Influenced, Music

2001 – Part 5.6: Static X – Machine

A singer from a band I was in burnt me a copy.

“Machine” is the second studio album by Static-X, released on May 22, 2001.

The Personnel for the album is Wayne Static (RIP) on Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards and Programming. Tony Campos is on bass, Ken Jay is on drums, Tripp Eisen is on guitar, with ex-lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda credited as a keyboard player and Ulrich Wild contributing keyboards to different songs.

The writing for the songs happened while on tour for the “Wisconsin Death Trip” with Wayne Static writing all the songs by himself on the tour bus while the other band members lived it up and partied hard. When the band went in to record the album, Wayne Static told the guys that the royalties for the song writing would not be split four ways this time around.

How do you think that went down with the other members?

It lead to lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda’s departure before recording began, and drummer Ken Jay’s eventual departure a few years later.

While Static played all the guitars on the album, Tripp Eisen (Fukuda’s replacement) was involved with the album’s photoshoot and promotional materials, the music videos, the world tour for support of the album, and he helped arrange the Static-X comic book deal.

The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on November 10, 2003. It was a pretty big deal to achieve this certification, in a market dominated with peer to peer downloading.

As was the norm with bands during this Nu-Metal period, the album was free of guitar solos.

Bien Venidos

A short 30 second intro of people having a party.

Get To The Gone

The vocals are deep, almost Rob Zombie like.

Musically, its heavy rock with a lot of Dimebag Pantera style influences and Rammstein/Ministry/NIN industrial metal overtones.

Permanence

The electronics are prominent here, with the Digitech Whammy providing new sounds for the riffs.

This one is more NIN than anything.

Black And White

I like the intro riff on this. Its dissonant and it reminds me of Megadeth for some reason.

This Is Not

Yeah, this is not a song that has made its way to my playlists of liked songs. But they seemed to like it.

Otsego Undead

It’s got this Black Betty drum beat with a lot of electronica and some other weird stuff. The riff kicks in and it’s the same as the other riffs before that.

Cold

What a song.

The best track, hidden deep into the album at track 7.

The riff and the keys melody over it work brilliant. The whispering vocal reminds me of Type O Negative.

And if the song sounds familiar it’s because it appeared in the film “Queen of the Damned”. It was also featured on the film’s soundtrack album, performed by Wayne Static for the soundtrack who replaced Jonathan Davis who sings it in the movie.

Structural Defect

An open string riff that reminds me of Metallica who weren’t playing riffs like these anymore at this time.

…In A Bag

More of the same, fast open string riffs, some electronica and Rob Zombie style vocals.

Burn To Burn

It’s got a cool chromatic riff.

Machine

The title track. I was expecting big things and it was a let down

A Dios Alma Perdida

The riffs are demented, heavy, very Sabbath tritone like. It almost experimental, horror soundtrack like. I had to Google what it meant.

Alma Perdida means lost soul. Adios means bye.

Bye Lost Soul.

By the end of it, my view point of this album is one heavily marketed good song that sold the album. When the singer in my band asked me about it, I said that I went “Cold” on it. I know, it’s a bad joke.

Press play on it for the song “Cold”. If you like that, listen to “Get To The Gone” and “A Dios Alma Perdida”.

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2001 – Part 5.5: Opeth – Blackwater Park

“Blackwater Park” is the fifth studio album Opeth released on March 12, 2001 in Europe and a day later in North America through Music for Nations and Koch Records.

I never got too involved with the death metal elitists who seemed to label the band, not “death metal enough”. Their view points sound like an episode in “Dethklok” when the fictional cartoon death metal band was writing a song and it wasn’t brutal enough for the singer.

The album marks the first collaboration between Porcupine Tree front man Steven Wilson and the band, as Wilson had been brought in to produce the album. The influences of Porcupine Tree can be heard here and this contributed to a shift in Opeth’s musical style with more mellow passages, while Porcupine Tree would also get some heaviness out of it as well.

“Blackwater Park” did not chart in the United States or United Kingdom but it is seen as the commercial breakthrough for the band.

Opeth at this point in time was Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocals, guitar and acoustic guitar, Peter Lindgren on guitar, Martín Méndez on bass and Martin Lopez on drums.

Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree does clean and backing vocals on “Bleak”, “Harvest”, “The Funeral Portrait”, and “The Drapery Falls”, piano, additional guitar, record producer, engineering and mixing.

The Leper Affinity

Music and lyrics written by Mikael Åkerfeldt.

First, I am not a huge fan of death metal vocals. I tolerate them because I want to hear good riffs. And there are a lot of good riffs and leads here. On occasions it feels like I am listening to a Megadeth album or a Dream Theater/Fates Warning album.

At 4.50, there is an acoustic section that comes in with clean tone vocals. It sounds ominous. And when they build it up, the ominous sound is still there.

Then at 6.10, this Tool like riff kicks in. Press play to hear it.

The last minute is a sombre piano lounge piece.

At 10.26 it’s a massive opening song for an album.

Bleak

Music and lyrics written by Mikael Åkerfeldt.

I like the way this starts. Its progressive but groove orientated.

At 3.28, it’s got this alternative metal vibe with clean tone vocals from Wilson and I like it. And it moves in between acoustic rock and heavy metal. But. By the end of it, its chaotic dissonance.

At 9.15, the first two songs clock in over 20 minutes.

Harvest

Music and lyrics written by Mikael Åkerfeldt.

The second shortest song at 6 minutes with strummed acoustic riffs.

The Drapery Falls

Another 10 plus minute track with music and lyrics written by Mikael Åkerfeldt.

It’s got acoustic guitars, psychedelic fuzzed out leads and clean tone singing.

It’s got progressive riffs and death metal singing.

And more grooves than a vinyl record.

Dirge for November

Written by Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren. The dirge comes out to 8 minutes.

The acoustic guitar is there again and it feels like a Led Zeppelin cut in the first two minutes, think “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”.

That section at 4.30 to 4.40 is brief but I like its classical feel. The last two minutes is similar to the intro, but more jazzy.

The Funeral Portrait

Music and lyrics written by Mikael Åkerfeldt.

At almost 9 minutes long, its full of riffs and acoustic guitars.

The dissonance of the tritone is all over this track.

The whole acoustic intro reminds me of Slayer and “Seasons In The Abyss” while the riff that crashes in afterwards is very Dream Theater like from the “Images And Words” album.

And I like it.

Patterns in the Ivy

A 2 minute instrumental written by Mikael Akerfeldt.

Think of the intro of “Diary Of A Madman” with some piano melodic leads.

Blackwater Park

The title track at 12 minutes long. Written by Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren.

The intro that starts it of is hard rock.

There is this clean tone instrumental section which is a fusion of jazz and classical. The riff that crashes in after it is perfect and head banging.

If there is a complaint, there are too many long songs with not a lot of variation. But from a guitar players point of view, there are a lot of cool riffs to unpack and learn.

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2001 – Part 5.4: Stabbing Westward – Stabbing Westward

My favourite album from Stabbing Westward. It was my first proper listening experience from them. I purchased the single, “So Far Away” and then downloaded a copy of the album before purchasing it.

And it’s not on Spotify which pisses me off. But of course YouTube has all the music.

What’s the deal with the cover?

If your making a statement about a self-titled album, is that the cover you want to advertise it?

After this album, I went back to listen to their earlier stuff via various Cyberlockers, Limewire, AudioGalaxy sites.

They needed to press the reset switch on their career.

How much more darker do they want to go?

The first album was called “Ungod,” the second was called “Whither, Blister, Burn and Peel” and the third was called “Darkest Days.” And for a name like “Stabbing Westward” I didn’t expect to hear a pop rock album.

They had three albums with Sony and two of em achieved a Gold certification from the RIAA. But they signed with an independent label after that in Koch Records.

Their new manager wanted the band to create an album with a heavy pop influence. Christopher Hall, Walter Flakus, and Mark Eliopulos fought against this decision. Somehow the manager had more power within the band than the actual band members and guitarist Mark Eliopulos was fired by the manager who brought in Derrek Hawkins as both a studio and live musician, as well as a new producer, Ed Buller.

For this album, Stabbing Westward is Christopher Hall – vocals, Derrek Hawkins – guitar, Jim Sellers – bass, Walter Flakus – keyboards and Andy Kubiszewski – drums.

Released on May 22, 2001, the album did well in Australia, but ultimately failed to sell worldwide like their previous albums. They got put on a tour opening up for “The Cult” however the label told them to drop out as they were wasting their money being the opening band on a tour that wasn’t setting any attendance records and to wait around for a better offer.

So Far Away

The themes of anger, hurt, regret and despair are still there in the lyrics, however the music is straight ahead heavy rock and the vocal melodies could have come from an 80’s hard rock album.

Perfect

A strummed acoustic guitar which reminds me of Tonic. It’s a happy song about Hall’s girlfriend. I guess she was just perfect.

I Remember

My favourite song on the album. It’s a soft rock song with a simple D to Bm to A to G chord progression and a haunting vocal melody. It also reminds me of tracks from Porcupine Tree like “Lazarus” and “Trains” hence the reason why I probably like it.

Wasted

As good as any hard rock song that did the charts before and after. Most people associate it with drugs, but it’s not. It’s about looking back at your life so far and seeing how the decisions you made in the past lead to you burning so many bridges and feeling lonely.

Happy

Oasis wasn’t writing songs like this anymore.

Do the same old demons haunt just me?

Sometimes it’s hard to escape the past and the feelings you have to those occasions.

The Only Thing

It reminds me of The Verve and that alternative soft rock.

Angel

Very similar to “Wasted” in feel.

Breathe You In

An acoustic guitar riff reminiscent to The Verve and Oasis.

High

A short drum intro and then an aggressive Bush/Live like vibe kicks in with the main riff.

Television

It sounds like a cut from “The Tea Party” and it’s a nod to their past albums.

Is anyone alive / Or am I lost in a world where nothing matters / Am I lost in a world where no one cares

I suppose the question can be asked about again about social media and all the noise that comes with that.

Last Time

A bonus track for the Australian and Japanese edition. It has a “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” vocal vibe in the verses.

This record made me a fan. But. Before a fifth LP could be recorded, the band disbanded on February 9, 2002.

Vocalist Christopher Hall started a band called “The Dreaming” and by 2016, that band had Walter Flakus and Mark Eliopulos in the fold. In other words, three/fifths of Stabbing Westward. So it was just a matter of time before Stabbing Westward reunited. First for a reunion tour and in 2022, they dropped a new album called “Chasing Ghosts”.

Welcome back.

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2001 – Part 5.3: Bon Jovi – One Wild Night Live 1985–2001

“One Wild Night Live 1985–2001” was released in May 2001.

It’s compiled from different shows. In Australia, we also got a Bonus disc of songs recorded live in Australia. The release I have is known as the “Australian Exclusive Collector’s Edition” and the bonus disc has five songs from a March 24, 2001 show in Melbourne.

Tico Torres behind the kit needs more respect. He is a beast, happy to keep the beat when he needs to and when they jam the songs out, he’s brilliant at improvising. Richie Sambora likes to solo and on this album there are some songs which have decent outro solos like “Keep The Faith”. It’s things like this that makes the live show unique.

Jon Bon Jovi vocally is on form and having a blast. The 1985 recordings of “Runaway” and “In And Out Of Love” from Tokyo, Japan are gold, showing a band hungry for success and using that fire to light up the stage.

And I forgot how good songs like “Just Older” and “Something To Believe In” are. There are seen as deep cuts now behind all the Top 10 hits.

It’s My Life

Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Max Martin, the Desmond Child like persona from 1998 to current. The song was recorded in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November27, 2000.

Derivative or not, this song saved Jovi by renewing its audience. The 80’s fans remained and suddenly a whole new generation of kids joined them on the backs of this song.

Livin’ on a Prayer / You Give Love a Bad Name

It’s time in the set list to play some songs written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child. These two songs are from the Zurich, Switzerland show on August 30, 2000.

In 1998, Child sold his rights to these songs and other Jovi songs plus songs he wrote for other artists like Kiss and Alice Cooper to name a few. It was basically his whole catalogue up to 1997. He know wishes he hadn’t sold his rights as he has seen how much these songs make these days.

Keep the Faith

Another Jovi, Sambora and Child cut from New York City, United States on September 20, 2000.

Sambora is shredding his way through it and Tico Torres is thundering behind the kit, keeping up with the faster tempo.

Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night

The Jovi, Sambora, Child cuts keep coming. This recording is from Melbourne, Australia on November 10, 1995. The band is even more on fire here, with Jovi brilliant vocally. The increase in tempo makes the song a lot better as I wasn’t a huge fan of the studio cut.

Rockin’ in the Free World

A Neil Young cover from Johannesburg, South Africa on December 1, 1995. The tempo is increased and it sounds a lot better.

Something to Believe In

Written by Jovi and recorded from a show in Yokohama, Japan on May 19, 1996.

This one is a hidden deep cut in the Bon Jovi live set lists. I don’t think it gets played anymore but it’s a crowd favorite.

The beat from Tico sets the groove, while Sambora, Bryan and McDonald set the sombre tone.

Stick around until the Chorus kicks in to hear Jovi sing the melodies with Sambora doing the hey, hey, hey backing chants.

Wanted Dead or Alive

A Jovi and Sambora cut from a show in New York City, New York on September 20, 2000. As you would expect from this song, it has a little acoustic improvisation at the start before it kicks in.

Sambora on the lead is always perfect. His pinch harmonics, bends, palm muted notes and legato licks have a life of their own.

Runaway / In and Out of Love

From Tokyo, Japan on April 28, 1985.

“Runaway” is written by Jovi and George Karak, while “In And Out Of Love” is listed as written by Jovi. Alec John Such is on bass and backing vocals on these tracks. Remember him. The forgotten bass player, written out of Bon Jovi history.

The band is hungry and on fire on these songs. JBJ even brings out the falsetto for the “Runaway” outro.

The things a younger voice could do?

Before “In And Out Of Love” starts there is some guitar doodling and then the song starts, which is a bit different to how it normally starts and after a minute or so, the song we know begins. And I like the tempo increase. It’s only slight but man doesn’t it change the song from pop rock fare to hard rock fare.

I Don’t Like Mondays (featuring Bob Geldof)

A Bob Geldof cover recorded in Wembley, London, United Kingdom on June 25, 1995. I didn’t like the original version, so this did nothing for me.

Just Older

How good does this sound?

Written by Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon. It was recorded from the Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2000. It’s another cut now known as a deep cut.

Something for the Pain

A Jovi, Sambora, Child cut recorded in Melbourne, Australia on November 10, 1995.

It sounded better on the CD then it did live. Some songs work live and some don’t. The “These Days” Australian tour took Bon Jovi out of the arenas and into the stadiums. The Sydney gig was at the Eastern Creek Raceway. It’s a crap venue for live music and terrible to get to via public transport. It was a horrible experience a few years before for Guns N Roses and Skid Row, so I skipped any band that played that venue after Gunners.

And thank god that no act plays at that venue anymore.

Bad Medicine

The band should have changed their name to Jovi, Sambora and Child. As most of the big cuts are written by the these three dudes. This is from the Zurich, Switzerland on August 30, 2000. It’s basically an undercover 12 bar blues rocker.

One Wild Night (2001)

And the CD finishes with a new studio cut of “One Wild Night”. The cut is also written by Jovi, Sambora and Child . It’s faster and more party like. You can tell that by playing it live, they enjoyed the increased tempo, so why not capture that power and passion in the studio.

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2001 – Part 5.2: Slipknot – Iowa

“Iowa” is the second studio album by Slipknot, released by Roadrunner Records on August 28, 2001.

Produced by Ross Robinson and Slipknot but it’s Mike Fraser as the Engineer who deserves a special mention here. The guitars are downtuned a lot and somehow they don’t end up sounding muddled. Which gets me thinking that the placement of the microphones to record the guitars was pretty spot on for Andy Wallace in the mix department to give all 8 members space to do their thing.

The 1999 self-titled debut album took the Charts by surprise, so the pressure to deliver a worthy follow-up was at an all-time high.

Production for the album started with drummer Joey Jordison (RIP) and bassist Paul Gray (RIP) in October 2000. Most of the material was written during this time, while other members took a break after the extensive touring that had followed their debut.

By January 17, 2001, the whole band arrived and basically war was declared between each other. Fatigue was killing Jordison and Gray, while alcoholism and drug dependency was affecting Corey Taylor and the other members. On top of that they had management problems and a party culture full of women and narcotics.

Taylor even resorted to cutting himself with broken glass to achieve the desperation and doom in the vocal growls he wanted.

So if you don’t know Slipknot, they wear masks which obscure their faces and they are referenced with numbers.

(#8) is Corey Taylor on vocals, (#7) is Mick Thomson on guitars, (#6) is Shawn Crahan on percussion, backing vocals, editing, (#5) is Craig Jones on samplers, media, (#4) is Jim Root on guitars, (#3) is Chris Fehn on percussion, backing vocals, (#2) is Paul Gray on bass, backing vocals, (#1) is Joey Jordison on drums and (#0) is Sid Wilson on turntables.

Basically the album is a result of guys who hated each other, the world and the world hated them back. Welcome to “Iowa”.

People = Shit

Great title and a great way of the band saying to people “F off and leave us alone”.

Disasterpiece

Press play to hear the head banging intro.

“My Plague” and “Everything Ends” I normally skip.

The Heretic Anthem

The 6-6-6 chant in the song is reminiscent of other songs from notable acts.

Track 7, I skip.

Left Behind

The best song on the album for me, because of the clean tone vocals. Who knew that Corey Taylor could sing that good back in 2001, as Stone Sour was a few years away from releasing their debut.

Tracks 9 to 13, I skip.

Iowa

The closer at 15 minutes. It’s a Tool like dirge through desolation, doom and darkness. At some stages, it feels like the music if a demented soul.

I tried to like this album because of just how popular it became around the world. Gold Certifications in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan and Netherlands. Platinum certifications in Canada, the UK and the US.

Apart from “Left Behind” and “Iowa” there was nothing else here for me to grasp onto.

But, I did find the lyrics refreshing and totally different from what I was used to, which is a big reason why I kept giving Slipknot a chance.

If you like hard rock music then you won’t like this, as it borders on death and thrash metal with nu-metal influences.

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2001 – Part 5.1: The Calling – Camino Palmero

The Calling, was formed by Alex Band (lead vocals) and Aaron Kamin (lead guitar, backing vocals).

They weren’t a modern alternative rock band to start off, with David Matthews Band style influences. But, next door to Alex Band, was Ron Fair, a music business executive.

Imagine that, your neighbour was a Chairman at Geffen Records, then Virgin Records and prior to Geffen, he was President of A&M Records and held Senior Positions at RCA Records, Chrysalis Records and EMI Records.

On top of that he was also known as a “mentor” to unsigned artists. Apart from The Calling, other artists he mentored that made it to major label releases are Christina Aguilera, Vanessa Carlton, Keyshia Cole, The Black Eyed Peas and Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls.

Between 1996 and 1999, the guys kept writing and demoing, and by 1999, Ron Fair was impressed enough to sign them to a deal with RCA.

The name of the band was originally, “Generation Gap”, then “Next Door” and after getting signed, they became “The Calling”.

Their sound through the years morphed to be more influenced by Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind, early Maroon 5, Train and Fastball.

The RCA deal was huge for a band that hadn’t played any shows whatsoever, nor did they have a fan base. I suppose it pays dividends to live in the same suburb as a record label exec.

And Ron Fair, just kept working with em over that two year period until they had the songs ready to record an album.

The players on the album, joining Band and Kamin are Sean Woolstenhulme on rhythm guitar, Billy Mohler on bass and Nate Wood on drums.

The debut album “Camino Palmero” was released in July 2001 and was a commercial success. The cover art of the album represents platforms 5 and 6 of the Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence, Italy but the name of the album comes from a LA street where the Band and Kamin first met.

All tracks are written by Alex Band and Aaron Kamin, except “Stigmatized” which was co-written with Eric Bazilian.

Unstoppable

As soon as the song starts its recognizable and when I heard the strummed acoustic guitar in the verses, “Alone” from Heart came to mind straight away.

A great opener but it is lost in the world of streaming right now as it doesn’t even rate a mention in their Top 5 streamed songs on Spotify.

Nothing’s Changed

It reminds me of Bush.

Wherever You Will Go

The big hit at 429.6 million streams on Spotify. And the acoustic version of the song has 33.8 million streams.

The vocal melody is catchy and I like the way it moves between acoustic arpeggios, strummed acoustic guitars and then a light distortion in the Chorus.

Could It Be Any Harder

I like the country rock ballad feel on this and the vocal reminds me of Lifehouse. Four songs in, its a 4 punch knockout.

Final Answer

The acoustic alt rock style is evident here, more Tonic and Lifehouse and man, I dig it.

Adrienne

More Matchbox 20 like.

We’re Forgiven

If you are a country then this song would resonate, however it’s a skip for me.

Things Don’t Always Turn Out That Way

It’s got a cool start, with a progression reminiscent to “Glycerine” from Bush and a Fastball “The Way” chorus.

Just That Good

It’s a skip for me.

Thank You

Press play for the Chorus.

Stigmatized

A great closer with a nice vocal. It sounds like a lot of alt rock/soft rock bands, but I don’t care.

In a post Napster world, the album did rack up a few certifications along the way. Brazil is one of the biggest markets when it comes to piracy and the country made the album a Platinum success. So did the UK and Italy. Canada and the US, gave it a Gold certification.

In November 2003, former members Wood and Mohler sued Band, Kamin, and the group’s management, accusing them of mismanagement, fraud, and asking for an audit of the money that was spent during their tenures in The Calling.

They claimed that they were promised a share of the royalties and profits from touring and merchandise. Band and Kamin claimed that the two were not entitled to any records of the royalties.

Their second album “Two”, was released in June 2004.

But the album didn’t perform well commercially compared to the debut. Ron Fair was no longer Executive Producer, replaced by Clive Davis. Davis was all about the hit, right now while Fair was more about career longevity. The record features the original members Alex Band and guitarist Aaron Kamin along with a variety of session musicians.

The band or duo broke up in 2005, but in 2013, The Calling reformed with a new line-up and they still operate today with a new album on the horizon.

But even that was bizarre as Alex Band in that same year, sued Aaron Kamin for “disappearing from the public eye” and Band wanted full rights to “The Calling” name and songs. But the case was dismissed only to resurface later when Band was promoting a “reunion” show which didn’t involve Kamin.

On top of that Band was almost beaten to death after a show that required a jaw bone reconstruction and three implants.

The music business is vicious. But check out the debut. It’s excellent.

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2001 – Part 4.7: Ill Nino – Revolution/Revolución

The late 90’s and early 2000’s was a time of pushing the limits of heavy metal music. From when I first came across metal albums in the 80’s, the genre had evolved so much that the bands classed as metal back then became totally unrecognisable to the new breed of bands doing the rounds.

Bands like Tool, Dream Theater, NIN, Ministry, Faith No More, Limp Bizkit, Fear Factory, Korn, Creed, Disturbed, Slipknot, Mudvayne, Machine Head and Pantera pushed the genre forward during this period. Each act bringing into their sound something that wasn’t there before. Suddenly Metallica sounded like a pop band compared to these bands.

And then I came across Ill Nino. A fusion of Latin Flamenco rhythms and percussion with metal riffs and singing which moved between aggressive screaming and melodic singing.

On September 18, 2001, Ill Niño released their debut album, “Revolution Revolución”.

The album was a commercial success for Roadrunner Records, moving over 350,000 albums worldwide in the first two years after release.

The Personnel for the album is Cristian Machado on Vocals and Samples, Jardel Martins Paisante and Marc Rizzo on Guitar, Lazaro Pina on Bass, Dave Chavarri on Drums and Samples and Roger Vasquez on Percussion.

And seeing a person called DJ Skratch on Turntables as an additional musician will either scare people off or make them curious.

God Save Us

It’s like Groove Nu-Metal. Vocally its aggressive in the verses, with a melodic Chorus.

Check out the flamenco like interlude at 2.30.

If You Still Hate Me

It’s like Industrial Nu-Metal at the start.

But at the 2 minute mark a flamenco metal section appears and then a head banging circle pit riff afterwards. The movement between styles is why this album got my attention.

Unreal

Distorted guitars and Latin percussion working to create something unique.

Nothing’s Clear

Screaming verses and a melodic Chorus. The duality of modern American metal at the start of the new century.

And chuck in a Bridge delivered in Spanish.

What Comes Around

The most catchiest song on the album. A Nu-Metal riff kicks it off, and then an atmospheric Korn like guitar riff in the verses, while the melodic singing carries the vocal melody.

Liar

The flamenco and percussion in the intro gives way to a Disturbed meets Limp Bizkit riff.

Rumba

The Latin percussion and distorted guitars is a delightful mash up. Vocally, the screaming loses me and the melodic singing re-captures my interest.

Predisposed

I like the Intro riff on this. Its head banging groove metal.

I Am Loco

Who isn’t loco these days?

No Murder

Press play to hear one guitar play a riff on the higher registers while another plays chords.

Rip Out Your Eyes

So much violence.

Revolution/Revolución

The intro riff is head banging heavy.

With You

It’s a flamenco acoustic rock cut. Santana is not the only musician that plays this style, but he is one of the biggest crossover artists, and because of that, this song reminds me of Santana.

The next album “Confession” is a lot more melodic and my favourite but if you want to start with something, then start with this.

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2001 – Part 4.6: Within Temptation – Mother Earth

Within Temptation is a Metal band from Holland.

Their style of Metal has symphonic influences.

It was “The Heart Of Everything” album released in 2007 that made me a fan especially the song “What Have You Done”. And I wanted to hear more.

“Mother Earth” is the second studio album released on 24 December 2000 in the Netherlands, and 21 August 2001 in other parts of Europe.

It was a sleeper hit in Holland, reaching the number 3 spot, two years after it’s release and in the backs of the second single “Ice Queen”.

Wikipedia tells me how the band was enthralled by a movie at that time called “Braveheart” and the Celtic influences are very evident.

The band is Sharon den Adel on vocals, Robert Westerholt on rhythm guitar and vocals on “Mother Earth” and spoken words on “The Promise”. Michiel Papenhove is on lead guitar, Jeroen van Veen on bass, Martijn Westerholt on keyboards and Ivar de Graaf on drums.

Mother Earth

It’s soundtrack music. Medieval like “Braveheart”.

Ice Queen

It’s a hard rock song, with the symphonic elements. Vocally Sharon den Adel is very Kate Bush like and early Pat Benatar.

Our Farewell

It’s a piano piece. Evanescence would become famous on their “My Immortal” ballad, but Within Temptation was doing it earlier.

Caged

The start reminds me of “The Last Samurai”.

The Promise

When the distorted guitar riff kicks in with the Symphony, I am reminded of S&M from Metallica.

Never-ending Story

A piano riff that keeps reminding me of movies.

Deceiver of Fools

The symphonic choir starts it off. When the vocals come in, they are operatic.

But Press play on this to hear how the guitars kick in at the 2 minute mark. Powerful and emotive.

Intro

It’s like a horror/thriller soundtrack.

Dark Wings

This song is excellent. A mixture of progressive Metal with the symphonic

Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon plays the guitar solo.

But press play to hear Sharon den Adel do these exotic like ohs and ahs vocals between 1.50 and 2.20.

In Perfect Harmony

The song is in a Major key so it has that happy vibe to end the album. You know those end scenes in movies when the goodies have won and the end credits roll.

By the end of it, I felt like I was at the movies. The music is cinematic and grand.

And the rise was starting. Austria, Belgium, Holland, German, Norway and Switzerland were on board. This is how artists did it. A few places at a time.

In relation to certifications, the album was certified Platinum in Holland and Gold in Belgium and Germany.

Check em out.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

2001 – Part 4.5: Skillet – Alien Youth

It was the “Comatose” album released in 2006 that made me a fan of Skillet and I followed em up to to “Rise” album released in 2013.

And although I listened to “Unleashed” released in 2017 and “Victorious” from 2019, I didn’t really feel the need to relisten to em.

And when I went looking at their back catalogue I was surprised how much their sound had evolved.

“Alien Youth” is their fourth album released in 2001. Their sound on this is like industrial rock.

The band for this album is John Cooper on vocals, bass, sampling and programming, Korey Cooper on keyboards, sampling and programming, Lori Peters on drums, Kevin Haaland on guitars (except “Earth Invasion”) and Ben Kasica on guitars (“Earth Invasion”).

Alien Youth

It reminded me of Motley Crue’s “Generation Swine” album. And I like that connection.

Vapor

It reminds me of the whole “industrial rock” movement.

Earth Invasion

The best song on the album.

Very “Smells Like Teen Spirit” like.

You Are My Hope

The usual ballad.

It’s catchy and derivative.

Eating Me Away

A fuzzed out bass riff dominates the verses and once the Chorus kicks in, it’s Stabbing Westward and Korn like.

Kill Me, Heal Me

I like it’s swinging drum groove in the verses. I’ve heard Good Charlotte songs with these kind of beats and melodies, but they came after this.

Otherwise it’s all grunge rock.

The Thirst Is Taking Over

My favorite song on the album.

The verses have a programmed drum beat with clean tone and lightly delayed guitars.

And in the Chorus, there’s a distorted and fuzzed out guitar.

One Real Thing

The Chorus is hard rock and it has this “Teenage Dirtbag” vibe.

Stronger

Nirvana meets Ministry.

It has some cool riffs to jam on but lyrically it’s a bit cliched with the repeating “my god is strong” melody.

Rippin’ Me Off

It starts off terribly, with programming and sampling. Then a Nirvana like riff kicks in.

It’s a response to Marilyn Manson and his views on God being dead.

Check out the chorus. It’s heavy and angry.

You say that God is dead but you’re rippin’ me off/ You can’t infect my mind with your vanity/ You’re rippin’ me off!

Will You Be There (Falling Down)

This is a great ballad.

It feels like Bryan Adams and Celine Dion are singing it.

Come My Way

The closer. it starts off with a piano riff that sounds like it came from a soundtrack.

And it’s more hymn “Hallelujah” like.

They are labeled as a Christian Rock act, but they delivered an album that people from all walks of life would like.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2001 – Part 4.4: Staind – Break The Cycle

Aaron Lewis has been in the news recently. He is touring in the U.S for his “Frayed At Both Ends” Country album, getting criticized for playing the same song at a gig twice and a few months ago he released a song called “Am I The Only One” in which he expressed his political views and questioned the patriotism of Bruce Springsteen.

Music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz didn’t like it and Lefsetz called out Lewis and his label boss Scott Borchetta. However Borchetta in an open letter back to Lefsetz, said that even though Lewis and Borchetta have opposing political views, Borchetta is not going to cancel or drop Aaron Lewis.

Moving away from “Politics 2021”, back in the early 2000’s, Lewis was busy writing and recording “Break the Cycle”, the third studio album by Staind. Released through Elektra and Flip Records in 2001, it is Staind’s most successful album to date, and it was the album that broke them into the mainstream.

Supported by Fred Durst who signed them to his Flip Records label originally, they had the fortunate or maybe unfortunate tag as Durst prodigies. The debut album, “Tormented” was ignored by the press, but Elektra wanted a piece of the action and “Dysfunction” is the result of major label support.

Then came “Break The Cycle”.

At 28 years of age, Aaron Lewis had lived and experienced enough sadness and happiness to put his life and thoughts into his lyrics.

A total of 5 singles were released from this album, “It’s Been Awhile”, “Fade”, “Outside”, “For You” and “Epiphany”, all of which did reasonably well.

On a side note, the album did cost $800K to make and Elektra along with Flip Records, just weren’t sure they would even get close to recouping.

But in its first three weeks, it sold over a million copies in the U.S. Currently it is certified 5x Platinum for U.S sales. In Canada and New Zealand it was certified 2x Platinum and in the U.K it was certified Platinum. In Australia and Sweden it was certified Gold.

And the label is still saying that Staind owe em money.

The band for the album is Aaron Lewis on Lead vocals and Rhythm guitar, Mike Mushok is on Lead Guitar, Johnny April is on Bass and Jon Wysocki on Drums.

Open Your Eyes

It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde. The lush strummed lightly dirty electric guitar which is the verse riff and part of the intro is calm and beautiful.

The riff that kicks in with the natural harmonics and downtuned riffing is aggressive and ugly. Sonically they just don’t go but the jarring difference works this time around.

Pressure

Written by Staind and producer Josh Abraham.

It has metal like riffs and a verse that is very Grunge like.

Fade

One of their best songs.

The bass groove is great and the way the guitar decorates the spaces shows the skills of Mike Mushok.

And of course, Aaron Lewis is more than capable of crafting and carrying a vocal melody.

It’s Been Awhile

I suppose this was the song that got a lot of people to check out Staind and at 194.497 million streams on Spotify it’s remained in the conversation and the various playlists.

Change

A huge metal like riff starts it off before the clean tone verses kick in.

The Pre-Chorus or is it the Chorus, feels like it could come from a Bush song.

Can’t Believe

Not a favourite. It sounds like the vocals are screamed through a loudspeaker and it does nothing for me.

Epiphany

An Aaron Lewis cut, as the acoustic guitar is prominent with a haunting vocal melody.

Suffer

It’s a hard rock riff however the down tuning and phrasing makes it sound like it isn’t.

Warm Safe Place

It’s just down-tuned too much, that the riff sounds like a muddled mess.

For You

My favourite track on the album.

That opening riff is good enough to challenge some of the best metal riffs from the 80’s.

Outside

Lewis again brings his acoustic guitar and melodies to the table.

The song has 95.057 million streams on Spotify.

Waste

A simple drum groove starts it off, almost jazz blues like. A clean tone guitar plays the riff and Lewis delivers his emotive vocal melody.

In the Chorus, the distorted guitar dynamic kicks in before it moves back to the subdued clean tone verses.

Take It

Another killer riff to start it off.

If there is a problem with the album, it’s the down tuning. On some songs it is excessive, to the point that it sounds muddled. But when they get it right, the songs elevate themselves and the slower acoustic pieces add a lot of variety.

Regardless of political alliances, Aaron Lewis does have a great voice. There are YouTube videos in which he covers “Black” by Pearl Jam and “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger live.

Lyrically, he’s copped a lot of flak for his lyrics to the point that people have called em depressive, but then again, no one said that life is all sunshine, happiness and smiling selfies in exotic locations.

Press play on this and start with “For You”.

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