A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories

2001 – Part 3.3: Avenged Sevenfold – Sounding The Seventh Trumpet

“Sounding the Seventh Trumpet” is the debut album by Avenged Sevenfold, released in 2001.

I started my journey with “City Of Evil” in 2005 and went forward with em. Sometime after the “Nightmare” album, I went back to listen to this one and “Waking The Fallen” as a tribute to The Rev. Even though he was the “drummer”, he was a lot more to the band. Just listen to the self titled album released in 2007 as proof.

This album was recorded on a $2,000 budget. The guys in the band had to have their individual parts down so they didn’t waste time. The Rev did his drum parts in one take. All the guitars are played by Zacky Vengeance as Synyster Gates was not in the band at that point in time. M. Shadows is the vocalist and bass is played by Justin Sane.

“To End the Rapture”

A short 90 second track to introduce the album and musical style. The first 50 seconds has some serious guitar virtuoso work.

“Turn the Other Way”

A lot of technical playing and progressive song writing as a Pantera style groove kicks off the song, while The Rev is channelling Vinnie Paul.

Musically it’s a thrash metal cut. Vocally, the screamo vocals don’t do it for me, however at 2.45, clean tone vocals kick in.

The section from 4.21 to the end is Maiden-esque musically and vocally. The last 30 seconds has a synth playing the chords as the harmony guitars fade away.

“Darkness Surrounding”

Musically its punk thrash. The Rev is a fucking machine on this and somehow he worked out how to put a drum solo into the song.

Check out the metal reggae section between the 3.00 and 3.25.

I dislike the scream vocals but enjoy the clean tone ones.

“The Art of Subconscious Illusion”

Another punk thrash song.

The intro is great to play on the guitar.

“We Come Out at Night”

I like the section from 1.20 to 1.40 musically, but dislike the screamo.

From 1.41 to 2.05, Shadows sings in clean tone and this same section comes back in at 3.18. The last 40 seconds is a piano playing the riff and Shadows singing in clean tone.

“Lips of Deceit”

Great riff to start the song. Actually the first 70 seconds are excellent.

But the screamo vocals don’t do anything for me and they detract from the excellent riffs.

“Warmness on the Soul”

My favourite song.

Excellent piano playing and emotive vocal melody leads the song. At 1.57, a country/southern rock solo kicks in. A highlight of the song.

“An Epic of Time Wasted”

It’s hard to listen to because of the screaming.

But the head banging riff from 2.50 to 3.09. Listen to it. And from then on, there are clean tone vocals and the song feels redeemed.

“Breaking Their Hold”

A fast pop punk drum beat starts the song. At 50 seconds it’s the shortest song. And it’s all screaming.

“Forgotten Faces”

Nice intro riff, but the screaming.

“Thick and Thin”

A skip.

“Streets”

The drum/bass groove to start the song gets me interested. After 33 seconds, it becomes a fast punk song. The good thing about this song is that Shadows is singing in clean tone and by now I wish most of the albums tracks were in clean tone.

“Shattered by Broken Dreams”

The closer.

An arpeggio acoustic guitar that reminds me of hard rock songs kicks starts the song. And for the first part of the song, Shadows is in clean tome. The guitar work is brilliant and The Rev plays those drums like they are part of him.

It reminds me of the 70’s closer tracks which experiment with different styles. Almost progressive like.

This one moves from slow rock to hard rock at 2.10. This time around, I didn’t mind the screaming vocals. And then it moves to speed metal, then groove metal and at 4.24 its back to slow rock and clean tone vocals.

I heard this album once circa 2010 in its entirety and today was my second time. I don’t like it. But I do have “To End The Rapture”, “Warmness On The Soul” and “Shattered By Broken Dreams” in my Avenged Sevenfold playlist. And the stuff they did after this album is so much better. But all bands need to start from somewhere.

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

2001 – Part 3.2: The Rasmus – Into

“In The Shadows” from their 2003 album “Dead Letters” made me a fan. And I followed em with each subsequent release after that.

Around 2013, I decided it was time to go back and listen to their earlier albums, before “Dead Letters”.

“Into” is their fourth studio album, released in 2001. When they broke through to the international markets and mainstream attention it was with “Dead Letters”, which was their fifth album. Imagine that. Five albums deep into your career and you are finally breaking through the borders of your homeland, which in this case is Finland.

With this album, The Rasmus continued to move away from their earlier sound and into a more hard popular rock sound with the mood of the album being more contemplative and melancholic. Also the songs are concise, trimmed to ensure that the majority are lean and under 4 minutes.

The Rasmus band is Lauri Ylönen on vocals, Pauli Rantasalmi on Guitar, Eero Heinonen on Bass and Aki Hakala on drums. Names that are hard to remember in the English language but that shouldn’t detract from the great musicians and songwriters they are.

“Madness”

A pop punk distorted riff kicks off the song.

I like the Pre-Chorus with its acoustic guitars and electric guitars dynamic and its auto-tuned vocal melody, which also acts as a fuzzed out guitar lead the second time the Pre-Chorus comes around.

At 2.27, a violin solo kicks in, which mimics the vocal melody and it keeps going until the song finishes with the vocal melody over it.

“Bullet”

A heavily processed guitar riff starts it oft and it’s sitting in the background when the normal music kicks in.

The verses remind me of Whitesnake, Muse, Scorpions and there is a pop song there as influence that I can’t think of.

The Chorus is typical of the Chorus’s that would appear on the subsequent albums.

I gotta leave to make you see I’m over you
‘Cos if I stay I’m number two anyway

What do you do when you still like the person but they don’t like you the same way anymore?

“Chill”

The clean guitar melody in the intro is catchy and it was that good, it would appear on other songs on later releases.

I gotta make a phone call to my best friends.
I gotta let them know that I’m leaving.
Everything behind me and politely I don’t wanna hurt their feelings, oh no.

The first three lines. It’s sung fast but so melodically.

You want to leave but you’re not sure. You are going out on your own with no safety net. And you don’t want to burn any bridges because if you do return, you would want to have those friendships kick-starting again.

Reading Tommy Bolin’s story, he hitchhiked, by himself at the age of 15, from his hometown to a bigger city to play with better musicians.

And every time when I painted my room
like a fool I hid my feelings.
And every time when I painted my room
I thought about leaving.

The Chorus hook. For all the talk these days about mental health, the issues of mental health are nothing new. They seeped into lyrics of songs since music was invented.

“F-F-F-Falling”

It was number 1 in Finland for three weeks.

At 3.52, it’s my favourite song. It’s what “Dead Letters” was built on. The staccato like intro riff is arena rock.

The verses then roll along with its strummed acoustic guitar being the main riff and a tasty distorted guitar playing some single note licks in between. It reminds me of songs from Collective Soul, The Wallflowers and Eagle-Eye Cherry (think “Save Tonight”).

F-F-F-Falling down with the sun
I can’t give it up
The night is calling me like a drum
I keep on F-F-F-Falling

The Chorus hook. Its anthemic.

At 2.01, the Bridge kicks in, and the way the vocals are layered is excellent.

At 2.35, it all quietens down, as it builds back up into the Chorus and the excellent Bridge. There is also a nice guitar lead buried in the mix which mimics the vocal melody.

“Heartbreaker”

Another masterpiece in pop rock song writing.

The intro I believe is played on a synth, and it sounds like an 80’s retro riff. Then the acoustic guitar kicks in with its strummed chords and the vocal melody.

Oh yeah, oh yeah. She wanted to be a heartbreaker
Oh yeah. She was so greedy but a lousy love maker

The Chorus is anthemic. The music is in a pop punk fashion, but the vocal melodies are hard rock.

She used to be the queen of the scene
She had a key but she lost it
Nothing’s gonna last and the time goes fast – she knows

Descriptive story telling. Maybe Warhol was right. We all will get some form of 15 minutes of fame. All the Kings and Queens of the past, don’t seem to hold their title for long.

“Smash”

The way it started off, with processed drums and phased/tremolo’d guitars, didn’t prepare me for the arpeggios to come in the verses and the melodic rock hooks vocally.

Understand that you’re holding a bomb in your hand
Take control, hand in hand with yourself from now on
Take this advice, aim to the skies

Is the bomb the person’s dreams and wishes?

“Someone Else”

It’s a great power ballad, about drinking blood off dinosaurs and other strange things. There has to be some peculiar metaphorical meaning behind it.

Check out the Chorus. It’s huge.

“Small Town”

The intro reminds me of Bon Jovi but then it goes into a “Teenage Dirt Bag” kind of verse with the Chorus going back to a Jovi feel.

“One & Only”

The intro reminds me of “Save Tonight” from Eagle-Eye Cherry.

Overall, the track is in the vein of the tracks to come on subsequent albums.

“Last Waltz”

A music box intro starts off this bolero waltz groove.

P.S. The album went 2x Platinum in Finland.

P.S.S. All ten tracks are listenable. There is no filler.

P.S.S.S. “Into” is their great leap album, bridging their past with something new to come and international success.

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2001 – Part 3.1: Hoobastank – Hoobastank

I saw a tab of “Crawling In The Dark” in a Guitar World magazine and the notes in the Intro Riff had a lot of similar notes and feel from the 80’s riffs I played like “Crazy Train” and “Lightning Strikes Again” from Ozzy and “Fighting For The Earth” by Warrior.

So I was interested.

The self-titled debut, released in 2001, is their first album on a label, however Hoobastank did release an album independently in 1998, called “They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To” which was more funk metal and ska punk in sound that the alternative rock of this album.

Hoobastank is Doug Robb on lead vocals, Dan Estrin on guitars, Markku Lappalainen on bass and Chris Hesse on drums.

The album is produced and engineered by Jim Wirt.

Vocalist Doug Robb grew up learning guitar and names Faith No More and Van Halen as his favourite bands.

Guitarist Dan Estrin grew up listening to his Dad’s 70’s and 80’s vinyl collection and he’s mentioned that “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns ‘N’ Roses inspired him to take up guitar.

Drummer Chris Hesse’s grew up playing the piano, guitar and then drums while bassist Markku Lappalainen had Finnish parents who exposed him to Iron Maiden and Megadeth. That’s parenting 101. He also discovered techno music and somehow all of those influences make up his style.

But Hoobastank sounds nothing like those bands, but if you listen you will hear bits and pieces of those bands in the Hooba-Mix.

Crawling in the Dark

It’s only 2.55 long. No filler on this song, just great riffage.

The intro/verse riff is based around 80’s riffs, played with a phaser/flanged effect and palm muted. Guitarist Dan Estrin showcases his abilities, but its bassist Markku Lappalainen and the way he phrases his bass riff which makes the different.

The Chorus is almost Staind like, when they are melodic.

The interlude/bridge part is head banging.

It’s a great crossover track and at 70+ million streams on Spotify, it’s a favourite on the service as well.

From a guitar point of view, Estrin rented several guitars for the recording of the first album and the PRS Custom 24 guitar became his mainstay as it sounded killer. A few years later, while on tour, PRS touched base with him and he got a custom PRS built.

Remember Me

Estrin shines again on this track.

After 22 seconds of ambient noise, the bass and drums kick in with the verse groove. But the song really shines when Estrin kicks in. His guitar playing reminds me of Carl Bell from Fuel on this track.

The riff in the Chorus when Robb sings, “do you remember me?” reminds me of Stabbing Westward.

At 2.26, it kicks into a Bridge. At first it’s clean tone and when Estrin kicks in with the distortion at 2.48, its head banging time with Robb singing “you’re never going to be a part of me”. And they close the song off with that riff.

Running Away

At 2.58, it’s all killer music and no fat at all as an acoustic guitar starts the song, strummed.

The Chorus. Excellent and anthemic with a riff which ascends, like “Hero Of The Day” does from Metallica when Robb sings, “Why are you running away?”.

Check out the fast arpeggios after the Chorus. I want em to go longer, but Hoobastank is a lean machine on this record, delivering concise songs, with the majority of em under 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Pieces

So much happening in the intro riff here. It’s like Faith No More, Linkin Park, Fuel and Incubus amalgamated.

The interlude from 1.58 is head banging and loaded with groove. When Robb starts singing “suffocating, sinking further” it reminds me of the melodies of Maynard Keenan from Tool.

Four punch combo so far.

Let You Know

Clean tone arpeggios but it’s not a ballad.

The bass playing from Lappalainen is excellent and the drums from Hesse are on an acoustic kit but with a techno element in the verses.

But the Chorus. Brilliant. Hard rock to a tee and sounding like 90’s Aerosmith.

At 1.58, Estrin goes into a melodic passage with a digital delay added and it’s the best thing The Edge had created during this period that didn’t come from this fingertips.

Better

The intro riff is the standard derivative Nu-Metal riff.

The Chorus with its mix of clean tone arpeggios and distortion reminds me of Fuel.

Ready for You

A Mark Tremonti inspired riff appears in the first 19 seconds before it moves to a major key riff that reminds me of songs that Autograph did on the debut album. Good Charlotte used these kind of riffs on their albums as well. And every Frontiers release over the last two years would have a song with a riff like this.

And the Tremonti inspired riff is all over the song, popping up between sections.

Up and Gone

An octave and busy bass riff kicks the song off.

Listen to when Estrin kicks in with this riffs, how he decorates a super heavy distorted riff with open strings, natural harmonics, bends and fast palm muted chords on his dropped D guitar.

And Jim Matheos was doing a similar style of riff decorating in Fates Warning during this time. Just listen to the “Disconnect” album released in 2000. Then again, Steven Wilson was doing the same in Porcupine Tree from the late 90’s.

The album could have ended here.

But there’s still more.

Too Little Too Late

It could come from a Creed album.

Hello Again

Another track with a Creed like sound.

To Be With You

It’s got an Incubus feel, rock with a jazz/funk feel. Estrin shows his varied guitar style, purely within a clean tone setting.

Give It Back

This track is ferocious and full of energy, like the Collective Soul heavy grooves. The interlude reminds me of “Linkin Park”,

Losing My Grip (Japanese Bonus Track)

This track should have been on the normal release. When the distorted riff kicks in from the 40 second mark, it reminds me of Papa Roach and “Last Resort” which also reminds me of Bruce Dickinson/Iron Maiden and “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter”.

The Chorus is like those Oasis/Alanis Morissette type of Chorus’s.

The last thirty seconds sees Estrin kick in with a little melodic riff/lead.

The Critic (Japanese Bonus Track)

A jazz style drum groove starts the song before the acoustic guitar kicks in, for a song which reminds of Incubus.

For their label debut, this is an excellent album. By October 2002, it was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

Then in 2003, “The Reason” came out. And we all know what happened after that. But that story is for another time.

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2001 – Part 2.7: Creed – Weathered

Released in 2001.

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.

“Bullets”

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.

“Freedom Fighter”

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.

“Signs”

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”.

“My Sacrifice”

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”

“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.

“Hide”

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.

If you haven’t heard this album get to it.

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2001 – Part 2.6: Nickelback – Silver Side Up

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.

Never Again

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.

How You Remind Me

Billboard celebrated the 2001 year recently and they interviewed Chad Kroeger, asking him a lot of questions about this song and how it came to be.

Woke Up This Morning

Check out the intro/verse groove and riff.

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.

Too Bad

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”.

Just For

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.

Hollywood

The riff is heavy, reminding me of the “Sad But True” groove. Vocally, its more alternative, grunge like.

Money Bought

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.

Hangnail

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.

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2001 – Part 2.5: System Of A Down – Toxicity

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.

“Aerials”

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

“Toxicity”

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.

“Chop Suey”

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.

WTF..

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.

Wow.

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.

“Prison Song”

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.

“Needles”

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.

Okay.

Next.

“Deer Dance”

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.

“Jet Pilot”

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.

Yes.

“X”

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.

“Bounce”

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”.

“Forest”

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”.

“ATWA”

It’s melodic and heavy and the vocals are chaos personified.

“Science”

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.

“Shimmy”

It’s like classical and punk which rhymes education and fornication and indoctrination with nation.

“Psycho”

It movies between aggression and melody.

Like the lyrics which go “Psycho, groupie, cocaine, crazy”.

“Arto”

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.

\::/

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2001 – Part 2.4: Live – V

To me it’s all just rock music in the end.

“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”.

“Deep Enough”

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.

“OK”

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.

“Overcome”

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.

Because of “Throwing Copper”.

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2001 – Part 2.3: W.A.S.P – Unholy Terror

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”.

But.

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.

“Loco-Motive Man”

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.

“Unholy Terror”

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”.

“Charisma”

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.

“Euphoria”

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!”

“Raven Heart”

From the intro riff, which reminded me of “Schools Out”, I was hooked.

“Evermore”

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”

Crank it.

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2001 – Part 2.1: Tool – Lateralus

This album is huge in my life.

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 Grudge

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.

The Patient

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.

Schism

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

This meaning from Songmeanings sums it all up.

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.

Parabol/Parabola

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.

Lateralus

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.

“Triad”

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.

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

2001 – Part 1.5: Ozzy Osbourne – Down To Earth

This is the final album that makes up the 2001 – Part 1 post.

The first post was “In Search of Truth” from Evergrey. 

The second post was “Origin Of Symmetry” from Muse.

The third post was “Supercharger” from Machine Head.

The fourth post was “The World Needs A New Hero” from Megadeth.

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

“Facing Hell”

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. 

“Dreamer”

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.”

“Junkie”

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.

“Black Illusion”

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.

“Alive”

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.  

Check it out.

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