Platinum.
The album was released on October 22, 1996. I basically purchased it for the two newly recorded Roth songs, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic” plus “Humans Being” which did appear on the Twister soundtrack, however my first hearing of the song was on this compilation.
And this review would focus on those three songs.
Can’t Get This Stuff No More
I got so used to Sammy Hagar and his melodies.
So I wasn’t totally enthused to hear Roth deliver his vocals about a “date with a super model and how he doesn’t need so much to remember”. But Roth is Roth, and it’s why I am a fan. He never conformed nor did he change his style. And the Chorus is as good as any Van Roth chorus.
Eddie was also getting a lot more progressive with his song writing and bro Alex, did a great job to put a beat and feel to it all.
Check out the lead break rhythms and EVH talk boxing his way before he breaks open the gates of shred. For progressiveness check out the outro that just came from left field as it’s a unique piece of music on its own.
Wikipedia also tells me that the music for this song was based on a track called “Backdoor Shuffle” which was originally part of the sessions for the “Balance” album.
Me Wise Magic
As soon as I heard the intro I was picking up the guitar to learn it. Not sure what came first. “Test For Echo” or this. I can Google it, but who cares, as the intro does remind me of Rush. Roth moves between spoken verse to a frantic pre chorus and a killer Chorus with Michael Anthony nailing the backing vocals.
Both of the Roth tracks were produced by Glen Ballard who had a renaissance of some sort in the mid 90’s thanks to Alanis Morissette and “Jagged Little Pill”.
The way the song started is how it ends.
An example of what I meant with EVH being progressive in his writing. You don’t hear the Intro riff again in the song, until it appears in the Outro.
EVH’s working title was “The Three Faces of Shamus,” for its three sections with “completely different vibes going on”.
Roth was also asked to work with Desmond Child on the lyrics after he discarded (or rewrote) the words that Ballard wrote. But Roth is Roth, and no one tells him what to do.
Produced by Bruce Fairbairn.
The intro Em riff (E to G to A) hooks me instantly. It’s almost Metallica like, but also like Alice Cooper (think “I’m Eighteen”).
My favourite part of the song is when Sammy sings “Shine On”, and of course EVH chimes in with a quick melodic lead, which quietens down and then builds up again, full of octaves, whammy bar manipulations, superhuman bends over a droning E note and legato slides. And none of it would work if it wasn’t for the time keeping of AVH.
And there is a story around this song’s creation, but Wikipedia covers it pretty good.
By 1993, a lot of artists who got their break in the 80’s had nothing doing. Even his band Danger Danger was struggling. Their album “Screw It”, released in 1991 got zero skulls out of 5 in the reviews I came across. The reviewers had enough of song titles like “Slipped Her The Big One” and “Horny S.O.B”.
The million bucks spent on the album would never be recouped, the band got dropped and it took another four years for Danger Danger to resurface with “Dawn” in 1995 on an unknown label.
But before they got dropped by Epic, there was an attempted album called “Cockroach” scheduled for 1993, however vocalist Ted Poley sought legal action to prevent it from being released as Bruno Ravel fired Poley after the album was completed and then got Paul Laine to re-sing it.
Due to the court case, Epic shelved the album but money talks and in 2001, it was finally released with Disc 1 being the Paul Laine version and Disc 2 being the Ted Poley version.
But while old friends had their various issues, Al Pitrelli was steaming ahead.
He was doing studio work with artists like Taylor Dayne. At this point of her career, Dayne was on fire, and a lot of money was thrown her way by the label for her third album. A lot of great songwriters were commissioned to work with Dayne and they bring their own players. Pitrelli on this case, played guitar on two tracks “Dance With A Stranger” and “I Could Be Good For You” on Dayne’s “Soul Dancing” album released in 1993. And like his previous studio work, Pitrelli was asked to perform again on a cut written by Diane Warren (“I Could Be Good For You”). I guess he had the soft rock mojo Warren was looking for.
His “Coven Pitrelli O’Reilly” project released “CPR” in 1993.
His “Morning Wood” project finally saw a self-titled release in 1994 (in Japan only and it wasn’t until 2002 that it saw a European release), along with Asia (“Aria”), Widowmaker (“Stand By For Pain”), the self-titled “Ten Ton Tide” album and “Out Of Control” by TM Stevens.
The “Morning Wood” band was Pitrelli’s old pal, Chuck Bonafante on drums, Al Pitrelli on guitars, Tony Harnell from TNT on vocals and Danny Miranda on bass and keyboards. The album was all acoustic, mainly covers with a few originals.
The “Stand By For Pain” by Widowmaker is an album to be spoken of highly in relation to Hard Rock/Groove Metal. But like the heavy rock Widowmaker debut, it is largely ignored or forgotten. Dee Snider couldn’t catch a break post Twisted Sister, however he has shown his resilience, slowly rising back up year by year, first by a radio show, then as a screenwriter/director and when Twisted Sister reformed in the piracy decades, they were surprised to see that their music was more popular than ever.
Pitrelli also helped an old mate in Derek Sherinian get the keyboard job with Dream Theater after the departure of Kevin Moore. Al Pitrelli and John Petrucci used to teach guitar at a Long Island Guitar store, and Pitrelli put a call in to Petrucci to hire Sherinian who Gene Simmons described as the love child of Paul Stanley and Cher.
Pitrelli was also back in Asia for another album called “Aria” released in 1994. This period is known as the John Payne period. Al Pitrelli played on the previous album “Aqua” but didn’t tour. He played on “Aria” and went on tour this time, however after 4 concerts the tour was cancelled. Pitrelli left the tour early (how early can you leave a 4 show tour) and was replaced by ex-Simply Red guitarist Aziz Ibrahim for the other few shows. The album was also a complete commercial failure.
Another project called Ten Ton Tide released their self-titled debut. The band is listed as “Hard Rock” and “Prog Rock”. If you like Rush, then this band definitely fits the bill. This YouTube video is the only thing I could find on the project but it’s not the album that Pitrelli played on.
The band for the debut album is Jim Toscano on drums, Anthony Tirado is on Bass and Rhythm Guitar, Rob Glick is also on Bass and Guitar, Dan Gibson is on keyboards, Al Pitrelli and Zak Rizvi are on Lead and Rhythm Guitars and Dennes Cynd is on Vocals and Violin. One review mentioned the singer as a cross between Mick Jagger and Kip Winger. But I don’t hear that.
1994 or 1995 also saw a release from “TM Stevens – Out Of Control” called “Boom”, a fusion of hard rock, funk, rhythm and blues and metal.
For those who don’t know, TM Stevens is an American bass guitarist from New York City. He was a go to session guy and if you purchased a Billy Squier album, there is a chance you heard TM playing bass on it. The same goes for Pretenders, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Taylor Dayne, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Riot, Billy Joel and Steve Vai. And it was James Brown who got TM to sing. You know the track, “Living In America”. One of the voices on it is TM.
Apart from Al Pitrelli playing on the first album “Boom”, Richie Kotzen and Al Pitrelli both play on “Sticky Wicked” released in 1996.
In relation to “Boom”, check out the songs, “Supernatural”, “I’m A Believer” (a totally different song to the one you are probably thinking off), “The Gift”, “Hair”, “What About Love” and “Freedom (Never Gonna Give It Up)”.
Savatage were about to be dropped by Atlantic. They had given the band advances for each album and to the label, they never recouped that advance. Pitrelli was the studio player Paul O’Neill brought in to play lead guitar on their last album, “Dead Winter Dead”, released in 1995.
He went on a European tour with them as a hired gun and was to have no more involvement with the band after that.
The song “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) was a hard rock mash up of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol Of The Bells”. The guitar leads you hear on the track that a violin normally plays are from the fingers of Al Pitrelli. And when Savatage returned to the U.S, this song had crossed over into the Charts and became a holiday favourite.
When there is a hit, expect a new album to come out. Savatage went back into the studio with Paul O’Neill producing again, but this time around, Pitrelli was a fully-fledged member, playing all the guitars and he was known as the “musical director” of the band. But Savatage was seen as a heavy metal band, and some due diligence by the label suggested that they should change the name of the band for this Christmas themed album.
And “Trans-Siberian Orchestra” was born. Otherwise known as “TSO”.
Also in 1995, a few other projects that Pitrelli was involved in got a release. The band “Place Called Rage” released their self-titled debut. Joe Lynn Turner released “Nothing’s Changed” and “Mojo Bros.” released their self-titled debut.
The “Place Called Rage” band had a few friends from the 80’s, like Chuck Bonafante on drums, Danny Miranda on bass and Tommy Farese on vocals. Released in 1995, it’s a great slab of hard rock rooted in the 70’s Rock movement with a lot of Springsteen style “Americana Rock” thrown in.
The Joe Lynn Turner album “Nothing’s Changed” is also rooted in 70’s Rock. Almost Bad Company like. Pitrelli co-wrote 4 tracks with JLT and also Co-Produced the album with JLT. Other musicians to play on it are Greg Smith on bass, John O’Reilly on drums, with keys being provided by Gary Corbet, Derek Sherinian and Al Pitrelli. This is another great slab of hard melodic rock, lost in the noise of 1995.
The Mojo Bros. self-titled debut is hard to find. A few YouTube clips exist and that’s it. Joe Lynn Turner and TM Stevens even appear on their Temptation’s cover “Ball Of Confusion”. The music is mostly instrumental except when they get in a guest singer for a cover song. The band is Danny Miranda on bass, Joe Franco on drums, Al Pitrelli on guitars and Derek Sherinian on keyboards. These three albums released in 1995 are not on Spotify.
1996 brings us to Vertex.
The “A/2” album from Arcade disappeared from stores as soon as it was released. The music that Stephen Pearcy made a living off was out of style. So Vertex was born when Pearcy was asked to be part of an industrial band by Japanese drummer Hiro Kuretani. Al Pitrelli joined on guitar and Juan Croucier from Ratt was meant to be the bassist, however that spot went to Robbie Crane from Vince Neil’s solo band for the tour. Al Pitrelli plays the bass parts on the album except for two songs (“Time And Time” and “Aint Gonna Be”) in which Bob Daisley plays the bass. Fate would have it that Crane would became the Ratt bassist as well afterwards. In a dropping the names moment, the guitarist in Arcade Johnny Angel had a connection with Al Pitrelli from their brief Talas days.
Vertex was way ahead of their time. Musically, Vertex sounded like a cross between Rammstein (before anyone knew of Rammstein globally), the hard rock genre and Megadeth. Pearcy even sounds like Dave Mustaine in the vocal department. I believe critics just saw it as a glam rocker faking his way through the 90’s pretending to be industrial. But Pearcy is really good on this and the album is forgotten. “Industrial RATT” is a term that I came across a fair bit in the YouTube comments section. The bands Orgy, Coal Chamber, Snot, Static X, Powerman 500, Stabbing Westward and early Filter all sounded very similar to what Vertex was doing.
Another release that happened in 1996, was from the “Trans-Siberian Orchestra” (TSO) who dropped the “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” album around the Holiday season and man, it sold. 3 plus million is sales in the U.S for a triple platinum certification. A tour was organised in the U.S and it sold like crazy as well. The fusion of hard rock, progressive rock, classical and Christmas themed music with a bit of blues rock and jazz found itself an audience. A large one at that. And for the audience it was all about the experience.
After a long time as a journey man, a session guru and as a band member/leader trying to get a project up and running, Pitrelli had a project that would provide him with stability and success.
Released in 1996, I got this on cassette originally, which I found in a 3 for $10 bin.
But I didn’t get it when it came out. It was a few years later and I got the CD recently at a record fair. Again it was in a 3 for $10 box.
Press play to hear the bass guitar riff.
It’s basically an artist writing a song, without a thought of it being a hit. And somehow it gets released as a single and it’s seen as a hit. I like the feel of the verses, the way the bass rumbles and those open string droning notes on the guitars builds up into the Chorus.
The lead single, and it followed a “Live (band) vibe”.
At 30.5 million Spotify streams it’s definitely the hit song from the album. But it pales compared to “Glycerine” at 151 million streams or “Machinehead” at 91.6 million streams.
Press play to hear how the song starts with the snare groove and how it just keeps building. You get to hear Rossdale throw his throat out in the singing.
It has a cool drum groove, with the guitars decorating the song in a nice way, as Rossdale is singing, “you will get yours” with the volume and intensity increasing. And at six minutes long, it’s the anti-single, but it still got released as a single.
A Tendency To Start Fires
The verses hook me, but the Chorus loses me.
It’s almost like the song “Black Sabbath”. Listen to it in its doom like feel.
“Nothing hurts like your mouth”
Truth right there. We might forget the words but we never forget the feeling.
Straight, No Chaser
They tried to re-write “Glycerine” but they didn’t get close.
I like the intro guitar riff on this. It just didn’t go on long enough.
The Chorus is a favourite, very Bowie like.
It’s “Mouth” part 2.
Another cool guitar riff to start if off but overall the song doesn’t connect with me as I felt they really tried hard to recreate “Glycerine”.
They should have ended the album with “Synapse” as the last three songs drag it down.
Like “Sixteen Stone”, it was the accessible singles of the album that got me interested in the album and then it was a matter of discovering some cool sections here and there.
They did an electronic remix album after this and they lost me with that cash grab. And I didn’t check out “The Science Of Things” until recently.