Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Official Bootlegs: LIVE Series: Los Angeles, California 5/18/98

This original Ytse Jam bootleg has not been re-released as a “Lost Not Forgotten Archive” yet.

This was recorded on the “Falling Into Infinity” tour. The band was James Labrie on vocals, John Petrucci on guitars, John Myung on bass, Mike Portnoy on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards.

The mighty Bruce Dickinson guests on vocals for the songs “Perfect Strangers” from Deep Purple and the Iron Maiden songs “The Trooper”, “Where Eagles Dare” and “Killers”. And yes that is him on the cover as well, making it look like he was the frontman instead of James LaBrie.

Ray Alder from Fates Warning also guests on “Pull Me Under”.

This was recorded live at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles on May 18, 1998. There are no touch ups here folks, just a soundboard recording which was then mastered. So you get it all, warts and all.

Lines In The Sand

The opener, from the “Falling Into Infinity” album.

Live they pushed the 11 minute run time to about 14 minutes. On the studio recording the soulful voice of Doug Pinnick appears in the Chorus, however live, that job fell to Mike Portnoy.

Petrucci delivers his emotive solo as expected and LaBrie acknowledges it by telling the audience “that is John Petrucci on guitar” after the solo finishes.

Burning My Soul

This song is a groove metal behemoth. It’s also from the “Falling Into Infinity” album.

The only thing you could do is press play and bang your head to it because the “pressure keeps burning my soul.”

Take The Time

They have fun with this classic from the “Images And Words” album.

It moves between metal, rock, jazz fusion, funk rock and progressive rock.

Live they also chuck in a lot of cover solos in the outro like “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen and “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin and the intro of “YYZ” by Rush.

Anna Lee

From the “Falling Into Infinity” album, it’s a piano ballad that does nothing for me, so it’s a skip for me here.

Speak To Me

This one was written for the “Falling Into Infinity” double album, but when the label said they only want one album, it was left off the list. I still don’t know how “Anna Lee” made it over this one.

Press play and enjoy.

It’s Dream Theater’s take on how 1980’s U2 would sound through the DT blender. And its performed brilliantly.

A Crack On The Mirror / Puppies On Acid

It’s an instrumental, combining various ideas.

It starts off with Derek Sherinian doodling on the keys, before he starts to play a riff which gets Portnoy to join and eventually the band. They play some sections from “The Mirror”, forming their own medley from the song.

I would rather have heard the song “The Mirror”.

Just Let Me Breathe

Not my favourite song from “Falling Into Infinity” so I would have preferred to hear something else.

Sequencing in live gigs is important, and apart from “Speak To Me”, the other songs like “Anna Lee”, “A Crack In The Mirror” and “Just Let Me Breathe” lose my interest.

Lie

This is DT putting the groove metal from Pantera into their blender.

Is Progressive Groove Rock a genre?

If it is, this song stands tall.

LaBrie is a bit hard to handle here vocally, but hey, if you want the studio recording, press play on the CD. I would rather take a ticket to the show instead.

Peruvian Skies

They set a standard with this song.

Every time they play it, they play parts of the songs that inspired and influenced the song, so you will hear excerpts of “Have A Cigar” by Pink Floyd and “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. Not a lot of artists would mash up Pink Floyd and Metallica but Dream Theater did and it’s called “Peruvian Skies”.

Then again, not of a lot of artists would show which song influenced them, in case they get a writ.

Press play to hear how they mash it all up.

John Petrucci Guitar Solo

I don’t like guitar solos on their own like this.

I really like how Petrucci started to incorporate his solo moment into a song, by extending the normal solo section of the song, like how he did with “Hollow Years” from “Live At Budokan”.

Pull Me Under

Ray Adler from Fates Warning guests on vocals here.

This is the song that made me a fan.

From a song writing point of view, the band takes the initial intro riff and they keep tweaking it throughout. It’s a great study in how to write different iterations of the same riff and same chordal sequence.

But they don’t do the clean tone intro here, they go straight into the riff that comes about a minute into the song.

Scarred

It’s an 11 minute prog rocker, with a lot of vocal highs. And it doesn’t help LaBrie that the song is sped up a little bit, which is a curse of performing live.

Musically some of the riffs that sounded a bit buried in the studio mix are high in the mix here and I like it.

A Change of Seasons IV: The Darkest Of Winters

A small 3 minute diversion into the mammoth “A Change Of Seasons”.

Ytse Jam

Ahh yes the instrumental that defined Majesty, the name of the band before Dream Theater.

Mike Portnoy Drum Solo

Like the John Petrucci guitar solo moment, I’m not a fan of individual drum solo’s as well. I would rather hear a song with some kick ass fills in between bars than to hear just the drums on their own.

Once the drum solo is done they go back into “Ytse Jam” for about 10 seconds before they start “New Millenium”.

New Millenium

It’s actually the opening track on the album, however it is played as the last song of the set before the encores begin.

Press play and enjoy it.

The first encore begins with Bruce Dickinson lending a hand on “Perfect Strangers”, “The Trooper”, “Where Eagles Dare” and “Killers’.

Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple cover)

How cool it would have been to get Bruce Dickinson up on stage.

You need to remember this is Bruce Dickinson in 1998. His return to Maiden and the “Brave New World” era wasn’t yet done.

It took a verse for the mixer dude to put up his microphone.

The Trooper (Iron Maiden cover)

How iconic is “you take my life and I’ll take yours too”.

Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden cover)

They started it and then they stopped after a few verses, as Bruce said, “fucked if I know, it’s been years since I’ve sung it”.

Killers (Iron Maiden cover)

And they go straight into this classic. I never saw it as a progressive track, but hearing it today, it’s definitely got a progressive attitude.

They did a couple of verses before they stopped it as well. And Bruce walked off with a laugh.

It’s a fun little encore section, almost jam like in its nature.

The second Encore begins they don’t play the full songs, just a medley.

Metropolis

From “Images And Words”, the song is a classic. But they don’t play the full song. So I’m not a massive fan of this medley.

Learning To Live

My favourite track from “Images And Words” but they only play sections.

Why write long songs of your just going to cherry pick certain sections of them to do a medley.

A Change Of Seasons VII: The Crimson Sunset

A fitting finale.

To get a re-release, they would need to get Bruce Dickinson’s approval to do so or they remove the songs that he sang and tried to sing.

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Official Bootleg: DEMO Series: The Majesty Demos 1985-86

The above is the cover from the 2003 release. The only place to buy these official bootleg albums was via the Ytse Jam website or at Dream Theater live shows.

While Official Bootlegs are all the rage these last few years with acts like Kiss, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick jumping on, Dream Theater were one of the first few to do an Official Bootleg series. Mike Portnoy was the brains behind this and was inspired by the work his favourite band Marillion did for the fans via the fan club (which Portnoy was also a member of).

But Portnoy had to get John Petrucci’s approval to proceed and once he got it, Ytse Jam Records was formed.

In 2003, three Bootlegs dropped and they kept on dropping while Portnoy was in the band.

But.

Once Portnoy was out, Ytse Jam records ceased to exist.

However the Petrucci led version of the band signed an agreement a few years ago with current record label InsideOut Music.

The purpose of the “Lost Not Forgotten Archives” is to re-release and reissue the entire Ytsejam Records catalogue and the fan club CDs, alongside some new unreleased material. All of the new re-releases will be sold on CD and vinyl, as well as being made available for digital streaming with all new artwork.

Like the terrible one below they did for “The Majesty Demos” re-release”.

“The Majesty Demos 1985-86” covers the initial formation period of Dream Theater, with the songs recorded on a 4 track tape recorder. It was released in 2003 by Ytse Jam records and re-released in 2022 via the Lost Not Forgotten Archives.

In September of 1985, John Petrucci and John Myung met up with Mike Portnoy at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston.

Within the first month of school, the two John’s saw Mike jamming in the practice room and introduced themselves. Besides having a common home base, they had similar tastes in music. They liked progressive, complex music like Rush, Yes, The Dixie Dregs, Frank Zappa and also loved heavy music like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Metallica and Queensryche.

It was just three college kids jamming and having fun. And it is captured on these recordings.

As Portnoy wrote in the CD booklet;

“the music on this very 1st Edition is the very first music we ever created together.

It is very raw (and sometimes even very embarrassing). The audio quality is usually fair at best. We had very limited recording resources available to us at the time.

In fact, we had only one resource at all; my trusty old Tascam 244 analog 4 track recorder that I received as a high school graduation present from my grandmother”.

None of these songs have even appeared on a proper studio album.

The CD booklet explains the tracks a little bit more. 

Particle E. Motion

At 1.38, a small instrumental that shows Petrucci playing arpeggios over a Myung bass groove.

The title alludes to the key of the song. The CD booklet mentions how it is the first thing they ever recorded on Portnoy’s 4 track, to break it in and figure out how to use the damn thing.

Another Won

This is the instrumental version of the song, with Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung, as Kevin Moore was not in the band at this point in time.

“This is where it all began” states the CD booklet. The first song the power trio wrote together.

Musically, it you like the first Queensryche album, early Maiden and Fates Warning, then you will like this song. The bass of Myung is boss here, with a dominant Steve Harris like sound.

Press play at 3.29 to hear the riff and how Petrucci builds it into a solo.

At 5 minutes in length, it’s a standard heavy metal cut, heavily influenced by Queensryche.

The Saurus

An 80 second instrumental which has Petrucci playing this jazz like chords. It’s almost lounge rock when the lead kicks in. It’s very Al DiMeola like.

Cry for Freedom

This song has not had an official release on any studio album. Musically this is Petrucci, Myung and Portnoy (let’s call em “PMP”) living in their Queensryche meets Rush world. And I like it. It’s very accessible.

It’s also the second song the Berklee boys wrote. The CD booklet mentions how much of a lead instrument the bass was when it was just the three of them.

The School Song

Song number three for the Berklee boys. A song that got left behind, and it has never been played live.

A major key riff kicks off the song, something which Petrucci likes to do a lot and its similar to some of the riffs he has written on studio songs like “Our New World” from “The Astonishing” album and “The Bigger Picture” from their self-titled album.

At 2.31, it has this minor key section which screams Iron Maiden. The CD booklet states the same.

The last few chords to end the song is how “Ytse Jam” starts.

YYZ

A Rush cover. It’s how all acts start out. Playing the songs from our heroes.

Portnoy even plays the keys on this.

It’s perfect and it shows how precise they are.

The CD booklet does state how they would jam, “La Villa Strangiatio”, “The Spirit Of Radio” and this one.

The Farandole

A Talas cover which is classical in nature. Who would have thought that almost 30 years later, Portnoy would be in a power trio combo with Billy Sheehan.

The CD booklet mentions that Talas was Portnoy’s and Myung’s favourite band during this period especially their “Live Speed On Ice” album.

I love reading stuff like this.

Two Far

Original song number 4. 

This is the instrumental version.

Musically its Dream Theater’s version of RushMaidenRyche.

Anti-Procrastination Song

A S.O.D. cover at 13 seconds long. Pointless, but hey, what else can you are young and have a 4 track recorder.

Your Majesty

They are still living in their Queensryche meets Rush world with a bit of Malmsteen chucked in. This is the instrumental version of the song.

It’s more of a straight forward type of song, maybe even commercial sounding.

This track was resurrected and played live in Paris in 2002 as a tribute to all of the French Fan Club members which goes by the Majesty name. A perfect way to honour their dedication to the band.

Tracks 11 to 17 are all little snippets no longer than 20 seconds as they play around with multi-tracking on the 4 track recorder.

The tracks in question are “Solar System Race Song”, “I’m About to Faint Song”, “Mosquitos in Harmony Song”, “John Thinks He’s Randy Song”, “Mike Thinks He’s Dee Dee Ramone Introducing a Song Song”, “John Thinks He’s Yngwie Song” and “Gnos Sdrawkcab”.

Each song starts off with Portnoy yelling the title and then you hear 4 tracks of Petrucci harmonizing. Portnoy makes mention in the CD booklet, “it’s amazing how incredibly tight John can double track his guitar leads and still is a master of that today”.

Now we get to the good bit. 

The rare “Majesty” demo with Chris Collins on vocals. He might have yelled, “Scream For Me Long Beach” while they played live and his stage presence and delivery might have been strained, but he does a pretty good job here to give the songs a unique Tate/Midnight vocal vibe.

The CD booklet mentions how the DT guys had a tape of Chris singing “Queen Of The Ryche” and they were in AWE of how perfectly he could hit those Tate notes (which Portnoy further elaborated, “unfortunately, it turned out that was about all he could do”.)

A friend from Berklee called James Hull also had a Tascam 246 and when they put the two four tracks together, they had a whopping 8 tracks to do a real demo.

They also wrote 3 new songs, the heavy and progressive “March of The Tyrant” and 2 more ballade-esque songs in Vital Star and the 11 minute epic power ballad “A Vision” which Portnoy mentions, has some really beautiful moments, not to mention an AMAZING guitar solo.

Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung recorded their tracks at Berklee. When school finished in May, they joined up with Kevin Moore and Chris Collins back on Long Island and added them to the tracks. Portnoy’s grandmother again came to the rescue and funded the band money to press 1000 cassettes.

And Portnoy mailed em and gave em to people who mattered.

Another Won

The delivery and recording of this is way superior to the instrumental version. The addition of the keys makes each section different.

But my favourite section (like the instrumental) starts around 3.37, when Petrucci starts the riff and then leads into the solo. The solo is even better than what he put down on the instrumental. His fast alternate picked lines are perfect this time around. 

Your Majesty

Myung’s bass sets the groove for everyone to follow. The addition of vocals is welcomed and Collins does a fantastic job.

The Chorus is very arena rock like and some of the vocal highs are ball squeezing.

The outro solo is perfect from Petrucci. Simple, melodic and a perfect way to end the song.

A Vision

My favourite track. A 11 minute metal tour de force. I would have loved to hear this with a proper studio release.

An Em(add9) arpeggio chord starts it all off. It builds until the whole band crashes in and Collins is doing all ohhs and woohs. Collins moves between a Dickinson meets Tate vibe here vocally. He sounds fresh.

The Petrucci solo which starts around the 6.30 mark is essential listening. The way he builds it with all the different techniques he employs is a wow moment. At the 8 minute mark it gets a bit more frantic and Petrucci is wailing, while the band is building with him.

The solo finally ends at 8.49 and I wasn’t bored not a second while it played.

But he wasn’t done. He produces another guitar hero solo to end the song. The chops at the age of 19/20 goes to show how competitive the 80’s era was for guitarists.

Two Far

A Neal Peart inspired drum groove starts off the song, and then it goes into a Malmsteen like riff.

The verses are very busy musically so it is difficult to put a vocal melody over it and while the guys tried, they didn’t really pull it off.

However the Chorus is catchy.

The solo section and the unison lines between the guitars and keys is a sign of things to come.

Vital Star

My next favourite. 

Collins does a good job in bringing this song to life vocally with his Tate like influences.

Musically, it is living in that Queensryche debut album sound except for the solo section which shows some of the progressiveness to come. And the outro solo from Petrucci is another great listen.

March of the Tyrant

The song is a mix of so many styles from the early 80’s. It has that exotic sounding Middle Eastern riff.

It definitely has that Rush element and how Alex Lifeson plays a power chord with the ringing E and B strings (DT does it more aggressively and distorted here), plus a lot more. There are musical elements of early Fates Warning, Megadeth, Metallica, Yngwie Malmsteen, Marillion, Yes and Iron Maiden. 

The solo section is very Holdsworth/Morse like over an Iron Maiden like rhythm section. And I like it.

I’ll end the post with how Portnoy ended his opening in the CD booklet; “I hope you can look past the occasional audio distraction and enjoy a glimpse of where we were at, what we were doing and where we were going.”

Back in 2003, this snapshot back in time was perfect. And I wanted more. Which I got. But that is for another post.

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The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Train Of Thought

Each Dream Theater album had touched on the sounds that I would class as Thrash Metal and Heavy Metal. But on “Train Of Thought” they decided to live in this metal/thrash world. And I liked it.

It begins with an album cover that has Black as its main colour screaming Metal. Then again, Pink Floyd did have a black cover for an album that sold multi millions and it had nothing to do with metal, more like dreamy acid rock.

“Train of Thought” was released on November 11, 2003 through Elektra Records before its parent company Warner Music Group decided to merge Elektra Records with Atlantic Records to become Atlantic Records Group in 2004, only to give the Elektra name a new lease of life in 2009 as an independent entity up until 2018, when WMG relaunched Elektra Music as a stand-alone, staffed music company, with labels like Roadrunner Records, Low Country Sound, Fuelled By Ramen and Black Cement under it.

As I Am

This song is a balls to the wall metal classic.

It starts off with the Black Sabbath riff to kick it off. Yes, it is that Black Sabbath riff.

Then it goes into an “Enter Sandman” like groove for the verses. It gets the foot tapping, and the head banging.

Dream Theater toured with Queensryche in 2003. At this point in time, Queensryche’s commercial zenith was in the past and Dream Theater’s star was still rising. Mike Stone was the guitarist in Queensryche, carrying out the Chris DeGarmo role. And Stone decided he should give John Petrucci tips on playing guitar.

Every time you hear the lyric line “Don’t tell me what’s in, tell me how to write”, just think of Mike Stone giving Petrucci tips.

I like the lead break. It is old school and it burns. There is no rhythm guitar track, just bass, keys and drums. Exactly what EVH did when he soloed on a lot of VH tracks.

Vocally, LaBrie is at his metal best. His voice might strain in the live arena, but in the studio, LaBrie is a master.

This Dying Soul

The feedback from “As I Am” segues into the fast groove metal of “This Dying Soul”.

Here, Mike Portnoy continues his “Twelve-Step Suite”, which started with “The Glass Prison” on “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence”.

For those who don’t know, “The Glass Prison” has the following sections; “I. Reflection”, “II. Restoration” and “III. Revelation”. “This Dying Soul” has the following sections; “IV. Reflections of Reality (Revisited)” and “V: Release”. All of the sections are steps in the Alcohol Anonymous Recovery program.

After the thrash-a-thon in the intro, the song gives way to a Tool like groove and vocal melody in the verses. And I like it.

There is this “Blackened is the end” vocal melody in “V:Release”. Once you hear it, you will recognise it. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the loud speaker rap like verses, but I do give full marks for incorporating new elements into their music.

And since these songs are part of the same universe they do share some of the lyrics and melodies.

Endless Sacrifice

The acoustic intro.

It can remind you of Pink Floyd or Pantera depending on your listening history. They touched on these kind of melancholic riffs in “Peruvian Skies” from “Falling Into Infinity”.

But, it is the Chorus that brings the energy.

Then at 4.56, all hell breaks loose as they make their way into the solo section of the song. It’s got this “Creeping Death” meets “Disposable Heroes” palm-muted patterns.

For 8 seconds between 6.28 to 6.36 it sounds like it came from a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon.

Check out the harmony section from 8.58 which gets em out of the solo section and into the final part of the song.

Honor Thy Father

My favourite song for the riffs and melodies. It’s a metal tour-de-force.

The subject matter about Mike Portnoy’s stepfather didn’t resonate with me, but man, the riffs and melodies are fantastic.

After the heavy intro, press play to hear the first verse. And how good is the arena rock Chorus.

When the second verse rolls again, the original riff is played with distortion and man, it works so well. But at 3.51. instead of going into the Chorus again, they go into a verse with the riff tweaked a little bit more to make it sound different and unique.

And like all the songs on the album, from the 5 minute mark they go into a lengthy solo section.

Vacant

It’s the shortest song on the album, at 3 minutes long. It’s a haunting piano riff (which sounds like the bass riff to start of “Stream Of Consciousness”), with a little bit of an orchestra and LaBrie’s vocals.

The lyrics to “Vacant” were inspired by James LaBrie’s daughter, who fell into a short coma after suffering a sudden, unexplained seizure three days before her seventh birthday.

Stream of Consciousness

The DT instrumentals always have memorable sections via a lead or a riff. This song is no different especially the first two minutes. Essential listening.

The title had been around for a while in the DT world. 

Of course, the solo from Petrucci is Guitar Hero stuff. Yes, there is flash and some fast picking, but it’s so melodic as well. If you like the playing of people like Steve Morse, Al DiMeola, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani, then you will like what Petrucci does here. 

And at 7.30 that fantastic intro music comes back in, more ferocious with a few little tweaks.

The whole  is the longest instrumental on a Dream Theater studio album to date and was the intended title for Falling Into Infinity.

And one of the YouTube comments on the song still cracks me, “LaBrie never sounded better”.

In the Name of God

The closer at 14.15 about religion and how it indoctrinates people to kill in its name.

The acoustic intro sets the tone, before the distortion crashes in. It’s a slow groove by Portnoy before they pick it up and play it double time.

The verse riff is head banging and it reminds me of “As I Am”. Petrucci drops out and lets Myung roll with it on the bass, while Petrucci switches to decorating.

LaBrie is a monster on the vocals here. Listen to him between 4.46 and 5.30. Throat ripping stuff.

As is the theme of the album, they then go into a long solo section in the middle of the song.  

Press play to hear Petrucci wail between from the 8.40 mark.

The album did exactly what it needed to do. It put them on tour again, it got them into large metal festivals, something which they couldn’t do before and it renewed their fan base with metal heads. 

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The Record Vault: The Darkness – Permission To Land

Released in 2003. But I didn’t buy it then.

The debut album “Permission To Land” took everyone by surprise. No one was ready for The Darkness. Their look, their vocal chops, their style of music was all “anti-what’s in vogue”.

Justin Hawkins is on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, synthesizer and piano. His brother Dan Hawkins is on rhythm and lead guitar.
Frankie Poullain is on bass and Ed Graham is on drums.

I saw the clips and I watched em perform on various TV shows. I was a fan but I didn’t feel the need to buy. I wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick or the real deal.

Anyway a few years later I actually purchased their product.

Black Shuck

I was hooked from the AC/DC inspired intro. Very “Dirty Deeds” like.

Once the singing started, I was like WTF.

In a simple verse you hear operatic falsettos, Meatloaf like “Bat Out Of The Hell” style vocals, Freddie Mercury extravagance and NWOBHM throaty spitfire vocals. Almost theatre like. King Diamond also comes to mind.

It felt like a train wreck and I liked it. So I stayed on the train to see how far it would go before it crashed.

Get Your Hands Off My Woman

Then this started, with a bass riff that reminded me of The Police. The operatic falsetto is all over the verses and the Chorus.

And I like the “Hit With Me Your Best Shot” inspired Chorus riff.

The train crash was still on the rails.

Growing On Me

Very Cheap Trick like in the Intro/Chorus and when the Verse kicks in, check out the Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” riff.

And I like it.

Finally we get a solo in the middle of the song and in the outro, but it’s the riff before the solo which I like.

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

At 159.4 million streams on Spotify, it’s their “hit”.

What else can be said about this. The riffs are very Sweet/ELO like and the Chorus vocal delivery has become iconic throughout the years. I remember in the early days of the “Idol” shows, there always was a singer who auditioned with this song.

And how good is the Outro, with the lead first and then that head banging riff to close.

So far, so good. A four punch knockout combo so far.

Love Is Only A Feeling

A mid-tempo like ballad more Poison like. And by now, my ears had acclimatised to the falsetto and normal singing voices.

Givin’ Up

Musically, it’s AC/DC in attitude and spirit.

Stuck In A Rut

The intro riff is “Thunderstruck” played ala Malcolm Young. Vocally it’s everywhere and not my favourite, but it doesn’t take away from the power of the music to me.

Friday Night

More Cheap Trick like influences.

Love On The Rocks With No Ice

I like the music. Its hard rock the way I like it. It has that AC/DC style of rock, with all of these other influences throughout, like ELO, Bad Company and even Judas Priest.

And this song has their best solo moments in the mid-section.

Holding My Own

“Purple Rain” from Prince and “Faithfully” from Journey come to mind when I hear this.

Makin’ Out

More AC/DC style of rawk and roll to close out.

Check out the open string lick after the solo, very “Thunderstruck” like.

By the end of it, I hoped they would stick around, but had a feeling that the labels would use them and spit them out. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”.

But I was wrong, as they have shown the same resilience from when they started.

Doing it their way and “anti-what’s in”.

In Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the album was certified Platinum. In the U.K, it was 4x Platinum.

In Denmark and the United States it’s certified Gold.

And I guess you know which review is coming tomorrow.

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Australian Method Series: Jet – Get Born

Released in 2005.

Riding the wave of “old is new” to a whole new audience who was too young to know the old or to have heard it.

Listening to this album got me to call up a 60’s Rock Anthems playlist on Spotify and it’s surprising how many songs released in the 80s moving forward have riffs from 60’s songs. There are the artists that we all know like Hendrix, Cream, The Who, Steppenwolf, The Doors and Zeppelin but artists like The Kinks, The Kingsmen, CCR, The Animals and even Marvin Gaye have been influential in developing the hard rock and heavy metal riffs.

Jet are from Melbourne.

Nic Cester is on vocals and guitar, Chris Cester is on drums and vocals, Cameron Muncey is on guitars and vocals and Mark Wilson is on bass, piano and harmonica.

Last Chance

“Can you give me one more try at that?”

And LOUD RAWK AND ROLL kicks in.

Are You Gonna Be My Girl

It’s sitting at 347.811 million streams on Spotify.

On the Jet YouTube account the video is at 122 million views.

Yeah, it sounds like other songs (Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” is mentioned a fair bit), but who cares. Imitation is a form of flattery. And all hit songs are derivative versions of songs which came before.

Rollover D.J.

It’s a Rolling Stones track in the verses and a 12 bar blues track in the Chorus.

Look What You’ve Done

58.066 million streams on Spotify.

A piano riff starts the song, with a Beatle-esque “Sexy Sadie” like vocal. Even the lyrics have a similarity.

The Beatles have “Sexy Sadie, what have you done! / You’ve made a fool of everyone”.

Jet has “Oh, look what you’ve done / You’ve made a fool of everyone”.

Progress is derivative. Take something that came before and tweak it.

Get What You Need

The drum groove gets me, but it’s the reminders of other songs that makes me a fan.

If you’ve heard “All Day And All Of The Night” from The Kinks, you’ll hear some similarities.

If you’ve heard “If It Feels Good, Do It” from Sloan you’ll hear similarities.

And if you played NHL 2004, you would have heard the song and become a fan.

Move On

It feels like a Free/Bad Company/Rolling Stones acoustic cut which Guns N Roses also used as an influence for “Patience”.

Radio Song

Say hello to “Hey Jude” or a slower version of “Baby Blue” from Badfinger.

Get Me Outta Here

I went down to the bank just to get me my pay / I’m gonna get me, outta here / I got me some cash, I’m headed back to LA / I’m gonna get me, outta here

Keeping with the theme of “old is new” again, even the lyrics were based on pre 2000 pay days.

Cold Hard Bitch

It’s at 52.995 million streams on Spotify.

They bring so many vibes to this track.

Listen to it and you’ll spot “Woman From Tokyo” by Deep Purple, “Best I Can” by Rush, “Shoot To Thrill“ by AC/DC, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who and a little bit of Stones mixed in.

Come Around Again

A country rock ballad with a Bad Company feel.

“I don’t know when I’m right that I only know when I’m wrong”

Sometimes our minds become our worst enemies.

Take It Or Leave It

The Kinks “unhinged”.

Lazy Gun

The “High Voltage” riff to a funky bass riff. Brilliant.

A Beatles influenced Chorus which also reminds me of “Purple Rain” from Prince and “Faithfully” from Journey. Brilliant.

Timothy

All death is tragic.

Sgt Major

The bonus track.

Check out the main riff. It reminds me of “Kings And Queens” from Aerosmith.

They had some serious momentum in promoting this album in Australia with national station Triple J having em in constant rotation that all the other stations followed pretty quickly.

In Australia, it’s 8x Platinum.

In Japan and New Zealand, it’s Gold.

In Argentina, Canada, UK and US, it’s Platinum.

In other words it was everywhere.

Crank it.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Back in 1989, Derek Oliver said the following; Dream Theater: one of the most innovative bands in town.

I am re-reading a Kerrang interview that Derek Oliver conducted with Dream Theater back in 1989. It has the title; PROG ROCK LIVES… RUN TO THE HILLS.

Yes, that is the same Derek Oliver that negotiated Dream Theater’s deal with Atco and the same Derek Oliver, that had a song written in his name.

Pull Me Under originally had the working title of “Oliver’s Twist”. It was a last minute song written at the request of Derek Oliver. The original version also had the unbelievable solo section from Erotomania in it. Pull Me Under was so good, that John Petrucci used the 1st verse riff of Pull Me Under in The Count Of Tuscany 1st Verse from the album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings released in 2009. He also used the songs structure for the song On The Backs Of Angels from the album A Dramatic Turn Of Events released in 2011.

“They stand alone. Unique in their quest for musical perfection. Dream Theater have no boundaries. Their frontier terminates at the edge of infinity. Not surprisingly, yours truly has taken to this band like a fish to water.”

He is a fan, and in two years’ time this fan would play a major part in breaking Dream Theater to the masses. See what fans can do for a band. Throughout the article, Oliver is full of praise of the band. He introduces the band’s new album, When Dream and Day Unite and covers the Dream Theater backstory from 1985. Oliver also touches on the name change from Majesty to Dream Theater and the reasons behind it. Most importantly the article finishes with the following comment; “Dream Theater: one of the most innovative bands in town.”

There it is. The magic word. Innovative. To be successful, you’ve got to change something that is not working. To remain successful, you need to keep on changing something that is not working.

Why did Apple become a giant in the first place?. Innovation. Why did Apple fade from view after 1985? Lack of innovation. Why did Apple become a giant again from 1999? Innovation. Why is Apple fading again since 2011? Lack of innovation.

On the day that I purchased When Dream and Day Unite, I also purchased the Watchtower album Control and Resistance. Watchtower had guitarist Ron Jarzombek and to be honest, he was one technically wired maestro. I listened to Watchtower’s album and was blown away by the technicality of it. Then I put on Dream Theater’s album and was blown away by the technicality and the songs.

This is in 1989. At that time, hard rock was ruling the charts and the sales. Every band more or less sounded the same. The ones that innovated, ending up breaking through and remaining.

So the album comes out, the label Mechanix does nothing with it, the band doesn’t tour behind it and compared to the numbers that other bands achieved in 1989, the album was classed a failure. Remember to be successful, you’ve got to change something that is not working.

Vocalist, Charlie Domicini was let go. At first the band focused on trying to find a new singer. During this time, they also focused on writing better songs. Most bands normally have 3 months to come out with album number 2. Dream Theater in this case had 2 years. Furthermore, their sound evolved from the technical derivative metal sound on When Dream and Day Unite, to a more warmer sound, rooted in classic progressive rock.

Remember to be successful you need to change something that is not working. In this case Dream Theater changed vocalists, their sound, their song structures and in the end they change labels as well.

Mike Portnoy also said in the interview that most styles of music tend to go around in cycles and he thought it was about the right time for Dream Theater’s sound to make an impact.

There it is. The second magic word. The Right Time.

Let’s look at the competition in 1989. Dream Theater needed to compete against bands that released albums in 1987 and in 1988, as well as bands that released albums in 1989. That is a lot of music there to compete against. Was 1989 the right time for Dream Theater? Of course not. Look at the list below.

1987 – Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction
1987 – Ozzy Osbourne – Tribute
1987 – Whitesnake – Whitesnake
1987 – Def Leppard – Hysteria
1987 – Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls
1987 – Kiss – Crazy Nights
1987 – White Lion – Pride
1988 – Poison – Open Up and Say Ahh,
1988 – Bon Jovi – New Jersey
1988 – David Lee Roth – Skyscraper
1988 – Megadeth – So Far, So Good… So What
1988 – AC/DC – Blow Up Your Video
1988 – Kingdom Come – Kingdom Come
1988 – Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
1988 – Scorpions – Savage Amusement
1988 – Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime
1988 – Van Halen – OU812
1988 – Stryper – In God We Trust
1988 – Slayer – South Of Heaven
1988 – Cinderella – Long Cold Winter
1988 – Britny Fox – Britny Fox
1988 – Danzig – Danzig
1988 – Europe – Out Of This World
1988 – Winger – Winger
1988 – Metallica …And Justice For All
1988 – Anthrax – State Of Euphoria
1988 -Ozzy Osbourne – No Rest For The Wicked
1988 – BulletBoys – BulletBoys
1988 – U2 – Rattle and Hum
1988 – Guns N Roses – Lies
1989 – Skid Row – Skid Row
1989 – After the War – Gary Moore
1989 – The Great Radio Controversy – Tesla
1989 – Extreme – Extreme
1989 – ..Twice Shy – Great White
1989 – The Headless Children – W.A.S.P.
1989 – Headless Cross – Black Sabbath
1989 – Blue Murder – Blue Murder
1989 – Dangerous Toys – Dangerous Toys
1989 – Badlands – Badlands
1989 – Repeat Offender – Richard Marx
1989 – Big Game – White Lion
1989 – Bad English – Bad English
1989 – Danger Danger – Danger Danger
1989 – The End of the Innocence – Don Henley
1989 – Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich – Warrant
1989 – Trash – Alice Cooper
1989 – Practice What You Preach – Testament
1989 – Trouble in Angel City – Lion
1989 – Perfect Symmetry – Fates Warning
1989 – Mother’s Milk – Red Hot Chili Peppers
1989 – Conspiracy – King Diamond
1989 – Enuff Z’nuff – Enuff Z’nuff
1989 – Cocked & Loaded – L.A. Guns
1989 – Dr. Feelgood – Mötley Crüe
1989 – Alice in Hell – Annihilator
1989 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska – King’s X
1989 – The Real Thing – Faith No More
1989 – Mr. Big – Mr. Big
1989 – Slowly We Rot – Obituary
1989 – Bleach – Nirvana
1989 – The Offspring – The Offspring
1989 – Alice in Hell – Annihilator
1989 – Louder Than Love – Soundgarden
1989 – Wake Me When It’s Over – Faster Pussycat
1989 – Pump – Aerosmith
1989 – Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz
1989 – Seasons End – Marillion
1989 – The Seeds of Love – Tears for Fears
1989 – Trouble Walkin’ – Ace Frehley
1989 – The Years of Decay – Overkill
1989 – Nothingface – Voivod
1989 – Long Hard Look – Lou Gramm
1989 – Storm Front – Billy Joel
1989 – Hot in the Shade – Kiss
1989 – Pretty Hate Machine – Nine Inch Nails
1989 – Flying in a Blue Dream – Joe Satriani
1989 – Slip of the Tongue – Whitesnake
1989 -…But Seriously – Phil Collins
1989 – Presto – Rush
1989 – Gutter Ballet – Savatage

So fast forward to 1992. Based on the competition, fate would have that 1992 was the right time for Dream Theater to explode. I have always said that the bands that remain successful are the ones that outlast the competition. Let’s see the competition that Dream Theater had for listeners attention.
1991 – Metallica – Metallica
1991 – Skid Row – Slave To The Grind
1991 – Guns N Roses – Use Your Illusion I and II
1991 – Nirvana – Nevermind
1991 – Pearl Jam – Ten
1991 – Van Halen – For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
1991 – Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid
1991 – Rush – Roll The Bones
1991 – Tesla – Psychotic Supper
1991 – Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears
1991 – Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
1991 – Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
1992 – Alice In Chains – Sap
1992 – Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power
1992 – Kings X – Kings X
1992 – Tool – Opiate
1992 – White Zombie – La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol 1
1992 – Def Leppard – Adrenalize
1992 – Yngwie Malmsteen – Fire and Ice
1992 – Slaughter – The Wild Life
1992 – Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark
1992 – Testament – The Ritual
1992 – Kiss – Revenge
1992 – WASP – The Crimson Idol
1992 – Firehouse – Hold Your Fire
1992 – Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer
1992 – Helmet – Meantime
1992 – Megadeth – Countdown To Extinction
1992 – Danzig – Danzig III: How The Gods Kill
1992 – Warrant – Dog Eat Dog
1992 – Ugly Kid Joe – America’s Least Wanted
1992 – Extreme – III Sides To Every Story
1992 – Alice In Chains – Dirt
1992 – Soul Asylum – Grave Dancers Union
1992 – REM – Automatic For The People
1992 – Prince – Love Symbol Album
1992 – Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine

Notice the diminished presence of hard rock music in the above list. Hard Rock music is a big reason why 1989 didn’t work out for Dream Theater. Fans of rock music got sledgehammered with substandard hard rock releases in 1989, as the record labels tried their best to cash in on a movement that was starting its own self implosion. Dream Theater was just lost in the mix.

So what do the hard rock fans in 1992 do? At this point in time they are starved of quality hard rock releases. Some of them jump onto the Seattle movement. Some go back and re-discover the past. The rest go in search of something that is similar to what they have known.

Enter Dream Theater with Images and Words. The album was unique and innovative to remain rooted to the prog rock niche that Derek Oliver spoke about in 1989 and it was familiar enough to cross over to the hard rock audience, looking for something new and exciting.

So to remain successful, you need to keep on changing something that is not working. The Kevin Moore situation was unexpected to the rest of the band and because of that, they had to make a decision on the fly. That is when Derek Sherinian was hired.

Fame also produced record label expectations and all of that came to a head with the Falling Into Infinity project and tour of 1997/98. Something had to change.

Jordan Rudess was in, Derek Sherinian was out. The role of Producer shifted from hired outsiders to Portnoy and Petrucci. Finally, an ultimatum was given to the label, do not get involved in the songs that we create.

What came next? Metropolis II: Scenes Of A Memory. A truly innovative album. It had the hard rock vibe that Dream Theater is renowned for, it had the progressive rock vibe and more importantly, it had that connection with the current musical climate, referencing bands like Tool and Alice In Chains.

How can you top it? Easy, do a double album that is even more innovative. Say hello to Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence.

By the time 2003 came around, the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal was in full swing. So what do Dream Theater do? Create a metal masterpiece in Train Of Thought. Another album that was rooted in so many different styles and an album that still remained unique to the progressive rock movement.

Then came another unexpected change with the departure of Mike Portnoy in 2010 and again Dream Theater had to make a decision on the fly.

It’s 2013. Dream Theater are about to release their first self-titled album. In this current environment, music is getting released left, right and centre. Independent DIY bands are competing against label funded bands. Is Dream Theater still one of the most innovative bands in town?

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

Semi Obscure Machine Head songs

Getting dropped by Roadrunner U.S after the Supercharger album saved Machine Head. The first album Burn My Eyes (released in 1994) was a success. For a debut album Machine Head went on a three year victory lap. The second album The More Things Change (released in 1997) stagnated.

In order to keep their deal with Roadrunner Records going they had to resort to the metal music that was popular at the time. In this case it was Nu Metal. The Burning Red (released in 1999) and Supercharger (released in 2001) came and went during this period.

Then the band got dropped. They even got rejected by every record label they approached for a new deal.

They could have broken up. Instead they went away and wrote Through The Ashes of Empires (released in 2003) which they self-produced. Just like how Rush’s, 2112 laid the foundations of what was to come for Rush, Through The Ashes of Empires did the same for Machine Head.

The lifestyle of a musician isn’t just rags to riches. It cycles back to rags and then back to riches and back again. I always use the Apple analogy. Apple was a leader when it came out on the scene. Then it was going out of business. Then the company got Steve Jobs back in and it became a leader again. In the process, it changed the way live and how we consume music. Now it is running on fumes again.

The list of songs you are about to read are cult favourites. They are not the songs that Machine Head will put into a concert set list every time, however they deserve the same attention as the big ones.

Left Unfinished released in 2003 on Through The Ashes of Empires.

Lyrics and music are written by Robb Flynn. It starts off with the creepy tinker box music. Robb Flynn was adopted at birth. He told LA Weekly that for the longest time he hated his biological parents and never wanted anything to do with them. He wrote this song as a “F.U” to them.

After the tinker box music, a Pantera groove kicks in.

How Korn like are the verses? All the way from the vocal melody to the phased/flanged/tremolo’d guitars to the bass hitting the note and sliding the finger down to the hip hop groove of the drums.

The chorus again is a standout, with the perfect backing vocals of Adam Duce.

I’ll never forget
Life you disdain
So to the parents that bore me this pain
With all those things you left unfinished

This is real life, this is real hurt. This isn’t no Bon Jovi song written by a committee. It isn’t pretty. It is the anthem for all the other kids given up for adoption. I can never relate to the lyrical theme of the song however I can relate to the pain. Pain doesn’t discriminate. It affects us all. The abandonment that Robb feels can be translated to the abandonment a kid feels when the school bully lays into him or her.

You never could love me
I’m glad that you never did
My parents that raised me
Had plenty of that to give
And for that
I’ll love them forever with all my heart
But to you don’t let there be no mistake about it
F.U you cocksucker F.U, you whore
I’ll live my life the opposite of what you are
Love will be my rock
The rock that I stand on

It’s all there. The exorcism of a childhood denied from one set of parents to the childhood obtained from another set of parents. I can’t help but make the connection to Queensryche and Chris DeGarmo’s Bridge, which served as his exorcism of being abandoned by his father.

Don’t try to reach out to me
Don’t try to call
The boy that you created
Is dead for all you f&@king know
You just pretend you’ve never heard or seen
The name Lawrence Mathew Cardine

Wow. The world knows him as Robert Conrad Flynn. However his birth certificate states Lawrence Matthew Cardine. I have seen Robb perform with Machine Head on three occasions in Australia, and he commands the stage. When he says the words, the circle pit gets into a frenzy. You would never pick up on his wounded past.

We are all damaged a little bit. The ones that make it through the heartache and the depression end up changing the world.

As I have said many times, you cannot copy the vocal style of Robb Flynn. You need to have lived his lifestyle to have his vocal style. To me it is the best voice in the metal genre. He can be melodic in a Rob Halford /Bruce Dickinson way, he can be aggressive in a James Hetfield way, he can be progressive in a Jonathan Davis/Maynard Keenan way, he can be hardcore in a Phil Anselmo way and he can be deathly in a Chuck Schuldiner way.

In a world where everyone believes they are a winner, a world-beater who feels entitled to success, you have Robb Flynn the anti-hero to the victorious life portrayed by the fakes. The maestro Flynn who has more questions than answers.

People like Robb Flynn and Corey Taylor have made it through and they are changing the world.

Descend The Shades Of Night released in 2003 on Through The Ashes of Empires

Lyrics are written by Robb Flynn and the music is written by Robb Flynn and Dave McClain. It’s my favourite song on the album.

What can I say, when I heard this song I was in a bad place. The acoustic intro is so sad and depressing. The reason why this song connected with me, is knowing that there are other people out there feeling the same way.

Sitting in the empty black
The last slivers of dusk have passed
Accept the dawn to ease the fear
One day I will not be here

They don’t teach you about death in school. They don’t tell that death can come at any time. You feel invincible when you are 18. As you get older you start to think about death a bit more.

The lead break from Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn for some reason reminds me of Tesla. I know, they are two separate bands from two totally different time periods and genre’s, however the whole passage and even coming into the harmony guitars, just reminds of The Great Radio Controversy from Tesla released in 1988.

Then the sing with me part is up lifting.

It is the humanity in the song, knowing that Robb Flynn has got more questions than answers. We can put on a happy face and we can get along with those at work but what we really want to do is let go, be ourselves and be accepted.

Pearls Before The Swine released in 2011 on Unto The Locust

It’s a Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel and Dave McClain composition.

It’s the familiarity of the Ride The Lightning intro. The drums and bass groove from McClain and Dice is identical to what Ulrich and Burton play in Ride The Lightning. It is that familiarity that hooks me in. I didn’t like this song when I first heard it because the other songs like Unto The Locust, Be Still and Know, This Is The End, Darkness Within and Who We Are really stood out. However, playing those stand out songs to death, I unearthed this little gem, sitting between Darkness Within and Who We Are.

This is what guitarist Phil Demmel told Sonic Excess magazine about the song;

“It was a song without lyrics really for a while, without a concept. We kind of came up with an idea to write about addicts and addiction, when talking to each other and watching Breaking Bad episodes to kind of catch up and start again to see it. (laughs) It’s not a song about hope. It’s just a song about being in the throes of addiction, in its claws, and a lot of my lyrics are in there. So, there’s a lot of descriptive thoughts of addiction. It’s not a song of hope for sure. It’s not ‘Stairway To Heaven.'”

Lie in this state of perdition
Never to awake

Perdition – A state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful person passes after death. What a powerful line that sums up what addiction and depression is.

Make love to denial her sober embrace
Nails they’ve embedded never to release

If you don’t realise you have a problem, you can never treat it.

Count the 12 times you step equal 12 times you fail
No abstination relapse tip the scale
As you swallow the hook and you chew on the line
Choke on the sinker in this sea of lies

Man, what a verse. The 12 steps of rehab just didn’t work out and before you know it, the habit is back; hook, line and sinker.

The passage from 3.18 is superb. The music, the build and the melodic vocals. People have tried to imitate Robb Flynn in his vocal style, however as far as I am concerned, you need to have lived his life in order to sing like him. His vocal style is his lifestyle. I will replay this song a thousand times just to hear this section.

Broke vows and broken rosaries
Bind these rusted hopeless dreams
Broke vows and broken rosaries
Bind these rusted hands in prayer
Faith trust and love are mowed down lonely In these killing fields

What a vocal melody. It’s goose bumps all the way. The double kick from McClain keeps it rolling.

Then it’s all thrash from 4.36. I would have loved to be in the studio when they wrote this bit. It would have been high fives all around. The whole song is progressive. Not in the weird time changes progressive, just the fusion of so many different styles and melodies and riffs.

Machine Head hold their own against the Big 4. Hell, that concept should be expanded to include Machine Head. Better yet get rid of Anthrax and put Machine Head on the bill.

A Farewell To Arms released in 2007 on The Blackening

This is the album where Machine Head finally got their victory lap. The Blackening is such a strong album that other songs could be missed if you don’t dig deep into it. A Farewell To Arms is unbelievable. Great music and great vocal melodies. The lyrics are written by Robb Flynn, Adam Duce and Phil Demmel. The music is written by Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel.

Mutilated lives
Blackening as coffin line the sides
Filled with fathers
Who has won?
When only sons
Hold their grieving heads and mourn
A farewell to arms

The end product of war for the ones that do not return. It comes across in a powerful way. While the verses are great what truly makes the track is the chorus.

I’ll wave this flag of white
So the venged see the light
We’ll pay for closed eyes
With our genocide

Is venged even a word? Who cares right, as it fits the vocal melody to a tee? The chorus has a similar guitar melody like Halo underpinning the vocal melody.

Then the Iron Maiden-esque lead break wails from 7.10. The drumming and the backing tracks all have that Maiden Trooper Gallop. Then at 7.40 it is the Creeping Death “Die By My Hand” part from Metallica.

Somehow they bring it all back to an ending reminiscent of Master Of Puppets, again from Metallica. Just when I think it’s over, a few more bars of clean tone and the immortal words A FAREWELL TO ARMS.

Who has won when we’re all dead? This song also points the finger at the rich and the government officials that pushed the country into war. One of the verses deals with how the children of the fallen are left without fathers and how the children of the government officials will never know what it is like to fight a war.

Kick You When You’re Down released in 2001 on Supercharger

It’s a Robb Flynn, Ahrue Luster, Adam Duce and Dave McClain composition. The Supercharger album didn’t get as much attention from me as it should have when it first came out. As I got older, I went back and listened to it. Now I appreciate it more.

You have to trust in yourself
You must believe in yourself
You have to follow your heart
You overcome, improve, endure

It’s the anthem for the determined. As the other lyrics in the song state, sometimes you fight and you win, sometimes you fight and you lose, however it is the fighter in you that will never lose. In the end you move forward by overcoming obstacles, improving on what you did before and enduring. Remember, to be a winner, you need to outlast the competition.

Deafening Silence released in 2001 on Supercharger

This song is a Robb Flynn, Ahrue Luster, Adam Duce and Dave McClain composition.

One thing I really liked about this period of Machine Head (1999 to 2001) is that Robb Flynn was pushing himself lyrically and really went to town writing about his own personal issues. That is why the albums that came after had the perfect mix of personal reflections, political reflections and religious reflections.

You drink a thousand lies,
to freeze the past in time

Numbing the present with alcohol. I am sure every metal head has been in this situation. That is why we gravitate to this kind of music. We are the outcasts, the ones that society couldn’t pigeon hole. Note the reference to a song from Burn My Eyes.

See the pain in my eyes
see the scars deep inside
My God, I’m down in this hole again
With the laughter I smile
with the tears that I cry
Keep going down this road called life

The chorus above speaks volumes about society in general. My favourite lines are “With the laughter I smile, with the tears that I cry, keep doing down this road called life.” That is who we are in a nutshell. We just roll along. The ones that don’t, end up taking their lives.

Silver released in 1999 on The Burning Red

It’s got similar lyrics from A Nation On Fire. This song really reminds of Tool, especially that Cold breakdown. Lyrics are written by Robb Flynn and the music is written by Robb Flynn, Dave McClain, Ahrue Luster and Dave McClain.

Take my hand
Across this land
Escape this, all the hell inside

Creating that other shell of a person to take the pain while the real person is hidden somewhere in the recesses of the mind.

Create this man
To make my stand
And break this hardened shell in time

It’s like this, we put out a face of confidence to all who see us, however inside, we are filled with doubt. We are scared. We are questioning. And if we feel like everything is going great, the real person will break away the mask and step into the light.

I see a mirror to me
The lines along my face are drawn in
I believe reflections bleed
The sorrows of our souls

I remember reading an interview with Robb Flynn that he was bulimic at one point in his life, always forcing himself to chuck up so that he can look the part. It’s a powerful verse with great imagery. We have all stood in front of the mirror and we have all judged our appearances.

A Thousand Lies released in 1994 on Burn My Eyes

The verse riff is the same as Cowboys From Hell from Pantera. Lyrics are written by Robb Flynn and the music is written by Robb Flynn, Chris Kontos, Logan Mader and Adam Duce.

In poverty there is no democracy

Basically in poverty there is the motto that only the strong survive. That whole fairness and equality is rubbish. Even in poverty there is class warfare.

This urban life is so volatile
An inner city or a concrete hell

This is it, you either live, or you die or you end up in prison.

What is a man who don’t stay true to the game
Don’t care for no one, only cares for his greed
He’s playin’ God killin’ thousands of people ‘
Cause the power is the fix that he needs

When Robb is writing about themes that piss him off, he is always on game. He is basically saying, who can we trust in this world anymore, when all we get is lies.

A Nation On Fire released in 1994 on Burn My Eyes

Lyrics are written by Robb Flynn and the music is written by Robb Flynn, Chris Kontos, Logan Mader and Adam Duce. The intro clean tone riff is that good, that it was re-written for A Farewell To Arms and Unto The Locust.

A world that spends more to kill than to cure

Another brilliant line. What kind of a world do we live in? Our Governments give more money to the military then what they do for research on finding cures.

So take my hand across this land

There are the lines that re-appear in Silver. It’s almost like he is saying to an angel to take him away from this world.

You tell me peace, Well I hear gunshots all night
The scars I have, I’ve earned ’cause I’ve had to fight

As we get older and we accumulate knowledge, we find it hard to believe the B.S that our Politicians try to push. The themes that Robb explores on the first Machine Head album keep re-occurring time and time again on other albums.

How cool is the SLOW part at the end. The groove just gets slower until the song ends.

I’m Your God Now released in 1994 on Burn My Eyes.

Lyrics are written by Robb Flynn and the music is written by Robb Flynn, Chris Kontos, Logan Mader and Adam Duce.

The vocal melody at the start is that good, that Robb Flynn used it again for A Farewell To Arms. It’s a sad and sorrowful tale of addiction. The “her” in the song is the heroin. Drug addiction is covered a far bit in the songs of Machine Head.

So pain told you to take her
Well I learned to accept that feeling
‘Cause I found how to numb it
If only for just a short while
I’d get so high, I’d forget my own name
I scarred my fist, I scarred my brain
I think that I’m going insane
I think that I’m going insane

This song was brought back into my memory when I was listening to the Sixx AM album and the song, The Girl With The Golden Eyes. Nikki Sixx is another person that struggled to deal with the abandonment of his father.

So now I’m in your system
And I’m what helps you numb your pain
With time you will confide in me
So lonely my friend, I’ve made you lose control
You’ll use me more and more with time
Our friendship grows with each mainline
So glad that you could be so blind
So glad that you could be so blind

Again I am thinking of the Sixx AM song.

She speaks to me in Persian
Tells me that she loves me
The Girl With Golden Eyes

And though I hardly know her
I let her in my veins
And trust her with my life

I wish I never kissed her
Cause I just can’t resist her
The Girl With Golden Eyes

Every time she whispers
Take me in your arms
The way you did last night

Everything will be alright
Everything will be okay

People like Robb Flynn, Nikki Sixx and Corey Taylor have made it through and they are changing the world.

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