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

September 2020 – Part 2

Sevendust

I purchased my first Sevendust record back in 99 because I read the reviews about crashing guitars and melodic vocals, so I was keen to check em out. I took the CD home, unwrapped it, and looked at the album credits and the thank you credits before hearing a note. And I saw a name I was familiar with.

Jay Jay French was their manager. The same Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister.

Their first three albums (the self-titled debut released in 97, “Home” released in 99 and “Animosity” released in 2001) all went Gold in the U.S. and they got some traction in Australia as well.

I have been on and off the Sevendust train over the last 20 plus years and “Blood From A Stone” the lead single from their upcoming album is good enough to get me back on the train.

Starset

Their most streamed song, “Trials” has been reimagined.

And I didn’t like the original cut of the song, but I like the reimagined one. Which could be strange for fans of the original cut, because when George Lynch reimagined the “Wicked Sensation” album, I hated it, but other people could hear that reimagined version first and like it.

I guess like me with this band.

Khemmis

From Denver, Colorado, USA.

They took their name from an Ancient Egyptian city and more or less their whole Spotify collection is on this list as I really got into em over the month of September.

It was the blog “The Great Southern Brainfart” that got me interested.

The “Absolution” album was released in 2015.

That down-tuned, sludge like, fuzzed out, doom is all over this album but it’s the last track, the sombre “The Bereaved” which grabs me. It starts off with clean tone arpeggios before moving to a doom riff conjured from the darkest places a person could find.

And there is shred over the intro, so I wasn’t sure if this song is an 8 minute instrumental or if this was just one super long intro, because at 3 minutes in, no vocals had been heard.

And then they start at 3.11.

The “Hunted” album was released in 2016.

“Beyond The Door” and “Hunted” are the standout tracks. At 9 minutes and 12 minutes long, they roll along as an amalgamation of the “IV” album from Black Sabbath merged with the Gothenburg metal scene.

Especially the title track.

The “Desolation” album was released in 2018.

“Bloodletting” gets things off to a nice start but it’s the second track “Isolation” which gets me interested.

But “From Ruin” is the star of the album. That intro is so depressingly heavy it feels like lead on my shoulders.

Out of the darkest night / no one could help me find a way / but in the new spring dawn / I find the strength to carry on

Each new day is a new way to do things. To be seen, to learn, to own what you do and to do it better next time.

Then the song picks up with a 12/8 style riff that reminds me of “Phantom Of The Opera” with some killer leads.

“Doomed Heavy Metal” was released in 2020.

It’s a six song EP, with two originals, an awesome cover of “Rainbow In The Dark” (which sounds like how Ghost would cover it) and three live tracks.

And 2020 also gave us a doomy cover version of “Down In A Hole” from Alice In Chains as well.

They are a band on my radar. I’m interested, let’s see what comes next.

Andy James

From England.

One of my favourite instrumental guitarists going around at the moment.

He started off in the heavy metal band “Sacred Mother Tongue” between the years of 2004 and 2013. In between he also did some solo albums, instructional videos and classes and once he went solo, he also set up his Andy James Guitar Academy.

“Lock N’ Load” has this aggressive Five Finger Death Punch riff, with impressive leads, especially that sing along lead which appears in what I call the Chorus section.

Arctic Rain

From Sweden.

The album is very derivative which is okay for my taste, but “Night After Night” is a melodic rock song that really stands out.

Another act on Frontiers.

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

Shiraz Lane

From Finland and another release on Frontiers.

“Broken Into Pieces” is the lead-off single from the soon to be released third album and I think this could be the album that makes me a fan.

Part 3 for September music coming up soon.

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

September 2020 – Part 1

Protest The Hero

From Canada.

They just dropped an album a few months ago and now they dropped a 2 song single of tracks that didn’t appear on the album.

If you like technical progressive metal, with vocals ranging from clean tone to death metal, then Protest The Hero is a band you need to check out.

My favourite album is “Volition”. This is the album after they got dropped by their label and they went the fan funded route, which we (the fans) had no problem helping with. But that was almost 7 years ago. In between they did an innovative Bandcamp project.

“Gift Horse” has some serious playing, with clean melodic vocals while “The Duelling Cavalier” continues the technical playing with a memorable guitar intro and corny lyrics, but hey, these dudes write songs about dog laws, Star Trek vs Star Wars, artists ripping fans off at the merchandise stand while they mime on stage, playing a bar in Newfoundland and getting drunk there with the locals plus topics on philosophical and stoic viewpoints on life.

Smith & Myers

I’m a fan of this acoustic side project. If you don’t know, it’s Brent Smith and Zach Myers from Shinedown.

“Not Mad Enough” is a song of the times, living with lockdown, police brutality and protests.

I can’t forgive what I can’t forget
And I can’t forget

It resonates straight away. I can’t forgive what I still remember. It’s a scar, but I move on and I learn from what happened, because it’s easy to blame the moment when things go bad, but really it’s the system that needs to be overhauled. The system that got me to that place in the beginning.

Face down, I can taste the blood
It’s hard to breathe, someone let me up

Whoever lived and saw the footage of George Floyd face down on the pavement, screaming “help me please, I can’t breathe” will never forget it. Because the person who held him down was a Police Officer, a person meant to protect him. And the other police officers just watched on, without doing anything to stop it.

In Flames

They remastered their brilliant “Clayman” album. Musically they are a heavy rock and metal band and the riffs are so catchy and memorable.

Vocally they move between clean tone and death metal, hence the term melodic death metal.

“Bullet Ride” and “Pinball Map”, musically, will not be out of place on a Judas Priest album.

“Only For The Weak” is a doom metal cut. Think of the album “Draconian Times” by Paradise Lost.

“Square Nothing” has this clean tone arpeggio riff with harmony guitars that remind me of Scorpions pre 80’s.

“Clayman” musically is brilliant and at first, the crackled growl vocals didn’t capture me, but the music is that good, that the song became a favourite.

“Satellites And Astronauts” musically could have come from an Iron Maiden album.

“Swim” just makes me pick up the guitar to learn it and “Another Day In Quicksand” has this “The Fire Still Burns” from Twisted Sister groove and riff.

Corey Taylor

He’s one of the better vocalists to have come out in the last 20 years. He can destroy his voice with Slipknot and he can bring the melody, the attitude and the AC/DC barroom brawl whenever he wants to other projects like Stone Sour, various cover songs and now to his own name as a solo act.

“Black Eyes Blue” is basically a hard rock track and I’m interested to hear more.

Redemption

Tom Englund from Evergrey is on vocals for this live recording and as an Evergrey fan I’m all in to the music Englund puts out, but Redemption came on my radar in the early 2000’s because Ray Adler from Fates Warning was on vocals.

The self-titled debut was released in 2003, “The Fullness Of Time” in 2005, “The Origins Of Ruin” in 2007, “Snowfall On Judgement Day” in 2009 and “This Mortal Coil” in 2011. Then a five year gap, and “The Art Of Loss” was released, the last album with Ray Adler on vocals and in 2018 a “Long Nights Journey Into Day” came out with Tom Englund on vocals.

But the band isn’t built around vocalists.

It’s built around guitarist and songwriter Nick Van Dyk, who has Chris Quirarte on drums, Sean Andrews on bass, Simone Mularoni on guitar and Vikram Shankar on keys.

There is a cover of Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” with drummer Chris Quirarte doing an unbelievable Dave Mustaine impression, all the way to the snarls and Chris Poland also guests on the guitar.

“The Echo Chamber” is still a favourite as it has an intro riff that reminds me of “Ytse Jam” from Dream Theater and lyrics so relevant of the time, because the echo chamber phenomenon is real in today’s world, as people expose themselves to information from like-minded individuals and they refuse to believe any other view-points or to research other view-points. The 5G Covid Conspiracy, the No Global Warming outcomes, the QAnon rabbit hole and whatever else that comes out around anti vaccinations and other conspiracies.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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

August 2020 – Part 5

Jessie’s Girl 2 (feat Rick Springfield) – Coheed And Cambria

I’ve been a fan from when I was given a CD rip of the “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” album in 2005 and a few months later I was consuming the brand new “Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV”.

Their song structures and the riffs got me interested. And the voice of Claude Sanchez got me to commit. That voice rocks out like Geddy Lee, but still sounds unique and different enough.

And the hair. Man that hair. It’s massive. 

And to top it off, there is the big SciFi saga about a mystical energy source known as “The Keywork”.

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton

Rock bands used to do ballads like this, an acoustic guitar, a light drum shuffle and lyrics that take you down the sidewalk of life.

Chris Stapleton is a country artist and he came across my radar because my kids were listening to a collaboration he did with Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, “BLOW”. And I was interested because it’s a blues rock monster with a wicked guitar riff.

Then I checked out his other songs, like “Parachute” which has over 135 million streams and “Tennessee Whiskey” which has 315+ million streams.

And became a fan.

The Lost Tapes – Dokken

“This was when I was on my own, and I was playing with Juan Croucier [Ratt] on bass. We went to Germany in ‘79 and did a tour, so these were all the demos we did.”

Don Dokken

Don Dokken never should have re-recorded some of the songs but he did because the tapes were bad.

But all is not lost. There are some early gems here, without any re-recordings.

So if you have the “Back In The Streets” EP, which I do, you don’t really need to buy “The Lost Tapes”, however, the “Back In The Streets” EP was released as a bootleg, so Don Dokken never got any royalties from the sale of the EP but he will get payment for this release.

So it’s no surprise that my favourite tracks on “The Lost Tapes” are from the “Back In The Streets” EP.

And I heard that Don Dokken used these actual songs (co-written by Lynch and Brown) to get a record deal under the name of Dokken and this started the rift with Lynch.

“Were Going Wrong” is written by Dokken and Lynch. It has a riff that came straight from “Hot N Ready” by UFO and a certain Rainbow track.

“Day After Day” is a brilliant ballad like the 70’s ballads, with a bluesy guitar solo that Don Dokken should be proud off.

“Felony” is a Dokken, Lynch and Brown cut and this song re-appeared on the “Breaking The Chains” album.

“Back In The Streets” is a Dokken and Lynch cut and it’s got that Sunset Strip vibe. “Liar” is a Dokken cut and its recorded live in the late 70’s, and a version of it appears on the “From Conception” album, a live recording of the early days with Lynch and Brown. 

For the following cuts I don’t have any info on at all. 

“Rainbows” is not on the EP I have and it’s a song I haven’t heard before, but it feels like a re-recording. The intro riff is good. And I don’t know who wrote it.

“Hit And Run” appeared on the “From Conception Live 1981” released in 2007. This song was written for the “Breaking The Chains” album. I’m pretty sure that Lynch is playing on this version and how this song didn’t make the album confuses me. 

S&M 2 – Metallica

I thought this was unnecessary. 

But when artists suddenly cannot tour because of COVID-19, this album suddenly took on a different meaning to me.

It’s a celebration of Metallica. It’s a celebration of gathering and cramming into a venue to let our hair down and be infected with live music. It’s a celebration of bands performing live and bringing their circus to town. This time with a whole symphony.

And since 1998 they have released other albums, so it was good to hear those tracks get the orchestra treatment.

Songs like “The Day Never Comes”, “Confusion”, “Moth Into Flame”, “Halo On Fire”, “The Unforgiven III” and “All Within My Hands”.

Plus there are two symphonies in “The Iron Foundry” from composer Alexander Mosolov and “Scythian Suite” from composer Sergei Prokofiev.

“The Memory Remains” was a favourite of mine when it came out on “Reload” but over the last 15 years, it’s become one of those powerful singalong concert moments like “For Whom The Bells Toll”.

“The Outlaw Torn” is a favourite from the “Load” album, and it’s also a song which translates well with the whole symphony. Plus that outro groove/riff is essential listening.

And “No Leaf Clover” is always a blast to listen too. 

Another World – Gojira

From France.

What a journey it’s been for them. 

Their style morphed from being a technical death metal band to a heavy metal band and now to a hard rock act.

Regardless of style, it’s the riffage that gets me interested.

And their lyrics deal with society and the environment.

Manhattan Skyline – Ihsahn, Einar Solberg

I’ve been a fan of Ihsahn for a long time.

My cousin was into Black Metal. I never got the industrial vocals part, but the movement did give us blast beats to incorporate into normal metal songs and it also introduced symphonic elements to metal music. 

It’s a long way from the Norwegian Black Metal movement he was involved in as the co-founder and guitarist with Emperor.

They wore corpse paint and he didn’t spend any time in prison, while his other Emperor band members committed murder and arson. And his views on Satanism and Christianity always got people talking, even the very open minded Norwegians.

But don’t let the stories detract from listening. Listen with your ears and an open mind as his solo releases just keep pushing the boundaries. 

On this song, Einar Solberg from Leprous (or his sister in law) is guesting with him and it feels like the Euro Pop songs from the 80’s. Its catchy and infectious.

Scars – Fates Warning

There will always be a bias towards Fates Warning. 

This band has been a part of my life for a long time and I still rate their 2000 album “Disconnect” as a perfect connector between the hard rock and metal prog of their earlier albums with the prog of Tool and Porcupine Tree which relied more on groove and atmospheric textures. 

And with “Scars” they continue on their own prog journey, fusing different styles and elements and more emphasis on expression than technicality and even more emphasis on progressive song writing than the standard verse and chorus structure.

Kill The Lights

The album is called “The Sinner” and it’s from a metalcore supergroup band which features members from bands who all had record deals and some success in the past.

Vocalist James Clark (Throw The Fight), guitarist Jordan Whelan (Still Remains), drummer ‘Moose’ Thomas (Bullet For My Valentine) and bassist Travis Montgomery (Threat Signal).

And I had the impression that the album would be screaming verses and melodic Choruses. While that is true for some songs, it’s does have some subtleness.

Stand out songs are “The Faceless”, “Through The Night”, “Tear Me Apart”, “The Enemy”, “Sober”, “Rest” and “Unmoved”.

They worked over the last two and a half years to put the album together and it’s a good mix of songs with different emotions and feelings. Fearless Records signed them after a whole year of negotiations.

“The Enemy” is a great track with a fast guitar opening riff and a foot stomping chorus.

“Through The Night” deals with the anxiety and depression that vocalist James went through. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and that really kicked off his struggles and they kicked in again when his children came into the world.

Adelitas Way and Seether also dropped albums this month, but they will be reviewed in next month’s list.

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

August 2020 – Part 4

Use My Voice – Evanescence

Amy Lee is a musician I would want around for a long time. The sound of her voice (which can be mournful, aggressive, rageful and happy) always gets me interested and the messages in the songs are genuine.

Relationships are difficult and they become even more difficult when one side tries to force their personality onto the other, speaking for them and even questioning them in a negative way in front of others.

Use your voice people, don’t suppress it. Its special and unique to you. This applies to everything in life and not just to relationships. Because no one is entitled to speak for you except you.

Space – Biffy Clyro

This band is hit and miss for me. They have me interested, then they lose me and then they get me again.

And this song has me back again about having a space in your heart for the special someone who is in and out of your life.

Maybe It’s Time – Sixx AM with guests

I liked this song when it appeared on their 2016 album “Prayers For The Blessed”.

It’s been redone now with a lot of guest vocalists to raise awareness of addiction and recovery.

“When I was young, I was dumb”

Indestructible. 

Getting old was never in my thoughts. 

Jumping out of moving cars, getting drunk and generally mucking around, sometimes dangerously, was bred out of pure boredom.

And not of all of us got out alive. People committed suicide and others got addicted to drugs, living a hard life right now with shakes and aliens in the fridge. 

“Maybe it’s time to deal with the pieces in my life”

There has to be a reawakening, a turning point. Some people believe they need to help you see it, but I believe you need to get to that point yourself.

For me, it was lying in a hospital bed with my foot broken and my face bruised and bleeding because I was drunk and jumped out of a moving car. I just had surgery to insert screws and a long road to recovery.

Cruel Hands Of Time – Tygers Of Pan Tang

It’s a crazy world we live in when “Tygers Of Pan Tang” are putting out some of their best music. Guitarist Robb Weir is the only original member left from the 80s.

The riffage on this song is straight from the Sunset strip and I’m pretty sure it’s from the fingers of Michael Crystal who has been in the band since 2013 and vocalist Jacopo Meille has some nice pipes, so the melodies are infectious.

Talk To Me – Apocalyptica with Lzzy Hale

These dudes from Finland have been on my radar since they covered Metallica songs on the cellos. And they have done everything, from the covers, the instrumental originals and the vocal originals.

This time they have Lzzy Hale, the best rock voice.

Satellites – Andy James

That chorus lead melody that kicks in at about the minute mark is emotive and the harmonies just add a nice complexity to it.

One of the best instrumental guitarists right now.

World On Fire – Daughtry

It’s so good to have Daughtry knocking on the door of hard rock again. He’s angry and the addictive melody is perfect over the aggressive guitar riffs.

Stressed out, head trauma, took a beating

Life is already difficult from our own doing and the trauma we inflict on ourselves with our thoughts and feelings So when society gets a hold of us, we are even more beaten down, shaped and moulded.

But we find ways to survive, to move on.

The final part to August 2020 is coming up.

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

August 2020 – Part 3

Our Last Night, Fractured Amygdala, A Sum Of Our Parts

Damnation Angels

From the U.K. 

I came across them years ago on an Amazon recommendation for the “Bringer Of Light” album in 2012, and with so much music being released between the years since and so little time to listen to everything, I lost track of them.

Here we are in 2020, with their third album “Fiber Of Our Being” (fourth if you include the EP in 2009).

Life in a band is tough. It’s even tougher these days, with so much music being released, it’s hard to be heard. From when they started to now, only the Garney brothers are left.

And my favourite tracks are not the main ones, but more of the album cuts like “Our Last Night”, “Fractured Amygdala” and “A Sum Of Our Parts”.

The soft piano on “Our Last Night” has some great vocals with a spine tingling backing choir.

How can you not like a song called “Fractured Amygdala” (instead of using a generic “Fractured Mind” title, they went to the science and pulled a specific area of the brain to write about) with its Nightwish and Symphony X like sound? 

And if the amygdala is damaged, there is a reduction of fear and aggression.

“A Sum Of Our Parts” closes the album with its melancholy.

And I hate the genre “symphonic metal” which these guys get lumped with. It’s stupid and dumb.

Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye Joe Bonamassa

It’s a stand-alone song, separate from the album that is just below and co-written with Bernie Marsden as part of his Abbey Studios Recording.

You do know who Bernie Marsden is right.

A co-writer with David Coverdale and the guitarist in Whitesnake, with songs like “Here I Go Again”, “Young Blood”, “Fool For Your Loving”, “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues”, “Lovehunter” and “Trouble”.

And Bonamassa had this to say in a Facebook post about the track;

“I wrote ‘Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye’ about a previous relationship that I was in. We were together for five years, and we held on until the very last day. We fought for it, and fought for it, and we finally figured out it just wasn’t going to work. So that song was very autobiographical. It’s hard to write that way, I’ve always found. But my best songs are like that. Bernie Marsden and I wrote that song together. He has a great way of harmonically putting chords together, and the music has his stamp all over it.

Bonamassa is his own businessman. He has his fan base which likes his British Blues Rock and Mississippi Delta influences. And of course, with Covid-19 putting a dent in the live business, artists like Bonamassa are affected, because his normal gross average for a gig is over $300K for about 2500 tickets sold.

But Bonamassa has and still continues to build his career, so when others have come and gone, he’ll still be doing the rounds.

A New Day NowJoe Bonamassa

When Bonamassa rocks out in his bluesy Cream and Bad Company way, with a bit of Skynyrd, I am all in.

And the songs which capture that spirit on the album are tracks like “Cradle Rock” which has a section after the lead break that reminds me of Eddie Van Halen.

“Miss You, Hate You” is country rock and it’s probably the best song that Skynyrd didn’t write. “A New Day Yesterday” is a blues rock stomp.

“Colour And Shape” has a memorable guitar lead and it’s a fusion of different styles, while “If Heartaches Were Nickels” is a blues ballad while “Don’t Burn Down That Bridge” rocks out with its fuzzed out riffs and stompy bass guitar.

MedicationRoyal Bliss

Another interchangeable blues rock riff kicks off the song, but it’s the vocal melody that hooks me in and the chorus chords are like “I Love Rock N Roll” with a memorable hook. 

So where’s my medication, you got yours and I want mine. 

If it wasn’t for streaming, I wouldn’t even know about Royal Bliss, but from streaming I have become a fan.

Déjà vu10 Years

Their modern rock style is something I like.

Turn off my brain it all sounds the same

And the lyric keeps morphing to say, turn off the songs, they all sound the same and turn off the screens, they all look the same.

We are surrounded by things we like and follow, which leads us to an echo chamber. And the internet is a copy system. It survives by copying. So we read essentially the same story across different websites with just a few journalistic changes and suddenly everything sounds the same.

I’m in my mid 40’s right now and all the new music I listen to sounds the same, basically a new take on an old sound. I still like it, but I get what all the older people I knew back in the 80’s and early 90’s like my school teachers, guitar teachers and work colleagues who grew up in the 70’s said, “that all of the 80’s music was a new take on the 60’s and 70’s sound”.

To them, everything sounded the same.

Stay tuned for parts 4 and 5 for August 2020.

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

August 2020 – Part 2 – John Petrucci

“Suspended Animation” came out in 2005. I purchased it from his website straight away and I’ve lived with this instrumental album for a long time. Just recently it appeared on Spotify as well, which makes it easier for me, as I didn’t have to rely on my CD rip on Apple Music for listening.

On “Suspended Animation” he had enough hooks and catchy melodic passages that I could sink my fingers into and let’s not forget the brilliance of “Glasgow Kiss”, a tour de force in itself, especially that middle breakdown section, when he plays arpeggio chords over the open E and B strings and then that emotive lead.

And I have lived with “Suspended Animation” for a long time.

A long time.

Fifteen years later, “Terminal Velocity” is thrust upon us, in a world overtaken and overrun by a virus which spreads easily, kills and keeps mutating.

And fifteen years, it’s a long time in a songwriters life.

So many things change.

You get older, you have different family dynamics and your music listening habits keep evolving or devolving or they end up in an echo chamber, listening to the same stuff you listened to when you were growing up.

And if you have a practice routine to keep up your chops, you will get technically better at playing your instrument. It’s that old saying, get better every day by a ¼ of a percent and over the course of 365 days your 91% better and over 15 years you are 1368% better.

Well, John Petrucci is so good technically that I feel like breaking my guitar trying to learn stuff from him.

Petrucci assembled the band that he did G3 with around 2006, which is Mike Portnoy on drums and Dave LaRue on bass. It’s an awesome band and being a long time DT fan, it’s cool to hear MP drumming to JP riffs again.

“Temple Of Circadia” is my favourite, especially that clean tone section which kicks in before the 3 minute mark and the lead break which follows.

This is what JP said on Twitter; “The ending to “Temple Of Circadia” is also a highpoint for me in the all-out jamming nature that ends the song and I also thought finishing the album with a guitar cadenza like I did was the perfect way to put an exclamation point on the entire record”.

“Happy Song” with the major key vibe is like the commercial song on the album, especially that Americana Rock vibe in the melodic lead. Petrucci said on Twitter that the main chorus melody is one of his favourites and I agree.

And just listen to the outro. Its finger breaking stuff and still melodic. This song has appeared live on his G3 tours and at his Guitar Universe camp.

“The Oddfather” sounds like a track that could have come from “Black Clouds And Silver Linings”. And one of the melodic tremolo leads sounds like a Muse lead however Petrucci in his Twitter post said he was trying to mimic the sound of a fast alternate picked mandolin.

“Terminal Velocity” has that major key vibe in sections that remind me of this Arcade game called “Turbo Outrun”. It’s the first song he wrote for the album and it was an archived riff from a while go.

And that major key vibe is energetic and uplifting, while Petrucci uses the E Harmonic Minor mode for the main theme and melody to create a dark and mysterious type of sound, as per his Twitter post at the listening party.

“Out Of The Blue” is a blues fusion track.

“Glass Eyed Zombies” brings the metal. It’s heavy, its groovy and MP is having a ball with it. There is this lead break section, like a verse, that sounds like those TV themes from Danny Elfman.

And that outro again, melodic progressive metal with Petrucci nailing a brilliant lead to finish it off.

“The Way Things Fall” is like a Rush track in the intro, but then this melodic rock riff comes in and I’m all in. Once the melodic lead comes in, which acts like a verse, it’s perfect. You just need to listen to it.

“Gemini” is a song I have had for ages as a bootleg. I don’t even know when it was recorded or where it was recorded. But this song has been around for a long time and its very Dream Theater like from the Portnoy era. There are sections in this song that have appeared in DT songs and LTE songs, albeit with some variations.

“Snake In My Boot” was going to be called “The Stomp” and if you’ve heard “The Stroke” from Mr Squier you will know why it has a similar title, but the first impression I got from this was a Queen like vibe.

And on Spotify, he is getting some great numbers.

Over the course of just a week, he is already over the 120K number for each song with the pre-album release songs like “Terminal Velocity” at 360K and growing. So people are listening to the album over and over and over again. And that’s a good thing.

And these numbers, just don’t happen magically.

Petrucci has done something which I didn’t think he would do. He had a Twitter listening party and as he was listening to the album, he tweeted bits about each song, little nuggets here and there about certain sections and how they came about and how hard it is to play. He was connecting with his fans in a way he hasn’t done before.

And its resonating.

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

August 2020 – Part 1

I guess John Kalodner was really onto something when he got David Coverdale to reimagine some of the older Whitesnake songs for future Whitesnake releases.

In case you are not aware, “Here I Go Again”, “Crying In The Rain” and “Fool For Your Loving” all appeared on early Whitesnake albums before getting a reimagined feel and sound in 1987 and 1989.

So fast forward 33 years later from those innovative 80s days and reimagined tracks are a real phenomenon.

Because even though artists took offence to what Daniel Ek said about being more prolific in releasing product, deep down they know it’s true, especially if they want to stay relevant in the modern world. Because news travels fast and dies fast.

Last week’s release is forgotten and replaced by this week’s release. This is true for the casual fans, who make up the majority, while super fans will spend weeks on the same release, like how I’m overdosing on Vanishing Point’s new album “Dead Elysium” right now.

Break In (Reimagined)– Halestorm (feat. Amy Lee)

Halestorm released an EP called ‘Reimagined’ EP on August 14, 2020. And they get it. They always break up the album cycle with a covers EP in between. This time around, they did one cover song and a few reimagined tracks.

“Break In” appeared on ‘The Strange Case Of…’ album released in 2012. And the way it’s done, its haunting. It’s a perfect duet between Lzzy Hale and Amy Lee.

We Stich These Wounds (Reimagined) – Black Veil Brides

They wanted to do this reimagined album a while back, but their contract with Universal didn’t allow them, nor was the label interested in re-recordings. But that contract is now done and dusted and the band is on Sumerian Records.

I like the music on the “We Stich These Wounds” album. They are basic metal riffs in the way that I know metal and the lead breaks are 80’s like shred which basically combines EVH, Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen. Overall the sound is updated and better than the lo-fi style of mix on the original.

This album is like a companion to the original, the way the re-release of “Under The Blade” on Atlantic is a companion piece to the original pressing of the album on “Secret Records”.

Make Love Great Again – Stryper

There has to be a distortion pedal called Stryper because their high treble distortion is unique enough to warrant a distortion pedal.

Musically this song is excellent and heavy. There’s no mellowing out for Michael Sweet as he gets older.

There’s a culture
That’s building walls
Just like vultures
Consuming all

We are back to having civil unrest based on skin and race. All of the laws about discrimination in the last 50 years, are not worth the paper they are printed on, especially when people need to take to the streets to show that their lives matter.

But hope is alive, it never died
Make love great again
Fight for it till the end

It’s how we survive. Work hard and make our luck and we hope to live a better life. But not everyone sees it the same. Lie, steal and manipulate is their way to a better life. And if they get away with it, then others believe they need to do the same thing as well. Until it all comes crashing down, the way it did for all those predators in the meToo movement.

Space Truckin’ – Ace Frehley

I’ve always loved the groove on this song. Especially that 12 bar blues chromatic riff in the Chorus.

While his original creativity takes time, it’s okay to rock out to songs that you like.

And Ace really brings the energy on this.

Again – Black Stone Cherry

Have I told ya that I’m a fan.

Black Stone Cherry and their brand of heavy melodic groove rock influenced by blues grooves from the 70’s is perfect for my ears.

How good does this start off, with the bass drum acting like a click and a guitar riff.

You’re lost and so confused from a choice you couldn’t choose
I know just how it feels cause I felt that somewhere too

Don’t deny yourself the life you want to live because you are worried about not being good enough or how you will be judged by others or because it’s risky. Because that benefits no one, especially you. So don’t let the odds stop you from doing what you know in your heart and mind you are meant to do. Because there are so many of us in that space.

Burning Blade – Andy James

One of the best instrumental guitar players doing the rounds at the moment in the field of heavy rock and melodic metal.

In Trance – Night Demon with Uli Jon Roth

Night Demon might not have the most eye catching name, but the brand of metal they play is rooted in the metal I like, which is the NWOBHM and 80’s LA Sunset Strip Metal and 80’s German/Scandinavian Metal. Plus they get Uli Jon Roth to appear live with them.

Down In A Hole – Khemmis

Man, this cover version of one of my favourite AIC songs, is epic doom metal. It makes Bathory’s “Twilight Of The Gods” sound light compared to the down tuned lead in this song. And I don’t know anything about this band, except they keep appearing on playlists.

For The Love Of Metal (Live) – Dee Snider

Dee is the true “Leader of the Pack”. He still brings the goods live while his contemporaries have resorted to backing tracks and retirement. He voices his opinions and whether you agree or disagree, you need to respect.

And this live accompaniment to the excellent album is worth it, as Dee brings out classics from his TS days, plus his solo career releases.

How good is the opening song, “Lies Are A Business” and I forgot how heavy “The Beast” from TS is?

The band is in fine form, but the star is Dee and his banter between the songs. He’s like a comedian. And the best celebration is hearing so many different songs from so many different projects all in the one set list. There are Twisted Sister songs, Widowmaker songs and of course, Dee Snider solo songs, especially from the last two releases, plus you get an original studio song “Prove Me Wrong”.

It’s perfect.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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

July 2020 – Part 4

Vanishing Point

My favourite Australian metal act from Melbourne, who are under lockdown right now, because of a massive second wave.

Their new album is coming out soon.

So far “Dead Elysium” and “Salvus” have dropped and I can’t stop playing em.

“Dead Elysium” with its keys and syncopated guitar riffs remind me of Evergrey.

“Salvus” has this major key vibe in the intro, which hooks me in. And without having any information, it looks like the song title is a play on “Salvation + Us.”

It’s an addictive song, so I press repeat again.

7 Angels

The song and band are also called “7 Angels” and Mark Slaughter guests. Its Moroccan style intro gets me interested, but its the balls to the wall hard rock vibe gets me interested.

Perfect Plan

“Better Walk Alone” is typical of the melodic rock coming out of Europe and the Frontiers Label. Its derivative but still a good listen. Check out the Chorus on this. Its huge.

“Time For A Miracle” kicks off with the military snare and a guitar riff that reminds me of Kashmir from Led Zeppelin in its triplet like pattern. And the verses remind me of “Metropolis Pt 1” from Dream Theater.

I’m interested. The whole album is coming out soon.

Andy James

“Die A Devil” is the song, another instrumental piece which has a lot of good melodic moments, shred and some great riffs.

Three Days Grace

Have you seen the memes about Gotye with the punchline of “Hey, you are somebody That I Used To Know”?

Anyway, Three Days Grace (the version of the band that exists right now) is bringing the song back into our lives, in a modern rock way. Then again, I’ve always said that Gotye’s song is a copy of song from The Police called “King Of Pain”.

Haken

The album is “Virus”, which is a coincidence because the title was decided way before the whole COVID-19 spread worldwide.

So if you like progressive and technical rock/metal, then this album would fill the void. This band actually came onto my radar because they reminded me of Dream Theater, and some of the guys in the band toured with Mike Portnoy as “The Shattered Fortress”. But on this album, while they have kept that Dream Theater influence, they’ve decorated it with a bit of Periphery style technical metal.

And I was going to do a review on the album but the Angry Metal Guy nailed it. Check it out.

Starset

I kept seeing this band getting radio plays on a different blog I follow, so I thought I should check em out.

And the song that keeps getting radio plays is not my favourite at all. If I had to make a decision to like the band on that song, then it would be a pass. However, I stuck around and listened to the whole album called “Divisions” which came out last year.

And my favourite songs, are “Where The Skies End”, “Perfect Machine”, “Stratosphere”, “Faultline”, “Solstice” and “Diving Bell”.

Ocean Alley

It came up on a rock playlist and I checked the album, but I only like two of the songs. “Tombstone” and “Way Down”. These two songs remind me of The Night Flight Orchestra and early Marillion.

Primal Fear

“Metal Commando” is the name of the album and it’s the usual metal fair with song titles like “I Am Alive”, “Along Came The Devil” and “My Name Is Fear”.

Pinnacle Point

This band could release an album under the Kansas band name and people would believe it’s Kansas. “Symphony Of Mind” is the album and go to tracks are “Ascent To The Point”, “Never Surrender”. “Shadows Of Peace” and “Dangerous Times”.

Well that’s it for July 2020 releases.

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

July 2020 – Part 3

Bush

“The Kingdom” took me by surprise. This is their best album since the first two albums. Its heavy and it’s the Bush I like.

“Flowers On The Grave” has the riffs.

She covered me in loneliness like flowers on a grave

What a lyric?

Relationships could be like death. When they end its sad, So many memories are attached to things. You might not like your favourite artist anymore, because that artist was tied to the relationship.

“The Kingdom” starts off with a bending note, before it explodes into a heavy riff that reminds me of Tool and Rossdale is nailing the vocal.

Hey, people just soldier on

I guess that’s what we know how to do. Marching forward in the name of the progress.

Only in the silence we can see who we are

When we are alone with our thoughts, that’s when it’s real. That’s when we know who we are. Are we thinking of how to make it, or are we thinking how to get back at someone who upset us or to get it on with someone else.

“Bullet Holes” has a bass riff that reminds of “Comedown”. It appeared in John Wick 3, which these days, placing songs in movies is a perfect vehicle for artists to promote their music and also get some of that licensing money.

“Ghosts In The Machine” has an intro riff that gets the head banging before it gets subdued in the verses.

“Are we not slaves?”

“We are slaves, under the illusion of free will”.

My father said that to me once upon a time. He borrowed money from a bank on two occasions, $20K each time and he paid off those loans super quick. He’s never owned a credit card. As far as he’s concerned, being in debt to a financial institution is slavery. Because you are not free to make the best choice available in life, because if you are in debt, you live with fear, like what will happen if you lose your job.

“Blood River” has an angry chorus.

Blood River, let it all go

Rage is like a blood river, a flood of red which overwhelms the senses. Let it go, move on, whatever has got you worked up, is not worth it.

“Send In The Clowns” has the riffs.

Send in the clowns as tonight we are going to rage

It brings back memories of the Joker movie, right at the end, when they all just raged and went nuts.

“Undone” moves me, every single time.

On my grave nothing really matters

Death gives us perspective and what actually matters. I saw a research paper on one of those BBC Science news posts a while back that asked a range of questions to people who are terminal.

And all of them wanted more time to do things they wanted to do or should have done. And most of them said they should have spent more time with family.

Because it’s at this moment of death, your mind finally understands that you will not be around anymore, so you get a sense of what is most important.

How good is that riff in “Our Time Will Come”?

“Crossroads” reminds me of “Machinehead” (the Bush song, not the Deep Purple album or the band).

“Words Are Not Impediments” has this bass groove which gets me interested.

When I’m with you I feel no pain

There is always something or someone that makes you feel invincible. When I was growing up, that was heavy metal and hard rock music.

Part 4 coming up.

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

July 2020 – Part 2

Love Become Law
The Cherry Truck Band

It’s a combination of Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck.

And the intro riff reminds me of “Conquistador” from 30 Seconds To Mars.

Stand for peace / if it takes everything

I don’t know if we really know what that means this days. The narrative has moved from evil countries to our own backyards and evil/corrupt politicians who are a threat to peace in the name of economics. And these politicians have realised that when people have money, they feel safe and the majority will be obedient little servants.

So are we willing to risk everything to stand for peace.

Iris
Diamante, Breaking Benjamin

A cover.

It’s okay and it got me interested to re-listen to the original from The Goo Goo Dolls, which is a lot better.

How huge was that song back in the 90s?

And the good thing about covers is that they re-introduce a classic song to a whole new audience.

Just ask Quiet Riot (their Slade covers) and Motley Crue (“Helter Skelter”, “Smokin In The Boys Room”, “Jailhouse Rock”) just to name a few.

The Unknown
10 Years

I really dig their brand of music which is a mixture of so many different styles I like.

“How did we end up here, sifting through our own ashes?”

Every event and moment that transpires in the now, is rooted to a past decision. That other place you purchased over the first place or the extra drink you had and the strings that came with that.

“No one can survive at the speed of light forever”

Life is fluid and fast. It’s so much faster today than ever before. As I type this, the explosion in Beirut was all over the news and 24 hours later it was done.

“Time moves on and carries us into the great unknown”

We don’t know what the future holds. As Sarah Connor said at the end of “Judgement Day”;

“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”

Come On Out – RAC Mix
The Airborne Toxic Event

This song sounds like a My Chemical Romance track mixed with “Heroes” from David Bowie. And I like it.

It’s About Time
Jefferson Starship

This one took me by surprise.

It’s just a good pop rock song. And I have no idea who is in Jefferson Starship right now, but don’t let the band name be a detractor.

Lions
Look Into Me
Winner Takes All
Tokyo Motor Fist

“The world is in chaos” is how “Lions” starts off.

And it sure is.

We are trying to live with the new normal, with restrictions and lockdown, then the COVID-19 numbers get better and we start to open up, only to see the numbers go up again and restrictions kick in. I’ve been working from home for six months, with no end in sight.

Eagle
Crazy Lixx

The bass groove is like “Heaven And Hell” but the guitar and synths decorations are pure melodic rock.

Always The Villain
Michael Grant And The Assassins

This album was mentioned over at 2Loud2OldMusic and because it’s a Frontiers release, I went to Spotify to check it out.

And I became a fan on the first listen.

So who is Michael Grant?

He plays all the instruments on this album except for 5 tracks, he calls in a different drummer.

So when you listen to the album, remember that Michael Grant is playing those riffs, the majority of the drum tracks, the bass lines, the lead lines and he does all the vocals.

“The Assassins” comes from his touring band, but they didn’t play on the album.

And before going solo, Grant was the founder, and lead singer/guitarist in the alternative melodic hard rock band “Endeverafter” between 2004 and 2012, who had a deal with Epic Records, and they released one album “Kiss Or Kill” in 2007.

From 2012 to 2018, Grant was the guitarist in LA Guns and also wrote and recorded “The Missing Peace” album with them, released in 2017. The LA Guns camp said he left the band to pursue his solo project, while Grant said he was fired from the band.

Anyway.

Every single song on this album is melodic, with good riffs, catchy AOR choruses and great leads.

“Nightmare” is my favorite today, because of the lead break that reminds me of Dave Gilmour but depending on the day or my mood, other tracks take over.

Ignite The Sky
Bloody Heels

This one also appeared on 2Loud2OldMusic as a new release coming out for the week, and like Michael Grant, it’s a Frontiers release, so I went to Spotify, pressed play and became a fan.

Because the album reminds me of Hurricane, Slaughter, Babylon AD, Tangier, Steelheart and Hericane Alice. All bands I like.

And I have no idea about the band members, place of origin or any histories. It’s just the music, leading me.

“Ignite The Sky” sounds like it could have come from Harem Scarem with a Mark Slaughter like vocal line. “Criminal Masterminds” is my favourite today as the lyrics tell us there is no difference between a man in a suit and tie and a man with a 45.

“Black Swan” reminds me of Def Leppard in the Chorus. “Stand Your Ground” has this harmony lead which connects. “Silhouette” has a clean tone arpeggio riff that reminds of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from Warrant.

“In Between”
Beartooth

I saw that this song got a certification in the US and I was like;

Who is this?

And what do they sound like?

So I pressed play on the song and I was surprised.

And I like the vocal line, “it’s easy to lose yourself in between.” Because, when we are transitioning from one path to another, it’s easy to forget who we are in the in between.

Escape Artist
Rise Against

I really like this band. I’ve been a fan since 2005.

“It’s a lottery of life, we just play it”

I read somewhere about how the human body is fighting death from its first breath. Some make it to old age and some don’t.

And everything is a lottery. That story you write, could become popular or be ignored. That song you write, could become popular or be ignored.

But if you don’t play the lottery, you’ll never, ever know.

Colour and Shape
Joe Bonamassa

I am a fan of Bonamassa when he’s in that blues rock, heavy rock vibe. And sometimes, he pulls out soulful ballads like this one. It’s a fusion of blues, funk with a bit of 7th and 9th jazz chords chucked in. But it’s the lead break at 2.40 that made me become a fan of this song.

Lost
Friends
Arctic Rain

“I was lost in the middle of nowhere” is how “Lost” begins, before a melodic lead kicks off the intro.

And its melodic rock with huge choruses.

Part 3 of July is coming up.

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