Bassist Brian Marshall was out after giving up on communicating with Scott Stapp, so Tremonti stepped up and did the bass parts for the album.
“I couldn’t pick a single player who’d be a blue print but Jimmy Page is one of those guys that’d be in there.
Even though his playing is 70% blues oriented, I still feel close to him. I didn’t get into Zep till I was in high school.
In Junior High, I listened to Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate – real dark and heavy stuff.
Tesla was a big inspiration to me as well. I loved how they would have a little intro and a little outro like they do on “Love Song”. Those are the cool little tangents that took me away.” Mark Tremonti: Guitar One – January 2002
I’ve written it and said it so many times. Mark Tremonti is the reason why Creed became a favourite.
He is the modern day Jimmy Page, as he can move between fast metal riffs, blues rock riffs, heavy groove rock riffs, to folk rock and even classical. There is a lot of variation on the albums he’s involved in. Similar to how Page moved between so many different styles on each Led Zeppelin album. And Page did it by using various open string tunings which Tremonti also employs.
Four years ago, Creed was looking for a record deal. And by 2001 they had become one of the biggest acts on planet Earth. During this time, Tremonti graced the covers of Guitar One on four occasions and Guitar World on three occasions, winning numerous “Best Rock Guitarist” polls.
The third album “Weathered” was anticipated. And they didn’t disappoint.
It’s a great album opener and a concert opener. A “grab you by the throat” full throttle metal tune.
After the clean tone bass riff plays, a speed metal like riff kicks in. It’s angry and its perfect. After the big anthemic hits of “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open”, this one is anti-anthemic.
“At least look at me when you shoot a bullet through my head”.
If you’re going to talk trash, than do it to their face.
There is also an interlude/bridge section here which was only brief but excellent and it is similar to the “Weathered” interlude/bridge section which is fleshed out a little bit better.
It has this Texan blues groove but done in a Pantera style for the verses.
“Who’s Got My Back?”
It’s typical of the style of the Creed songs I like (think “Faceless Man”), with atmospheric finger picked riffs in clean tone percolating in the verses, which leads to open string tuned chords and eventually crunching and distorted chords across different intensities.
How heavy is that verse riff in “Signs”?
At one stage its reminding me of Stone Temple Pilots and “Vasoline” or Disturbed “Down With The Sickness”.
“One Last Breath”
Then you are treated to the excellent finger picked lines of “One Last Breath”.
On YouTube it’s got a massive amount of views. On Spotify, it’s at 135.3 million streams, higher than “Higher” which is sitting at 110.1 million streams or “My Sacrifice” at 127.3 million streams.
In a Guitar World issue, Tremonti mentioned how he would have devoured all the Classical/Baroque stuff, but subliminally his style developed by devouring the acoustic pieces from metal and rock artists, like the style of Frank Hannon or the fingerstyle stuff from Metallica on their slower tempo songs and instrumentals like “Call Of Ktulu”.
If you’ve heard the intro to “Love Song” from Tesla, then you would have heard the main riff to “One Last Breath”.
This song doesn’t get the respect it should. The riffs are stellar and the vocal melody is iconic.
It pushed this album to multi-platinum status in Australia and the U.S
And while I liked the song when I heard it on the album, it wasn’t until I saw Creed live that I really enjoyed the song and the way they played it.
It was the closer, it was delivered with power and a lot of pyro and they made sure they left you wanting more.
“Stand Here With Me”
“Stand Here With Me” came next and its similarity to “My Sacrifice” made me ignore it initially, but the riff stands on its own.
And there is a lead break in this song, which got me paying attention.
“Weathered” is my favourite track, especially that whole interlude/bridge section from the 3.27 mark and that riff. It reminds me of heavy metal from the 80’s.
And don’t forget the Bad Company/Led Zeppelin like intro and verse feel and groove.
But let’s talk about the section which gets the head banging and the foot moving.
The metal like interlude and bridge from the 3.27 mark. Think of the song, “Fighting For The Earth” from Warrior. That’s the song which used the riff prominently throughout, however the riff appears in so many 80’s music.
Even Bullet For My Valentine used the riff for “The Last Fight”.
But what makes the riff different in this song is the groove. Its slower, its menacing and Tremonti builds it nicely, starting off with single notes and by the end of it, he’s combining single notes and octaves, heightening the intensity.
It’s “My Sacrifice” part 3 and although it is derivative, it doesn’t get boring.
How good is the verse?
The drums and bass stop, and it’s just the guitar with Stapp’s vocals.
The Chorus riff reminds me of “Goodbye To Romance” from Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.
“Don’t Stop Dancing”
It has a nice little melodic lead from Tremonti, who really picks his small lead break spots to perfection.
The early 2000s were a great time to be making rock and roll, in the same way the ‘70s were a great time for rock bands. Labels just couldn’t stop signing rock bands. Rock festivals were gargantuan. It was a great time to be a singer in the rock band. And there were a lot of rock bands. Rock was at a pinnacle. Country music was nowhere to be seen and nowhere to be found. Chad Kroeger – Billboard interview
“Silver Side Up” hit the streets on September 11, 2001. Yep, that September 11.
But nothing was going to stop this album from going 2x platinum in Australia, 3x platinum in the U.K, 6x platinum in the U.S and 8x Platinum in Canada. It was a monster album for the Roadrunner label.
And they had momentum.
Paying their dues since the mid 90’s, “The State” made inroads and their songs “Leader Of Men” and “Breathe” were doing the rounds on radio. In the guitar mags, those songs also got transcriptions, and those transcriptions got me interested in the band.
Rick Parasher is producing. He worked with Zakk on the Pride And Glory album in 1994, as well as “Ten” for Pearl Jam and “Sap” for Alice In Chains.
The rumbling bass and drum groove kick off the song. It percolates until the octave guitar riff kicks in. It’s a riff that’s as good as any of the riffs that became Guitar Store staples.
Its metal, in the 2000 way.
Lyrically, it covers domestic violence. With all the knowledge available to people, it’s an issue that doesn’t seem to go away.
Its heavy metal and a perfect fit for a song about feeling like crap when you wake up in the morning, because life has gotten the better of you.
It deals with abandonment from a child’s perspective. The Kroeger brothers had their father leave when they were young and like all relationships, the father came back into their lives after “Silver Side Up”.
This song would not be out of place on a Fuel album.
Nickelback had a knack for merging metal with hard rock with grunge with nu-metal with alternative. This song is living proof.
The riff is heavy, reminding me of the “Sad But True” groove. Vocally, its more alternative, grunge like.
It could have appeared on a Nirvana album. These crossover tracks got purists upset.
Where Do I Hide
It sounds like Shinedown took this sound for their debut. Check out the verses call and response vibe.
It’s got a real heavy blues groove. And this part of their style gets missed or forgotten.
And it’s got a chorus which sounds really similar to “How You Remind Me”.
Good Times Gone
Country blues rock before it became massive again in the mid 2000’s and way before Jovi took the “Lost Highway”. Goddamn, it could have come from the vintage fingertips of Tom Keifer and his 1990 “Heartbreak Station”.
In the end, Nickelback had an algorithm. “Physical Graffiti” + “Eliminator” + “Nevermind” + “Superunknown” + “Ten” + “The Joshua Tree” + “Metallica Black” = good popular songs and potential success.
And this album captures the algorithm nicely but “All The Right Reasons” in 2010 would perfect it.
Guitar World (September 2001 issue): What guitarists have been most inspirational to you?
Daron Malakian: Dave Murray of Iron Maiden and Randy Rhoads. The thing about Maiden’s solos was they were melodic, tasteful and easier to play than Yngwie Malmsteen’s. But as much as I loved Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen when I was young, I still never wanted to play like them. I always wanted to play like myself.
The answer made me depart with $20 for the “Toxicity” album. But System Of A Down took me a while to get into.
This band is capable of delivering whacked out but accessible instrumental passages, enormous riffs and bone shaking grooves, augmented by a vocalist with a style which is hard to describe.
“Toxicity” came out in September 2001 with Rick Rubin overseeing the production. The terror attacks couldn’t stop the album from selling and going Platinum within 2 weeks in the U.S.
In Australia, we made it 5x platinum. It was basically huge.
Let’s start with my favourites.
I call it “Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” as the clean tone arpeggio riff in dropped D reminds me of the Coverdale/Page song. This familiarity made it a favourite straight away.
Hang around until the 2.30 minute mark, when that intro riff is played with power chords and Serj starts singing “Aerials, in the sky”. It’s powerful and a sing along.
Aerials in the sky When you lose small mind You free your life
The power of the music and the drumming.
Serj is again delivering a killer vocal.
Conversion, software version 7.0 Looking at life through the eyes of a tire hub
How can you not like it?
No one was writing shit like this.
At the 2.40 minute mark, this Iron Maiden like riff comes in, which they then jam on.
It opens with an acoustic guitar strummed riff, then the drums come in and a Spanish flamenco like feel is created. Then the madness starts when the distortion riff kicks in.
And the verses.
The way the vocal line is delivered, it just doesn’t make sense. Then the pre chorus kicks in and it’s all melodic and somehow it all hangs together.
But it’s a song about suicide and they are trying to capture the frantic killer thought process about putting on your make up and leaving the keys on the table.
But the outro.
Serj is nailing those melodies and when you think he couldn’t get higher, he goes higher. And Malakian is there as well, harmonizing. At 3.27, it ends. So I pressed repeat on my CD player just to hear it again.
And now for the rest.
It’s the opening track.
It has clean tone singing, rapping, death metal growls, high pitched falsetto funk and talking. They cover so much ground with this song.
They’re trying to build a prison for you and me
The private prison system needs inmates, so there are people doing time for minor drug offenses instead of being treated for their addictions.
Serj always writes about politics and this is basically a song on the three strikes law. The three-strikes law significantly increases the prison sentences of persons convicted of a felony who have been previously been convicted.
I usually skip it.
Then again just listen to it, as the lyrics talk about pulling a tapeworm out of your arse.
Which Serj has explained is symbolism for releasing yourself from the toxic control of society.
This is what SOAD is about. Weirdness and still making it sound like a rock or metal song. At some stages it sounds like a Rammstein cut, with weird vocal lines.
Then at 1.41, this palm muted riff kicks in, and a vocal line from Serj which is catchy.
The way the music sounds, if you play it with clarinets and accordions, it sounds like an Eastern European folk dance.
But in this case it’s all distorted and Serj’s manic vocal line brings a crazed intensity about wiring eyes of a horse on a jet pilot while he flew over the bay.
It’s less than 2 minutes long. Actually the majority of the songs are short. It’s like SOAD knew that streaming is on its way and having shorter songs means that you get paid more.
For example, you still the same cents if the song is 2 minutes or 4 minutes or 8 minutes long. The only difference is that 2 minute song can be played a lot more within the hour than the 4 minute or 8 minute song.
Then again they did mention that The Beatles songs structures played a huge part in condensing these songs . And if you look at the times of The Beatles songs, most are under 3 minutes.
A song about a pogo stick and orgies.
And Disney had no idea on the content when they used it for the family-friendly animated film “The Secret Life of Pets”.
It’s got this Dio “Gates Of Babylon” vocal melody when Serj sings “Why can’t you see that you are my child / Why don’t you know that you are my mind”.
It’s melodic and heavy and the vocals are chaos personified.
The riffs in this song are excellent, hard rock like.
And the vocal melody is hypnotic, about science failing the Earth and the people and how letting the reigns go is what faith is about, not control.
Make sure you stick around to the 1.40 mark. That whole exotic feel.
It’s like classical and punk which rhymes education and fornication and indoctrination with nation.
It movies between aggression and melody.
Like the lyrics which go “Psycho, groupie, cocaine, crazy”.
An instrumental using traditional Armenian instruments.
Check out the first three songs I mentioned and if you like then go deep and pull out that tapeworm.
“V” is album number five, released in 2001. The band for the album is Ed Kowalczyk on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Chad Taylor on lead guitar, Patrick Dahlheimer on bass and Chad Gracey on drums. Like most of the albums, the majority of tracks are written by Ed Kowalczyk.
Wikipedia tells me that the collection of songs that became “V” was never intended to be released as an album. Guitarist Chad Taylor said, “The goal was to prepare songs for the next studio session. MCA got a hold of the material and pushed us to call it an album.” The songs were originally going to be released free to fans as a collection called “Ecstatic Fanatic”.
One of their most creative songs. I was hooked from the intro.
It basically starts off with a music box piano riff, and then a Middle East music melody crashes in, which keeps repeating under a catchy verse vocal line which I’m pretty sure Karnivool was influenced by for the verse melody on “Themata”.
And the track was meant to be the album’s first single but the record company pulled rank and released “Simple Creed” instead which proved to be a big mistake.
Maybe they got scared from the lyrical nature of the song, about skirts rising and male appendage excitement rising with it.
“People Like You”
It feels like a Guns N Roses song from the “Use Your Illusion” album. In the Chorus, Ed even sounds like Axl.
In a dream I had you were standing all alone With a dyin’ world below and a microphone Singin’ hallelujah I finally broke their mold
We take and cop so much crap as we go through life. People try to shape us to some version that they believe is true. Be unique, be free and don’t let others drag you down.
People like you! people like you! Motherfuckers like you! people like you!
It’s my favourite part of the song, when Ed sings the melody for the above lyrics and the guitar plays the octave guitar melody. And yes, he does say “motherfuckers”
“Transmit Your Love”
This track could have been an album cut on “Secret Samadhi”.
“Forever May Not Be Long Enough”
The piano riff to start the song is excellent.
It’s a co-write with Glen Ballard, who everyone wanted to work with after “Jagged Little Pill” blew up around the world in 1995.
In 1997, Aerosmith worked with him on the very underrated “Nine Lives” album and it’s the song “Taste Of India” which Ballard co-wrote with Steve Tyler and Joe Perry, that I’m reminded off when I hear this song, which was also played during the closing credits of “The Mummy Returns” movie.
“Call Me A Fool”
The Beatles influences come through on this.
Musically, this is Live bringing the funk and soul.
Take away my TV don’t want your fuckin’ therapy it’s all decay decay decay not today, not today
Kids listening to this song today, won’t even know why someone would want their TV taken away. For them, the TV is like how the radio was for others, background noise. Most of our attentions are fixated on our small black screens.
It’s got a piano riff and violins to set the mood and a nice vocal melody, but the lyrics about “holy water in lungs” are way to pretentious.
“Hero of Love”
The Beatles are back again for the album closer. Listen to this song for the Chorus.
“Throwing Copper” at 8x Platinum in the U.S was never going to be topped. It was part of a cultural movement. And “Secret Samadhi” is a great album, but it only went 2x Platinum in the U.S.
No small feat, but a massive drop in commercial expectations. “The Distance To Here” is at Platinum for U.S sales. “V” has no certification, not even a Gold.
And their commercial trajectory was similar to the 80’s bands on albums four and five except Metallica who had their biggest success with album number 5.
But they still do good live business, when live shows used to happen.
I felt like I was the only W.A.S.P fan around during this period. Most of my metal head friends had jumped off the W.A.S.P train after “The Headless Children” or “The Crimson Idol”. But I kept going. Actually my cousin Mega and I kept going.
“Unholy Terror” is album number nine, released in 2001 and produced by Blackie Lawless, which from reading some of the reviews online recently, people hated, as they found the production flat. But I never did have a problem with it, as most productions circa 2001 sounded like this.
The band at this time is Blackie on vocals and guitar, Chris Holmes on lead guitar, Mike Duda on bass and Stet Howland on drums. But, the album was started in February 1999 and finished at the start of 2001. So during that two year period, the band was a bit different. Which means, you get some other players.
The late Frankie Banali plays drums on “Hate To Love Me”, “Loco-Motive Man”, “Charisma”, “Raven Heart” and “Wasted White Boys”. Basically, my favourite tracks. And Roy Z plays lead guitar on “Who Slayed Baby Jane?” and “Wasted White Boys”.
Chris Holmes left the band during the recording process for this album. And even though he is credited, Holmes has said in interviews he didn’t play a note on it.
Coming into this album, I didn’t like “K.F.D” and “Helldorado”.
So, I was skeptical.
In the CD booklet, Blackie writes that “this album is similar to “Headless” in some ways with the social and political references but “Unholy Terror” brings my religious upbringing into the picture”.
“Let It Roar”
It’s got that “Love Machine” vibe merged with “The Headless Children” solo section.
Come on and stand for what you believe Oh you gotta get up on your feet Or die on your knees Let it Roar, cause I wanna be oh yeah
Before Kate Perry was telling people to roar, Blackie was doing it from way back.
“Hate To Love Me”
Blackie is channelling his Who and Jethro Tull influences.
It’s got that main theme from “The Crimson Idol” as its centrepiece. Think “Chainsaw Charlie” meets “Black Forever” from the “Still Not Black Enough” album. Its familiar, its flawless and I like it.
Oh God I’m coming Read my words I’m coming I got a gun I’m coming You won’t hear me coming
Inspired by the recent rash of school shootings in America. Then again, it’s still relevant today. Nothing has really changed in that regard. If anything, they have gotten worse and worse.
Crowned messiah, I crucified him And still ya don’t believe I am Kings – I am queens Unholy terrors me
It’s like a Tool song, with a repeating and percolating clean tone riff, sounding sinister as soon as Blackie’s whispered vocal line starts. As the vocal line builds in intensity, so does the guitar. And it bleeds into “Charisma” because “Unholy Terror/Charisma” is one song divided into two tracks.
“When I was writing the lyrics for “Charisma” and “Unholy Terror”, I was talking about the preconceived idea that most of us have about world figures such as entertainers, politicians or athletes that we admire.” Blackie Lawless in the CD booklet to “Unholy Terror”.
I’m hooked as soon as the John Bonham drum groove and Zeppelin like guitar groove (which reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks” merged with “Kashmir”) kick in. It’s probably one of Blackie’s best songs of the 2000’s era.
I wrap myself in the American Flag And tell people I’m for which it stands I’m coming back till you know I’m God Till you believe, till you know my charisma
In the CD booklet, the first line is attributed to “Ronald Reagan” and the second line to “Richard Nixon and Al Gore”. Typical of politicians to proclaim themselves as Gods.
I’m a fear from a shadow land I seduce you all Here I come new messiah man To bow to me, make me your God
In the CD booklet, these four lines are about “The Anti-Christ”.
I got them all marching to the rhythm Believing me, oh yeah, their new religion I’m a racist with a waving flag Of domination with a fascist plan
These four lines are about “Adolf Hitler” which is bizarre, because if you didn’t have the CD booklet pointing that out and you heard this song for the first time in the last few years, you would attribute these to an ex U.S President that just got booted.
“Who Slayed Baby Jane?”
TELL ME NOW who slayed oh my Little Baby Jane Rolling down the stairs Her Little head has rolled away Put it in my hands
This is the stuff that Alice Cooper writes. And it works in Blackie’s world as well.
It’s an instrumental.
It has this “Hold On To My Heart” feel merged with “Albatross” from Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac and “Planet Caravan” from Black Sabbath.
In the CD booklet, Blackie wrote that its “one of the greatest little tunes I’ve ever done. I love it. It’s music to get high by. Enjoy!”
From the intro riff, which reminded me of “Schools Out”, I was hooked.
It’s interchangeable with “Forever Free”. It’s actually an demo that goes back to “The Headless Children” album. The CD Booklet mentions that the song was originally titled “Circle Of Legend” and it was meant to act as a reprise to “Forever Free”.
Do the shadows of my memory From a long ago time Lead a path to the other lives of me Souls of past great divides
The song is inspired by Native American Indian stories and mythology.
Who knows what kind of spirit world exists and if it does, how it all interconnects.
“Wasted White Boys”
Man, the whole W.A.S.P catalogue is in this song.
Throughout its six minutes, the song sounds like a derivative version of “Blind In Texas”, “On Your Knees”, “Dirty Balls”, “Mean Man”, “Arena Of Pleasure” and “I Am One”.
Wasted boys feeling no pain Howl at the moon in the night Just give me shooters and that demon cocaine I’m the devil alright
And the outro is like “Free Bird”, with “Wild Child Holmes” allowed to spread his wings and fly on this one. Or was it Blackie wailing away or Roy Z. I guess we will never know the true story because those wasted white boys are keeping secrets.
Now if you haven’t heard W.A.S.P previously, go and checkout, “The Headless Children” and “The Crimson Idol” first. If you are a fan and liked those albums, you will like this album as well. It’s W.A.S.P or Blackie doing what they do best. Rocking out.
“The message here in this album is think for yourself, seek out answers for yourself and not be manipulated (as I was) by some guy, selling you “prepacked” beliefs whether they are religious or political (which often times go together)”. Black Lawless in the CD Booklet to “Unholy Terror”
Apart from the great listening experience it also changed the way I played and wrote songs. After this album, I was okay with jamming on a groove instead of soloing.
This album joined albums like “Tribute”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere In Time”, “Appetite For Destruction”, “Slave To The Grind”, “The Great Radio Controversy”, “And Justice For All”, “Metallica Black Album”, “5150”, “Hysteria”, “Wicked Sensation”, “No More Tears” and “Images And Words” as my “Bible” albums. These “Bible” albums are albums that I devoured, learning the riffs and the licks.
Tool is Maynard James Keenan on vocals, Adam Jones on guitar, Justin Chancellor on bass and Danny Carey on drums. Production is handled by David Bottrill.
The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. It went to No. 1 in Australia. In the U.S its certified as 3x Platinum and in Australia it’s also certified as Platinum. People were listening and unable to turn it off. Even on streaming services, the song “Schism” has only been on Spotify just under two years and it’s at 49.3 million streams, And it’s a 8 minute song.
The album is a product of the members being at the peak of their creativity and a four year label dispute.
At the time the band was critical of file sharing, so as part of the marketing for the album, they announced a different album title and a bogus 12 song track list, with stupid titles like “Encephatalis” and “Coeliacus”. Of course, the unregulated Wild West of file sharing sites, were flooded with bogus files bearing the titles’ names. It wasn’t until a month later that the band revealed the real album name and that the name “Systema Encéphale” and the track list had been a bunch of bullshit.
CD’s can pack 79 minutes of music and Tool gave em a few seconds back. Because at 78 minutes and 51 seconds long, it’s got every groove and landscape packed in across the 13 tracks. And to think that they kept editing the album at the mastering stage to get it under 79 minutes.
The whine of a machine starting up and it all comes crashing in, the toms are syncopated with the guitar riff and the bass is unique, taking the lead here to outline a different melody.
Once the vocals kick in with “Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity / Calculate what we will or will not tolerate”, they syncopate with the guitar riff. Maynard is telling ya, don’t let your grudges hold you back.
At 1.22, the song changes. It takes you into uncharted territory. The previous landscape is gone, in the rear-view mirror. And we are into the verse.
Clutch it like a cornerstone Otherwise, it all comes down Terrified of being wrong Ultimatum prison cell
You can’t imagine your life without the grudge you might have against the person who wronged you, the scarlet letterman. And what if your grudge isn’t justified and you have been wrong the whole time. You don’t want to be in that position, so you keep holding onto the grudge.
The song changes again after the bridge, with the vocal melody of “Choose to let this go”. The riff is heavy, Sabbath like heavy.
Give away the stone Let the waters kiss and transmutate These leaden grudges into gold
Let the burden go, it’s okay. Don’t let your hate and prejudices define you anymore.
The song then percolates and builds from 6.25 as the intro riff returns. Then there is silence and just the bass. And then an explosion of music from the 7 minute mark as Maynard belts out a scream that he carries for 24 seconds.
Studio trickery. Maybe.
The last 30 seconds is how you end a song. Listen to it. You will not be disappointed.
A creeping guitar riff starts the song off. At the Sydney concert I watched, Maynard did say the song is about the vampires that you come across in your life, who try to get you down.
But I’m still right here Giving blood, keeping faith And I’m still right here
Wait it out Gonna wait it out Be patient (wait it out)
The vampires could be anything. The education system, society, the corporations, the government, a friend, a lover, a family member. Be patient. Everyone comes undone eventually.
8 power chords are played on the bass, then silence for a few seconds, before the iconic bass riff starts the song. Justin Chancellor announces himself as a bass hero.
I know the pieces fit cause I watched them tumble down No fault, none to blame, it doesn’t mean I don’t desire To point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication
Once upon a time, all religions were the right one, than, they fell apart. The pieces are now corrupt, moulded shadows of the once great temple. This song says if the pieces don’t communicate with each other than we are doomed.
They are two tracks on the album. But they exist as one as the last note of “Parabol” flows into “Parabola”
The three minutes of “Parabol” feels like I’m in the vast plains of the Middle East, looking at the night sky.
The Pre Chorus and Chorus of “Parabola” echo Maynard’s work with A Perfect Circle.
This body holding me, reminding me that I am not alone in This body makes me feel eternal All this pain is an illusion
Live in the now people. It’s easier said than done. I know people who can’t let go of the past. It consumes them to the stage of insanity. They feel wronged. But all this pain a person feels focusing on the past is an illusion. It’s not real, it manifests in the brain. The pain that you think you are experiencing will pass.
At 2.04 it changes from being a standard hard rock song into a typical Tool song.
At 3.58 the bass takes over for a brief moment before the band kicks in, setting up the finale, the last 2 minutes.
At 4.40, a Black Sabbath fuzzed out riff kicks in. it plays while the drums play like a ceremonial fill.
Ticks And Leeches
A drum pattern kicks off the song. The bass kicks in, with a riff that is played along with the bass drum. It’s weird and off putting. Then the guitars kick in with some repeating single notes, the bass gets busier and so do the drums. By the 50 second mark, the double kick is frantic.
And then it changes for the verses.
Maynard’s melody is bordering on the periphery like a chainsaw.
Hope this is what you wanted Hope this is what you had in mind Cause this is what you’re getting I hope you’re choking I hope you choke on this
How good is that that Pre Chorus and Chorus riff, when Maynard is singing the melody of “hope this is what you wanted” and “I hope your choking”.
At 3.24 it changes into a clean tone guitar riff that keeps repeating forever. It percolates up to the 5.58 minute mark, before it explodes for the final 2 minutes.
Got nothing left to give to you
Every person with a dream or a goal has ticks and leeches waiting to suck em dry. Even good old Mother Nature will have nothing left to give us except floods, droughts and fire, for the humans are parasites here, sucking the wealth of resources dry for profit.
Then the massive ending from 7.20. The double kick drums are relentless, that Pre Chorus/Chorus riff kicks in and Maynard starts with his “is this what you wanted” melody.
The epic title track at 9 minutes and 22 seconds long.
The clean guitar riff is basic and it keeps repeating. Then the bass comes in and the drums, an explosion of poly rhythms and exploration.
How good is the main riff from 1.15? It’s a metal tour de force.
At 4.50, it’s just the bass, playing a triplet of notes with a brief pause.
And the intro guitar kicks in again.
And it keeps building.
Then at 7.17, the best part of the song kicks in. The drums play a simple beat, while the guitar is staccato like and the bass is doing something different, highlighting the vocal melody with a choice selection of notes.
It needs to be heard to be understood.
Reaching out to embrace the random. Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.
A song in which the “spirit” lives outside the norms but the person is still human and divine at the same time. They touch on these kind of themes with “Forty Six & 2” from the “Aenima” album.
Listen to it and read the lyrics. It’s like a complex novel coming to life.
Disposition/Reflection/Triad/Faaip De Oiad
The final tracks are part of a large suite but separate tracks on the album.
“Disposition” is like a tribal drum groove with a clean tone guitar riff. It only goes for about 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
It carries into “Reflection” which is the centrepiece at 11 minutes. It has a drum groove that evokes the Middle East, another iconic bass line, synths and an exotic guitar and vocal line.
So crucify the ego, before it’s far too late To leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical And you will come to find that we are all one mind Capable of all that’s imagined and all conceivable Just let the light touch you And let the words spill through And let them pass right through Bringing out our hope and reason
It’s an incredible Tool song.
How good is the line “capable of all that’s imagined and conceivable”?
It’s the same mantra put forward by the self-development industry. You know the one, the 10,000 hours, showing grit, emotional intelligence, a growth mindset, resilience and creating a culture in which people feel safe to express their thoughts and everything will turn out okay.
From 8.28 it really kicks into a groove. Watching it live, is a memorable experience.
A 6 minute conclusion as the vast plains of the Middle East are back.
“Faaip de Oiad” is Enochian for “The Voice of God”. Now if you’re wondering what Enochian is, I also had to look it up when I came across it years ago. It’s basically an occult language that two spiritualists from England came up with, who claim angels divined this language to them.
As for the song, it’s just abstract noise and nothing worth talking about.
I was introduced to Tool in 1998. My best man burnt me the “Aenima” CD. I immediately got it. It was exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t want the album to end.
This album has sustained 20 years. It’s not something you play a track from and then forget about, it’s something you go deeper into. It’s a journey.
They covered so much ground with this album and “Aenima”, that they next two albums that came after in “10,000 Days” and “Fear Inoculum” got stigmatised as sounding like “Aenima” and “Lateralus”.
And progressive rock/metal is meant to be dead. But Tool doesn’t fit into that category. It’s a little bit of metal, a little bit of rock, a little bit of progressive in its time changes and song structures and in its lyrics, they push different boundaries and messages. And Tool doesn’t care what the labels want or what the charts like. They push their own envelope, catering to their own needs first and taking their listeners with them.
Most of Tool’s songs since the “Aenima” album, are over seven minutes long. Their most recent album “Fear Inoculum” has every song over ten minutes. From a streaming point of view, this is a bad idea, as one Tool song from start to finish equates to three to four pop songs. And in an hour, you will hear a 15 minute Tool song 4 times whereas a 3 minute pop song will be heard 20 times.
So when you see a Tool song in the multi-millions, just think of the time invested listening to these songs.
If you hate Tool, then keep ignoring em. If you are into hip-hop only, ignore em. If you like your 3 to 4 minute pop fix, ignore em. But if you are a rocker and you liked how bands used to experiment with a song or two on an album, then you need to check out Tool.
And like Tool, I couldn’t edit this post any shorter. It is what it is, because it is.
The title according to Ozzy in an interview with Guitar World, for the November 2001 issue is in reference to Earth, the original name for Black Sabbath. His whole career is down to his involvement with Earth/Sabbath, hence the title of “Down To Earth”.
In addition, the photos of an X-Rayed Ozzy interspersed with physical Ozzy makes it look like someone is coming down from somewhere, with the destination hopefully being Earth.
Zakk Wylde was basically a session guitarist on this album.
While Ozzy said that if it wasn’t for Tim Palmer, the album wouldn’t be, Zakk had a different view of Palmer. Tim Palmer’s resume at that point in time included working with U2, Tears For Fears and other British pop acts. He was definitely an unlikely choice for the producer gig.
In the November, 2001 issue of Guitar World it was mentioned that, Palmer, apart from being the Producer is also a co-writer on the majority of the tracks and when it came time to Zakk redoing his riffs, the two didn’t see eye to eye. There were times in the studio where Palmer would take the guitar out of Zakk’s hands and say to Zakk, “can you play it more like this?”.
Zakk of course didn’t like this. Palmer also asked Zakk to use a Telecaster and Zakk said it’s Les Paul and Marshall’s all the way.
In the same Guitar World issue, Zakk was also displeased that he had to play riffs to some songs that Dave Grohl wrote, which Dave Grohl clarified a few years later that those same songs, he ended up using on his Probot project (King Diamond sang on one track and the Trouble singer, sang on the other track) as Grohl didn’t hear back from the Osbourne camp that any of the songs would be used.
“Foo Fighters is a fucking candy ass girl band, but you’ve got that motherfucker submitting songs for the album and those douche bags from the Offspring submitting songs, too.
I mean, none of these guys could play a Randy Rhoads solo if they tried. Dave Grohl. Fuck Dave Grohl. Let him get up there and play “Mr Crowley”; he can’t fuckin do it. And it’s like, you’re getting this guy to write songs for Ozzy? Just because he played drums for fucking Shitvana?”
Zakk Wylde – Guitar World, November 2001 issue.
Yep, Zakk didn’t hold back.
“Gets Me Through”
A haunting piano riff starts the ride.
Then the riff kicks in, heavy and syncopated. It’s not written by Zakk but Zakk made it sound like Zakk even though the person who wrote it, Tim Palmer didn’t end up being Zakk’s bestie.
I try to entertain you the best I can
The organ in the verses plays a Kashmir like chromatic ascending chord progression.
Stick around for the lead break. Zakk is melodic, then pentatonic, then emotive
The intro riff is head banging material. This song is written by Osbourne, Palmer, Scott Humphrey and Geoff Nicholls.
Zakk mentioned that in the Guitar World, November 2001 issue he “just wanted to make it as slammin’ as he could.”
He changed a lot of the tracks around, not to the point where he would get a song writing credit on it, but he would change the riffs and modify them to what he wanted to do.
It reminds me of “So Tired” from the “Bark At The Moon” with a bit of Lennon chucked in. It’s written by Marti Frederiksen and Mick Jones with Ozzy also listed as a writer.
Lyrically, it’s taken a page from Bob Daisley and the lyrics he wrote for “Revelation Mother Earth”.
Your higher power may be God or Jesus Christ
I always found the lyric a bit weird, because God and Jesus Christ come from the same place of faith. If the song writing team was looking for a three syllable word then Buddhism fits to showcase a different higher power.
Make sure you check out Zakk’s lead break.
“No Easy Way Out”
It’s written by Osbourne and Palmer and it sounds like a cut from “No More Tears”. So whatever Zakk added to the riffs it works.
The crushing weight on my shoulders now is bearing down and it seems
“That I Never Had”
This one is credited to Osbourne, Frederiksen, Joe Holmes and Robert Trujilo but the riff sounds like it came from “Miracle Man.”
The riff is excellent.
This one is credited to Osbourne, Frederiksen, Holmes and Trujilo. The title is pretty self-explanatory.
Running Out Of Time
It’s from the same “Dreamer” song writing team, who try and re-write the same song, but this one in the Chorus reminds me of the “Old L.A Tonight” bridge.
This is a cut that is written by Osbourne, Palmer, Nicholls and Andy Sturmer from Jellyfish.
It’s got a foot stomping groovy riff and it sounds like something that Zakk would write for Black Label Society.
It’s written by Danny Saber with Osbourne.
This is Ozzy telling the world that he is still alive and he doesn’t have any plans to go anywhere as he likes living. And if you look at the drugs and alcohol that Ozzy has abused his body with, rockers who have done less, didn’t make it.
“Can You Hear Them?”
The marching drum beat sends an image of the voices marching to its beat. This one reminds me of Jake E Lee for some reason. Maybe it’s the pre-chorus riff which sounds like something from “The Ultimate Sin” album.
So sick and tired of living and so afraid to die
I’ve lived so many lives and still I wonder why
The way the world perceives me is not the way I am
The one half thinks I’m crazy, the other thinks I’m mad
There is a bias when it comes to Ozzy.
He’s been labelled Satanic, but his whole life he’s worn the crucifix of Christ. He’s done some crazy stuff, but who hasn’t when they’ve been juiced up with drugs and alcohol.
The Evergrey – “In Search Of Truth” post, the Muse – “Origin Of Symmetry” by post and the Machine Head – “Supercharger” post were meant to be part of one 2001 – Part 1 post, however after I finished writing those posts they had a lot of words in there to be part of one, so they ended up as separate posts.
This post is 1.4 and the upcoming Ozzy post will be 1.5.
Megadeth – The World Needs A New Hero
I was excited for this album as I am a fan of Al Pitrelli. I like his work with Widowmaker, his session and song writing work with Alice Copper (plus touring), Y&T, Savatage, Danger Danger, TSO and many more. Plus in the few interviews he had in the guitar magazines, he shares a wealth of information about soloing and modes and what not.
“The World Needs a Hero” is the ninth studio album and a return to the metal and sometimes thrash of Megadeth between the “Countdown To Extinction” to “Cryptic Writings” era.
And to understand this album, you need to understand what a commercial disappointment “Risk” was in 1999 and how it eventually led to the departure of Marty Friedman and Nick Menza.
And it’s their first album on Sanctuary after they parted ways from Capitol Records with cover art by Hugh Syme.
Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso also features on this and the usual two Dave’s, but in this case, this would be the last album Ellefson would feature on until 2010. It was DeGrasso who actually recommended Pitrelli to Mustaine.
The intro riff reminds of “Trust”.
I like the interlude when it’s just bass and chords ringing out and then the lead break from Pitrelli starts. And I played air guitar to every note.
Lyrically the song deals with living a double life between the person we portray to people which is very different to the person’s inner thoughts or even Google search history.
“The World Needs a Hero”
If it’s a musical hero, a techie hero, a sporting hero, an author, a politician, whatever. We all need someone to look up to, to aspire to be like. Sometimes it’s a parent, a brother or a sister or another family member. It’s not my favourite song but I do like the title.
This song is about people who commute to work every day and spend a lot of time on the road.
In between 1997 and to the end of 2000, I drove 80 minutes to get to work and 80 minutes to get home. Then I changed jobs and commuted via a train, which took me 90 minutes to get to work and 90 minutes to get home.
Do the math.
160 to 180 minutes a day on travelling. That’s 800 to 900 minutes a week travelling. 41600 to 46800 hours in the year wasted on the road building someone else’s dream instead of my own.
“1000 Times Goodbye”
The intro riff is enough to hook me in. And then the drums come in, building the section until the verses explode.
And for some reason it keeps reminding me of “Tornado Of Souls”.
From about 3.57, the solo section begins. And after Mustaine says “you suck”, Pitrelli takes over for another guitar hero moment.
Check it out.
Check out the harmonized guitar riff in the Chorus.
The acoustic riff reminds me of “Dream On”. The violins make it haunting.
The song is about relationships that can’t be together in this life because of religion or social norms.
“Recipe for Hate… Warhorse”
It’s fast Intro gives way to a bass riff and spoken verse. And it’s a weird song with flamenco inspired passages. More like MegaZappa than Megadeth.
“Losing My Senses”
No one likes it when people speak the truth and that’s how this song starts off.
Check out the main riff. It puts all those alternate metal acts to shame.
Or the “When The Levee Breaks” inspired solo section which gets Pitrelli soloing with a Middle Eastern vibe.
“Dread and the Fugitive Mind”
My favorite song on the album. Especially the “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” section.
And don’t forget the whole interlude build up into the Pitrelli solo section.
An instrumental which gets played over the sound system at concerts.
“Return to Hangar”
The sequel to “Hangar 18” as the captive aliens from the first song escape and kill their captors. When I saw the band live, they played both songs back to back.
Make sure you check out the harmony lead break.
The main riff and structure of “When”, is reminiscent of “Am I Evil?” by Diamond Head, which Mustaine said was intentional.
After this album, the band was ended as Mustaine had to deal with a career ending arm injury. Then once he resurrected Megadeth, he had to deal with lawsuits from former members. But that story is for another day.
The Evergrey “In Search Of Truth” post and “Origin Of Symmetry” by Muse post were meant to be part of this large post, however after I finished writing all of the posts they had a lot of words in there to be part of one post, so they ended up as separate posts.
The Machine Head post will be 1.3, the upcoming Megadeth post will be 1.4 and the Ozzy post will be 1.5.
Machine Head – Supercharger
Supercharger is their fourth album.
It came out just weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and it got lost in the aftermath. Roadrunner also gave them zero promotion and to this date, its considered a commercial failure by the label. They even went on tour for the album without any label support which was a slap in the face to the band as Robb Flynn has admitted that “The Burning Red” and “Supercharger” were albums that Roadrunner pressured them to do, so they could break into the mainstream.
But when the mainstream didn’t come, Flynn said that the band was going to return to “what we they did best”.
It is also the band’s last release to feature lead guitarist Ahrue Luster and as a by-product it set in stone the next 15 years.
For me, this was the first album I purchased from Machine Head.
And in relation to the album being a commercial failure, in a 2015 interview with LouderSound, this is what Robb Flynn had to say about it.
“Supercharger sold 250,000 copies. If that’s a disaster, I’ll take it.
We played nine shows in the UK, all sold out, and the US tour was mostly sold out, which was a first.
Every night when we play “Bulldozer”, that whole theory that everybody hates “Supercharger” gets completely stomped into the ground. We play “Bulldozer” and it’s one of the top five reactions of the night, every time”
After a minute of “The Declaration”, the iconic riff of “Bulldozer” kicks in. Listen to the drumming from Dave McClain in the intro. In the live arena, this song is powerful, mosh pit powerful.
“Full steam we go against the odds, headfirst we go against the grain”.
But the lack of solos is going with the grain, as between 1999 and 2005, there was a “no guitar solo” movement. This song was missing a ripping lead.
“Crashing Around You” is a great hard rock song. It was the only single from the album and it had a film clip with a burning San Francisco skyline and stuff crashing down around them.
It was pulled from MTV and rock radio because the term “crashing” was found to be offensive.
But the lyrics are excellent, the music grooves and having this song pulled from every promotional outlet definitely hurt the band. But the fans loved it.
When they pulled this song out for the concert, the place went nuts.
“Kick You When You’re Down” sounds like a track from the “Catharsis” album with its catchcry about believing in yourself and following your heart.
“Only the Names” deserves more attention. This Robb Flynn penned track is classic Machine Head merging all the doom from the early era. Tracks from the current era even sound like this song. That distorted riff would sink submarines it’s that heavy. Early Tool comes to mind here.
“All in Your Head” is one of my favourite Machine Head tracks. That intro, especially live, is head banging material and in its essence it’s basically a hard rock song.
“American High” kicks off with a Tarzan like vocal chant, which is actually the riff of the song. It sounds like the guys are having fun and Flynn brings out some of his spoken word raps in the verses but this song got slammed by the reviewers, for the Tarzan chant.
“Nausea” feels like a Deftones style track especially in the verses.
“Blank Generation” reminds me of early Tool. It’s Aggressive with a capital A.
“Trephination” has a cool bass riff to kick it off.
“Deafening Silence” keeps building until it explodes towards the end.
“Supercharger” has a great intro riff, but that dissonance Korn style riff in the first part of the verse didn’t enhance the song in anyway.
The Japanese version has a cover of “Hole in the Sky” from Black Sabbath as its bonus track. A lot of fans saw this as a weird choice considering the nu-metal style of the album.
But from a rhythm guitar point of view, there is a lot here to unpack.
And after being exposed to Machine Head by various band members this album was my first financial commitment to the band, so it holds a special place in my history.
The Evergrey “In Search Of Truth” post from last week was meant to be part of this post, however after I finished writing it, it was close to 2000 words, so it ended up as a separate post.
And as I was writing the rest of the posts for Muse (which will now be 1.2), Machine Head (which will be 1.3), Megadeth (which will be 1.4) and Ozzy, (which will be 1.5), I started to realise that maybe it’s best for these posts to be separate as well.
So here we go with the rest of 2001 – Part 1 in various stages
Muse – Origin Of Symmetry
Matt Bellamy is on vocals and guitars and midi sound effects and piano and organs and everything else, Chris Wolstenholme is on bass and Dominic Howard is on drums.
At the time, this was officially album number 2, hot on the heels of “Showbiz” from a few years before. It’s a progression, putting the building blocks in place for “Absolution” which came out in 2004 which to me is the piece d’resistance in their catalogue.
It starts off with an arpeggio guitar/piano that is sort of classical/lullaby like.
The bitterness inside Is growing like the new born
The titles of the songs are hidden in verses or not even mentioned at all in the songs. They are linking something beautiful (the new born) with something bitter.
Check out the double time drumming, octave bass lines from the 2 minute mark over a pseudo classical chord progression and falsetto vocals.
And at the 3:30 mark, Bellamy pulls out one of his normal tremolo picked leads that outlines the notes of the major and minor chords in the progression.
It’s got that TonePad effect to start off which continues throughout the song, under a layer of distorted bass lines and crashing drums.
The piano riffs are clearly influenced by Sergei Rachmaninoff and his “Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor Op.18.” And I hadn’t listened to Rachmaninoff at all, until I read an interview with Bellamy who mentioned him as a major influence on this album and that actual concerto.
It has this Hendrix like riff to start off the song or “Snakecharmer” from Rage Against The Machine comes to mind, before it moves into the Muse pseudo classical like chord progressions before moving back into blues hard rock and back again.
“Plug In Baby”
It’s got a great arena rock chorus and a memorable single note guitar riff done in the Muse pseudo classical way.
The intro riff hooks me in immediately to pick up my guitar and jam it. It’s metal like and with a lot of groove.
Break me in Teach us to cheat And to lie, cover up What shouldn’t be shared?
The concept that we are all born without any viewpoints and we are made to be who we are by culture, the family, society and institutions.
The whole quietened down section is haunting.
You also need to listen to the outro.
A simple arpeggiated guitar riff, with a locked in bass and drum groove starts off the song, before Bellamy’s falsetto vocals take over. Make sure to stick around for the blues like breakdown riff to close out the song.
I’ve seen what you’re doing to me Destroying puppet strings To our souls
It’s a great hard rock cover of a Nina Simone song released in 1965. It’s sleazy, groovy and it follows the pseudo classical chord progressions that Muse are so well known for.