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

2000 – The 13th Post

Here we are, the final 2000 post which brings to an end, the tandem 2000, 1985 and 1977 series before I move on to 2001, 1986 and 1976 series.

Motorhead – We Are Motorhead

Its fast and fast and fast. A perfect statement of intent for the 2000’s.

Certain songs had different producers like Bob Kulick, Bruce Bouillet and Duane Baron.

Phil Campbell on the guitar is phenomenal. Very underrated. And of course, Mikkey Dee on the drums is a metronomic machine when he needs to be and sleazy swingy when he needs to be.

Then you have Lemmy.

Heavy as lead, all fuzzed out with his bass lines and throwing his voice into the concrete and still sounding good.

“See Me Burning” clocks in at 3 minutes as the double kick pattern is relentless from the start to the end. “Wake The Dead” has another fast double kick pattern from Dee. “We Are Motorhead” sounds like it came from the “Ace Of Spades” album. “Stagefreight” and “Heart On Your Sleeve” continue the speed.

“Slow Dance” is the mid-tempo hard rock track and my favourite. The riff is sinister like and I like it. Especially that harmony lead before the lead break.

And my other favourite, is “One More Fucking Time”. At 6 plus minutes it’s the longest song on the album.

Fozzy

I like the idea behind the first Fozzy album and the funny backstory they put into the promo.

They had signed with a record company and moved to Japan to be huge rock stars, but the company went out of business, leaving them stranded in Japan for 20 years, while all their demos were snatched and recorded by other bands. Once they returned to America, they realized that many famous artists had ripped off their songs.

So this album is mostly cover songs (which are like the Fozzy songs that other artists took) however, the album does have two new original songs, so that these thieving bands don’t have enough time or a chance to “rip” off these new songs.

So who is Fozzy.

Well wrestler Chris Jericho (credited as Moongoose McQueen) is on vocals, Rich Ward (credited as Duke LaRüe) on guitars, Dan Dryden (credited as Shawn “Sports” Pop) on bass, Frank Fontsere (credited as KK LaFlame) on drums and Ryan Mallam (credited as The Kidd) on guitar.

Megaforce Records had high commercial hopes for this album, but it disappointed the label heads and they more or less cancelled their support of the album and the band.

One more album would come two years later called “Happenstance” and when it did even less business than the debut, Megaforce ran to the hills.

“Stand Up and Shout” written by Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain and performed by Dio kicks off the album.

“Eat the Rich” is a Krokus cover, written by Butch Stone, Marc Storace, Fernando von Arb and Chris von Rohr.

“Stay Hungry” is a Twisted Sister cover and written by Dee Snider. Less than 3 minutes long, it’s a speed metal cut.

“The Prisoner” is an Iron Maiden, written by Adrian Smith and Steve Harris.

“Live Wire” is a Mötley Crüe cover, written by Nikki Sixx.

“End of Days” is written by Rich Ward and Chris Jericho. It got some fast palm muted picking but it doesn’t have that classic riff like the songs above, but it does have a wicked pre-chorus vocal melody, when Jericho/Moongoose sings “Can you believe in love?”

“Over the Mountain” is an Ozzy Osbourne cover, written by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake.

“Blackout” is a Scorpions cover, written by Sonja Kittelsen, Klaus Meine, Herman Rarebell and Rudolf Schenker

“Feel the Burn” is another cut written by Rich Ward and Chris Jericho but its forgettable.

“Riding on the Wind” is a Judas Priest cover, written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K. K. Downing. Like all of the other tracks on the album, they are played with a bit of a pedal to the floor attitude.

The album is basically an 80’s Heavy Metal jukebox under 40 minutes.

Symphony X – V The New Mythology Suite

I read some stuff about this band and how good Michael Romeo is on guitars. But to me, it was Russell Allen on vocals that got me interested, because Romeo was too much like Malmsteen on a lot of the stuff, or maybe he wasn’t like Malmsteen, instead it was the keyboard lines of Michael Pinnella that made it sound like Malmsteen.

Wikipedia tells me it is a concept album dealing with the story of Atlantis, ancient Egyptian mythology, and astrology.

There is a lot of same same here, but “Communion And The Oracle” is a bit different, with its soundtrack like feel and very Kansas feel in certain sections. Its progressive the way I like progressive to be.

Nightwish – Wishmaster

I’m a fan of the riffs. The operatic vocals are hit and miss for me on this album, but they do get better with subsequent releases.

“She Is My Sin” has a kicking intro riff.

“The Kinslayer” has another great riff, but on this one, the vocal line is like that “O Fortuna” vocal line. Brilliant.

If the intro to “Come Cover Me” doesn’t get you playing air guitar then you have no heartbeat.

“Wishmaster” continues that symphonic “O Fortuna” element in the Chorus, when they sing “Mas-ter”, “A-pprent-ice” in that style. Check out the harmony leads as well.

In Flames – Clayman

This is the album that put them on the map for me. Thirteen songs at 50 minutes. No fat whatsoever in the songs.

I really like the melody and aggression in the riffs and those European Minor key harmonies and leads.

Case in point, check out the riffs and leads in “Bullet Ride”. Vocally, its more in the vein of acts like “At The Gates” so if you want to hear a more commercial sounding In Flames, then Ghost AD does a pretty good job as the riffs they use are very similar.

Then you get the fast speed metal of “Pinball Map”. But hang around until the 2.20 minute mark, when it breaksdown into a head banging groove. Then the lead break starts, which copies the Chorus vocal melody before it picks up the speed metal.

How good is the intro melodic lead and that chugging staccato riff for the verses in “Only For The Weak”?

Listen to the lead break in the Chorus for “Square Nothing”.

I wanted Metallica to write a song like “Clayman” around this time. But who knew the dramas that Hetfield was going through during this period.

The clean tone arpeggios and harmony lead to kick off “Satellites and Astronauts” always gets me to pick up the guitar and then the madness starts before it goes back to those clean tone arpeggios for the verses.

The riff at 1.30 in “Brush The Dust Away” reminds me of Lynch/Dokken era. And the lead break starts off with some fast legato lines, some melody, then sweeps and harmonies.

“Swim” sounds like a Europe song from the first two albums, but then it moves into a Dream Theater/Petrucci like riff before the Euro melodic riffs kick in.

Finally “Another Day In Quicksand” feels like it’s the younger brother of “The Fire Still Burns” from Twisted Sister.

Children of Bodom – Follow The Reaper

RIP Alexi Laiho.

A Children Of Bodom album has riffs. A lot of fast riffs and a lot of groove rock riffs and a lot of progressive riffs.

And it has leads plus harmony leads with guitars and keyboards and breakdown grooves.

Check out the intro riff to “Follow The Reaper” and those lead breaks in between.

The verse riff in “Bodom After Midnight” is the best Malmsteen riff that he didn’t write.

How good is the intro to “Children of Decadence” and the 80’s melodic pop grooves for the intro to “Mask Of Sanity”?

Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage

For the debut album, Adam Dutkiewicz played drums and he moved to guitars on the albums after. Jesse Leach is on vocals, Joel Stroetzel is solely on guitar and Mike D’Antonio is on bass guitar.

The debut album is way too extreme for me, vocally, with every song in that screaming range. But musically, there are a lot of good riffs in this.

“Temple From The Within” opens the album and listen to that riff at the 1.10 minute mark to 1.33 mark. Then the bass kicks in and its heavy when the guitar kicks in. This track was re-released on the follow up album “Alive And Breathing” in 2002.

Check out the acoustic flamenco section from the 3 minute mark in “Irresversal”, an oasis of melody in the chaos of heaviness and aggression. This track was also re-recorded for “The End Of Heartache” album in 2004.

“Prelude” is only 2 minutes, but that’s enough for an instrumental, with head banging riffs and a sing-a-long lead break. “One Last Sunset” is another instrumental, sad and melancholic.

Nonpoint – Statement

The debut album reminds me of “Sevendust” and “Mudvayne” with a bit of “Tool” on this album. I think it’s a big reason why I gravitated to them.

“Mindtrip” has the vocals kick in start right away and that vocal line “trip inside your mind” reminds me of Tool.

“Endure” is the superior track here, combining melody, aggression and powerful riffs into a cohesive 3 minute track.

“Years” is a cross between clean tone arpeggios, busy drumming and aggressive down picking with a melodic Chorus, very Tool like.

Taproot – Gift

Bands classed as Nu-Metal had a lot of promo in Australia.

But Taproot, while classed in that style had a bit of progressive in them, clean tone vocals, hard core vocals with metal and rock overtones.

“Again And Again” has this groove, which people might say is more Disturbed than anything else, but both bands came out the same time, so let’s just say it’s a 2000 groove. Reminds me of Staind.

“I” is a favourite.

And thats it folks, the year that was 2000 comes to an end.

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

2000 – Part 12

Wow, 12 posts on the Year 2000. And one more to come after this.

Sammy Hagar – Ten 13

I was just listening to his “Lockdown 2020” album released with “The Circle”. Cant say I’m a fan. It’s not the album I wanted to hear from him.

Then again, how can you not listen to a record featuring Sammy Hagar?

Check out “Let Sally Drive”. The riffs, the vocal melodies and that Acca Dacca vibe.

Then “Serious JuJu” kicks off with a Tool like vibe/feel in the riffs and the variety between the songs is intoxicating.

“All politicians speak in jive, they lie to keep the lie alive”

It’s not just the politicians these days. A lot of people are trying to get ahead by putting down others.

“The Message” is one of those slower type rockers. Think of “Right Now”. It still rocks as hard as it rolls.

“Little Bit More” has Sammy showing all those Alt Rockers how it’s really done.

“Protection” is “Humans Being”, with a bit more soul and boogie instead of the fast paced rocker that Van Halen delivered. And Sammy is singing about how we all need “protection from the system”.

Check it out.

U2 – All You Can’t Leave Behind

It was the perfect time for a comeback and they delivered.

“Beautiful Day” is classic U2. Musically, they had returned to the well of rock, after dabbling in electronica, techno and dance synths previously. It came out in Australia, just after the Olympics finished and it was a beautiful time.

I know a lot of us sang it as “it’s a beautiful day when you got bills to pay”, smiling and laughing while we sung it.

“Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” sounds like one of those soul blues rock tunes that hangs around for a while. It’s slower in tempo, almost ballad like, but it still rocks for me.

“Elevation” continues the knockouts and “Walk On” makes it four from four. “Kite” at track 5 and its melancholic mood captures me. Five from five.

And this album was a high peak for the band.

“All That You Can’t Leave Behind” went to number one in 32 countries and won seven Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Album.

Bono kept on saying in interviews how U2 was “re-applying for the job of ‘biggest band in the world'” with this album. And in my view they succeeded.

Oasis – Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

It still did good business in Australia, coming in at number 6 on the ARIA charts.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing for Noel Gallagher, who didn’t want to make the album as he was devoid of inspiration, and had no reason or desire to make music, but Liam kept pushing him to write as the band needed a new album to go on tour.

And for an album which Noel sees as uninspired, I think it’s pretty good.

“Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is” has this “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep” riff and a “Roadhouse Blues” vocal line, which connected with audiences. It’s one of my favourites from the album. “Go Let It Out” wouldn’t be out of place on earlier Oasis album.

“Gas Panic!” is an underrated gem, exotic and progressive in feel and atmospherics. At almost 7 minutes long, its anti-pop.

“Where Did It All Go Wrong?” could have crossed over onto the country rock charts. Hell, I will even call it Southern Rock. “I Can See A Liar” starts off with an AC/DC style riff before it moves into the psychedelic rock from The Beatles.

The album closes with the six minute and thirty seconds “Roll It Over”, another melancholic track which percolates slowly. Make sure you stick around for when the guitar solo starts and the gospel singers kick in. It’s worth it.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Machina/The Machines of God

All albums that came after “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie” would be compared to those albums instead of standing on their own. Regardless, the album still did good business in Australia and most major music markets. But poor business when compared to the other albums.

“The Everlasting Gaze” is a bloody good song. Listen to that intro riff, which re-appears in the verses and don’t tell me it’s not metal.

“Stand Inside Your Love” is different, more Brit Pop like The Cure and “Heavy Metal Machine” has this massive blues rock groove, all fuzzed up and heavy as lead.

“Glass And The Ghost Children” feels like a Neil Young song, when he went electric and all fuzzed up and experimented. “This Time” is one of their signature ballads. “Blue Skies Bring Tears” percolates at a slow tempo.

Overall, “Machina” at that point in time was the second lowest-selling Pumpkins album. Their label made sure they told them the same. Maybe it was the reason why they broke up.

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who returned to the band for this album, said it was like watching your kid get straight A’s for ten years, and suddenly flunk out of school. Billy Corgan, said the album wasn’t heavy enough or alternative enough to compete with Korn and Limp Bizkit, plus it was a concept story which nobody understood.

But their viewpoints are based on sales, not art.

For “Machina”, Billy Corgan delivered a piece of musical theatre, that is still waiting for the massive double album reissue in the way it was always meant to be.

Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R

As soon as the bass groove starts of for “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer”, I was hooked. Of course a certain Dave Grohl used that same pattern for the Foo Fighters.

“Better Living Through Chemistry” feels like a cut from “The Tea Party”. And I like it. Make sure you check out the riff in the middle of the song. “Tension Head” is another that has a riff that gets me to pick up the guitar. “I Think I Lost My Headache” is a lost cut from Black Sabbath.

Porcupine Tree – Voyage 34

Only four songs are on the album. Each one at least 10 minutes or more. Phase 1 kicks it off and Phase 4 ends it. You can guess the song titles of the other two songs.

And after the spoken intro which mentions participants eating sugar cubes laced with LSD, the Pink Floyd inspired single note echo riff kicks off. And the themes of experimenting on humans while they consume drugs continues. It’s not the album I wanted from em at this point in time, but I am a fan of the courage Steve Wilson had to experiment and push boundaries.

Catherine Wheel – Wishville

“Sparks Are Gonna Fly” has this wah wah tremolo riff to kick it off, before it explodes without any effects. Its blues rock and its foot stomping. “What We Want To Believe In” has a fuzz wah drenched intro lead to kick off the song, and I like.

“All Of That” is a favourite. So is “Idle Life”. They are both slower tempo, ballad like.

Spiritual Beggars – Ad Asra

The retro looking cover and band name graphic was good enough to get me interested. Like QOTSA and other acts that brought back the heavy rock from the 70’s, Spiritual Beggars did it Euro style.

And Michael Amott on guitars and founder of the band after he left Carcass, is a true guitar hero when it comes to riffs and leads.

If the name sounds familiar, he also founded Arch Enemy and if you read his interviews he talks very highly of his influences like Ritchie Blackmore, Glenn Tipton, Adrian Smith, Tony Iommi, Frank Marino, Michael Schenker, Kerry King, Dave Mustaine, and Uli Jon Roth.

Opener “Left Brain Ambassadors” is a heavy blues rock tune.

“Wonderful World” has a verse which drips Sabbath and a Chorus that comes from Swedish pop and a solo section which is brilliant.

The outro solo section in “Sedated” needs to be heard, if you haven’t heard it already.

“Angel Of Betrayal” is your typical 70’s Hard Rock tunes, more like Blue Oyster Cult.

And there isn’t a bad song on the album.

There are the fast riffs (“Save Your Soul” comes to mind as I type this), the melodic riffs (“Per Aspera Ad Astra”) and the slower heavier than lead riffs (“Until the Morning” comes to mind, which has an acoustic opening and then a big heavy riff that reminds me of Sabbath. The vocals are distorted and perfect.)

And for a closer, check out “Mantra” is it plods along acoustically with an eerie keyboard before it explodes like “Stairway To Heaven” explodes.

Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes – Live at the Greek

Chris Robinson said he “didn’t have fun doing it”, but regardless of what he thinks, the team up of Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes is brilliant. And Robinson actually does a wonderful job on the vocals. Even though he didn’t have fun doing it.

It’s a shame that contractual issues stopped a lot of The Black Crowes songs from being released officially, so what we get are a lot of Led Zep classics and some standard blues songs.

“Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is still a favourite for me.

Check it out.

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

2000 – Part 11

Pain Of Salvation – The Perfect Element Part 1

I saw a flyer in a magazine that mentioned “progressive” and I was interested. So I downloaded it, as it wasn’t available in Australia at that point in time.

I burned it to a CD, put it on the stereo, pressed play and became a fan. Its progressive because it has so many different styles/genres throughout the songs.

“In The Flesh” has this Queensryche/Bad Company feel merged with Marillion merged with Porcupine Tree before it goes to a Dream Theater like feel from “Images And Words”. And it moves between these things effortlessly.

Make sure you hang around until the 7.20 minute mark, just so you could hear that piano riff before the song segues into “Ashes”.

“Ashes” at four minutes and 20 seconds is brilliant. The melancholic mood created from the lightly distorted arpeggios is hypnotic. There is a fuzzed out lead and a spoken/lightly sung vocal melody.

And when the Chorus kicks in, with that “Zombie” feel, and the line, “As we walk through the ashes, I whisper your name”. Brilliant.

And this song segues into “Morning On Earth” with that musical box/xylophone riff. You need to listen to it, to understand what I mean.

“Idioglossia” continues the genre appropriation and they even bring back that chorus vocal melody from “Ashes”.

Check out “Her Voices” especially the last three minutes when the choir/voices come in. It made me feel like I was in the “Conan The Barbarian” movie.

The riffs in “King Of Loss” are some of my favourites.

And this song segues into “Reconciliation” which brings back that musical box/xylophone riff from “Morning On Earth” but this time on electric guitar and the full band.

“Song For The Innocent” feels like the last two minutes of “Comfortably Numb”.

“Falling” is like “Sorrow” from Pink Floyd and it segues into the 10 minute closer “The Perfect Element”.

An excellent end to an excellent album.

Apocalyptica – Cult

I have a guilty pleasure listening to rock and metal songs adapted to violin, cellos or to a string quartet or orchestra.

It highlights how great and musical the songs are from musicians who have been labelled as evil, devil worshippers, addicts, bad influences, alcoholics and many more.

Apocalyptica is one such band that takes metal songs and adapts them to cellos. In clean tone and with distortion.

And they made a career by adapting Metallica tracks to the cellos, but on this one, they branch out with original tunes and a couple of tasty cover adaptions chucked in.

So “Cult” is their third full-length LP.

The names of Eicca Toppinen (who apart from playing the cello also carries out the arrangements, double bass and percussion), Max Lilja, Paavo Lötjönen and Perttu Kivilaakso are easy to forget, but their devotion to their instrument and heavy metal music is .

The haunting melody to “Romance” is unforgettable and cinematic.

Other songs, like “In Memoriam” and “Hyperventilation” have some great sections.

“Hope” has a melody that reminds of Iron Maiden songs.

And then the covers, which I always enjoy.

“Hall of the Mountain King”, a haunting adaption of “Until It Sleeps” from Metallica and “Fight Fire with Fire” which has the cellos smoking as they generate speed to play that fast intro after the acoustic section.

Marilyn Manson – Holy Wood

Back then I wanted to listen to it because it had John 5 on guitars and the majority of the songs have John 5 as the musical writer or co-writer with bassist Twiggy Ramirez.

“Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)” is album number 4. Wikipedia tells me it’s a rock opera concept album, connecting “Antichrist Superstar” from 1996 and “Mechanical Animals” from 1998.

“The Fight Song” sounds like it could have come from the band Blur. At 34 million streams on Spotify, it’s tiny compared to the 192 million streams “Sweet Dreams” has. The other big song on Spotify is “The Beautiful People” at 177 million streams, so it’s no surprise they recreated that song for “Disposable Teens”.

“Target Audience” begins with an arpeggio riff that reminds me of “Only Women Bleed” from Alice Cooper before it gets into that industrial staccato style riffs.

My favourite is “In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death” and how a simple acoustic song percolates until it explodes.

“The Nobodies” has a normal drum beat, but its effects are from dance music while John 5 plays a guitar riff in the intro that sounds like a distorted piano.

And I realised that it’s those slower songs which percolate and then explode which become favourites, like “Coma Black”.

And Marilyn Manson is in the news today more than ever before, with his label dropping him after numerous women and his most recent partner accusing him of grooming and sexual/physical abuse.

Nevermore – Dead Heart in a Dead World

Readers of the blog know that I am a fan of Sanctuary, the previous band to vocalist Warrel Dane (RIP) and bassist Jim Sheppard.

Jeff Loomis is on guitars. He once auditioned for the coveted Megadeth guitar spot but lost out to Marty Friedman. Van Williams is on drums.

So all the lyrics are written by Dane and the music by Loomis, except the covers, which on this album, they have “The Sound Of Silence” from Simon & Garfunkel.

“Dead Heart in a Dead World” is the fourth studio album and the sound of the 7 string dominates.

“We Disintegrate” blasts out with some serious riffage. The drumming in the intro reminds me of “Hanger 18”.

“Inside Four Walls” lyrically feels like a cut from the “Empire” album from Queensryche as it questions the American way of life. Musically, its technical and it reminds me more of the metal that Megadeth plays and the Swedish melodic death metal bands.

“The River Dragon Has Come” has a nice acoustic intro with a melodic lead before it moves into a metal like cut, more groove orientated than the previous songs.

“The Heart Collector” has a slower distorted intro with a melodic lead that gets my attention. Then the verses are acoustic, classical, like Rainbow and Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions.

“Engines of Hate” is probably what people wanted from Metallica during this time. It’s fast, its angry and technical.

“The Sound of Silence” is a cover just by using the lyrics. The music is all new by Loomis, thrash like and the vocal melodies are different.

“Insignificant” is a slower groove but powerful. “Believe in Nothing” is the single. It was also covered by All That Remains in 2008 and also released as a single, I think. It’s more of a hard rock track and an excellent one at that.

If you like your metal to have some technicality to it, then give Nevermore a listen.

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

2000 – Part 10

Kings X – Please Come Home Mr Bulbous

Creativity is all about experimenting and I like it when artists experiment. It alienates some and it might not even bring in anyone new, but as a fan of music, I enjoy it when artists try to grow out of the box that the record labels tried to fit them in.

I didn’t hear this album until 2012.

After feedback and noise, the opening track “Fish Bowl Man” finally kicks in with its groove orientated riff. It’s a product of its time, more alternative than the hard progressive groove rock the band is known for.

On the other hand, “Julia” could have come from a Bush album.

“She’s Gone Away” moves between clean tone arpeggios and syncopated palm muted riffs, with a Beatles vocal melody. That riff before the Chorus should have been repeated a lot more.

“When You’re Scared” has another Beatles like riff, from “She’s So Heavy” with another vocal melody inspired by the Liverpool legends. And it’s no surprise that a lot of artists during this time had Beatles like vocal melodies. I called it the “Oasis Phenomenon”.

Check out the lead break from Ty Tabor on this track. Emotive, bluesy and when he had to shred, he did.

“Charlie Sheen” has some great guitar moments in the opening arpeggio riff and the staccato clean tone verse riff.

Here is a review from Mike Ladano that I agree with (and if you are a Kings X fan, he has reviewed most of their stuff).

Babylon A.D – American Blitzkrieg

The first two Babylon A.D albums are great listens, especially the debut. Then the labels started dropping hard rock bands while they started chasing Alternative sounding bands and Babylon A.D was lost to me.

I saw that this album came out via the Metal Edge magazine, but I never really looked for it in Australian shops, nor did I have any interest at that point in time. It was about 2008 when I came across it via a torrent. I downloaded it and pressed play on my winamp player.

Musically, it sounded different, but it was still hard rock to me.

The title track kicks it off with a rap like vocal line which reminds me of the Beastie Boys and a certain song called “Fight For Your Right”.

Then it goes into the song “War”.

You know the one.

“War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, say it again.”

That one.

“Magic Mary” has a voodoo power and a Charlie Manson smile. It’s hard rock but its sounding dirtier and grungier. It doesn’t matter what sound effects producers put on the guitars, a rock riff is a rock riff.

“I Wanna Live” has a Tool “Sober” like riff as inspiration for the Verses with a Cheap Trick inspired Chorus. A brilliant combination and one of my favourites on the album. “One Million Miles” from their newer album has a similar intro and verse which is like the Chorus.

“Sinking In The Sand” is one of their best tracks. Its heavy and melodic and the way the verses roll along with just the bass and the vocal line, it reminds me of “Lost Behind The Wall” from Dokken.

“The Sky Is Falling” is a slower tempo song and I like it. Other songs start to become interchangeable with previous songs and the album closers with “Superstar” a perfect hard rocker about seeking your fifteen minutes of fame. Its riffs remind me of songs like “Creepshow” and “Mudkicker” from Skid Row.

Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed on Stage

Released on Geffen Records.

“13 Ways To Bleed On Stage” is the album in which their spider logo made its first appearance.

It was a bargain bin purchase in Australia even though it was a Gold selling album in the U.S, as I always saw this album in discount bins. I picked it up in a 3 for $10 bin, so I paid $3.33 for it.

And I became a fan.

I really liked the Staind/Bush vibe of the album.

Scooter Ward on vocals sounded a lot like em but I didn’t care.

“No One”, “End Of The World” and “Confession” stood out right away. Modern rock songs.

“It’s All Good” has a vocal melody in the verses which is catchy.

“Bleed” has an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

As the album closer it is my favourite.

On a side note, guitarist Terry Balsamo would depart after the 2003 follow up “Year Of The Spider” to fill the vacant guitarist spot left by Ben Moody in Evanescence.

Mudvayne – L.D. 50

The singer from a band I was in, who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit (mentioned in the 2000 – Part 9 post previously) also introduced me to Mudvayne.

I mentioned in the Kings X post that creativity is all about experimenting. Well, meet Mudvayne.

The press labelled em as “Slipknot Part 2” because they had painted faces. The press labelled em as Nu Metal as they released an album during the Nu Metal movement. But to compare Mudvayne to anything, you needed to listen to em.

They had progressive elements in their music and odd time signatures and because of these, another term came out of this debut which was “math rock”.

They had speed metal songs, jazz fusion breaks, and death metal vocals on some of the songs.

Pushing the boundaries of what is known as metal, that’s Mudvayne. To compare them to Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Creed, who became the faces of Nu Metal was wrong.

Bassist Ryan Martinie is unbelievable. His bass lines don’t just compliment, they add and enhance the song, as he mixes slap funk bass lines with metal, jazz, rock, chromatics and whatever other musical style he could find.

Guitarist Greg Tribbett is from the era of being influenced by Randy Rhoads.

Drummer Matt McDonough makes sense of all the chaos by keeping time, with tom rolls and a lot of double bass, and some excellent cymbal work.

Vocalist Chad Gray, who formed Hellyeah with Vinnie Paul and Tribbett, after is unique as well, moving between screaming, growling, gravel chainsaw like and melodic and leaving his $40K factory job to chase his dream of being a rock singer.

The album’s title is short for “Lethal Dosage 50”. It basically means the level of toxicity needed in a drug to kill half of the population.

“Dig” blasts out of the speakers with a funky bass riff, drums, power chords and gravel-throated vocals. Its telling the music business suits that they don’t care about their two cents input into their art. And it sets the trend of the album.

My favourite is “Death Blooms”. Musically its perfect and vocally the song moves between clean tone vocals and Gray’s talking vocal lines with a melodic Chorus which wouldn’t be out of place on a Tool or A Perfect Circle album.

Mob Rules – Temple of Two Suns

How could you not give a band a listen who carries a name from a pretty cool Black Sabbath album?

I pressed play, only to be confronted with sounds of Rainbow and Deep Purple on the opening track “Pilot Of Life”.

And I liked it.

It’s basically 80’s Hard Rock with some nice acoustic classical moments and in one song, some violin folk. It all sounds metal and for their second album, it’s a band still finding their feet.

There was enough here to get me interested to hear what would come next.

Tad Morose – Reflections

From Sweden, who play a sort of dark melodic progressive metal. Evergrey is a well-known band who plays this kind of dark prog.

“Reflections” is a compilation album from their first three albums, “Leaving The Past Behind” released in 1993, “Sender Of Thoughts” released in 1995 and “A Mended Rhyme” released in 1997.

The “Sender Of Thoughts” album is a favourite and I’ve been a fan since. So if you want to get a feel for the band, then this compilation is it.

See ya in 1985 for part 10.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

2000 – Part 9

Before some craziness happened in my life towards the last two months of 2020, I was on a roll posting about 2000, 1985 and 1977.

I have a lot of hard rock friends who really hated the 90’s (from about 95 onwards) and the first five years of the 2000’s.

For me, the start of the 2000’s gave rise to so much music.

The labels kept dishing out the new genres. Hard rock releases still kept coming. And we had Nu-Metal, Rap Metal, Rap Rock, Industrial Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Glam Metal, Alternative Rock, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Art Rock, Math Rock, Math Metal, Djent, Industrial Rock, Acoustic Rock and so on.

It was different but still rooted to rock and metal.

Tool – Salival

It’s an 8 track CD made up of live songs and cover songs, and a 4 song VHS which had the film clips. There is also a 56 page booklet. It was a limited edition release. When it came out, I couldn’t get it, but a few years later, I picked this up in New Zealand when I visited there in 2003.

Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory

This album was introduced to me by a singer from a band I was in at the time and I became a fan instantly, in awe of the talent of Chester Bennington on vocals and the prowess of Brad Delson on guitars. And the unsung hero in metal and rock circles is co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda.

The drums kick it off, but as soon as the riff comes in for “Papercut” I was all in.

And that interlude/bridge/outro section when Chester starts singing “when the sun goes down”.

How good is it?

Then Shinoda starts singing over it in a rap fashion and it’s perfect.

“One Step Closer” has a head banging groove riff to kick it off.

That intro to “With You”, is heavy as lead. So is “Points Of Authority”. “Crawling” and “Runaway” are super melodic.

Check out the Chorus section in “By Myself” when Chester starts singing, “I can’t hold on”… The angst. You can feel it.

And then you have “In The End”. It’s sitting at 898 million streams on Spotify at the moment. The piano riff is iconic, as good as any riff by a guitarist.

This is the song when the tandem singing and rapping of Bennington and Shinoda came full circle. Just listen to those verses.

“A Place For My Head” starts off with a riff that could have come from a Mariachi band before it explodes with the distortion. “Forgotten” moves between clean tone U2 like verses into an aggressive pre-chorus and a melodic chorus.

One of my favourite songs is closer “Pushing Me Away” because its foundations are basically hard rock. It has that U2 delay like intro and verse riff, and a melodic chorus. It could even be a derivative version of “In The End” with the piano riff replaced by a digital delay guitar riff.

Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish

The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park also introduced Limp Bizkit.

Wes Borland on guitars is a very unique individual. He has a unique way of decorating the songs. His distorted tone is fuzzed out and so defined, it sounds huge. Then his clean tone riffs with delays and palm mutes add the perfect contrast to the chaos of the distorted riffs.

Check out the syncopated riffs on tracks like “My Generation”, “Full Nelson”, “My Way” and “Take A Look Around” (which is their take on the “Mission Impossible” theme).

Rage Against The Machine – Renegades

The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit also introduced me to RATM.

It’s a covers album, but each song has been Ragefied, for the lack of a better word. The only thing left from the original recordings is just the lyrics.

All the vocals are rapped/spoken and the music is by Morello, Commerford and Wilk and it takes the form of their blues based pentatonic grooves with a few chromatics chucked in here and there.

“The Ghost Of Tom Joad” is so far removed from Springsteen, but give it a listen as the intro riff is so similar to “Cochise”, which came a few years after. “Street Fighting Man” starts off with the guitar making a police siren sound with the Digitech Whammy Pedal and its nothing like The Rolling Stones, but still a very interesting listen. “Maggies Farm” begins with a haunting lick before the blues like grooves kick in.

A very interesting way to do covers.

Coldplay – Parachutes

They had a decent promo budget thrown their way by the label and there songs kept appearing everywhere.

A few of the tracks like “Don’t Panic”, “Spies”, “Yellow” and “We Never Change” resonated. But overall, I was interested to see what came next and still not a fan.

Orgy – Vapor Transmission

As far as I’m concerned, Orgy is basically a hard rock band with new wave and grunge influences and they got all the newest production bells and whistles added to their sound by the producers of the day.

“Fiction – Dreams In Digital” is the star of this album. Other songs on the album like “Opticon” and “Suckerpunch” have some cool riffs.

Deftones – White Pony

This album was introduced to me by a bass player I had in a band.

And I kept “Change (In The House Of Flies) on repeat for a long time. The bass riff, the drums, the moods between the verses and the chorus and the angst in the vocals.

And the next star is “Digital Bath”. Like “Change” it’s the different moods that capture me, as the song moves between slow and melancholy to angst like aggression in the chorus, with soaring vocals.

“Rx Queen” also follows the same template as “Change” and “Digital Bath” as it moves between melancholic verses and angst ridden choruses.

I didn’t notice this before, but I guess I gravitated to these songs.

And “Knife Party” follows the same pattern of clean tone verses and an aggressive Chorus.

Then there is “Passenger” which has Maynard from Tool guesting on vocals. And what a song it is. Its progressive, moody, atmospheric and metal. One of my favourites still to this day.

I still don’t really know what the lyrics or the messages in the songs are.

It didn’t matter because Deftones is all about the different moods and textures.

Switchfoot – Learning To Breathe

How good is “Dare You To Move”?

It just rolls along with the acoustic guitar and a melancholic vocal melody in the verses, with a soaring melody in the Chorus.

The song was re-recorded for “The Beautiful Letdown” album three years later and it started to appear in movies.

And at 60.6 million streams, it’s their Spotify hit.

Radiohead – Kid A

How do you follow up some great albums in “OK Computer” and “The Bends”.

In the case of Thom Yorke, he just threw out the sound canvas of the previous albums and started fresh. This album is classed as a rock album, but it’s a rock album without the six strings of a guitar blaring out of the speakers. Guitarist Ed O’ Brien picked or strummed only a few notes on this.

“Everything In Its Right Place” has a keyboard synth lick that works well as a guitar riff.

“Kid A” has a riff that you can re-create on the TonePad app on your iPhone. It’s not a favourite, but the attitude to do something like this is what I like. As Thom Yorke said. “Kid A will be the name of the first human clone.

“The National Anthem” has a dominant bass riff and a drum riff. I don’t hear any guitars, but a lot of electronica. And then a brass band kicks in with a sax playing a melodic lead that would have sounded sweet on guitar. It starts to get more chaotic, but it’s all hanging in. It all still makes sense and sounds good.

And we are only 4 minutes in with another 2 minutes to go.

By the end of it, the song was so weird and it pushed the boundaries of what rock is or should be, it became a favourite.

“How to Disappear Completely” has a nice acoustic strummed riff, with a walking bass line and Yorke’s brilliant vocals. It’s melancholic and sad. Just listen to when Yorke sings “I’m not here”.

“Optimistic” has a strummed clean tone electric with a bit of a dirt in its sound.

“In Limbo” has this progressive arpeggio single note riff which I like.

If you want the Radiohead sound from the previous albums, forget it. The band abandoned that sound and started to experiment. They played the songs live before the album was released and encouraged their fans to bootleg it.

Collective Soul – Blender

“Blender” is the fifth and last album for Atlantic Records. It’s their most pop sounding album and in relation to sales, their least commercial. But it’s one of their most surprising, because it pays homage to their past and it also brings in some newer references.

“Why, Pt. 2” is the best song on the album. It’s got all the pop gloss, but it rocks along. “Boast” wouldn’t be out of place on the “Disciplined Breakdown” album.

“Turn Around” is classic Collective Soul.

“You Speak My Language” divided some of the fan base because of its heaviness and speed rock in the Chorus.

Elton John duets with Ed Roland on “Perfect Day” and it’s one of those iconic ballads from the band.

“After All” continues with the mid-tempo rockers and the album closes with the heavy, “Happiness”.

Overall, another solid effort from the band even though the sales didn’t come. Then again, it was up against some cultural defining albums for sales.

Like “Parachutes” from Coldplay. Or “The Marshall Mathers LP” from Eminem . Or “Hybrid Theory” from Linkin Park.

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

2000 – Part 8

Fuel – Something Like Human

Like Matchbox 20, Fuel became my fix for hard rock music. I don’t know why they still aren’t around. Listening to this album I just assumed they would be doing the rounds 20 years later.

“Something Like Human” is the second album, released on Epic Records. It did great business in sales, double platinum in the U.S and Gold in Canada. In case you don’t know who Fuel are, its Carl Bell on guitar. Brett Scallions on vocals, Jeff Abercrombie on bass and Kevin Millar on drums.

On this album, 9 of the songs are just written by Carl Bell and two of em are Bell and Scallions co-writes.

The “Last Time” kicks it off with a memorable Chorus melody and guitar riff. “Haemorrhage (In My Hands)” is an 80’s rock song all dolled up for the 2000’s. Just listen to the verse arpeggios and you’ll know what I mean.

“Empty Spaces” is a metal like cut with a grunge like Chorus. And its cuts like this that bridged the gap between the 80’s hard rock scene and the 90’s grunge scene. Then “Scar” kicks in and the “Scar” intro riff has got groove and sleaze. Listen to it, it wouldn’t be out of place on a GnR record.

“Bad Day” is a favourite. It’s a ballad, with that C-Am-F-G chord progression (in a different key for this song). Its memorable and hooky.

“Slammed the door and said, sorry, I’ve had a bad day again”

And after 5 Carl Bell penned tracks, I’m on the floor. He is one hell of a songwriter.

The song “Prove” feels like it came from a Gunners album and it gave the album its title with its lyrics and “Easy” is probably the best song that Stone Temple Pilots didn’t write. It’s got that “Plush” vibe.

“Innocent” is my favourite cut. That sombre clean tone electric strumming gets me interested and the lyrics.

Satan, you know where I lie
Gently I go into that good night

All of us sinners are reporting for duty Mr Satan, because our innocent smiles from young are replaced with lies and hidden truths and some backstabbing along the way, because that kind of shit happened to us before, so we need to pay those people back.

All our lives get complicated / search for pleasures overrated

Status became a thing. Reagan and other leaders in the 80’s told our parents they need two cars in the driveway and investment properties and suddenly, people started to outdo each other with possessions.

Never armed our souls for what the future would hold / when we were innocent

Truth in these words. Youth doesn’t bring wisdom and we rarely practiced what we wanted our future selves to be like. And as we got older, we got smacked down by life, society and the rat race and the grind of making a living to keep the lights on.

Never were we told we’d be bought and sold, when we were innocent

More so today. Hell, we didn’t even get bought out to hand over our online activities to Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest. We are giving it all away for free, while these companies make billions selling it to advertisers.

On the special edition, there are two cover tracks in “Going To California” from Led Zep, which Fuel nails and “Daniel” from Elton John and I can hear how the acoustic riffs for “Patience” came about.

Spineshank – The Height Of Callousness

A bass player from the band I was in, recommended Spineshank to me. And they got me out of rut.

A lot of the songs have that hard core style of vocals that Slipknot and Mudvayne brought to the table, with some of the electronics that Disturbed brought and some good ole head banging.

Tracks 1 and 2 lost me, and then the intro to track 3, “Synthetic” exploded out of the speakers. And I was hooked with the intro riff which reappears in the Chorus. The song is delivered with a clean tone like vocal which is probably why it stuck with me.

And that clean tone vocal trend continues with “New Disease” and its these two songs that got me interested in the band.

The rest of the album while great for others was lost on me melodically, but each song had little riffs here and there that proved interesting.

Pearl Jam – Binaural

After the first couple of albums and their project with Neil Young, Pearl Jam had enough goodwill in my book to warrant listens of all subsequent albums after.

“Nothing As It Seems” is the song here that gets me interested, with its strummed acoustic guitar riff, some distorted guitar embellishments and Vedder delivering a hypnotic vocal.

Halford – Resurrection

“Reeeeeeeee-surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-rectionnnnnnnnnnnnnnn” screams Rob Halford and then it’s all guns blazing again once the music kicks in. And just like that, heavy metal was back in my life, exactly the way I knew it.

This is the best way to re-announce your return to the fold which by this time the metal I grew up with was known as traditional heavy metal as heavy metal in 2000 proved unrecognisable to me.

Then “Made In Hell” kicks off with its harmony guitars, and lyrics about 1968 and how metal came to be from foundries and coalmines.

The head banging continues with “Locked and Loaded” and “Night Fall”. Even though it’s a Halford album, it’s the best Judas Priest song that JP never released.

“Silent Screams” starts off with acoustic guitar arpeggios and a vocal line about “tempting fate, losing friends along the way, but still standing tall with no regrets” and then that Chorus kicks in for Halford to deliver a classic heavy metal track. The song morphs into a metal cut around the 3 minute mark before returning to its melancholy.

“The One You Love To Hate” continues the head banging with a riff that reminds me of “Lightning Strikes Again” from Dokken. It can be interchanged with the next track “Cyberworld” with Halford referencing his “Electric Eye” lyrics as inspiration.

How good is that harmony solo?

And to make it better, Halford sings a vocal melody which acts like an extra guitar lead over the harmony lead. I skip “Slow Down” and then we are into “Hell’s Last Survivor” which is another cut you can interchange with “The One You Love To Hate” and “Cyberworld”.

“Temptation” is one of those more mainstream cuts that Judas Priest has been known to do. “God Bringer Of Death” has this “Gates Of Babylon” feel from Rainbow.

The Wallflowers – Breach

Their 96 album, “Bringing Down The Horse” was everywhere in Australia and their cover of Bowie’s “Heroes” kept em in the news.

Then they dropped “Breach” and I was on the fence with it. “Sleepwalker” has some Springsteen like influences which I liked. “I’ve Been Delivered” has a synth lick which is memorable. “Mourning Train” has a drum pattern with handclaps and foot stomps with an acoustic guitar and a vocal line which I like, but that’s it.

The Offspring – Conspiracy Of One

They had momentum coming into this album with the “Smash”, “Ixnay On The Hombre” and “Americana” albums. I was in various bands that covered “Pretty Fly”, “Gone Away” and “Come Out And Play”.

So coming into this album, it was no surprise that some of the songs sounded like part 2 of previous successful songs.

For example, “Original Prankster” sounds like part 2 of “Pretty Fly”. But opening track “Come Out Swinging” is fast as punk can be with metal like riffs and picking.

“Want You Bad” sounds like those major key 80’s hard rock songs, which work so well with the power punk rock of The Offspring. “Million Miles Away” is another singalong anthem.

How good is that intro riff to “Dammit, I Changed Again”?

John Petrucci used it for “Happy Song” on his recent “Terminal Velocity” album.

And if the album could had ended after this track and I would have been okay with it as the next few tracks proved skipable.

Then “Denial, Revisited” started and it had my attention again. “Vultures” then kicks off with a riff that reminds of BoC, “Don’t Fear The Reaper”. And the title track, “Conspiracy Of One” closes the album with its “Blitzkrieg” style riff.

Zebrahead – Playmate Of The Year

It’s not on Spotify Australia, which irks me, but hey, we still have YouTube, even though the labels are fighting hard to kill off the free ad supported version of it.

That clean tone digital riff to kick off “I Am” is excellent. Then there is a bit of hip hop in the verses as that same clean tone riff plays.

“Playmate Of The Year” is now a go to song for all things to do with “Playmate” even replacing “Centrefold”.

“Go” is a hard rock cut. “Now Or Never” has an intro riff which is heavy, a hip hop verse and an anthemic melodic chorus. “Wasted” has that riff which John Petrucci brought back into our lives via “Happy Song”. A similar riff appeared on The Offspring album.

“What’s Goin On?” is one of those cuts that sums up the pop punk movement between 1998 and 2004. “All I Need” is a sneaky derivative version of “Run To The Hills” in the intro. Check it out. Then it morphs into a Nu-Metal cut.

And now we move to 1985 for part 8.

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

2000 – Part 7

Dokken – Live From The Sun

So George Lynch was out again after the disastrous “Shadowlife” album and whatever stuff Lynch was smoking at the time, fertilized with the terrible hip hop album from Lynch Mob called “Smoke This” in 99, while Dokken regrouped with Reb Beach from Winger on guitar and released the excellent hard rock album, “Erase The Slate”.

“Live From The Sun” is a perfect capture of the Reb Beach era of Dokken and the excellent return to form album “Erase The Slate” from Dokken.

So no surprises here as the concert kicks off with “Erase The Slate”, a fast rocker with a brilliant lead break from Mr Beach himself.

Is it just me hearing “Race The Snake” instead of “Erase The Slate”?

Fake crowd noise then chimes in, as Reb Beach moves effortlessly into “Kiss Of Death” and it’s a one-two knock out combo.

That’s all followed with “The Hunter” and “Into The Fire” before “Madhatter” is played from the “Erase The Slate” album and so far it’s a pretty stellar set list.

But it gets better.

“Too High To Fly” is up next from the underrated “Dysfunctional” album, followed by some Lynch era classics in “Breaking The Chains”, “Alone Again”, “It’s Not Love”, “Tooth And Nail” and “In My Dreams”.

Don Dokken still cared about how he sung live during this period, and he’s pushing himself. On some songs, he’s struggling like “Breaking The Chains” but hey, his jeans needed to be tighter to pull off the highs he did back in 83.

And if he struggled, the backing vocals of Brown and Pilson gave him enough cover. And Reb Beach remained faithful to the Lynch classic solos with some improvisation here and there.

And I wanted to hear the Mark II line-up of Don Dokken on vocals, Reb Beach on guitar, Jeff Pilson on bass and Mick Brown on drums make new music again, but it didn’t happen.

Matchbox Twenty – Mad Season

This band really filled a hard rock void for me with the album “Yourself Or Someone Like You” released in 1996. Then Rob Thomas did “Smooth” with Santana and it was a smash everywhere. And so was Rob Thomas.

Then in 2000, four years after the debut was released, they dropped “Mad Season” and I was like, what happened to the hard rock on it. There’s still distorted guitars and a rock feel, but its more experimental. Which I also like as well.

And it went straight to number 1 in Australia.

Of course it’s got enough songs on it to satiate the fans of the debut with “If You’re Gone”, but “Rest Stop” is a lot better and more or less forgotten.

And “Bent” is grossly underrated.

As well as “Leave”, which is one of those pop style ballads that percolates and you feel like its gonna explode but it doesn’t, but the guitars keep getting layered and Rob Thomas keeps it going with a heartfelt vocal. And that passion continues with the closer, “You Won’t Be Mine”.

But there wasn’t enough on this album to keep me interested and I fell off the Matchbox Twenty train.

Alice Cooper – Brutal Planet

I really liked “The Last Temptation”. But that album came out in 1994 and I was like, when is Alice Cooper going to release his next album.

Well that happened six years later with “Brutal Planet”.

Its Alice being brutally heavy.

I’m a fan when artists incorporate the sounds of what is current into their style and this album suited the menacing voice of Alice Cooper to a tee.

Songs like “Brutal Planet”, “Sanctuary”, “Pick Up The Bones” and “It’s The Little Things” keep the album interesting.

And the band for the recording is excellent. Eric Singer is pounding away on the drums, while Phil X (future Bon Jovi guitarist) and Ryan Roxie (who started working with Alice Cooper in 1996 and is still there assisting) are on guitars. Bob Marlette rounds out the band as rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, bass player and producer.

Listen to the industrial groove metal infused riff of “Brutal Planet” and then go to the punk grunge infused “Sanctuary” with its speed rock style riff. You’ll either be banging your head in glee and the “Poison” loving fans will be spitting in their cups in disgust. “Eat Some More” musically, could have come from a Black Sabbath album in the 70’s with its doom riff.

My favourite is “Pick Up The Bones” and the way it moves between the clean tone arpeggios to the arena rock Chorus all within the sounds and grooves of Industrial Metal, but it’s a hard rock song at its core.

VAST – Music For The People

VAST stands for Visual Audio Sensory Theatre.

The drummer from a band I was in shared the CD with me. The influence of world music instruments and chants from different people and religions reminded me of Led Zeppelin (Kashmir) and The Tea Party, so I was immediately interested.

And “Touched” was the song that really got me. It starts off with a strummed acoustic guitar and a Pink Floyd’ish like vocal. Then these Afghan like voices kick in and I’m all in, as the drums kick in and out and in again adding power and stillness to the song.

“Flames” is an acoustic guitar, a violin and some synth strings with a sombre vocal melody. “Temptation” sounds like it could have come from The Tea Party album.

“Three Doors” has that exotic middle eastern sound and “The Niles Edge” has Gregorian Chants with a percolating tribal hand drum and an melancholic acoustic riff.

“You” is the album closer and it has this TonePad lick that keeps repeating almost metronomically, with choir voices and a guitar riff. Its slow, its atmospheric and it’s a great closer.

I do recall another album afterwards and then nothing, but by looking at Spotify, there seems to have been quite a few albums. I guess it’s time to dig in and see what’s been happening. In between listening to Van Halen of course.

Well, I guess it’s time to go back to 1985 for its part 7.

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

2000 – Part 6

I still have quite a few more posts to do for 2000. I think I’m half way through it.

My musical likes were all over the place depending on my mood and what inspires me to pick up the guitar and play it.

Pantera – Reinventing The Steel

I didn’t hear this album when it came out. I moved away from Pantera after the hard-core vocals on “A Vulgar Display of Power”. Musically I liked it, lyrically I liked it, but the vocals I didn’t like. I knew eventually I would get back into listening to their catalogue because Dimebag is that good, that you need to listen to him. Plus he’s a mega Kiss fan, with Ace Frehley being an idol, along with Randy Rhoads.

Each song has some cool guitar moments, like “Hellbound” with its downtuned and flanged riff. Or “Revolution Is My Name” with its steroid infused blues rock riffs, like ZZ Top, down-tuned, and sped up.

What is my name?

Well, it’s revolution baby….

“Goddamn Electric” is like a Sabbath cut, musically, moving between so many different grooves and “I’ll Cast A Shadow” has an awesome intro riff and chromatic breakdown section full of brimstone and fire and moshing bodies.

Shadows Fall – Of One Blood

Musically, its heavy metal as I know it. To the reviewers and critics, they called the band copy cats of the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal scene.

Vocally it’s a cross between death metal growls and abrasive Hetfield like vocals. The soaring and melodic clean tone vocals would come on later albums. Original vocalist Phil Labonte was out of the band because of musical differences and dreadlocked singer Brain Fair was in. And for those that don’t know, Labonte went on to form All That Remains and on occasions he filled in for Ivan Moody in Five Finger Death Punch.

Guitarist Jon Donais has been in Anthrax since 2013, appearing on “For All Kings”. Other guitarist Matt Bachand plays bass in various other bands like Hatebreed and Act of Defiance.

In relation to this album, better albums would come later.

RPWL – God Has Failed

They started off as a Pink Floyd cover band and then got a deal to make original music. For me, they took up the mantle that Pink Floyd was leaving behind with their lack of recorded output in the 1990’s and 2000’s. If you like “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason” then you will like this.

“Hole In The Sky (Pt 1: Fly / Pt 2: Crawl To You)” opens the album. Its melancholic guitar arpeggios and Dave Gilmour like voice instantly hooks me in.

“Who Do You Think We Are” is the best cut for me. It’s the most accessible. It starts off with an emotive guitar solo, sounding more like a Beatles cut than a Pink Floyd cut with a Chorus that Oasis would be proud off. And that solo at the 3 minute mark, its Clapton like in the emotion stakes.

“In Your Dreams” sounds like “Sorrow” from Pink Floyd in the first part. This is the one that really got under peoples skins. And the chorus has a clear Genesis influence and it’s a nice mix of their influences in an accessible format. For someone to listen to this song and not be aware of the Pink Floyd and Genesis catalogue, this would sound original. And that is originality.

“Hole in The Sky (Pt 3: The Promise)” takes the riffs from the first two parts and adds an excellent one minute guitar solo. Set up a playlist and put both songs together, just to listen to how the song sounds complete.

This album got negative reviews because it lacked originality, but my view of originality is taking something that came before and using it to make something different.

When Kingdom Come appeared towards the late 80’s, they were marked as Led Zeppelin clones. I remember the critics blasting them, but the album sold. Because people want to listen to Led Zeppelin and Kingdom Come were doing songs that Led Zeppelin were no long doing.

RPWL was also doing things that Pink Floyd were no longer doing in 2000.

Joe Satriani – Engines Of Creation

He went industrial with this album.

Sampled drums and loops more or less kick off every song on the album. Satriani has enough goodwill in my book, that there will always be a bias towards his work. But there has to be a song that makes me want to pick up the guitar and learn it.

In this case, the ballad like “Until We Say Goodbye” is the song. Otherwise, the album is a miss.

Nickelback – The State

I think this album was released in 1999 in the Northern markets, and 2000 in the Australian market. It’s a forgotten album now when you look at the success which came after.

Two songs dominate this album.

“Breathe” is one of the best songs Nickelback has written. Just press play and listen to it. It has a riff which is recognisable, a drum pattern which is dominant and the vocal melodies from Chad Kroger are brilliant.

“Leader Of Men” is another great song as it rolls along with the acoustic in the intro and verses as it builds until the whole band comes in.

But there are some other cool sections within songs. “Diggin’ This” has a heavy groovy riff. “One Last Run” starts off with a double time metal like riff. “Hold Out Your Hand” also has a heavy dirge riff which I like.

Check out pre chart topping Nickelback.

Well that’s a wrap for another 2000 post. Off to 1985 for Part 6 we go.

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

2000 – Part 5

AC/DC – Stiff Upper Lip

Five years after “Ballbreaker” they return with the very underrated “Stiff Upper Lip”.

The title track starts off like blues band jamming at the local pub and then the romp and stomp kick in.

How good is “House Of Jazz”?

That riff groove is so sleazy and foot stomping.

And “Safe In New York City” has this E to G, E to A and E to B flat style chord progression that reminds me of the “Tommy Gunn” riff, but the song vibe is like “Let There Be Rock”.

“Satellite Blues” is an underrated gem in the AC/DC canon.

And its towards the back of the album that it gets bluesy and dirty with “Damned” and “Come And Get It” being excellent additions. Listen to those sharp 7 and flat 9 chords in the Pre Chorus.

“All Screwed Up” is 5 minutes of blues rock while “Give It Up” is a rewrite of “Highway To Hell” but it stands on its own.

Not as big as other albums in sales but it got em on the road again, which is the place that AC/DC rule.

Axel Rudi Pell – The Masquerade Ball

He was labelled a Malmsteen clone, but if anything, he’s more in the mould of German guitarists like Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth, along with Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker with a nod to the British rockers of the 70’s which involves, Paul Kossoff from Free, Jimmy Page from Led Zep, Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple and Rainbow and Mick Ralphs plus Jimi Hendrix who is from the US but went to the UK to make it.

Johnny Gioeli is on vocals as well.

And the album is not on Spotify Australia, but it’s on YouTube which pays less.

“Earls Of Black” and that intro lead break. Check it out.

“Voodoo Nights” sounds like “Big City Nights” from Scorpions. Plus Gioeli delivers a vocal performance.

“The Black Masquerade” at 10 minutes doesn’t get boring (especially the violins in the Chorus) while “Tear Down The Walls” reminds me of his other songs like “Warrior” and a melodic lead break after the Chorus.

Scorpions – Moment Of Glory

And this album is also not on Spotify Australia. It’s Scorpions with the Berliner Philharmoniker. It was meant to be Michael Kamen scoring it, but then left to pursue the Metallica project.

“Hurricane 2000” kicks it off, which is basically “Rock You Like A Hurricane” about a bitch being hungry and how Klaus is going to feed her inches and feed her well.

“Crossfire” really kicks in to overdrive when the “Crossfire” section starts. If your not ready to take up swords and go to war than you’re too uptight.

“Deadly Sting Suite” is also an instrumental merging the Scorpions songs, “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man” with “Dynamite”. And it’s done brilliantly.

And the concert ends with “Still Loving You”, “Big City Nights” and “Lady Starlight”. “Big City Nights” is pretty impressive.

The Berlin Philharmoniker really does a great job with it, and how good are the backing vocalists and the symphonic/choir vocalists.

Black Label Society – Stronger Than Death

The title alone makes me laugh and it reminds me of Motorhead’s “Killed By Death”.

Zakk Wylde wrote all the songs, played all the guitars, did all the vocals and also played the bass and piano. Plus he produced it as well. And mixed and mastered it.

“All For You” has basically a riff which the NuMetal movement “used to death”, but Zakk makes it sound “shiny metal fresh”.

“Phoney Smiles And Fake Hellos” is a favourite.

And he went back to the world of “Miracle Man” for the lyrical inspiration on “Counterfeit God” and when the verse riff kicks in, its down tuned and “heavier than death”.

“Just Killing Time” is those Zakk tunes on the piano and delivering a CCR like vocal.

“Stronger Than Death” is a slow dirge, full of grooves, but interchangeable with a few of the other tracks on this album and “Love Reign Down” closes the album, another groove riff laden cut

Mr Big – Get Over It

I heard this album many years after it came out. I was even surprised the band was still recording after “Bump Ahead” which was released in 1993. And I had to see who was still in the band, because I knew Paul Gilbert left to do Racer X again.

So Eric Martin still wails away and on this one, he is very bluesy, sort of like the Badlands second album. On guitars this time around is Richie Kotzen, with Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey rounding out the rhythm section.

Songwriter Marti Frederiksen is called in and while the bluesy tunes are nice to listen to, they start to become repetitive. Interchangeable in fact.

I suppose I was over it by then.

Dio – Magica

Ronnie James Dio had enough goodwill in my book to warrant eternal fandom. But I didn’t really get into his 90’s output after “Dehumanizer”.

But many years later in the 2000’s (and after Heaven And Hell released “The Devil You Know” album) I started to listen and “Magica” was first because I was always a sucker for a concept album.

The band is a good one for the release with Simon Wright on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and Craig Goldy on guitars.

“Lord Of The Last Day” is classic Dio, merging his Sabbath time with the dirgy “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” groove.

“Fever Dreams” instantly became a favourite because its riff reminds me of “Dream Evil” and “Long Live Rock N Roll”.

“Challs” is one of the characters in the story and the song is a blues rock groove blended with melodic rock and it’s one of my favourite songs on the album. Maybe because it also sounds like the songs from “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line” album, like “Rainbow In The Dark” mixed with “Dream Evil”.

“As Long As It’s Not About Love” has this Hendrix “Little Wing” style intro and a haunting vocal line from Dio before it gets into the dirge like groove similar to “Sign Of The Southern Cross” from his Sabbath days.

“Losing My Insanity” is pirate metal and I like it.

“Otherworld” has this Middle Eastern riff, distorted and fuzzed. The riff makes me want to pick up the guitar to learn it. And Dio is telling his stories.

If you like Dio in the 80’s, then you will like this album. There is enough there to keep you interested.

Off to 1985, for Part 5.

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

2000 – Part 4

A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms

This album became a favourite of mine. It was metal, but different. It was hard rock, but different. It was progressive rock, but with shorter songs and based on moods and grooves. It was atmospheric rock, but different. It was like soundtrack music but it wasn’t.

This project is the brainchild of guitarist Billy Howerdel, who did his time as a guitar techie for countless musicians and tours. On down time, he wrote songs on his computer, which Tool vocalist Maynard heard and wanted to write lyrics to. And APC was born.

It was a 5 skulls out of 5 skulls review in the Hot Metal mag I used to buy, which at this time became known as “HM” as the term “Metal” was uncool to use.

“Judith” has a groove riff which gets the head banging. And that pre – chorus;

Fuck your God
Your Lord and your Christ
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
Still you pray, you never stray
Never taste of the fruit
You never thought to question why

“Orestes” is my favourite track on the album.

The vocal melody from Maynard is like a lead guitar and the drumming in the song, especially in the outro by Josh Freese is a testament in its own right. And when the lead from Billy Howerdel comes in, it’s like a vocal melody as well.

Gotta cut away, clear away
Snip away and sever this
Umbilical residue

“Renholder” has a “Diary Of A Madman” like intro which hooks me. Actually, the band used to merge “Diary Of A Madman” with “Love Song” from The Cure in live settings.

“Brena” which when sang is “Brenya” is another one of those atmospheric songs in the verses with a crashing chorus and a vocal line that sounds like a lead instrument. And again, those outros make you want to press repeat.

Godsmack – Awake

Their brand of Groove Metal, a band name from an Alice In Chains song and Sully Erna’s voice (being different to what I was used to) is what interested me.

While I gravitated to it, a lot of people didn’t. I remember reading reviews that said the band “puts out average boring metal” and I’m like, what the hell does that mean.

And this album is the in between sophomore slump. You know the one. The first album, it has your whole life’s worth of song writing ready for consideration, but on the second album, you only have a few months to come up with tunes. And artists write consistently, but sometimes, they need to go back and revisit tracks. Time makes them great.

Stand out tracks on this one are “Awake”, the closer “Journey/Spiral”, “Trippin” and “Greed”.

The next album, “Faceless” is the album that really put Godsmack on the map.

Papa Roach – Infest

“CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES, THIS IS MY LAST RESORT!”.

The lyrics are from “The Last Resort”, which has a Bruce Dickinson/Gers riff from “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” hooked me in to this band.

Other worthy tracks are “Broken Home” and “Between Angels And Insects”.

And it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, Papa Roach might have broken during the Nu-Metal phase but they are a hard rock band with some serious mileage on the board.

Twenty years’ worth of mileage.

Lifehouse – No Name Face

All of my hard rock friends ignored Lifehouse because they got labelled “post-grunge”. And I was like, what the hell does that mean.

They are just a rock band.

Anyway, Lifehouse just seems to hang around in my life. Maybe it is because my wife played the “No Name Face” album to death at home and in the car when it came out in 2000.

While “Hanging By A Moment” had the traction, it was album cuts like “Cling and Clatter”, “Quasimodo” and “Everything” that hooked me in. And if you do listen to any track, make sure its “Everything”. That last 90 seconds feels like a spiritual awakening, a perfect end for the melancholic beginning.

“No Name Face” is the winning season, the championship, for everything that came after.

Three Doors Down – A Better Life

“Kryptonite”, “Be Like That” and “Loser” got a lot of air play, but this album has some good album cuts, a bit heavier, like “Duck And Run” and “Better Life”. Especially, the lyrics in “Duck And Run”.

To this world I’m unimportant
Just because I have nothing to give
So you call this your free country
Tell me why it cost so much to live

There was always winners and losers but it was never amplified the way it is today, with social media. The endless “death scroll”, as people see the happiness that other people are supposably having. Covid-19 has changed it up a bit, as a lot of people would normally put up holiday shots at scenic places, but these are on hold for the next couple of years.

And I live in a free country as well, but man, I am budgeting my way through life, because to live is expensive. And that’s just to keep a roof over our heads.

All my work and endless measures
Never seem to get me very far
Walk a mile just to move an inch
Now even though I’m trying so damn hard

Ever tried to lose weight. You bust your ass dieting and working out, only to drop a few grams each week, but within a week of stopping, you have put on a kilo.

And when I’m putting plans in place to try and create a better life, there are times, when it feels like I’m operating with an unseen life anchor, which likes to keep me in the same place. It’s at this moment, I ask myself, do I give up or do I change tact or do I re-evaluate and re-calibrate.

And I won’t duck and run, cause
I’m not built that way

As John Cougar Mellencamp said, you need to stand for something or you would fall for everything. Stand for what you believe in and say your truth. People might disagree or people might agree or people might offer different advice. That’s all part of life.

Powderfinger – Odyssey Number 5

They played a brand of rock that music writers said “moved between Post Rock, Hard Rock, Folk Rock and Pop Rock”. And Australian audiences loved em. To me, they are simply a hard rock band.

Bernard Fanning is one hell of a vocalist, who had this voice that could rock as hard as Scott/Johnson from AC/DC, be all Robert Plant like when it needed to be and yet, he could produce the baritone vocals of Eddie Vedder, all tied in with his own unique tones.

“Waiting for the Sun” opens the album with a jangly minor chord and it’s all systems go.

“My Happiness” was the big single.

My happiness is slowly creeping back,
Now you’re at home.
If it ever starts sinking in
It must be when you pack up and go

Whatever your job might be, the worst is when you have to say goodbye to loved ones for a period of time. Going on a tour, going interstate or overseas or being deployed with the military.

“The Metre” starts off with just an acoustic guitar, a vocal and some strings. It was rejected as sounding too similar to their other stuff, but yeah, this is Powderfinger, so you would expect them to have songs similar in style. AC/DC built a 50 year career on it.

And I like the Beatles like chorus melody with the lyrics “Welcome to the saving grace / There’s a sunset on the road / reappearing as we go”.

Time moves forward, and we need to move forward with it.

Sunsets and Sunrises are part of life.

What we do with each one is up to us?

“Like a Dog” has a dig at the Australian Government of the time and their treatment of Indigenous Australians, with an AC/DC like Chorus and a sleazy bluesy single note riff to underpin it.

“Now we’re trying hard to reconcile a history of shame/ But he reinforced the barriers that keep it the same.”

“Up and Down and Back Again” is one of my favourite tracks.

If everybody knows just who you are
When your walk on role becomes a major part
Have you ever attempted to be yourself?
When everybody wants you to be someone else?

You see it a lot when it comes to art, especially art that starts to make money. Because once art starts making money, people who create nothing want a cut, so they enforce their expectation onto the artist. It even happens in the workplace, when it’s hard to be yourself or to express your views.

“My Kind Of Scene” has a rolling single note guitar line, a subdued drum beat, with a haunting vocal line from Fanning.

Tell me where I’m supposed to begin
an unhappy life working, some kind of dead end job

Is this the scene you want?

And Covid-19 has shown the world, that nothing is stable. So people are queuing up for unemployment benefits, while Governments foot the bill.

Which they should?

“These Days” has one of the most simplest and effective vocal intros ever.

This life, well, it’s slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned

So it’s time to re-evaluate and re-calibrate. The destination is never a straight line from here to there. It’s got its bumps and roundabouts and back to starts.

See ya at 1985 for Part 4.

Standard