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

November 2020 – Part 1

A lot of music has been released in November so far. So here we go with my review of it.

Black Stone Cherry

I have a bias towards BSC, so it’s not surprise they lead off my November posts of new releases.

“The Human Condition” is the album. They are like my modern day heavy rock ZZ Top.

“The Chain” grooves its way through until the solo section riff kicks in and the speed picks up. “Ringin’ In My Head” and “Again” flow into each other, catchy and groovy tracks that remain ringing in my head after they’ve finished.

“When Angels Learn To Fly” is a bit removed from their blues rock and more in Shinedown like territory. And one of my favourite tracks on the album.

As soon as the intro lead break starts for “In Love With The Pain” I was all in.

“Ride” sounds like it came from the Sunset Strip. “Don’t Bring Me Down” is a cover from ELO and it works perfectly.

System Of A Down

“Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” is SOAD’s response to Azerbaijan and Turkey’s bombing of an Armenian settlement inside Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabakh which the Armenians call Artsakh.

All of the SOAD members are from Armenian ancestries and this conflict has gotten the band to write and record new music.

At it its highest level, it’s a conflict based on religious divides first. Armenia is Christian and Azerbaijan is Islam.

From 1988 to 1994, the original war broke out, with the area being liberated into Armenian hands. But in Europe, these kind of small liberations are rarely forgotten by the losing side. Clashes have occurred throughout the years, from 2008 onwards and in 2020, it escalated again.

“Protect The Land” is a tribute to the soldiers and people of Artsakh who are risking their lives to protect their homes.

Orianthi

“O” is the new album.

It’s on Frontiers.

I read ten reviews of the album and all of them hated it. One review even went to town on how the marketing team are promoting Orianthi, and they used an image from one of the music videos of her slithering on a bed in undies and all that.

For me, it’s great to see Orianthi back out on her own.

And from the outset, “Contagious” gets me rocking, a cross between blues rock and a bit of Muse chucked in. “Sinners Hymn” is a nice amalgamation of the devils blues music with modern rock to create a sinners anthem. “Sorry” is a contemporary pop song.

“Crawling Out Of The Dark” is on acoustic, it’s quite, subdued and melancholic.

“Streams Of Consciousness” is a co-write with Nikki Sixx and Marti Frederiksen. Country rock at its best. And then there is a track like “Company” which has blues guitar but the background foundation is very synth driven. And a chorus that would not be out of place on an album from “The Cure”. “Moonwalker” has got this Latin vibe.

In other words there is a lot of variation here and a little bit for everyone.

Fates Warning

On Metal Blade Records.

One of the first progressive metal bands I got into. For a prog band to succeed there has to be a song. If there isn’t a song, then all of the flash and technical interludes over complex time changes means nothing. Jim Matheos can craft a song and he doesn’t need to create complex interludes with millions of notes. Sometimes an atmospheric mood or groove is enough.

“Long Day Good Night” is their newest album and they’ve been on form since their comeback 5 years ago after a long hiatus.

“The Destination Onward” percolates for the first few minutes as it builds into a rocker. “Shuttered World” and “Alone We Walk” establish grooves and move on with em. This is as straight forward as Fates Warning get. “The Way Home” builds for 4 minutes before the band smashes in and rocks their way for another three or so minutes.

“Glass Houses” brings the prog metal that Fates Warning is known for.

The piece d’resistance is “Longest Shadow of the Day”. At the start it combines a King Crimson like progression with flamenco style guitars and a bass solo. And as the song percolates and builds, its fusion of styles clash into the Fates Warning style, I like. And this happens around the 3 minute mark.

At 5 and a half minutes, it all quietens down with some mournful arpeggios and it’s time for Ray Alder’s voice to shine.

Then at 8.42, Joey Vera takes over with a bass riff that makes me want to take up bass. Drummer, Bobby Jarzombek also shines, with Matheos and new guitarist, Michael Adbow decorating.

And did I mention it has a great guitar solo as well?

It does.

And for those Armored Saint fans, bassist Joey Vera has been doing work with Fates Warning since 2000 and he’s still rocking and progging away with em.

Jeff Scott Soto

Otherwise known as JSS from here on in. One of my favourite rock voices when it comes to melodic rock, and I am also digging the work he’s doing with Sons Of Apollo.

The album “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” kicks off in melodic rock style with “Someone To Love”. From the opening intro lead, I am hooked. “Mystified” is more L.A Sunset Strip than Euro Melodic Metal with a shred-a-licious solo.

“Love’s Blind” rocks in the intro and verses. The Chorus is a bit clichéd but hey JSS has a lot of goodwill in my book, so it doesn’t really detract.

“Without You” is one of those Euro like ballads that borders on classical music. Listening to it, I’m hearing, Zep, Bruce Dickinson, ELO and Swedish acts like Roxette and ABBA.

“Paper Wings” has guitar work that reminds me of the work that JSS did with Malmsteen and is an instant favourite for me. I know that Malmsteen has dissed JSS in the press, but Malmsteen is known as a revisionist and whatever he says doesn’t diminish the work that JSS did with him, especially on the excellent “Marching Out”.

Album closer “Desperate” also captures that 80’s metal vibe that I like.

Part 2 is coming up.

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

October 2020 – Part 5

Here is the final post from the October releases.

Atreyu

“Save Us” has a monster riff. It’s simple but heavy.

Whose side will you align with?
Will you just stay silent?
Riot, riot
We won’t stand in a line compliant
Time for your fire
It’s time for the riot

And the lyrics are angry.

While the internet has connected us, we stand divided in our political views. A lot of people will let discrimination slide as long as their bank account balance keeps ticking up and leaders play on that. This is what the band said recently;

“This song feels like the anthem that we all need right now. To us, it’s a call to action to light the fire in ourselves. We can begin to make great change – but only if we look inside first.”

Saul

From Iowa, U.S.

Formed in 2007, they released a few EP’s and “Rise As Equals” is their label debut on Spinefarm (a Finnish label which specialises in heavy metal and hard rock). They are made up of vocalist Blake Bedsaul, guitarist/backing vocalist Zach Bedsaul, bassist/backing vocalist William McIlravy, and drummer Myles Clayborne.

Saul is one of those bands that merge all these different kind of metals into one metal. Old school metal + Nu metal + progressive metal + grunge + hard rock = Saul. They are doing Disturbed better than Disturbed is right now. Hell, they even got David Draiman to write with them over Zoom on “King Of Misery”.

My favourites today are “Looking To Fight”, “King Of Misery”, “Get It Right” and “The Toll”. Plus there is an excellent cover of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome To The Machine”.

And the album is good. Other songs like “Levee”, “Rise As Equals”, “Brother” and “Trial By Fire” take over depending on my mood.

Joe Bonamassa

He’s been releasing a lot of new music these last few years. “Royal Tea” is the latest.

“When One Door Opens” starts, the intro riff grabs me and in the solo section it moves to bolero hard rock. Aggressive bolero hard rock, that is.

“Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye” is a favourite, a song I’ve already written about. “Lookout Man!” has a swampy heavy blues riff. “A Conversation With Alice” sound like a Bad Company cut and I like it. “Beyond The Silence” has this Cowboy Western colonial vibe.

Pearl Jam

The “Live MTV Unplugged” album.

“Black” and “Jeremy” are my favourite tracks ever from Pearl Jam and my go to tracks on the “Unplugged” album.

Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott has been dead for 34 years, but the music he created with Thin Lizzy has been kept alive.

Apart from the songs appearing on radio and TV shows or movies, John Sykes kept the name alive for a good decade, touring as Thin Lizzy, then Thin Lizzy reformed with Ricky Warwick on vocals and they changed their name to Black Star Riders.

And artists have kept on covering Lizzy tracks. Metallica did “Whiskey In The Jar”, Megadeth did “Cold Sweat”, Europe and John Norum have covered a lot of Lizzy songs.

And they have released a massive collection called “Rock Legends”. The “Decca Era and Mauger Tape Rarities” is also included in the “Rock Legends” set.

Sink your ears into em and spend some time with Lizzy. She will love ya for it.

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

October 2020 – Part 4

Architects

“Animals” is the song.

We’re nothing but a bunch of animals

I was listening to an album from a German act called Long Distance Calling. They are predominantly an instrumental act with vocals and voiceovers appearing in some songs.

Their latest album has a voiceover on the song “Ashes” about how other beings from another world see humans;

I would like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I have realised that you are not actually mammals.

Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.

There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern; a virus.

Maybe we should paraphrase the lyric to be, “we’re nothing but a bunch of viruses”.

Soilwork

Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of The Night Flight Orchestra and as a by-product Soilwork, which is vocalist Bjorn Strid main band. While TNFO is melodic AOR, Soilwork is melodic death metal.

“The Nothingness And The Devil” is the single and the main riff gets me interested to learn it.

Lyrically, guitarist David Andersson said, “that our views of gods are old and that we need to create our own new gods if we need them, because no God will correct the mess that we have put ourselves in”.

Sevendust

The album is called “Blood And Stone” and for a band which has survived bankruptcy, addictions and relationship breakdowns, “Blood And Stone” is a fitting title for album number 13.

The heavy stuff is the heavy stuff, sometimes interchangeable with each other and then there are tracks like “Feel Like Going On” which always hook me in. It’s one of those mid-tempo tracks that Sevendust does so well.

And its followed by “What You’ve Become” which is intense.

Other favourite tracks are “Criminal” and “Against The World”.

Armored Saint

I’ve always kept coming back to Armored Saint.

Their new album is called “Punching The Sky” and for a band that has had survived record label accounting, the death of lead guitarist Dave Prichard and losing one of the most formidable front men to Anthrax in the 90’s, the title of this album is perfect.

Because when John Bush returned to the band, they have gone from strength to strength in my world.

Opening track “Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants” had me interested. “End Of The Attention Span” blows glass out of the speakers before a speed metal riff takes over for the verses.

And how good is John Bush on vocals.

The sounds of metal hitting metal kick off the groove laden “Bubble” and the metal on metal sounds return in the headbanging interlude section. “Do Wrong To None” is a groove thrash song and that syncopated open string riff in the verses is headbanging material.

“Missile To Gun” is one of those tracks that reminds me of Judas Priest. Its fast, like “Defenders” and “Screaming” era. Guitarists Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan are having fun with all of this, riffing their way and decorating each song nicely.

“Fly In The Ointment” has a catchy chorus, reminding me of Savatage and a nice harmony solo. “Unfair” is a ballad like song, but a proper metal ballad, not a sappy love song. And the album closes with “Never You Fret”, a high energy thrasher. Joey Vera’s bass thunders and locks in with drummer Gonzo Sandoval.

Bruce Springsteen

“Letter To You” is the album and the title track was an instant save when it was released in the lead up to the album. “Last Man Standing” is an overused title, but with Springsteen, its fresh and new. “The Power Of Prayer” has a piano arpeggio riff to kick it off, before the major key acoustic strumming riff kicks in.

“The criminal clown has stolen the throne” is a lyric in the song, “House Of A Thousand Guitars”.

It’s my favourite song on the album.

The reference to the criminal clown is based on a certain leader of a democratic nation that just lost an election. If you need any proof of what Springsteen thinks of Trump, then google, “Springsteen views Trump” and watch for yourself.

House of a thousand guitars, house of a thousand guitars
Brother and sister, wherever you are
We’ll rise together till we fire the spark
That’ll light up the house of a thousand guitars

And the song is about the people, and how they need to be as loud as a house with a thousand guitars.

But democracy is not like that.

In the name of freedom and the right to vote, we are free to express our views. In other words, we are united in democracy while divided when it comes to politics.

Part 5 for October is coming up.

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

October 2020 – Part 3

Silvera

The song “Edge Of The World” (which is also the title track) reminds me of the “Bounce” album from Jovi, which was Jovi’s modern take on the Creed sound and the lead break is pretty cool.

So I was interested to hear more.

“Generation Z” has that head banging riff that reminds me of the 80’s and there’s another guitar hero lead break. “Light In Life” and “The Reckoning” were one of those pre-release singles that got me to follow the band on Spotify.

“Filling The Void” has this Killswitch Engage melodic metal feel in the music and a vocal line which could come from a Shinedown album.

Album closer, “Promise” makes me press repeat, just to hear it again.

The Smashing Pumpkins

I still check out The Pumpkins because of “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie”. And this time around, I actually liked the electronica in the music. It’s almost like “The Cure”. And I can hear “The Cure” influences on songs like “Cyr” and “The Colour Of Love”.

Sanctuary

While Sanctuary never got the sales on the board like other metal/thrash acts, they did become a cult favourite and when half of the band went on to form Nevermore (vocalist Warrel Dane and bassist Jim Sheppard), the spirt of Sanctuary lived on. But then Nevermore finished up and Sanctuary was reformed, releasing the excellent “The Year The Sun Died” in 2014.

Then Jim Sheppard left in 2016 and Warrel Dane passed away in 2017 and we never got to hear what could have come next.

But 30 years after the release of “Into The Mirror Black”, it gets the anniversary treatment and man, it’s so good to hear these songs again.

There are songs that sound like they came from a Queensryche album or a Megadeth album or a Testament album. In other words, it’s just a good metal album.

The Norseman Company

I don’t mind it when bands show their influences and pay homage to em. Sometimes it gets too much “likey likey” and sometimes its subtle.

For too much “likey likey”, check out “Here Comes Rock And Roll”.

As soon as you press play, “I Love Rock And Roll” from Joan Jett comes to mind, then in the verses, its “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Let’s Get Rocked” from Def Leppard. Now, I know that those songs also had their influences and Joan Jett’s is a cover, so the cycle goes round and round.

Then when you press play on “Master Of The Dark”, an unknown song called “Rainbow In The Dark” comes to mind.

Very likey likey.

But.

I’m interested, let’s see what comes next.

And all I know about the band, is that it’s a guitarist with guest vocalists.

Teramaze

From Australia.

“I Wonder” is their seventh album and it’s the first time I’m sinking my ears into em. Progressive Rock has a bad concoction these days, associated with a million notes over complex chord changes or in Tool’s case, long laboured grooves that move in and out of complex time signatures or polyrhythms. But there are a lot of bands that can take it all and make it sound easy, not complex and not too long.

Teramaze is one such band.

The first two tracks, “Ocean Floor” and “Only Daylight” are heavy rock songs, with emotive and melodic vocals, with distorted guitars chugging along, they keep jarring me out of the melancholy.

The “Sleeping Man” has a chorus hook of “I’ve awoken the sleeping man inside”. It’s catchy, its hard rock and its perfect.

And the riffs.

“I Wonder” is also a favourite.

Tomorrow or next week, it will be others.

DGM

From Italy and on the Frontiers Label.

Metal music with a bit of prog always gets me interested. Stand out songs for me are “Surrender”, “Stranded” and “Tragic Separation”

“Surrender” is the standard AOR heavy song on a progressive album. Dream Theater always have tracks like these.

Tracks like “Stranded” and “Tragic Separation” remind me of “Images And Words” and “Falling Into Infinity” Dream Theater.

And underpinning these three tracks are riffs that remind me of EVH.

Signal Red

“Alien Nation” is the album. There are two types of songs on this album. Melodic Rock songs and songs with a bit of prog Metal and a lot of melodic rock chucked in.

So it’s no surprise my bias gravitates to the songs that sound like metal with a lot of melodic rock chucked in.

“Invisible Scars” is a progressive track and it got me interested, so I went googling. This is their second album.

The first one “Under the Radar” coming out in 2018. They are from the UK.

“Rocket Fuel” starts off with a progressive syncopated style riff and it has a solo section with a rhythm section that reminds me of “Kashmir” while the guitar wails away. “Awakenings” reminds me of Deep Purple and Rainbow.

“Tide Of Life” has a kicking intro which I like. “Pure Shores” has a piano riff to kick it off which is catchy. “Alien Nation” has a guitar hero lead break. “Standing On Top Of The World” has duelling lead guitars to start it off and it’s major key sounds brings a sense of hope.

Stardust

Another melodic metal/rock act.

Just think of Steve Perry singing in an act that is more aggressive in their riffs.

As soon as I heard “Runaway”, I knew I had to google to find out more.

The album is called “Highway To Heartbreak” and it’s on Frontiers. The band is from Hungary and somehow the guys in the band have turned their Hungarian names into Adam Stewart, Ben Martin, Dave Legrand, Facey and Tim Keeley. Nice English names for Hungarian boys.

They’ve mentioned how they like three specific bands in Def Leppard, Winger and Journey, along with all the 80’s stuff. It’s a broad canvas.

There is a high energised cover of “Heartbreaker” from Pat Benater.

“Bullet To My Heart” reminds me of Babylon AD.

“Perfect Obsession” is “I Remember You” or “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” or “I Saw Red”.

“2nd Hand Love” feels like a Bad English song in the intro, with John Waite singing. But when the pre chorus kicks in, it feels like a Mutt Lange/Def Leppard Pre Chorus and when the Chorus kicks in, it has a bluesy vibe, like the work that Bryan Adams did with Mutt Lange in the 90’s.

“Shout It Out” kicks off like “Have A Nice Day” before it morphs into a EVH style riff for a few seconds and then the bass and keys take over the verse. The vocals are catchy and that chorus is also so catchy, it remains for a long time after the song is over. Plus did I mention that the song has a killer guitar hero solo.

“Can’t Stop Loving You” is basically Def Leppard “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion). And I like it.

“Eye To Eye” is back to the hard rock with a bluesy chorus, like Black Stone Cherry, but the song is a lot more. It has keys which enhance it and riffs on some sections that remind me of Whitesnake. Did I mention that the guitar solo is a highlight moment as well?

“Hey Mother” could have been written by Tommy Shaw. Once you hear the Chorus melody, you would know what I mean.

And did I mention that the song has an excellent guitar solo?

“Blue Jeans Eyes” has another guitar hero solo spotlight and “The River Is Rollin’” closes the album with a massive Don Henley vibe.

Part 4 is coming up.

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

October 2020 – Part 2

Reach

They dropped another song called “Young Again” and it has this feel good vibe with a chord progression influenced by “Stand By Me”. I know, the C to Am to F to G riff has been around for ages and used in other songs, but I always associate it with “Stand By Me”.

One Less Reason

I’m a fan of the band because of piracy and they got me off side when they took over 1 year to deliver the CD’s I purchased from their website. It took countless follow ups and I still didn’t get what I ordered. But their music is that good that I keep checking em out.

“Treason” is a new one. I’m interested.

Corey Taylor

It’s a diverse album, as “Hwy 666” is basically a country hillbilly rock song which wouldn’t be out of place on the “Ghostrider” movie and then it goes into “Black Eyes Blue” which has this 70’s hard rock vibe. “Silverfish” sounds like a Stone Temple Pilots song. “Kansas” sounds like a Hootie And The Blowfish song.

“Culture Head” is typical of his Stone Sour output and so is “Everybody Dies On My Birthday”.

Linkin Park

They released a 20 year anniversary edition of “Hybrid Theory” with a lot of tracks.

Back in 2000, this album was given to me by a singer from a band I was in and Chester’s voice is a very big reason why I became a fan. His sense of melody and aggression is/was perfect. And on repeated listens, the riffs started to become memorable and I was hooked. Suddenly my song writing started to have a nu-metal like feel.

Listen to the riffs on tracks like “Papercut” and “One Step Closer”. Guitarist Brad Delson is a virtual unknown in guitar circles but he shouldn’t be. His riffs dominate the streaming services and the old school radio airwaves more than all of the guitar heroes I grew up with.

12 x platinum in the U.S and 4x Platinum in Australia, along with certifications in nearly every other country. No one expected the album to be that big.

From the unreleased stuff, it’s the mellow stuff like “My December”, “She Couldn’t” and “Pictureboard” that got me interested.

Ozzy Osbourne

“Blizzard Of Ozz” got its 40 Year Anniversary release this year.

This album is huge in my life so this ain’t going to be a review as I’ve more or less reviewed it on different occasions in the past.

For something new and for people who maybe haven’t heard em, it’s always cool to hear “You Said It All” (which I placed after “Goodbye To Romance” in the album list) and “You Looking At Me, Looking At You” (which I placed after “Crazy Train”).

And it’s a reminder of how unbelievably talented Randy Rhoads is and how sad it is that the music we have from RR is just down to a few albums with Ozzy and Quiet Riot.

Lee Kerslake on the drums is like a battering ram and unsung hero Bob Daisley holds down the foundations.

The Swedish Funk Connection

This band was formed in the 80’s but didn’t really release anything on a label until recently. In 2018, they released an album called “1987” that had this AOR sound. And in 2020, they are gearing up for another release.

“Centre Of My Universe” is the song, more like Toto and Survivor in there soft rock period.

Angeline

From Sweden.

“Helpless” is the single and its melodic hard rock. They have been on my radar since they released their “Life E.P, Vol 1” but I lost em for quite a few years.

Wolves At The Gate

I didn’t know it when I heard the songs, but the “Dawn” EP, is a stripped down counterpart to their 2019 metalcore album “Eclipse”.

The term “reimagined” was used in the promotion. I remember when Lynch Mob reimagined “Wicked Sensation” and I hated it. Maybe there are fans of Wolves At The Gate that hate this EP, but I like it and this EP is getting me interested in the band.

Check out tracks like “The Cure”, “Face To Face” and “Drifter”.

And the standout track is “Alone”, recorded live during quarantine.

Ihsahn

Ihsahn has come a long way from his black metal days with “Emperor”. “Pharos” is the name of this five song EP. It has electronica, moody landscapes and atmospheric and distorted guitars.

For example, when the distorted guitars kick in on “Losing Altitude” it enhances the mood and its jarring, almost like you’re hitting the dirt at high speed. Or in “Pharos”, the distorted guitars hit you in the face with its tribal ancient stampede. Think of those epic 60’s movies and the music during battles.

And my favourite track is “Roads”. Just listen to it and let the moods take you on whatever road you want to go on.

Machine Head

“Circle The Drain” is released as an acoustic track.

This all comes down to Robb Flynn doing his acoustic drinking podcast series each Friday. Each week he covered songs and always did a few Machine Head songs as well. The fans liked em, so the fans encouraged him to release some officially and here we are.

Part 3 coming up.

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

October – Part 1

It’s gonna be a busy month catching up on posts and reading other posts. Normally at the end of each month (for this year only), I’ve been posting my “best off” for the month.

These October posts are a bit late, but it’s been fun getting into em and allowing music to lift my mood.

The Night Flight Orchestra

A two song release from one of my favourite bands at the moment. There new take on old sounds has been dominating my headspace since the debut album came out, 8 years ago.

“Impossible” and “Reach Out” are the songs at the moment.

As soon as the rock funk disco feel of “Impossible” kicks in, I’m hooked.

Put it on, lay back and let the sounds wash over you.

For “Reach Out”, it just sounds like a song from the early 80’s and the mind goes away to that time, in my bedroom, taping the songs from radio stations.

Smith And Myers

Brent Smith is one of the best rock singers going around. Shinedown is the main muse for Smith And Myers and in between, they get together and rock out acoustically.

It started off as a covers project based on fan requests for YouTube video releases only and it has morphed into a full fledge original song project. In 2020, we get “Volume 1” and “Volume 2”.

“Not Mad Enough” kicks off “Volume 1” and it could have been on a Shinedown album. That Chorus is arena rock quality. “Rockin’ in the Free World” from Neil Young becomes a soulful piano ballad.

“The Weight of It All” is brilliant and “Panic!” has this modern pop vibe which Smith does a stellar job keeping up with and just rocking out with it. “Never Tear Us Apart” is a great INXS song and Smith/Myers do a great job covering it in acoustic format.

“Coast to Coast” rocks as hard as it can in an acoustic setting. “Valerie” is a Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse cover song but it’s the George Michael “Faith” guitar riff that gets me interested.

“Since You Were Mine” is a soulful piano ballad. It’s in the same category as “Call Me” from Shinedown. And “Volume 1” closes with “Unchained Melody”, a cover from The Righteous Brothers. It was sort of like a forgotten song, until the movie “Ghost” with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore brought it back into the public conversation. And its remained there ever since.

“Bad at Love” was one of the first songs written for this project and it kicks off “Volume 2”. It’s got this Tracy Chapman “Fast Cars” musical vibe, and a Smith vocal melody which is catchy. “Bad Guy” is a Billie Eilish cover and I like it when artists cover songs from artists that are not in their genre. This one has this flamenco feel and it works.

“New School Shiver” is basic hard rock, with a bluesy like acoustic riff and an addictive vocal melody. Then its “Sledgehammer” time, a Peter Gabriel cover. I was a bit over this song as it was so overplayed in Australia and the film clip which had state of the art tech at the time in it. But a good song is a good song and a good song will always translate well to the acoustic format, which in this case, it does. Suddenly, I feel like it’s a Bad Company song.

“Rebel Yell” feels weird to hear it as a piano ballad but it works. “Like You Never Left” feels like a Tonic song. “Losing My Religion” would make R.E.M proud. “One More Time” is this bluesy soul rock tune which needs to be heard and the “Volume 2” closes with “Don’t Look Back in Anger” from Oasis.

Deftones

I’m a fan of their earlier albums and because of that early fandom, I keep checking out the other releases. And each album has a few tracks that get me to pick up the guitar and lock into the groove they create.

And it’s “Ohms” on this album that has the riff with the groove that gets me interested.

Trishula

I knew nothing about this band except that their album cover appeared on a website called rockreport.be and I thought I would do something I haven’t done in ages.

Check out an album based on the album cover.

And I liked it.

Its melodic hard rock the way I like it.

The album is called “Time Waits For No Man”.

So I went digging.

From the UK, formed by guitarist Neil Fraser who got Jason Morgan as the vocalist. They both appeared in other hard rock bands before this, but none of em come to mind.

This is their second album.

“Fallen Hero” is like Lou Gramm on vocals with a bit of Survivor thrown in and some tasty melodic rock.

“I Want It All” sounds like it came from a Malmsteen album either “Odyssey” or “Eclipse”. The song “Judas” comes to mind. Actually “Iron Eagle” also comes to mind.

“Hear No Evil” has that Kashmir ascending progression, which David Coverdale used on “Judgement Day” and it’s that song which comes to mind. It’s a save and add to a playlist.

“The Border” reminds me of Magnum and 80’s era Bad Company. If you want your DLR Van Halen fix, then check out “Knocked Down”.

“Every Time We Touch” is a ballad, but it rolls along in a rocking way.

And finally, Neil Fraser was an unknown guitar player to me, but his guitar work on this album is excellent. He decorates the songs with precision, never overplaying and supplementing instead.

Atlas

This band also appeared on the rockreport.be website that Trishula appeared. So I thought, why not.

“Parallel Love” is album number 2.

Atlas is also another band from the UK, formed in 2017.

“Without You”, musically, sounds like it could have come from Dream Theater’s “Falling Into Infinity” album from 1997. It was an instant save and add to a playlist.

“Human Touch” starts off with a “I Love It Loud” drum groove, but then once the music kicks in, it was time to pick up my guitar. Bands like W.E.T, Eclipse and Work Of Art are doing songs like this, a new take on old sounds from bands like Journey and 80’s Genesis.

And there are songs which don’t connect on the album but when they do, they are instant saves like “Falling Out Of Love” and the very Dream Theater sounding “We Are The Fire”

Silverthorne

Brian Tichy on drums and Pete Shoulder on guitars/vocals put this project together. Bassist Daniel Spree came after.

Soul Blues Rock is how I would call it, taking you back to the sounds of the 70’s. The EP is called “Tear The Sky Wide Open”.

“Black River Rising” sounds like a 70’s Whitesnake cut and “Haunted By The Dawn” is a Led Zeppelin cut. Once you hear em, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

They are on my radar, what comes next.

Bon Jovi

It’s not the Bon Jovi I know nor the band that I grew up with in the 80’s and early 90’s. They lost me a bit in the mid 90’s but they got my attention again between 2000 and 2007, until they slowly lost me.

The best way to sum up the “2020” album is to not compare it with any Bon Jovi albums that came before.

Just think of a brand new solo artist, starting off and this is their debut album.

“Blood In The Water” still gets streams from me. It has that “Dry County” influence which I like and the lyrics are some of Jovi’s best. It’s solely written by Jon Bon Jovi, then again so is 90% of the album, with just a few co-writes with Billy Falcon and John Shanks.

“American Reckoning” has this musical vibe/groove that gets me interested. Lyrically, its JBJ at his best. We all know what happened, when George Floyd said, “help me please, I can’t breathe”.

Chris Stapleton

The album is out as I type this but this blurb is for the song “Cold”.

The song reminds me of a song from Paolo Nutini called “Iron Sky”. “Iron Sky” came up in a Spotify playlist years ago and it was an instant save. I checked it out recently and it has over 60 million streams. The groove and vocal melody just captured a different musical side in me. Well “Cold” sounds like a carbon copy of that same song, and I like it just the same.

Reside

The track is “Fallen” and it connected with me because it sounds like Anberlin with a little bit of My Chemical Romance merged with the pop side of Coheed And Cambria.

And I like it.

I’m interested, let’s see what comes next.

Royal Blood

“Trouble’s Coming” is the release here. Another song which pushes their modern rock Sixx AM vibe a little bit further.

Kari Kimmel

It was in the ending scene when Jonny Lawrence threw his phone in the sand and set fire to his Cobra Kai painted car.

Yep, if you grew up in the 80’s, “The Karate Kid” was everywhere and now in the 2020’s “Cobra Kai”, the YouTube series which was purchased by Netflix is everywhere.

And the song “Cruel Summer” appeared, I pressed Shazam and I was hooked.

Icarus Witch

It’s a Def Leppard cover of “Mirror Mirror” with Joe Lynn Turner assisting. It’s from their 2007 album, “Songs For The Lost”. It came back in my life when I went and revisited their catalogue on Spotify and added it to the playlist.

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

September 2020 – Part 7

Here is the final post for September 2020.

Black Stone Cherry

“Ringin’ In My Head” is one of the lead off singles from their upcoming album “The Human Condition” which will be released on October 30, 2020.

And the riff and the melody go back to 2017.

People, people, your attention, please
I need to tell all y’all about a new disease
It’s crept right up from beneath our nose
And what happens next, we already know

Lockdown, and quarantine and then more lockdowns and then masks and a lot of alcohol on our hands than inside our bodies, and sadly infections and deaths.

Rise Against

It was the Guitar Hero game which got me into this band and I’ve been a fan since. Their form of punk borders on fast metal like riffs, with melodic vocals.

“Broken Dreams, Inc.” is the song.

What a great title?

They contributed the song to the “Dark Nights: Death Metal” Soundtrack, DC’s new Batman comic-book series. The song deals with levelling the playing field for everyone to have a chance at achieving the American dream.

People vote our leaders in so our leaders should work for the people and put power in the people’s hands. Instead our leaders put power into the hand of businesses.

When we owe more than we’re worth
And they’re changing the locks on the doors

In Australia, each household is in so much debt it’s not even funny. The banking industry got wealthy from selling debt.

How’s that for a career?

How does it feel to make billions because you gave mortgages to people who never shouldn’t have got one.

When the factories are automated
Broken dreams incorporated
Gather your things, but there’s nowhere to go

When one business closes, a new one begins. Kids starting school this year, will be working jobs that haven’t even been created.

Tygers Of Pan Tang

I’m an original fan of this band because of John Sykes. And throughout the years, they’ve kept on going with some breaks here and there. But in the last twelve years, I’ve jumped back in with TOPT.

Original guitarist and founder Robb Weir re-started the band back in 2001 and from 2008’s “Animal Instinct”, I’ve been on board. Italian born signer, Jacopo Meille is brilliant and very melodic as he brings a Jeff Scott Soto / Robert Plant / Paul Rodgers like feel, with Craig Ellis on drums and Gavin Gray on bass.

The “Ambush” album is good. Produced by Chris Tsangerides.

“Keeping Me Alive” kicks it all off, with a riff straight from the Sunset Strip.

“These Eyes” is an excellent Dokken/Lynch inspired cut which isn’t written by Dokken/Lynch.

Do you reckon the band would have succeeded if it was called Lynch Dokken instead of Dokken?

“Rock N Roll Dream” is a roller alright, with a rumbling bass riff in the verse and a Freddie Mercury style vocal line.

“Play To Win” sounds like the old TOPT with a nod in the direction of AC/DC.

“Burning Desire” is an excellent Bad Company inspired song, which isn’t written by Paul Rodgers or Mick Ralphs. And the lead break had me playing air guitar.

“Hey Suzie” feels like a Guns N Roses cut from the Appetite era.

“Mr Indispensable” sounds like a song from The Cult and the closer “Cruel Hands Of Time” is my favourite cut.

Basically TOPT are still delivering the goods, 40 years later.

Bad Juju

I checked these guys out based on the album cover.

There is a normal looking human hand reaching out from dark grey water and another human hand trying to pull up that person who is submerged. Then there are two other hands, withered and decaying and white, trying to keep the submerged person in the water and trying to bring the unsubmerged person also into the water. And this takes place in front of a red moon.

And I pressed play and became a fan.

So I did some reading.

They are from Melbourne, Australia. There ya go, from my own back yard. Even though the websites have them listed as emo, to me this album is basically anthemic rock.

“Disappoint” opens the album, with its layered guitar riffs and melodies courtesy of Abe Miller and Armarin Saengsri with aggressive drumming by Drue Herring and solid bass playing by Matt John, which allows Russell Holland to wail.

“Picture Us” feels like a Brit Pop 90’s song, mixing The Cure with My Chemical Romance and Blink 182.

“Dawn” deals with being lonely at night and giving life to those dark thoughts. Again, it’s a on a bed of layered guitars.

“Say It” feels like a track from “Mellon Collie” from The Smashing Pumpkins.

“The truth is I’m not fine and it’s not okay / tell what you want to be hearing I will say it like I mean it” is the hook in the Chorus.

It’s basically a fuck you to “Are You Okay?” day.

“Let’s Talk” is a pop song about giving up on a toxic relationship.

And that’s a wrap for the massive month that was September 2020.

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

September 2020 – 10 Years

From the US and formed in 1999. Signed to a label a few years later.

But I didn’t get into em until 2008.

Basically from 2000 onwards, I was really into the groove progressive rock of Tool.

But Tool songs just kept getting longer and I was looking for something to listen to, which was similar and more accessible.

So bands like Chevelle, Adema, Earshot, Deftones and 10 Years appeared on my radar, who played that form of groove rock and metal and I became a fan.

“Violent Allies” is produced by Howard Benson. Benson also produced the “Feeding The Wolves” album back in 2010.

That album is a favourite of mine, but there is a portion of the fanbase that hates what Benson’s generic pop production did to 10 Years.

If you don’t know what I mean, just check out his albums with Daughtry, Seether, Skillet, Theory Of A Deadman, Scott Stapp, Three Days Grace, 3 Doors Down, Red and many others. But for me, it’s that style of pop production I like.

The band entered the studio with 20 songs written and Benson cut 75% of the songs. The band then to write new material and revisit some of the other material to make the songs stronger.

“The Shift”

I never knew a shift was happening / The scenery just seemed to be stuck on, stuck on, stuck on repeat

And that’s how people pull one over you. Governments give us a tax break here, a stimulus payment there and in secret negotiate trade laws and tax laws that create monopolies and suddenly we are living in a democracy that’s more about supporting big business than its people.

We go from silence to sirens without a space between / we are a violent virus without a remedy

We are scared of an actual virus that infects and kills us, but are we the biggest virus to the planet and each other.

Killing each other, no problem.

To reflect superiority over each other, no problem.

To reap every resource from the Earth, no problem.

All that we’ve managed to make is just a comfortable cage / Oh god, I gotta get out

And once we are in that cage, which is basically our home, we are comfortable, we are safe and we don’t want to change. We don’t want a shift to happen. All we want is a job till retirement so we can pay the bills and mortgage.

“The Unknown”

It’s a bit softer than the opener.

But time moves on and carries us / Into the wild of the great unknown

Kids today will be working jobs that haven’t been created yet. They will be living in places and buildings that haven’t been built. It’s exciting that the future is a great unknown.

“Déjà Vu”

Turn off my brain this all feels the same

The echo chamber of social media can get overwhelming as our finger keeps going on the infinite scroll.

Then we read the news and it feels like we’ve read this before or seen the TV footage before. Police brutality is nothing new. Citizens protesting against injustice is nothing new. Corporations and politicians filling their pockets with profits of the Earth’s resources is nothing new. Another copyright suit against a famous song is nothing new.

So you got heart and soul
Born to break the mold
You’re oh so original like someone I used to know

We are all young for such a brief time and believe that we are born for something different. So we pour our heart and soul into our work, thinking we will be rewarded with untold riches.

But it doesn’t work that way.

“Without You”

I am brand new now without you / Everything I can do now without you

Truth.

You don’t realise how stifling and restrictive a relationship could be until both sides are free of it.

“Cut The Cord”

I lied to myself to stay above the tide and ignore the warning signs

I used to have this viewpoint to “stick with things forever” because I’ve spent time on it already and I don’t want to waste the time I’ve spent to start something new, because it means that all that time spent was for nothing.

Just reading what I typed is doing my head in.

It took me a while to realise that the time spent is all learning and preparation for the next thing to come. This is true for everything, from self-development, to changing jobs and relationships.

“I Wish”

Take it all in and let the flood begin to wash away our sins
Open your mouth, let the fire out and burn me down
All is fair in love and war

It’s a great set of lyrics to sum up arguments, because as soon as the barrage starts it’s like a flood or a fire.

You can fire back, you can ignore it, you can escape it or you can apologise if you are at fault.

Trying to get the other person to see your point of view or your side is pointless because that just doesn’t happen.

“Start Again”

As these hands of time tick on by the song remains the same
Circling the drain, I’m done

It’s the end, there is nothing else that could have been done. Once you start circling the drain, you end up in the wastewater.

And there’s going to be one more final post to wrap up September 2020 releases because 10 Years took over this post.

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

September 2020 – Part 5

I feel weird even writing about other bands after the death of EVH.

My first born is even named after him, with a V instead of the W because my wife didn’t like Edward, she liked Edvard.

But life goes on and I just got my ears around AC’s new song “Shot In The Dark”. But that’s for a different post.

The Pineapple Thief

From Somerset, England.

This is their self-produced thirteenth album.

And I only got onto their train a few years ago and I’m slowly going through their back catalogue. And as much as I want to have my finger on the pulse to all new music and to what is good, I am always late to the party.

The band is made up of the main songwriter Bruce Soord on guitars and vocals, Steve Kitch on keyboards, Jon Sykes on bass and Gavin Harrison on drums.

It’s hard to explain their sound, with influences ranging from Porcupine Tree, A Perfect Circle, Pink Floyd, Muse, Radiohead, The Police, Marillion, Queensryche (Promised Land era) and Genesis.

“Versions Of The Truth” is moody and progressive, with the Chorus catch-cry of “It’s not how I remembered it”.

And they are pushing the boundaries that Pink Floyd created on this song, especially the sounds and moods from the “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason” album.

Then “Break It All” sounds like it came from the “Promised Land” album from Queensryche.

“Demons” sounds like the best Porcupine Tree song that they didn’t write and “Driving Like Maniacs” has a pretty basic music foundation with an emotive vocal line. In the old days this piano led tune would be on the charts. Check out the Chorus.

“Leave Me Be” sounds like a song from Powderfinger, one of Australia’s premier hard rock bands before they called it quits while “Out Of Line” is impressive. It has this acoustic guitar pattern that keeps on repeating and a vocal melody which is addictive. It’s very Porcupine Tree like, more in the vein of tracks like “Trains” mixed with A Perfect Circle with Gilmour like vocals.

“Stop Making Sense” has sounds that appear on “The Police” and Marillion albums. Even Gotye used those sounds on “Somebody I Used To Know” and “The Game” closes the album off, with a subliminal message to press repeat and listen to the album again.

The Smashing Pumpkins

“The Colour Of Love” is a good song.

It reminds me of “Love Song” from The Cure, so it’s very different from the Pumpkins sound I like, which is more or less captured on two albums, “Siamese Dreams” And “Mellon Collie”.

Nevertheless, I am interested to hear more.

Smile Empty Soul

They always stick around in my life with a song or two from each release. The glory from this EP goes to “Land Of The Lost”.

Billy Raffoul

“Big City” has this Springsteen and Gaslight Anthem vibe which I dig, so it was a pretty easy save. Musically its an acoustic guitar, harmonica and a vocal line. And that’s all you need sometime.

The Score

From New York City, which is going through a decent second wave of COVID-19 illnesses.

So how did The Score come into my life?

Well, my kids were listening to the song “Best Part” from em. It had enough there to get me curious to check em out.

Their sound is like the Imagine Dragons sound when they broke out big and a sound which Shinedown would push on their last few albums.

And I had no idea how massive the band is. On Spotify they have 4.28m monthly listeners. Some of their earlier songs are over a 100 million streams, while the songs “Stronger” and “Born For This” which appear on this album are at 54m and 34m streams respectively on Spotify.

So I did some reading.

The Score is basically two dudes.

Eddie Anthony sings and plays guitar and drums. Edan Dover sings, plays keyboards and produces.

I think this is the sign of the times. You don’t need any extras who don’t contribute to the song. The days of just being a drummer or just a bass player or just a guitarist in a band are over, unless you play instrumental music. And in the history of music it was always one or two and maybe three writers in a song.

So I’m listening to the “Carry On” album, released towards the end of August 2020.

“Golden” is basically an 80’s song, all dolled up and ready for a night out in 2020.

Take be back to my youth, bring me back to my roots
I don’t know where I am going, but I know that its golden

It doesn’t matter that we got older because our youth and our roots are what made us who we are. Those innocent and hopeful dreams, every single one of em, golden till the end.

“Running All Night” is another song worth of attention.

“Alone in the dark just my thoughts in a room”

That’s the scary part of life. We could be at our worst or at our best. We could be the most creative or the most depressed.

“I’ve been running all night in my head”

And that’s what we seem to do on a daily basis. Our thoughts move from different paradigms into a blend of paradigms and into a single paradigm. Running through different scenarios of certain events and what if’s.

And there are songs like “Fire” and “Stronger” which sound like they came from the recent Shinedown album.

Well Part 5 is done and from the looks of my playlist, there will be one more part to close off the September releases.

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

September 2020 – Part 3

This post covers two good albums. One is melodic hard rock like the good ol 80s and the other is melodic modern rock like the good ol 00s.

Landfall

From Brazil.

Another melodic rock band signed to Frontiers. Their Frontiers press announcement says this about their sound.

“Landfall’s sound can be described as falling between classic melodic rock a là Journey with some slightly heavier influences, such as classic era Dokken, White Lion, and Extreme.”

I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did.

This album reminds me of the first two albums of Harem Scarem. It reminds me of Mr Big’s first two albums. It reminds me of Pretty Maids. It reminds me of acts like Tangier who came out in the early 90’s and never really had a chance. It reminds me of Cinderella, Winger and Skid Row. It reminds of Ratt. It reminds me of Van Halen. And I can go on and on and on. It’s basically the 80’s repackaged into an excellent album.

And they show their influences without copying.

“Rush Hour” takes me back to the late 80’s with a song which sounds like it came from a Pretty Maids album with Mr Big’s “Addicted To The Rush” chucked in.

“No Way Out” brings out the Bad English vibe.

“Jane’s Carousel” has this verse riff which puts me back into the 80’s but it sounds like the Paul Stanley song “Live To Win”, only lighter.

“Across The Street” has this Night Ranger feel.

“Taxi Driver” feels like it came from a Van Halen album with Steve Perry like vocals. And the lead break is very Vito Bratta like. Just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.

“Distant Love” is basically a Journey cut. Hell, it can even appear on a Revolution Saints album with Deen Castronovo singing.

“Roundabout” took all the excellent things about Autograph and mixed in some Def Leppard and made a real cool track.

“Road Of Dreams” can be interchanged with any Revolution Saints track.

“Sound Of The City” closes the album and it makes me press repeat to re-listen to it again.

This album brings back that feel-good 80’s vibe with the window down, driving 100km on the highway and the wind licking my face on my way to the city with hopes and dreams.

Adelitas Way

From the U.S.

Adelitas Way has over 1m listeners on Spotify and songs like “Invincible” have 34m streams and counting. They have a fan base and they’ve been servicing this fan base for a decade. When it comes to Modern Rock acts, this band is up there.

When I pressed play on “What It Takes” I thought I was listening to Digital Summer. They are an independent band I’ve supported over the last 15 years.

And the album is full of that modern rock vibe, a cross between Shinedown, Three Days Grace and Nickelback. It’s a guilty pleasure and I like it.

“Stay Ready” could have come from a Linkin Park album, the ones with heavy guitars and melodic vocals. And it’s one of my favourites on the album.

“My Derailment” is the best song that Nickelback hasn’t written in the last 5 years.

Other tracks worthy of a listen are “What It Takes”, “All In”, “Shine On”, “Stay”, “Habit” and “Heartbreak”.

Part 4 is coming up.

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