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

The Record Vault: Disturbed – Indestructible

By album Number 4, the Disturbed brand was bigger than ever. Johnny K was gone from the Producers chair. The deals that artists have with producers means that the producers increase their cut and royalty points with each subsequent album. It’s simple business. Instead of paying someone else, they decided to do it themselves.

Disturbed for this album and all albums after is David Draiman on lead vocals, Dan Donegan on lead and rhythm guitars, John Moyer on bass and Mike Wengren on drums.

Released in 2008, it quickly went on its way of matching its predecessors.

In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S, its certified Platinum. In Finland and the U.K, its certified Gold. It charted well in a lot of countries.

“Indestructible”

It was called “Defend” before it was re-titled to “Indestructible”.

While it is a hopeful song to the armed forces, it also serves as a reminder to everyone that Disturbed is still here after all these years.

Killer metal groove riff to start the song off.

Check.

Anthemic Chorus.

Check.

Guitar Lead.

Check.

Actually, the guitar lead breaks on the album shows the Guitar Community that Donegan is a lot more accomplished than previously thought.

“Inside The Fire”

It was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the “Best Hard Rock Performance” category.

It’s a disturbing song, which Draiman has explained as “standing over the body of my girlfriend, who just killed herself, and the Devil is standing over me, whispering in my ear to kill myself.”

The guitar starts off before the drums and bass kick in.

The chorus shares some similarities to “Primal Concrete Sledge” by Pantera however Disturbed sing it in a melodic and anthemic way and of course the guitar solo is “Guitar Hero” worthy.

“Deceiver”

Another song about a bad relationship or that person in your life that lies, deceives and takes from you.

“The Night”

The original title of the album and the first song written for it. The “Night” in this song is a living entity that surrounds you and hides you.

How good is the intro to this?

And another anthemic Chorus.

Check out the guitar lead. Donegan moves to a new level here with some serious sweeps and string skipping.

“Perfect Insanity”

It’s pre “The Sickness” as the band thought it would be pretty cool, especially for the fans, if they brought back maybe a song or two, that were actually written during the same period that “The Sickness” songs were written.

Another killer lead break from Donegan.

“Haunted”

A bass and drum groove start the song with the sound of rain and a tolling bell, before the guitar riff comes in, all staccato like and in sync with the bass drum.

“Enough”

The way Draiman sings the Chorus showcases his vocal abilities.

“The Curse”

It’s Disturbed from the first album. There’s a bit of everything here.

“Torn”

Another great lead from Donegan.

“Criminal”

The bird calls are back as Draiman sings “huh, huh”.

“Divide”

Another old song from pre “The Sickness”, it’s like a punk thrash song in the intro, before it moves into a groove metal riff that reminds me of Judas Priest’s “Better By You, Better Than Me” for the verses.

Draiman is telling you to be an individual, make your mark and stand out. Don’t be a conformist within the pack.

“Façade”

The drums are frantic for the closer.

And in the same way that AC/DC plays its standard blues rawk and roll, Disturbed doesn’t really stray too much from a style which has brought them public acceptance.

Metal elitists will always look down on em, but Disturbed have flown the flag of metal for many years in the face of hip hop, dance and other crap styles.

Indestructible they are.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again

It came out in 2008.

It’s not on Spotify but YouTube has various videos of the album and it is the last Dokken album I purchased.

By the time “Broken Bones” came out, I was a streamer. But I’ve always had that album, along with “Return To The East” and “The Lost Tapes” in my “saved for later” shopping cart, waiting until the price is right.

This album is also the last to feature bassist Barry Sparks and drummer Mick Brown.

Like previous records, Don Dokken had to organize various labels for a worldwide release.
Rhino for the North America market, Frontiers for Europe and King for Japan.

Production is handled by Don Dokken and Tim David-Kelly.

Standing On The Outside

A riff from “It’s Not Love” kicks off the album and I’m tapping my foot along with it.

The verses are better than the Chorus.

And the lead break from Levin is excellent.

Give Me A Reason

It starts off with clean tone arpeggios that remind me of “Walk Away”. But that was hiding the rocker to come.

Musically the song is excellent, while the melodies are stuck in the lower bass/baritone range and sound a bit monotonous.

Heart To Stone

A feel from “Into The Fire” kicks it off before it moves into a “Stop Fighting Love” vibe. It’s basically Dokken sounding like Dokken.

Jon Levin doesn’t get the respect he deserves He’s the longest serving guitarist in the band and he’s become a great co-writer with Don. Plus he respects the past.

How I Miss Your Smile

A simple repeating two chord arpeggio Intro kicks off the song and Don’s heartbreak lyrics take over.

It’s a run of the mill power ballad, but the lead break from Levin makes it worthy. He’s emotive and bluesy.

Oasis

A classic metal riff kicks off the song, straight from the grooves of the “Tooth And Nail” album.

The guitar solo reminds me of “Alone Again” and I like it.

But it suffers from a lack of dynamics vocally.

Point Of No Return

My favorite track.

The Intro reminds me of “Seven Nation Army” but once the song picks up it’s got a “Paris Is Burning” vibe.

Mick Brown and Barry Sparks lay down an energetic tempo.

Jon Levin has done a great job continuing the Dokken guitar brand in the 2000’s and he continues to shine on this track, showing his Lynch and Schenker/Jab influences.

Don Dokken is gravelly in his vocals and I like it as it works for this song.

The Chorus is anthemic and check out the lead break. It’s guitar hero worthy.

I Remember

Another ballad which could have come from Klaus Meine.

Judgement Day

Another favourite.

Levin is inspired by old Dokken.

It feels like “Cry Of The Gypsy” merged with “Lost Behind A Wall” and I like it.

And Don’s lower range singing works perfectly on this while Levin shines all over this track.

It Means

This is good and I like it when artists merge their old way with new influences from modern rock artists.

Release Me

Musically it’s modern rock, like a bit of Tool and a bit of Chevelle.

But it’s the lead break from Levin that captures my attention.

This Fire

An energetic rocker and the riffs are excellent.

Sunset Superstar

The bonus track on the Japanese edition. A speed metal cut like “Tooth And Nail”. It should have been on the album and Don’s gravelly vocals work.

If you like the 80s version of Dokken, you will like this. It’s the best album of the Jon Levin era.

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Soaked – Evergrey

A vocal line, three heavily distorted palm-muted chords and then the next vocal line.

An intro which gets your attention from the outset.

My chest is open
My heart’s on the ground
My bare feet soaked in my blood
As I leave you without a sound

When you enter the depths of a relationship (friends, family or lover) argument, there is no winner, just a lot of bad blood. And you might smile and pretend that everything will be okay when you make up, the truth is, nothing is the same.

There will always be the words said, and the hurt that came with them. Each make up is a reset and a recalibration.

No one to reach for
Even though I stretched too far

It’s an empty feeling, when you are in the depths of loneliness and your thoughts are getting the better of you.

No one sky to warm me up

There are days like this, when you don’t want to get out of bed and face the different situations the day has in store for you or to see the people you need to see.

As darkness clouds the blue

The darkness of the mind and the thoughts that live there, the thoughts that you are scared to confront or seek help for.

I’m leaving
I couldn’t live with the shame
No more denying
I’ve stopped the search for blame

Leaving and making the choice to leave, is the most difficult decision a person can make. And once it is made, nothing can stop it.

Even at the basic level of leaving a job, a home or a school. Once the decision is made, it’s made. There is nothing that can stop you.

Twenty-seven years of falling
Twenty-seven winters slave
Twenty-seven years of dreaming
And this is all the strength life gave
Twenty-seven summers weaker
And the autumn’s just the same
Twenty-seven years…

When I first heard the song, I associated the 27 years to the years given to a relationship. But then I read an interview and this is what Tom Englund had to say about it;

SOAKED is about a friend of mine who killed himself.
Tom Englund

And suddenly all of my interpretations and meanings took on a different light. And 27 is in that zone which the media reports so frequently when celebrities take their lives. It’s the zone of having lived long enough to decide if their life is worth it.

Because from young, people are conditioned to believe that life is an upward trajectory. And when it doesn’t pan out like that, with more lows and disappointments than highs, well….

And if you’d ask then I’d deny that
I didn’t have the strength to fight that drowning weakness
And I buried all signs to cover what I feel underneath
The hollow remains of me

You basically give up. You portray one side of yourself to people and another side, within the four walls of your room. Even if people asked “are you okay?”, you would smile and say “yes”.

And the outro solo from Henrik is impressive in its melodicism.

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Cog

When the History of Australian music is written by the mainstream pop writers, a certain band from Bondi, Sydney called Cog will be forgotten. Seeing the band play live on a lot of occasions, I can say without a doubt, they are one of Australia’s best live bands.

The star of the show without doubt was always Lucius Borich on drums. He rolled and he grooved. The energy he produced on stage, he somehow miraculous transferred over to the audience.

I remember the times when we played with Cog at the Oxford Tavern and UniBar in Wollongong. We all had to load in early as the doors to the venue would shut. (Note: The venue was normally open and entry to watch the live show was free, however when Cog came into town, the venue was turned into a concert hall.)

So we just sat around, drinking beer and watching Lucius sound check. There he is, sound checking the drums, then the guitars and then the bass. The thing that blew me away was the riffs he was playing during the guitar sound checks. At that time, the information doing the rounds on Cog was very vague.

So I had no idea that Lucius was such an accomplished instrumentalist and songwriter. That is why as a drummer he really locks in with the guitar and the bass. That is why his drums move with the peaks and valleys of each song.

No Other Way

What an album track! For an Australian band, it is a ballsy move to open an album with a 10 minute song. The rules are made to be broken and that is what Cog kept on doing with all of their releases. While all their contemporaries went to the hook immediately, Cog took their time to build up to it and when they did, it was well worth the wait. Every time I go back to this song, I keep on hearing little things that I missed with each play before.

Once upon a time albums were not made for radio. Of course, each band had a few songs that could be considered radio friendly, however, the soul of the album was always found by digging deep into the cuts. I remember reading a lot of polarising reviews of the “Sharing Space” album released in 2008, however, if you listen to “No Other Way” and not nod your head, then you must be dead.

Bridges are burning but faces are looking away
People are yearning for someone to show them the way
Tables keep turning and time is the price that we’ll pay
Fast cars and freedom as long as you learn to obey

Fear is the virus they use to divide us
Hoping we’ll all just pretend
That there’s no other way

I remember sitting down to learn this song and I started to break it down into movements. The above lyrics form part of the intro which I call “Movement 1 (0:00 to 2:17)”. It’s got that major chord to minor chord transition and it’s got a melodic hook that draws you in. This is Cog saying to the fans, we are still progressive, we are still mathy, however we are a touch different to what you are used too. This track has melody, it has soul and it has groove.

The subject matter is way understated and so relevant. This is Cog, not playing for a radio hit, but somehow if people stumbled onto it, they would be hooked like it was a radio hit.

Ordered by a god above
To murder in the name of love
And they’ll always claim that truth is on their side

Holding keys to a paradise
All their noise is a lullaby
For years they have ruled over you and I

I called the above, “Movement 2 (2:18 to 3.32)”. Anyone seen the documentary, “Zeitgeist”. It is great viewing. Even Robb Flynn spoke about it recently in one of his journal posts.

Lay down your guns people and start again
And stop digging this hole
Into which we’re all sliding

Screaming down a dead end track
We took a wrong turn now we’re heading back to love
Once this ship has departed
Everyone can feel at home

All invited
Humans undivided
Why not set aside the time to understand your mind

Take it slowly
While facts are showing
Until we’re there
Until we all arrive

I call the above Movement 3 (3:33 to 6:05). People need to listen to each other and take the time to understand each other, instead of talking over each other. “Anybody Listening” from Queensryche, also invokes a similar theme of trying to find a freedom for the soul and to pay attention to what people are saying.

Bridges are burning but faces are looking away
People are yearning for someone to show them the way
Tables keep turning and time is the price that we’ll pay
Fast cars and freedom as long as you learn to obey

Take it slowly
While facts are showing
Until we’re there
Until we all arrive

Fear is the virus they use to divide us
Hoping we’ll all just pretend
That there’s no other way
No other way

I call the above Movement 4 (6:06 to 9.55) – Hearing the melodic hook of the intro sung again over a different chord progression is brilliant.

Are You Interested?

The most famous song off “Sharing Space” is “Are You Interested?” The song embedded itself into the listeners mind and it never left. Producing something magical rarely follows formula. The vocal line of Flynn Gower drives the song.

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

In 2008, Cog sang about how personal privacy is extinct. In 2013, the world is in uproar at the Governments spying on their own citizens.

Four Walls

I am sitting at work listening to “Four Walls” telling myself THIS IS A HIT!. You need to dig down deep into the album to check out “Four Walls” as it is track 12. It’s truly genius, a hooky track based on agoraphobia.

I’m stuck in a space
Four walls
In a room again
But I feel safe
Cause I know, where the end begins

What If

It is the 5/4 timing at the start that hooks me. Again, the vocal line drives the song. It sounds primal and angry. It is almost robotic. It is one of the shorter tracks, however it is still infectious. The song has elements of math rock in it, and in a way the message is one of hope.

What if
In the future
People
Just decided
No more leaders
Fighting to control us

This is Cog offering solutions.

What if
Life was
Just an
Illusion
Made up
By you

We don’t trust our own voice or conscience anymore. We procrastinate and we fail to make important decisions in life. We are fearful of losing what we have, so we over analyse everything to death. So we live a life, that we surround with illusions, just to make us feel better about where we are at in life. I remember this phrase, about proving that a chair exists outside of our mind.

Some things don’t seem right
Change is in sight
Some things are so wrong
Blind eyes too long

It’s like the Queensryche song, “Sign of the Times”, where they ask the question, “Can we do better than this?” The answer is we can, however we have been blinded for so long, we fail to see the wrongs.

Bird Of Feather

This song is dark. It is confrontational.You can hear the anguish in Flynn’s voice at the separation from his three year old daughter and his partner. He was away from them for eight months while he was recording the album in the U.S and then once the album was released, he had to seperate from them again to tour.

 

But I’m only trying to make it better,
Is there no other way,
No other way to go,

Bridging the gap with calling,
Don’t fade away,
Tuning my ears to the sound of your tears,
Is there no other way?

Of course she’s wondering why,
Only three years old,
Dad’s gone again,
Don’t know when,
We’ll all be back home together

Sharing Space

All the faces that we’ve learnt to love
And all the tears we cried when we opened up

I been working, dreaming, wanting something more
And I’m thinking; all this shit I’m doing, what’s it for?

I’m waiting for the day to arrive

They have been writing and touring for years and they have come a long way. They set themselves goals and then complete them. Now they are at a point in their life where they are doing some self-evaluation. They are re-assessing, asking the question why they are together, as life moves so fast, they need to take a pause to absorb it all.

All the fighting, the hurting, the bleeding, the crying
What’s it for?
All the people living, breathing, dying
Wanting more…

For some reason it reminds me of the song, “Promised Land” from Queensryche. Queensryche asks the question, what is success and what is happiness in that song. Does success equal happiness? Our whole society is based on consumption. We are all part of this system, so what’s this life for? Basically all of the ideals our society stands for is a load of crap.

Listening to Cog brings back memories of Tool. Progressive, a bit alternative, a bit rocky, a bit metally, very left of centre, quirky and artistic and in the same way that Tool could cross over with a song like Sober from their album Undertow, Cog do the same with What If?

In the end it just looks like the people that dealt with them, didn’t know what to do with them, how to market them, how to sell them to the public on a world-wide scale. Despite a hard core of die hard fans who purchased every album and went to see the show, the core never really increased.

“Sharing Space” did crossover and the band did see an increase in the fan base during that tour. Maybe they just needed that force of nature personality type, who would not take no for an answer to take them to the next level.

In a country that is infatuated with American Culture and reality TV shows like The Voice, X Factor, Got Talent and Idol, Cog was the antihero to all of this crap.

Cog’s music will endure forever.

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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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