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

The Record Vault: Disturbed – Ten Thousand Fists

After the excellent “Believe”, I was eagerly anticipating this release and I was a first day buyer. The cartoonish comic cover got my attention, as people from all walks of life are together, raising their firsts in the air.

Released in 2005, “Ten Thousand Fists” is the third studio album from Disturbed.

John Moyer joins David Draiman, Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren this time around. However, Moyer was considered a session musician during the time of recording, and only became a full-time member during the tour supporting the album.

Johnny K is also producing. This would be his last album with the band.

The album was also dedicated to Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered the year before the album’s release.

“Ten Thousand Fists”

A great song about the metal show and the glorious sight of “ten thousand fists in the air”.

Musically its classic Disturbed, in which the vocal melody follows the syncopated drum and guitar riff in the verses.

The Chorus’s by now have become anthemic for Disturbed.

You will remember the night you were struck by the sight of ten thousand fists in the air

The interlude with the backwards guitars gives it all a Middle Eastern vibe. Check it out.

“Just Stop”

Another killer riff to start the song off. Check.

Verses is syncopated, with riffs, vocals and bass drum. Check.

Anthemic chorus. Check.

Just stop enough of the limitless critical comments on my life
Just drop the judgment and all of your pseudo-involvement in my life

We might see our Metal hero’s as indestructible, but they are normal like all of us and they have feelings, which do get hurt within relationships.

“Guarded”

A speed metal cut, as it comes racing out with double kick drums and fast alternate picked lines.

Guarding yourself from the love of another
Left you with nothing tonight

How much are you willing to let people in?

Then it goes into an arpeggio riff that reminds me of Coverdale/Page’s “Whisper A Prayer For The Dying”.

“Deify”

“Deify” means to worship someone or treat as a god.

The song starts off with a sampled speech of George W Bush Jnr before it cranks into an angry song against the Bush administration.

I won’t let them
Deify you
They view you as the new messiah
Deify you
Renew belief in some demented man

It’s a divisive time. A lot of people disagreed with our Government’s at sending soldiers into Iraq and Afghanistan. And look how that’s worked out for Afghanistan at the moment. And Iraq hasn’t been stable since.

Check out the speed metal in the Interlude.

“Stricken”

One of my favourite tracks on the album. It has a groove riff similar to “Remember” in the intro.

The Chorus is anthemic as you would expect by now.

And finally Dan Donegan shreds.

2005 was the era for guitarist who didn’t normally shred on albums to start shredding.

“I’m Alive”

Another song with an anthemic chorus.

How good is that Tool like groove in the Bridge?

There will never be a reason why I will surrender to your advice
To change myself, I’d rather die

Would you rather fail doing it your way or on someone else’s advice?

“Sons Of Plunder”

The dog and bird barks are back vocally with the catchcry “Tell me you like it” as Disturbed rocks the new metal sounds in the verses and goes all anthemic in the Chorus.

At 1.53 it goes into this bass feel that reminds me of “My Friend Of Misery”. But the way the guitars and drums build it back up, needs to be listened to.

Lyrically Draiman is attacking artists that create soulless songs just to have a hit.

You say you’ve found yourself a new sound
The shit’s loaded and ready to go
A bit too much just like the old sound
Already heard it for the hundredth time
One hundred more, all have the same sound
Running around with all the sheep that you know
“It’s so sublime, they’re breaking new ground”
“They’re sure to have another hit this time”

It sounds like the decline of Hard Rock music between 1988 and 1992.

I’m still surrounded by the “new sound”
I’ve had enough and I’m ready to go
A strangle-hold throughout the world now
The new obsession will fade in time
A thin reminder of the past now
All convoluted hardly ready to go
Their whines and moans will never last now
I think you’ve given us our fill this time

And the Grunge came (“the new sound”) that took over the world only to see if fade within 5 years.

“Overburdened”

The bass riff again echoes an influence of “My Friend Of Misery” with a bit of the “Orion” interlude and “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” interlude chucked in.

Then it becomes a groove cut, reminding me of Tool. And all of those little references to songs I know, makes me like this song a little bit more and it also gets me to check out those influences.

Lyrically it’s about war.

Check out the anthemic Chorus.

At 3.54, the Bridge begins. The riff is like ascending before it descends giving an eerie feeling.

At 4.26, Donegan clicks on the wah-wah pedal and we get another lead break. His style is more bluesy, but when needed he can break out some fast legato lines or alternate picked lines.

And the song ends the way it started, with the bass riff.

“Decadence”

A throwback to the debut in the intro and verses but the Chorus is the new Disturbed. Anthemic and melodic.

“Forgiven”

How good is the interlude/bridge section between 2.00 and 2.43 and then Donegan breaks out another lead break?

“Land Of Confusion”

The Genesis song from 1986 gets disturb-iz-ied.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in

This is truth, but how many are willing to risk being uncomfortable.

There’s a perceived safety in comfort so we put up with our Government’s invasion of our privacy and removing more liberties in the name of security and keeping us safe.

“Sacred Lie”

Verses like the debut album. Check.

Anthemic Chorus. Check.

Massive drumming. Check.

My conviction is stronger today
As I fight to uncover your sacred lie
And the fear isn’t going away
As the soldiers still die

Remember the war on “weapons of mass destruction”. The biggest bullshit ever.

“Pain Redefined”

Read the comments for “Sacred Lie”, but this one has a lot more electronics, like “The Game” from the debut.

Then again, how can I not mention the massive Chorus.

“Avarice”

Avarice means extreme greed for wealth or material gain.

So we get a speed metal barrage to finish the album off just to show the anger.

Politics and evil
All one in the same
Satan hides behind a different name

There is a small demented chromatic like lead break I like which kicks in over an ascending chord progression.

In Australia, it was certified Platinum. In Canada, it was certified 2× Platinum. In New Zealand, it was certified Gold. In the United Kingdom, it was certified Gold and in the United States, its certified 2× Platinum.

It charted well in a lot of other European countries. It was everywhere.

P.S. All the solos on the record are excellent. Kudos to Dan Donegan for stepping up.

P.S.S. This is Disturbed at their best and itt’s a great addition to any Heavy Metal Collection.

P.S.S.S. The “wah-ha-ah-ah!” scream is still there.

Wah-ha-ah-ah to it. Crank It.

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Australian Method Series: Wolfmother – Wolfmother

The Wolfmother debut.
 
Sometime in 2000, founding members Andrew Stockdale on guitar and vocals, Chris Ross on bass/keyboards and Myles Heskett on drums got together to jam.

But it was in 2004, when Wolfmother was born.

And suddenly things started to happen. After playing a gig in April 2004 in Sydney, they got a record deal with Aussie independent label Modular Recordings with whom they released their (EP) “Wolfmother” in September.

While touring on the EP, Universal Music came in and signed em to an international recording deal.

The self-titled debut produced by Dave Sardy was originally released in Australia via their independent deal on 31 October 2005.

The album was later released internationally by Universal in early 2006.

Like other Aussie artists who got a later international release, the album had an additional track and a rearranged track listing. Spotify carries the international release listing and release date.

As an owner of a book of Frank Frazetta paintings, seeing “The Sea Witch” on the album cover grabbed my attention immediately.

Prior to the release, the band had some serious momentum in Australia. They had the EP out on the charts, they toured and nationwide radio station Triple J, had the band in constant rotation.

Dimension

The bass and drum groove reminds me of an amalgamation of Sweet and Cream in the verses before a Chorus kicks in that sounds like a Sabbath cut.

And a new game is created here in which the listener has to guess which band or song influenced the next song.

And I like games like these.

White Unicorn

You know that section half way through in “Stairway To Heaven” when Jimmy Page starts to play major sounding triads over a droning D note.

Well that’s how “The White Unicorn” starts off. And I like it. Take something that came before and create something new from it.

Woman

Its basically a Sabbath cut with that driving galloping groove from “Children Of The Grave”.

Then again “Roadhouse Blues” comes to mind as well.

The addition of the keyboards makes it sound like a demented Doors cut.

And like other Aussie bands, (Airbourne comes to mind) they capitalized on the video game phenomenon that was happening. “Woman” was licensed to appear in over 12 video games which came out between 2006 and 2008.

Where Eagles Have Been

The beginning reminds of “Goin To California” from Led Zep or “Mother Nature’s Son” from The Beatles or “Brain Damage” from Pink Floyd.

This is the beauty of music. Familiarity is in every song which is created.

Check out the sound effect which increases in intensity at 3.42 and then the guitar solo. This is the best part of the song.

At 4.24 to 4.46 reminds of me of “Dazed and Confused” from Led Zep.

Apple Tree

It has a punk style “My Generation” feel from The Who in the Intro and first verse.

Joker & the Thief

This song has crossed over onto a higher astral plane. It’s everywhere. If you sit down to watch a movie or a TV show, there is a chance you’ll hear it. If you buy a video game, there is a chance you’ll hear it.

When I hear “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss, it reminds me of this song.

“The Hangover” and “Shrek” movies have scenes in the movie, which has this song playing.

Colossal

It feels like a Sabbath cut that hadn’t seen the light of day.

How good is the riff that comes in at the 3.30 mark?

It reminds me of “Ace Of Spades” from Motörhead.

Mind’s Eye

My favorite track.

The arpeggios to start it off are hypnotic. Metallica used a similar progression for “The Day That Never Comes”.

When the verses come in, simplicity at its best. It’s just a single strummed chord and a haunting vocal melody.

I like the simple ascending chord progression just before the Chorus. And it comes back again after the Chorus.

How good is the organ riff?

And they jam on it till the end.

Pyramid

Another song that became a favorite amongst people that didn’t even like this kind of music because it appeared in the “FlatOut 2” car racing game.

Witchcraft

A flute solo. Jethro Tull anyone.

Tales

It’s not a favorite.

Love Train

Listen to “Moby Dick” from Led Zep. Imitation is a form of flattery.

Vagabond

A simple drum metronome style click and an acoustic guitar playing a sort of Country Blues Delta riff start off the song.

Swampy it is and the album is done.

I’ve read reviews that they are copyists and unoriginal. But music is judged on the fun and enjoyment you get out of it. And this album is a whole lotta fun.

Going back to the originality question, the bands that influenced em where also copyists. Led Zeppelin’s first album is a great cover album rebranded as a Zep album.

After all was said and done, the album was certified 5× Platinum in Australia, Gold in Canada, Gold in Germany, Gold in the U.K and Gold in the U.S.

By the time the band started to record album number 2, it was just Andrew Stockdale who remained. But the sound and the songs still remained.

You can read my review on “Cosmic Egg” here.

And spend your weekend cranking Wolfmother.

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The Record Vault: Dio – We Rock (DVD)

“We Rock” (the DVD) was released in 2005. It collects two VHS releases from the early 80’s and brings them forth into the 2000’s. The sound is still rooted in the 80s with a bit of a clean up.

The early 2000’s became a period of re-invention for Dio. After experimenting with Nu-Metal in the mid 90’s, he went back to his roots, to his kind of metal and rock and re-established the “Dio” brand as a commercial force.

For studio albums, in 2000, we got the “Magica” studio album, “Killing The Dragon” came out in 2002 and “Master Of The Moon” in 2004. In addition, “The Devil You Know” from Heaven and Hell hit the streets in 2009.

For live albums, in 2005, we got the “We Rock” DVD and “Evil or Divine – Live In New York City”, “Holy Diver – Live” in 2006 and “Live From Radio City Music Hall” in 2007 from Heaven and Hell.

But it was the live show which brought in the money. His audience from the 80’s remained faithful and they turned up with their adult kids.

Through placement in movies and certain bands covering his songs, Dio was also generating revenue from licensing, sales and streams. And while artists have their views on piracy, having the Dio catalogue available to download for free, increased his supporter base, which led to an increase in the audience to the live show. This happened for a lot of bands who did it tough during the 90’s. Motley Crue and Twisted Sister come to mind.

In the link, the research suggests that every ten music albums pirated leads to three extra concert or festival visits. However, at the same time, it leads to a significant drop in physical album sales and digital downloads.

Dio – Live In Concert 1984

The show was recorded in Holland/The Netherlands on 4 December 1983.

The stage show is massive, with Vinny Appice sporting a very unpleasant looking red leather jumpsuit is sent up on the second level of the building. In other words, the drum riser is very high.

“Stand Up And Shout” is the opener, with Vivian Campbell playing a black Les Paul shaped guitar, running around like a madman on stage, while Jimmy Bain holds it all together, especially when Campbell drops out for the lead breaks. And of course, Dio is nailing his melodies, as the tempo at which they play the song live wouldn’t have helped vocally.

“Stand Up And Shout” feedbacks into the groove riff of “Straight Through The Heart” and I like it. Dio’s voice is like an instrument here itself, especially in the verses.

“The Pink Panther” like riff kicks off “Shame On The Night”, which gets the audience clapping along, before it moves into the doom riff. It’s slower tempo is perfectly placed in the set list.

How good is the bass and drums on the verses, as they carry the music along with Dio’s melodies?

And the outro riff reminds me of the “Escape From New York” main theme.

“Children Of The Sea” is next and a nice recognition of his Black Sabbath output. Dio and Appice really shine on this track, while Campbell and Bain carry out what needs to be done musically. Then the solo comes and Campbell shines, staying faithful for a bar or two and improvising after that.

“Holy Diver” is the pinnacle of the show. The band is on fire and the audience is loving it.

When the song ends, a “Drum Solo” starts.

I hate lone drum solos and guitar solos in concerts. I see no point in them, especially when the artist has enough material to play songs. But I do like it when a drum solo or a guitar solo is within the song, which I’ve seen some artists do.

After the “Drum Solo”, one of my favourite cuts starts in “Heaven And Hell”. As soon as Dio starts with the “sing me a song” line, the whole crowd is in the palm of his hand, singing along with him. It sounds like Claude Schnell came out of hibernation to add some synth licks but he’s nowhere to be seen on the stage.

Campbell is faithful to Tony Iommi as much as he can and when it comes time for the lead breaks he does improvise a lot, but then again so does Dio, adding new vocals over the jam grooves.

As they are jamming along, with Campbell soloing, the music stops and we get a “Guitar Solo”. As mentioned, I hate it when they take up time in a concert, however you do get to hear how accomplished Campbell is as he pulls out all the licks and tricks from his arsenal.

Bain and Appice then kick in with the “Heaven And Hell” groove and Campbell keeps soloing with music as the background and this I like.

Dio then comes in and gets the crowd involved in a sing-a-long.

The issue I have is that it does go on and on and on and on.

Finally the fast outro kicks in, however it is ultra-fast here, with my favourite lyrics in “the moon is just the sun at night”.

After about 20 plus minutes of the song, (including the guitar solo), the song ends. And the Dutch are screaming “Dio”.

Band introductions take place and Dio says something like “I like to introduce the next song, which has rainbow in it but nothing to do with the band of the same name”. Since no Rainbow songs are included on the release, you can presume the bad blood between Richie and Dio was still too much. But I do think he played a couple of em, but just didn’t include them.

“Rainbow In The Dark” cranks in and how can you not sing when Dio starts with “when there’s lightning”.

Once the song ends, the crowd chants again “Dio” over and over again.

It’s all black, then red eyes light up from Dio’s mascot and an encore is happening.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” closes the gig, the embryo to “The Last In Line” and “We Rock”.

Dio – A Special From The Spectrum

The opening track “Stand Up And Shout” is not included in the DVD release, but you can see it on YouTube if you want.

The stage show is a bit different, going with the theme of “The Last In Line” album cover, however Appice still remains on the second floor, so high up from the rest of the band.

This time around Campbell is sporting the red leathers and his playing a Charvel/Fender style guitar. Dio as usual is nailing it vocally and Bain is always reliable with his bass rumbling away and then carrying the music when Campbell drops out for the lead break.

And the band is ferocious this time around. They have the “Holy Diver” album and tour behind them and their out promoting “The Last In Line”.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” is song number 2 and it opens up the DVD concert version. On the “Holy Diver” tour, this was the closer. And it’s a great decision to open the album with two songs they have played a lot because their delivery is so fluent.

“Mystery” is up next, the first song played from “The Last In Line” album. It’s major key vibe and Hard Rock Mainstream style Chorus works well in the set, after the two metal cuts before it.

Then my favourite Dio song starts in “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”. That riff from Campbell and the slow “Heaven And Hell” drum groove from Appice is all I need. Suddenly I’m singing, “in the land of the lost horizon” and “when the world was milk and honey”.

Half way through the song, a “Drum Solo” starts and as you know, I hate these moments in concerts.

And like the previous show, they go into “Heaven And Hell” and this time Campbell is playing an Explorer shaped guitar. And like the previous show, as soon as Dio starts singing the first verse, the crowd is singing with him. The song is played similar to the previous concerts with a lot of jamming in the lead break.

And then the music stops and we get a “Guitar Solo”. You know my views on these lone solo pieces. I don’t know why Campbell would need to have this moment as he was wailing away on the “Heaven And Hell” groove and it sounded so good. Anyway, like the previous show, Appice and Bain then kick in with the “Heaven And Hell” groove and Campbell keeps soloing and this little piece I like.

Dio comes out, and yells, “Vivian Campbell and his magic guitar” and the crowd roars their approval. Then he gets the crowd involved a sing-along. And I’m bummed that the fast outro of the song doesn’t get played.

But they do go into “The Last In Line”.

The medieval fingerpicked intro hides the metal cut that the song would become.

“We are coming”, silence, “hoooooome” as the riffs kick in. The band is nailing everything and Appice is thundering. And for such a new song, the crowd is singing along with him. I guess you can’t keep a good song down.

Once the song ends, something unexpected happen. They go into the fast outro section of “Heaven And Hell” and I’m not bummed anymore as this is my favourite section of the song. Campbell is wailing away here on the guitar again, which makes me question why there had to be a lone “Guitar Solo” spotlight.

“Rainbow In The Dark” cranks in, with Dio sending out his devil horns salute at the end of every fourth bar. They know what needs to be done and they deliver.

Campbell’s playing is excellent and I like how he adds a few extra fills here and there in his lead break, letting the energy of the show take over and command his performance. And Appice can play a metal cut with just his snare, he’s that good on it.

“Mob Rules” kicks in. It’s full of energy, and Campbell goes all shred in the lead break, totally playing his thing, sort of like how Randy Rhoads did with the old Black Sabbath cuts.

The show ends, it goes to black, only for the band to come out and tell the audience they deserve another one.

And what a closer.

“We Rock” kicks in and that opening guitar riff is head banging, circle pit like. And there’s fireworks going off like crazy, lasers and did I mention that Appice can carry a song with a bass drum and snare. He can.

And the show is done.

If you want to see the classic era Dio band at its best, this DVD is a must have. Press play and enjoy, as half of the band has come home and I guess we’ll never know if they were evil or divine. RIP Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain and thanks for the music and memories.

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Australian Method Series: Karnivool – Themata

“Themata” is the debut album by the Australian band Karnivool. The album was released independently on 7 February 2005. In 2007, Bieler Bros. Records picked it up for a U.S release and in 2008 Happy Go Lucky picked it up for a U.K release.

The band has a “progressive rock” label, but they are not a band that plays a million notes per minute with polymath time signatures. They are a band who are progressive in their song writing, as verses could have different riffs, and a groove could be jammed out over different time signatures. Other labels the band is given is “alternative metal” or “alternative rock”. Whatever the label, they created a metal album which got radio air play.

Karnivool are Ian Kenny on lead vocals, Drew Goddard on guitar and string arrangements plus he wrote all of the album’s songs and performed drums on every track, except for “Life Like” which was performed by Ray Hawkins. Mark Hosking on guitar and Jon Stockman on bass.

24 years later it still sounds as fresh as it did back in 2005.

“Cote”

I like the mood this song sets up. It’s a great opener, almost like “A Perfect Circle”.

I suppose this question will be answered
And I suppose the answers are here to save us

“Themata”

The title track that hooked me in.

And Ian Kenny is one talented vocalist who also has a very successful mainstream pop rock act called “Birds Of Tokyo”. His delivery on the title track is “Lead Singer Hero” worthy.

The “Kashmir” like violins that come in towards the end are haunting and hypnotic. It’s a beast of a song and it was doing the rounds on Australian radio.

It’s so good to see
This world is alive

And by the end of the song, Kenny is singing, “it’s so good to see this world I’m in loves me”.

And I was reminded of “The Tea Party” so I listened to this song over and over and over again.

“Shutter Speed”

It’s got a heavy groove that reminds me of Disturbed and a great Chorus.

Check out the small melodic lead riff in the middle of the song, which brings back memories of Mark Tremonti from his Creed days.

“Fear Of The Sky”

The jarring intro reminds me of songs from “The Mars Volta” and “At The Drive In”.

Another song with a great chorus. At the 3 minute mark it quietens down only to build up again. Check it out.

“Roquefort”

It’s a fan favourite.

The intro riff grooves around various time signatures but it still sounds like its in 4/4, almost Tool like.

You want to chase, this rabbit down a hole
You start to slide and lose grip of control

Ian Kenny delivers another great vocal merging Deftones and Tool like vocals.

Listen to the vocal and bass section from about 3.10.

And remember that the drums are played by the guitarist.

“Life Like”

It’s got the embryo of what “Themata” would become. It was released as a single about two years before the album came out.

Its more Nu-Metal than what “Themata” is, almost Linkin Park like musically, but with David Dramain singing.

“Scarabs”

It’s a 2 minute, Groove Nu Metal instrumental, with some frantic drumming and bone crushing riffage.

“Sewn and Silent”

An acoustic guitar led song, comes in at the perfect time, like the eye of the storm.

Check out the section from about 2.30 to 3.01.

“Mauseum”

Djent like riffs before “djent” became a style. At 2.20 it changes to a slower melodic groove.

Press play and listen.

“Synops”

It’s “Themata” part 2 and another highlight with its exotic eastern feel. Another song which reminds me of “The Tea Party”.

Leave no light on, this war, it rages in me
Leave no light on, this war, I fear it won’t end

“Change (Part 1)”

An anti-climax. But like a Marvel movie, it’s an end credits scene to forecast the next album and the style to come.

“Themata” is an excellent example of Australian metal with some progressive overtones. There are pop choruses, big Mesa Boogie riffs or fuzzed out tones, vocals that cover a lot of different styles. Maynard Keenan, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, David Draiman, Chino Moreno, Mike Patton, Jonathan Davis, Thom Yorke, Davey Havok and my favourite, Serj Tankian when he’s doing his exotic clean tone melodies are all covered and mixed in with Kenny’s life experiences and emotions.

In between Karnivool albums, Ian Kenny worked on his “Birds Of Tokyo” project with great success.

Fast forward to 2021, Karnivool has been recording new music. It will be their first bit of new music since 2013 and the “Asymmetry” album. And an audience awaits.

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Hands In The Sky Big Shot – Great Music Will Live On Forever

I have been on a Sons Of Anarchy binge lately. Just recently I finished Season 2 and the final episode had an unbelievable piece of music that complemented and enhanced the desperation of the final scenes. You need to see it, to understand what I mean.

Of course I wanted to know more about this piece of music. So I Google “Sons of Anarchy Season 2 Music”. I come across a WIKIA page that shows me each episode and the songs that played on each episode. I click on the final episode of Season 2 and I see that the last song listed is from a band called “Straylight Run” and that the song is called “Hands In The Sky”.

So I go onto YouTube, type in the band name, and there it is. I came across 16 videos with a combined play count of 1,498,818. Spotify streams have the count as 110,507.

I want to go deeper, because that is what we do, when we come across something that connects with us.

The song was released on an EP, called “Prepare To Be Wrong” from 2005. God damn. I am hearing this song in 2013. That is 8 years after its release.

The audience (both legal and illegal) who watched “Sons Of Anarchy” on December 1, 2009 heard the song for the first time. If you dig deeper you will see that the actual song hit YouTube from December 4, 2009, which is right after the “Sons Of Anarchy” episode.

By February 2010, the band went on indefinite hiatus due to money complications. This is strange, especially when “Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)” was doing the rounds courtesy of the TV show.

Of course, with Victory Records being the label that released the EP, it would be safe to assume that Victory Records would have kept their reputation intact by pocketing handsomely and not giving a cent to Straylight Run.

Straylight Run started off on Victory Records due to a contract that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper had with the label courtesy of their other band “Taking Back Sunday.” That contract was fulfilled with the EP release in 2005. Then Universal Republic picked them up for their 2007 release “The Needles The Space” only to be dropped when vocalist, guitarist and pianist Michelle DaRosa left. They went all independent for their next two EP releases and then called it a day after that.

Great music will always be found. “Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)” will live on forever. It is now a part of pop culture. It really captured the desperation of the scenes and now I can’t stop playing the song, along with Neil Young’s “Hey, Hey, My, My” which was used to close Season 3.

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Going Back to 2005 with the City Of Evil

The new Avenged Sevenfold album got me into a A7X mood, so i went back to 2005 and cranked “City of Evil”. The “City of Evil” album from 2005 was my first introduction to A7X and it became one of my favourites back then as I only had a few albums that I really liked from 2005 like Disturbed – Ten Thousand Fists, Dream Theater – Octavarium, John Petrucci – Suspended Animation, Coheed And Cambria – Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Thirty Seconds To Mars – A Beautiful Lie, Alter Bridge – Alter Bridge, Trivium – Ascendancy, Cog – The New Normal and Bullet For My Valentine – The Poison

Then came the self-titled 2007 album and after that it was the 2010 album “Nightmare” and now I am into another listen of “Hail To The King”.

That lead break on the song “Afterlife” from the 2007 album is insane x infinity. Synester puts so many different styles into it and those sweeps are killers. It is a far cry from the neoclassical sweeps of Yngwie.

“M.I.A” from City of Evil is another great tune. Great music on it.

I sure miss the Dream Theater and the cabaret progressive influences from “The Rev” (RIP).

I was reading a lot of articles on A7X last night and I even went back to some of the Guitar World issues I have. Man, talk about polarizing. They are either loved or hated. There is no in between.

Even from way back in 2006, there are articles on the web that call A7X, Guns N Roses and Metallica rip offs.

Then Black Veil Brides are accused by A7X fans of ripping off “Unholy Confessions” for the BVB song “Knives and Pens”.

I couldn’t stop laughing. This world has gone to hell….

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

Cog – Are You Interested? (Classic Song Waiting To Be Discovered)

I just finished reading an article from TorrentFreak about databases that store everything we do online. In light of the N.S.A surveillance scandal in the U.S, it is a timely reminder of issues that should matter to everyone.

On the one hand we have the entertainment companies moaning and complaining about piracy and the need for everyone else to do something for them in order to prop up their dated business models.

On the other hand, we have other IT companies taking up government contracts to COLLECT and STORE data on its own citizens. The observations range from web browsing habits, emails, Facebook activity, phone activities and text messages. All of this totalitarian overheads in the name of democracy and protection.

As I was finishing reading this article, a song from the super excellent Australian band COG came on. The song is called Are You Interested? and it more or less tells the listener that personal privacy in today’s society doesn’t exist. It was released on the excellent Sharing Space album from 2008. I loved this album back in 2008 and five years later I still love it. That to me equals a GREAT album.

I still can’t believe it has been 5 years. I remember watching them at Waves in Wollongong, on the Sharing Space tour.

Cog had their own groove going and a massive big sound for a three-piece. Lucius Borich was on drums, Flynn Gower on guitar and his brother Luke Gower on bass. It is a dead set shame that they never got a higher level of international recognition. I am sure they still had some of their best work to come.

On the album Sharing Space, Cog really went to town on the politics, especially around governments that do the bidding for the Corporations.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And they’re scanning all their databases
Hunting terrorists
Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist

So we know that the NSA collects and stores information from U.S. internet and telephone companies. All of the data goes to different data centres. As mentioned in Wired Magazine, these data centres will “intercept, decipher, analyse, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.”

Sure sounds like a big list to me. I am just curious as to how many bad people the NSA/Prism scheme actually captured or prevented from doing anything nasty.

Barcodes and fingerprints
Obedience identikit

It’s like the book 1984. Actually one of my favourite movies, Equilibrium, is influenced by the concepts in 1984. Who is to say that the Government will not expand their data collection to medical data.

Yes, they’re making lists are you interested?
Yes, they’re making lists but maybe they’re the terrorists

It looks like the terrorists have won. America and other “democratic” nations have done a great job of destroying themselves in the aftermath of 9/11. Democracy is now a Police State.

The vocal style of Flynn is so unique, it makes the song remain in my head space for a long time after it is finished.

A bit of back story in relation to Cog. The band I was in during the time period between 2000 and 2004, opened up for Cog. This was the period of the Just Visiting Part 1 and Part 2 EP releases. As a live band, they killed it.

They knew which songs to open a set with so that they could pump everyone up. For the Just Visiting EP’s it was Moshiach, for the New Normal it was Doors and for Sharing Space it was No Other Way.

Another thing they did really well was their light show. For an independent band, they put a lot of effort into their live show. It changed for all three albums;
· Just Visiting had the Chinese lanterns
· The New Normal had the lasers and the spotlights
· Sharing Space had the strobes, traffic light and heater like lights

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

Music Is A Long Road – A Trip Down Memory Lane with Fates Warning, Tom Petty and Dream Theater

For any artists these days, be it Bon Jovi or Metallica or Dream Theater or Motley Crue or Imagine Dragons or Shinedown or Machine Head or any new band starting off right now, they all need to understand one thing. We are living in the generation of kids born from 1997 onwards. This generation wants to consume music. Their sense of community is all online. Anyone that says they don’t have a Spotify account is not living in the modern age. These kids weren’t alive when the Record Labels ruled the day, so they have no desire for yesterday, they are all about today and what lays beyond.

For any artist these days, their whole career is about relationships. If you want an audience to invest, you need to establish a relationship. You need to make the effort. The days of touring a city based on the record sales figures for that city are long gone. Ask Dream Theater or Iron Maiden how many albums they have sold in South America? Then ask them how many people came to their shows in those countries.

Mike Portnoy stated in the linear notes on the released bootleg recording of Dream Theater’s Santiago, Chile show from June 2005 that they didn’t know what to expect from South America due to the low number if records they had sole there. They even went to the show with a cut down stage set to save money. In the end, they played to their biggest headlining audience ever.

It’s all about roots. If an artist doesn’t have any, the audience is not interested. Experience moulds the artist, it influences them. Music is an end unto itself. When done right, the sound and the feel is enough. It doesn’t need the videos, the PR sell and all the pyro that comes with the rock n roll show.

Tom Petty sang that Love Is A Long Road. That is the aim of every artist. To foster the love of the audience into a sustainable career. To paraphrase Tom Petty, Music is A Long Road. The same way that a relationship with a partner has its ups and down, so does the relationship between artist and fan. The same effort that an artist puts into a loving relationship is basically the same effort they need to put in to their music career.

The music community has shifted to being a song centric community. We just dont know it yet. The album format that used to make the most money for the record labels is almost a dead format. However artists still go back and release a collection of songs as an album.

In order for the album format to work for you, you need to create an album that is playable throughout. You need to create an album that needs to be heard over and over again. You need to create an album that stands up years after its release.

Fates Warning released an unbelievable album called Disconnected in 2000. However talk to anyone these days and it is like the band never existed. It’s been years since I’ve heard Disconnected and to my amazement, it sounds as fresh and innovative today as it did 13 years ago. Jim Matheos is the pure definition of the progress is derivative statement. He has the ability to take good things from songs that came before and mould them into something great, unique and innovative.

In the Year 2000, progressive music was at opposite ends of the spectrum. You had the Dream Theater style of progressive music on one side and the Tool style of progressive music on the other side. In between you had a band like Porcupine Tree, merging Tool like aggression with Pink Floyd like atmospherics. The mainstream was ruled by Nu-Metal bands. The missing link was Fates Warning.

With Disconnected, Jim Matheos merged the Tool and Porcupine Tree progressive elements with the Dream Theater progressive elements and put them through the Fates Warning blender.

Disconnected is a fusion of all the best progressive elements at the time into a cohesive piece of work that can be listened to over and over again from start to finish. It is a tragedy that this album is so overlooked these days. In the same way that each lick and melody from Images and Words by Dream Theater sticks in my head, Disconnected from Fates Warning does the same.

I am looking forward to hearing “Darkness In A Different Light” when it comes out on September 27. Nine years is a long time between albums. Nine years in the music business is an eternity. So much has changed. Love is a long road. Music is a long road.

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