It’s the last album I purchased and much later than its release date at a discounted price. At the time I was still endeavouring at keeping my Disturbed collection intact.
So “Immortalized” is the comeback album after the hiatus, released on August 21, 2015 by Reprise Records. It’s also the comeback album for “The Guy”, the Disturbed mascot.
Between “Asylum” and “Immortalized”, there is a five year gap. “The Lost Children” doesn’t count here as it was an album of leftover tracks.
One song defines this album and it’s the cover of “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel. As soon as it was released as a single it went to Platinum, and by November 2017, it was 3x Platinum and right now its getting close to 4x Platinum.
The album itself was certified Platinum in January 2018. So in an era of no sales, Disturbed is still pulling good numbers.
The band members David Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar) and Mike Wengren (drums) perform on the album. Bass player John Moyer was not present, due to working with Adrenaline Mob and Art of Anarchy so Donegan did the bass. But Moyer is still pictured in the booklet.
Kevin Churko is producing and his run of certifications continues similar to Olsen and Werman back in the 80s.
The reviews at the time were not kind to the album with sentences like “It won’t change the minds of those who weren’t fans before” or “Immortalized” is fans-only release as it feeds the target audience”.
But hindsight is a wonderful thing and “The Sound Of Silence” for better or for worse brought in a whole new audience.
“The Eye of the Storm” (Intro)
You hear the sound of a vinyl record starting, all dusty and then a demented tremolo effect arpeggio starts, complemented by a guitar lead.
The Intro riff is classic Disturbed.
“Secure a legacy that will never die, be immortalized”
What kind of legacy is up to you?
“The Vengeful One”
It reminds me of “Louder Than Hell” from Motley Crue. And I like it.
The drum groove sets the pace and then one of my favourite riffs on the album just explodes the same way it does on “Louder Than Hell”.
Pure head banging bliss.
“The rabid media plays their role / Stoking the flames of war to no surprise / Only too eager to sell their souls / For the apocalypse must be televised”
There are no views for happy moments. Chaos, death and destruction gets people glued to their screens.
“Open Your Eyes”
It’s catchy and easily digestible.
This song has John Feldmann (from the band Goldfinger, plus he has a history of writing and producing other artists like Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides, 5 Seconds Of Summer) and Nick Furlong (another songwriter who has worked with Papa Roach, Good Charlotte, All Time Low, 5 Seconds Of Summer) as co-writers, along with Draiman, Donegan and Wengren.
But regardless of the songwriters, it’s still a Disturbed cut, through and through.
You’re hypnotized, demoralized Believe every line that they sell you Start channelling whatever will remains Discern from what’s fiction and what is true
Open your eyes
People need to read more critically and research different point of views. But with social media being such a massive force of nature, it’s very easy to surround yourself in an echo chamber, hearing the same thing, over and over and over again, until you believe it is true and you refuse to see another point of view, which could be true.
A hard rock song, reminding me of “My Hero” from Foo Fighters in certain sections.
And how good is the vocal melody in the Chorus. Pure AOR Melodic Rock.
Four punch knockout combo right there.
“What Are You Waiting For”
I wasn’t surprised that they had a cut that sounded like Five Finger Death Punch on the album. The track is also co-written with John Feldman.
The lead break has a lot of the Digitech Whammy Pedal effects.
The electronic element is back, then again, Draiman’s side project “Device” did sound like this.
The riff is a derivative of “Indestructible” and the gang vocal chants are here.
“Save Our Last Goodbye”
It starts off with a person leaving messages on a phone.
The heavy songs were getting derivative at this point in time although I still enjoy listening to em, just to hear what Draiman does with the vocal melodies, or if there is a guitar lead or an interlude that makes me bang the head.
And this song from 3.07 has this Judas Priest like riff in the Interlude which definitely gets the head banging.
In the last minute, it breaks down to a piano and Draiman’s falsetto before building up again.
By the end of it, the person is still calling the number to leave a message and the number is no longer active.
“Fire It Up”
I feel like they started off with an idea to do a song like “We Will Rock You” but once it went through the Disturbed blender, it ended up sounding like “Fire It Up” and if anything it feels like a Godsmack track, with the lyrical line, “when I fire it up, it feels alright”.
“The Sound of Silence”
My brother was singing this song on the day he died from a brain aneurysm and he’s not even a Disturbed fan, but he heard the song on a TV show and it stuck with him.
And I didn’t really care about this song or this version, but a life experience has changed that.
It’s a throwback to the debut album, with a repeating lyrical line done in the Draiman drawl.
“Who Taught You How to Hate”
A great title.
A long time ago I came across a quote like “a child’s life is like a blank sheet of paper, which every person leaves a mark on”.
So how did that child grow up to hate?
Now for the bonus tracks, “Tyrant”, “Legion Of Monsters” and “The Brave And The Bold”.
I like the lead break.
“Legion of Monsters”
Inspired by a Rolling Stone article on the Boston Marathon Bomber. It’s angry and energetic.
“The Brave and the Bold”
I like the Blues Rock riff to start off the song. The Chorus is pure Disturbed and the lead break is excellent as there are a lot of Randy Rhoads type licks chucked in and I like it.
For comeback albums, it was well received and while the reviewers said the album is for hard-core fans only, this album actually grew Disturbed’s fan base.
In Australia, Canada and the U.S, the album went to Number 1. In Austria, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K, it was a Top 10 album. In Belgium, Holland and Portugal it was a Top 20 album.
For certifications, it was certified Platinum in Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway and the U.S. It was certified Gold in Austria, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.K.
The “Immortalized” tour was earning on average $200K in B level cities (using California as a guide, San Diego is classed as a B level city) and about $400K in A Level cities (like Los Angeles) a night.
Good or bad, acoustic guitar songs would become very prominent on the next album “Evolution” released in 2018.
The touring cycle was done and the bad was starting a trek of shows to commemorate “The Sickness” 20 year Anniversary before COVID-19 put a halt to proceedings.
“Hexes” is from the Tesseract album called “Polaris” released in 2015.
For those who don’t know, Tesseract are an U.K. act, who play a form of progressive rock. If you like genre titles, then they started off as a djent band which then morphed into a math rock style with atmospheric rock elements.
“Hexes” according to a quick search on the internet, means to cast a spell on/put a curse on.
And in this instance, our own decisions and past histories are the hexes we put on our lives.
It’s a progressive, atmospheric tune.
At its core, is a digital delay riff, which just keeps on building into an explosive syncopated progressive riff.
But let’s not forget the vocal melody and that haunting soft piano which just rumbles under the surface.
And that half time section from about 3.22 to the end.
It isn’t a secret this mind’s shrouded in history It isn’t a secret this mind spirals in disarray It isn’t a secret this mind shatters in mystery It isn’t a secret I find terror in memory
Our thoughts are a secret. Unless we talk about em. But we don’t. Because we feel exposed and we don’t like to be exposed.
So we keep thinking and building more thoughts. Which we store away like memories. Fantasy clashes with reality and the mind is confused as to what is real.
History hexes us I breathe again History hexes us I live again
Whatever happened in our past, it doesn’t mean our future is fixed. Each day is a new chance to breathe and live again.
NUMBER 13: Halestorm – Into The Wild Life
Adele might get all the press, but Lzzy Hale is the one that will outlast them all. This is a pretty solid album and each week it’s still selling units and it’s being streamed. Spotify tells me that 3 million unique listeners streamed 330 years worth of Halestorm music. As an artist, that is all you can ask for.
“All you doubters and haters, actors, and fakers, I don’t have time for you” ….. from “Scream”
The truth is; we do have time for the doubters, haters and fakers. Initially, their spite; upsets us. In time, we harden up and are able to shrug it off.
“’Cause I’m a sick individual and I’m doing this thing called whatever the fuck I want” ….. from “Sick Individual”
It’s a brilliant play on words.
“And just like old school Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Lemmy I need to drop it down low and make it heavy” ….. from “I Like It Heavy”
“Since I was 13 years old, I’ve had my horns to the sky” ….. from “I Like It Heavy”
I dig the reference to Lemmy instead of Motorhead. His legend is bigger than that of his band.
NUMBER 14: Europe – War Of Kings
Europe had massive success back in the 80’s. You could tell that while they had fun, they just weren’t comfortable being in a pop world. You could hear in their music that they wanted to explore more territory creatively. And they did just that with their reunion in 2004. Five albums later they are making more money now than what they did in the Eighties. They have their own company, own their music and license it to people who want to work with the band. They plan their tours and merchandise. They work really hard on social media.
Spotify tells me that 6 million listeners played 240 years worth of Europe music in 2015.
I’m a big fan of Europe’s return to mysticism in the lyrics and personal reflection. They have re-invented themselves. And for lovers of the seventies Euro Rock influences, then “War Of Kings” is the album. Dave Cobb who produced “Rival Sons” is on hand to produce.
“Hit” songs on this album are “Days Of Rock N Roll” (how good is that riff), “War Of Kings”, “Children Of The Mind” (what a groove), “Angels (With Broken Hearts) and “Rainbow Bridge” (for the exoticism groove).
“Somebody told me, it’s all the same now Somebody told me, we’ve had our turn Gotta believe that times still ours” ….. from “Days Of Rock ‘n’ Roll”
I remember reading interviews with Europe during the writing and recording of “Prisoners Of Paradise” and how the record company asked them for “hits”. Eventually the album comes out; in a marketplace that was changing and morphing into an anti-rock movement. You can just imagine the record heads then telling Europe, “your career is over, your style of music is finished and there is a new style replacing the old style”. Sort of like “Ten Thousand Fists” from Disturbed.
“Nothing can touch the living hope the human spirit owns” ….. from “Rainbow Bridge” “We build our lives, hopefully the one that we choose” ….. from “Angels (With Broken Hearts) Lyrics”
A decision was forthcoming for one of my kids, that as a parent I had to make for him. The road he will be on next year is a decision that was made solely by me, as a parent. Based on the information at hand right now, it feels like the right decision. Years into the future, hindsight might prove otherwise. And that is life in a nutshell. Born into this world, the main decisions are made by our parents. They set a course for our lives and hopefully it is not too far detached from the life we want to live when we get older.
NUMBER 15: Periphery – Alpha / Omega
I saw Periphery at a small pub in Sydney called the Annandale Hotel. Impressive was the fact that six of them fitted onto that tiny stage that my three piece band once upon a time couldn’t fit on. It was a sold out show and Periphery didn’t disappoint.
I must say that I am a fan of their songs when they have more clean tone and melodic vocals instead of the screaming/growling vocals. In saying that some of their songs like “Ragnarok” have a mixture of both and a song like that needs that style.
I have seen some websites call them the modern face of metal. Periphery is a band that is technical. Nowadays, the odds are stacked against most bands that deviate from the basic verse-chorus formula. In my view, bands like Periphery and TesseracT always need to innovate with each release. Their style is such that they can borrow/be influenced from any musical style, culture/genre and fans expect that innovation.
And they are a band that is from the people, being formed via forums, blogs and other social media websites. Fans of the band ended up in the band. And they are realistic in their goals. They know they will not be as big as Metallica. So they play to their core and their core sustains them.
Spotify tells me that Periphery have 694,000 listeners, who have streamed 130 years worth of Periphery music in 2015. But if you look at their sales record, it is anemic compared to their streams.
Which brings me to the double album; Alpha and Omega. A concept story, albeit a pretty scary one if you read the lyrics. Check it out.
“What’s yours, is ours for the taking Take this bruise as a sign that we own you now and forevermore” ….. from “MK Ultra”
“It’s never greener inside the mess we’re in Wanting what you never have The less we are content the more we throw away what little time we have left to grow” ….. from “Alpha”
“Staring at the hourglass, my life it feels like a machine running with no direction” ….. from “22 Faces”
“Hold your breath We’re sinking down for miles in an ocean full of mortal mistake, where the light is much clearer Is it time to purge our lungs amongst the shipwreck?” ….. from “Rainbow Gravity”
“Now I am a product of a mind that wasn’t ever mine and now it says “Kill them slow”” ….. from “Psychosphere”
“Suffocating in a world of human filth Yes pull me under Stop treading in a pool of your own blood Accept demise” ….. from “Graveless”
“Can we show the ones who are blind? Show them that we’re not blind” ….. from “Omega”
NUMBER 8: Days Of Jupiter – Only Ashes Remain
If you don’t like Disturbed’s comeback album, then get into this album.
Days Of Jupiter hail from Sweden and they started in January 2010, however the members have been in various bands prior. Like anything to do with music, it’s a long way just to rock and roll.
They take Disturbed’s / Shinedown / Five Finger Death Punch and Alter Bridge style of music, amp it up with “Rammstein” style grooves, mix in some Tool progressive grooves, add in some Euro/Metal influences like Accept, Scorpions, Evergrey and top it off with Arena Rock choruses.
The result is “Only Ashes Remain”; their second album. For those that don’t know, “Secrets Brought to Life” released in 2012, is their debut album.
The opening moments of “Ashes” bring back memories of Five Finger Death Punch’s “The Bleeding”. “Broken Halo” is a hell of a good song. “Remember My Name” is a metal tour de force.
“I” reminds me of the “Draconian Times” album by Paradise Lost. “Shut Up” is a monster song, with that Rammstein marching beat and “Last One Alive” brings back the intro of “Ashes”.
NUMBER 9: Sweet and Lynch – Only To Rise
The people who spread the word for the project are either fans of Stryper and Dokken or Michael Sweet and George Lynch. Sweet and Lynch are two veterans of the music business who know they need to play to their core. It is the core audience that will sustain them and it will be the core audience that will abandon them when they deviate too far from it. My review can be found here.
The whole album is an example of the progress is derivative model that I subscribe too.
NUMBER 10: Muse – Drones
I have a lot of time for this band, because of “Stockholm Syndrome”. That song was copied and used by a ton of metal and rock bands afterwards. “Drones” to me has enough to satisfy the core, and to pick up new fans. Check out “Psycho” that merges a “Black Sabbath” sludgy groove with classical overtones. Then comes “Mercy” that will satisfy the pop fans of Muse, plus it has enough grit to satisfy the rock fans. I will even go out on a limb and call Muse the modern-day Led Zeppelin.
“Reaper” kicks off with a Van Halen “Hot For Teacher” vibe and it has this “Still Of The Night” vibe from Whitesnake in the Chorus, while the bassist is playing lines like “Heart Of The Sunrise” from Yes. Brilliant.
Then you have a keyboard led song like “Aftermath” with it’s Claptonesque blues style of leads in the intro.
Chuck into the mix the Morricone themed “The Globalist” that morphs into a “Stockholm Syndrome” style movement that then morphs into an Elton John crossed with jazz movement and you can see why I call Muse the modern-day Led Zeppelin.
And the lyrics from Matt Bellamy are brilliant, especially for a band that has commercial appeal, who also racks up at least 5 million streams on Spotify each day. While Coldplay and Bon Jovi tell their audience they can move mountains, Muse/Bellamy tells them what is happening in the world at this point in time.
“Your mind is just a program and I’m the virus” ….. From “Psycho”
“Absent gods and silent tyranny We’re going under hypnotised By another puppeteer” ….. From “Mercy”
“I’m just a pawn and we’re all expendable” ….. From “Reapers”
“You were my oppressor And I, I have been programmed to obey Now, you are my handler And I, I will execute your demands” ….. From “The Handler”
“Oppression is persisting I can’t fight this brain conditioning Our freedom’s just a loan Run by machines and drones They’ve got us locked into their sights” ….. From “Revolt”
NUMBER 11: Coheed and Cambria – The Color Before The Sun
You can hear how fatherhood and love has affected Claude Sanchez.
“Island” kicks off the album. It’s similar in style to other major key rockers COCA have done in the past. However, the best song is Claude’s love song, “Here To Mars”.
And as usual Claude Sanchez comes up with some excellent lyrics;
“Now give me one good reason to stay here at all When the fee is too big, our apartment’s too small Where’s my life-saver when I’m screaming danger” ….. From “Island”
“You, you keeping on screaming from the top of your lungs, Mr. Who Gives A Shit, just shut up” ….. From “You Got Spirit, Kid”
“You’re number one Go on living that farce Cause nobody gives a fuck who you are” ….. From “You Got Spirit, Kid”
NUMBER 12: All That Remains – The Order Of Things
Maybe all the love goes to “Killswitch Engage”, but man All That Remains are up there as well.
“This Probably Won’t End Well”, “The Greatest Generation”, “For You”, “A Reason For Me To Fight”, “Bite My Tongue” (love the little jazzy breakdown solo section) and “Criticism and Self Realization” are stand outs.
And if you are looking for voices who are not afraid to speak their minds, then look no further than frontman, Phil Labonte. Check out some of his lyrics.
“Mistakes that are made are the gifts that keep giving” ….. From “This Probably Won’t End Well”
“They dug and shaped the earth and with their hands gave birth, To all the modern wonders that you see, they worked from dawn till dusk” ….. From “The Greatest Generation”
“Cause I can’t wait while you think this through We don’t have endless time, remember who left who” ….. From “For You”
“No cavalry left that we can call, we’re on our own, backs against the wall” ….. From “A Reason For Me To Fight”
“Apologies are empty words, I know you’re only sorry (because) you got caught” ….. From “Bite My Tongue”
NUMBER 4: Bullet For My Valentine – Venom
BFMV is always re-defining themselves with each album and still sticking to their core sound. They started off classed as “Metalcore” or “EMO” for “The Poison” released in 2007. Then they went all “Thrash Metal” on their best album “Scream Aim Fire” in 2008. For 2010’s “Fever” they adopted a more hard rock/metal approach, which they re-defined and commercialised a bit more for “Temper Temper” in 2013.
Now in 2015, they have combined elements of all releases into a very good album from start to finish. The core will lap it up and man it’s got some pretty good head banging mosh pit moments.
“No Way Out” is relentless. A thrash-a-thon.
In “Army Of Noise”, before the Chorus comes in, there is this foot stomping riff that just gets me ready to break stuff. “Worthless” is more moody and groovy in a Deftones kind of way than the first two songs. “You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)” starts off with the call to arms.
“Venom” the title track surprised me, because of its U2ish delayed riffs in the Verses. It’s actually a pop metal song, and I dig it.
“Skin” has another “I Want To Break Stuff” intro that I dig and a Chorus riff that reminds me of “Iron Maiden”. My favourite track of the album.
“Lights out, fist raised, Adrenaline rushing, infecting our veins, Now feel the heat as the temperature spikes, Bodies are thrashing the fire ignites” ….. From “Army Of Noise”
“We will not take this anymore, These words will never be ignored, You want a battle? Here’s a war” ….. From “You Want A Battle? Here’s A War”
“Now I’m giving up, I’m never looking back, here we go again, You keep giving me a taste of your venom” ….. From “Venom”
“I wish that I could tell you so you know, There’s things I’m hiding deep beneath my skin, beneath my skin” ….. From “Skin”
NUMBER 5: Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Love the album and Deen Castronovo on vocals is excellent. It’s a shame he is in the press for all of the wrong reasons. He even lost his Journey drumming gig.
And for the record, I still can’t understand how a guitarist like Doug Aldrich can do an album and not write a single song on it. Anyway, “Back On My Trail” has a good melodic riff. Not a fan of the chorus/vocal melodies, but the music is of high quality. “You’re Not Alone” is quality. “Locked Out of Paradise” is brilliant. All three are written solely by Alessandro Del Vecchio.
So a lot of people are asking who is Alessandro Del Vecchio?
First and foremost he is a musician, fronting his own band “Edge Of Forever” and being a member in “Hardline” (remember that band that came out in the early nineties that had Neal Schon in it, well the current version is very different). When he isn’t doing his own thing, he is producing, performing and writing for the head of Frontiers Records, Serafino Perugiono.
Chances are if you have heard melodic rock music from Resurrection Kings, Moonland, L.R.S., Rated X, Three Lions, Bailey, Mother Road, Faithsedge, Ez Livin’ and Revolution Saints, then there is a good chance you would heard songs from Del Vecchio. He got into Frontiers by doing is own thing, which was the melodic rock Edge of Forever albums, on a label which was distributed by Frontiers.
Another artist/songwriter/producer that is represented on Revolution Saints is Erik Martensson.
“Dream On” is a better derivative version of “Back On My Trail” and it brings back memories of Night Ranger. However this one has music written by Erik Martensson (from the Swedish melodic rock band Eclipse) along with Finish-Swedish songwriter Johan Becker. And one of the best songs on the album is the Eclipse track “How To Mend A Broken Heart” that’s also written by Martensson.
NUMBER 6: TesseracT – Polaris
For those that don’t know, TesseracT is a British progressive metal band formed in 2007 and has released three full-length albums and two EPs. They have built their audience, mile by mile, show by show, release by release. There is no harder working band than these guys.
“Polaris” is a pretty good album. Actually, all of TesseracT’s releases have been excellent for me. I know that “Survival” has gotten some press recently as singer Dan Tompkins mentioned it’s about struggling financially and dealing with the difficulties of being away from his wife and son for extended periods of time.
And if you want an introduction into the album, then “Survival” is the song. It’s math rock with a catchy arena rock chorus.
“Hexes” is a progressive, math like atmospheric tune, like “Dark Side Of The Moon” era Pink Floyd. It’s got a delay riff at its core, which keeps on building into an explosive syncopated progressive riff.
“Tourniquet” has this cool vibe. At its core, the song has a repeating apreggiated riff and the song continues to build and transition around it.
“Cages” also falls into the cool atmospheric vibe, with a repeating lick that the rest of the song builds and transitions over, so by the time the song comes to the end, its unique and powerful.
“Seven Names” has one hell of a vocal performance under the beautiful and chaotic bed of music.
“It isn’t a secret this mind shatters in mystery It isn’t a secret I find terror in memory” ….. from “Hexes”
“Disturbed – will I disappear with a vision of tomorrow or will I fall? Disturbed – and I get the feeling I’ve been here before on the abandoned road” ….. from “Survival”
“Your love is my tourniquet Learn to rise, contain the pressure” ….. from “Tourniquet”
NUMBER 7: Tremonti – Cauterize
In the words of the immortal YODA, a solid listen, this album is. An outstanding song, there is not. Intention of Tremonti, was not the hit single.
For those who don’t know, Mark Tremonti is the guitarist and main songwriter for Creed, which then morphed into Alter Bridge with an even better singer and songwriter in Myles Kennedy. Plus Myles is one hell of a guitarist. Both bands styles however are in the hard rock arena. In between downtime, Tremonti decided to hook up with some friends and pay homage to his metal influences.
“Cauterize” intro riff is speed metal to a tee and the song morphs into a Euro Metal tour de force. “Another Wait” has a groove metal intro. “Tie The Noose” borders on Rammstein and Five Finger Death Punch groove riffing. “Sympathy” is more in line with the rock of Alter Bridge.
But the piece de-restitance is “Providence”.
That riff that comes in at 2.25. Then it gets doubled, then the rest of the band comes in, then a cool vocal line comes in and then the shred begins.
“Shield what you love and hope it’s enough and pray that your providence comes”…. From “Providence”
“Progress is made by improving on what came before”.
Music is no different. If you want a career, if you want to make progress, you need to improve on what came before. The class of 2015 so far is doing just that.
NUMBER 0: Protest The Hero – Pacific Myth Subscription Series
PTH is one band (of many) that are using different ways of connecting and engaging with their fan base.
I was one of those fans that contributed to their Indiegogo campaign for the “Volition” album, watched em live when they came to Oz, purchased merch and now I am one of those fans that is contributing to the “Pacific Myth” subscription series. The way PTH geared it up is they have two packages for a one of fee of $12 and $25. On both packages, the subscriber would receive a monthly song (for a period of 6 months) to stream, or download. In addition, you will also receive the instrumental version, along with artwork, lyrics, music scores and notes. The $25 package also includes a six part doc series.
As vocalist Rody mentioned in the video launching the series, “think of it as an EP spread over six months”.
“We have done the full-length album and ensuing record cycle four times now. While they all had their benefits, they all dragged on. Most record cycles are at least 2 years. That’s two years of promoting 40-or-so minutes of music. Music that you may have written two years before that! We have never been able to release what we want to release NOW. So that’s exactly what this is. These are songs we love now, songs we are proud of now, and songs which are inherently more candid than our other material. Don’t get us wrong, this is very much the pth you either know and love or know and hate. If you like what we do, we are pretty sure you are going to dig this crap. I guess we’ll let these little lullabies speak for themselves…”
This again is another innovative way for the band to connect directly with the fans. It’s a brave new world out there for monetizing your fan base. You can scream and complain about royalty payments or you can innovate, adapt and connect with your audience like PTH, for it is your audience that sustains you, keeps you employed.
Now, if you like a hard rock song or a metal song that sticks to formula, then you will probably not like Protest The Hero. If you are into progressive and technical music with different moods, that could have melodic vocals and harsh vocals (especially in the earlier days) with intelligent lyrics, then PTH is a band you would like.
“Begging the questions “why?””, why do we work until we die” ….. from “Tidal” “A drop into the sea whose ripple turns to a tidal wave and sweeps the shores it once forgave” ….. from “Tidal” “The sun, the moon, the Earth, conversed and agreed, the people of the world must pay for its atrophy” ….. from “Tidal”
NUMBER 1: The Night Flight Orchestra – Skyline Whispers
This is the best album for 2015 by far.
For the ones that don’t know, TNFO is a very classic AOR rock sounding side-project. From “Soilwork”, Björn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson are on vocals and guitar. From “Arch Enemy”, Sharlee D’Angelo is on bass. From Swedish rock group “Von Benzo” comes Richard Larsson on keyboards. From Swedish metal band “Meanstreak and Swedish rock group “Orchid” comes Jonas Källsbäck on drums. Rounding out the band for the second album is Sebastian Forslund from “Kadawatha” on congas, percussion and guitar.
So way back in 2012, TNFO released an incredible album called “Internal Affairs”. It was a throwback to the Classic Rock era of the Seventies and a joy to listen to from start to finish. Fast forward to 2015, and we have the second album, “Skyline Whispers”. Like the debut album, it is a trip down memory lane. However in this case, instead of being a throwback to the sounds of the Seventies, it is a throwback to the sound those Seventies bands did towards the end of the Seventies and into the Eighties.
Check out “Sail On”, “Living for the Night-time”, “I Ain’t Old, I Ain’t Young”, “Spanish Ghosts” and “The Heather Reports” for essential listening.
“I have crossed too many oceans I was born a rambling man And I’ve caused a lot of heartaches But I never gave a damn
Now the road that lies before me Gives no answers to my prayers But I still have hopes that surely Things will add up in the end
Sail on, sail on”
NUMBER 2: Whitesnake – The Purple Album
To be honest, Whitesnake has had a tough run. When the band and Coverdale got that huge success in the U.S (thanks to MTV) between 1987 and 1989, no one really had a clue about Coverdale’s origin story.
The majority of the 7 million people in the U.S that purchased the 1987 album were clueless that Coverdale had released over 10 albums prior to that and that he was even in Deep Purple. And who would have thought that “Here I Go Again”, “Still Of The Night” and “Is This Love” would take that much mindshare and become a soundtrack to people’s lives.
Which brings me to “The Purple Album”.
I have read a lot of comments on social media that either hate “The Purple Album” or love it. There is no in-between. I’m confused as to why it is causing such a great divide. “The Purple Album” is the perfect bridge to bring Coverdale’s Deep Purple legacy into his Whitesnake legacy.
Who better to do remakes of those great songs than Coverdale himself?
With the help of John Kalodner at Geffen Records, Coverdale proved himself a master at doing remakes. Remember “Crying In The Rain” and “Here I Go Again”.
People also forget that Jimi Hendrix’s biggest songs were remakes of songs already released. Think “Hey Joe” and “All Along The Watchtower”. Hell, Def Leppard did their own remakes of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Rock Of Ages”, due to a record label “licensing vs sales monies to be paid dispute”. Anyway, whatever peoples’ views on remakes/forgeries are, “The Purple Album” is a classic modern sounding album with no filler, that a new generation of fans would gravitate to.
“The Purple Album” project was birthed by tragedy. After the death of Jon Lord, Coverdale reached out to Ritchie Blackmore to discuss a possible get together and to thank Blackmore for giving an unknown an opportunity to be the lead singer in Deep Purple. When that new collaboration didn’t eventuate, the project would go on to become a new Whitesnake project. With the backing of Frontiers Records, who just love to wrap up new sound recordings of songs written in the Seventies and Eighties for another 100 years of copyright, the project was a go.
“People are sayin’ the woman is damned, She makes you burn with a wave of her hand” ….. from “Burn”
“Ride the rainbow, Crack the sky, Stormbringer coming, Time to die” ….. from “Stormbringer”
“Many times I’ve been a traveller, I looked for something new” ….. from “Soldier Of Fortune”
“My mama showed me how to rock in the cradle, but I learned how to roll along, My papa said “son, gotta git some fun, Cos when your old it ain’t too good on your own” ….. from “Coming Home”
NUMBER 3: Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
What can I say, it’s the mighty Maiden. Hell, the football Summer Comp team my boys are in is called Iron Maiden. Plus I purchased 5 tickets to their concert next year, so that I can take my whole family to watch them. Enough said.
It’s been five years from the “The Final Frontier” album. During that period, Maiden has hit the road in support of “The Final Frontier” and they hit the road to celebrate a milestone from the past. Add to that, live DVD releases, the writing and recording process of the new album, Bruce Dickinson’s cancer diagnosis, and the result is “The Book Of Souls”.
First, the album doesn’t sound like a professional mega band recording. It is raw and with mistakes.
Second, I do wish that on some of the songs some editing was employed. And that is a difficult thing for me to say as a lot of my favourite songs clock in at over 10 minutes. However, the Maiden concerts are known for fans chanting and singing along with the riffs and the chants, and “The Book Of Souls” is full of songs that have those chants.
It’s funny, but Iron Maiden is one of those bands that has a fan base that loves them. That is evident by the ticket sales and merch sales they rack up in each city they hit. They could make a career of revisiting their legacy on each tour, like the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour. But Maiden doesn’t want to be a nostalgic act.
The album is number three on my list because each song has an idea that is like a lightning strike, a moment that makes me tap my foot, nod my head and take notice. And it could have been a perfect 60 minute album, instead of a 93 minute album.
“The red and the black People don’t want the truth Look in their eyes and you send them away” ….. from “The Red And The Black”
“If you should sell your soul as cheaply as I did then The road to ruin is a long road to hide in We signed our lives away to have an escape It’s something that will be whatever our fate” ….. from “When The River Runs Deep”
“We must go now, we must take our chance with fate” ….. from “Empire Of The Clouds”