Music, My Stories

Spotify Ramblings from 2022

I listened to 33,090 minutes of music on Spotify last year. It equates to 90 minutes a day and it doesn’t include any vinyl or CDs played on my stereo system.

This involves listening to 1214 different artists.

I say it ever year.

Once upon a time the maximum records I would have purchased in a year was between 20 to 30 different artists, when I had my own money and before that when my parents were funding me, it was 8 to 12 different artists and most of em came in November for my birthday and December for Christmas.

And those artists would hold my attention for a lot longer because that was all I had to listen to.

But when you have the entire history of recorded music at your fingertips (almost), it’s pretty easy to flick between so many different artists.

And to be creative with playlists (aka old mixtapes) from so many different artists.

Like an old school playlists incorporating 80s and 90s songs (above) or a more current 2010s and above playlist (below).

Or you can combine the entire history of an artist into a playlist. Like Glen Hughes. 27 hours worth of music. There are a few more releases to add.

The same with Dio, but this time I tried to sequence the playlist like an album.

Then again Dio’s career is so wide, I was able to sequence a lot of different albums.

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2022 – The Rest

Not As Good As I Expected

Megadeth – the riffs are there on a lot of the songs, but the vocal melodies are hit and miss.

Halestorm – I feel like Lzzy believes she needs to scream and throw her throat out all the time like Bon Scott or Brian Johnson to rock hard. She doesn’t. She is an unbelievable singer, guitarist and songwriter.

Papa Roach – Yeah, 10 out of 10 for incorporating different mainstream sounds into their music, but it’s too far departed from who they are.

Crashdiet – I needed more from the same creative juices that wrote “Together Whatever”, “Shine On”, “No Man’s Land”, “Dead Crusade” and “Darker Minds”.

Bullet For My Valentine – They are suffering an identity crises. I don’t know why artists believe that if they scream and growl they get more creds for being tough. Matt Tuck is one hell of a vocalist and when he gets the clean tone and the screamo correct in a song, it’s excellent.

Five Finger Death Punch – They have no identity crises here, but it’s the same as all the albums.

Stryper – with Michael Sweet doing a few different hard rock projects, it’s cool that he is keeping Stryper as metal as they can be. But. I still want the hooks.

Disturbed – the duet with Ann Wilson from Heart (“Don’ Tell Me”) is the best thing on this album. The rest is same same.

I’m Interested Again

Skid Row – If Motley Crue could find a way to work together, then I am pretty sure Skid Row could have done so as well. But whatever Sebastian Bach said to Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo many years ago it has left a wound that would not heal, so in the last 25 years, the fans have had a few different versions of the band with different drummers and vocalists.

But this time, the dance is different. They have a hard rock vocalist, who grew up on the hard rock that Skid Row wrote and who used Sebastian Bach as an influence. I guess “The Gang’s All Here”.

Arch Enemy – The riffs. Super melodic and headbanging at the same time. Press play on “Deceivers”.

 

 

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Guilty Pleasure – My Spotify 2022 Stats

Evergrey (songs from their new album, “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” and last years “Escape Of The Phoenix), Machine Head (songs from their new album only) and The Butterfly Effect (songs from their new album and “Final Conversation” (2008)) took up a lot of space in my Top Songs 2022 Spotify List as each artist had new albums this year.

So did Free Spirits Rising, a one man band from Australia. It’s very diverse, ranging from old school thrash metal, heavy metal and hard rock, and its raw/demo sounding and I like it. A song is released every two months or something like that. Check out songs like “Midnight Train” (melodic hard rock), “Chasing Days” (80’s thrash), “Outside The Lines” (melodic metal), “It’s OK” (pop rock), “Time Trigger” (80’s thrash) and “It Starts With Me” (acoustic rock). There is a lot of variety there. Hell, chuck in “Prey” for its nod to AC/DC.

The Night Flight Orchestra – From Sweden, a side project from Extreme Metal musicians is 10 years deep into their career. Their songs, “Moonlight Skies” (2021), “White Jeans” (2021), “Burn For Me” (2021) and “Taurus” (2020) are still in my Top Songs lists.

Volbeat – From Sweden, “Shotgun Blues” (2021) and “The Passenger” (2021) are still in my Top Songs lists.

John Petrucci – From the U.S, “Happy Song” (2020) is still in my Top Songs lists.

De Mont – From Australia, the band broke up circa 1993/94, however their song “In My Dreams” (1989) is in my Top Songs list.

Daughtry – From the U.S, the song “September” (2009) and various tracks from his recent album “Dearly Beloved” (2021) are in my Top Songs list.

Birds Of Tokyo – From Australia, their song “Broken Bones” (2008) is in my 2022 list.

Dream Theater – From the U.S, “A Change Of Seasons” (1995) was a go to track this year.

Metallica – From the U.S “Master Of Puppets” (1986) is in my 2022 list. How can you not play it after “Stranger Things”.

Times Of Grace – From the U.S “To Carry The Weight” (2021) is in my 2022 list.

Disturbed – From the U.S “The Vengeful One” (2015) and “The Light” (2015) appeared in my 2022 list.

Ghost – From Sweden, the song “Griftwood” (2022) and “Kaisarion” are in my 2022 list.

Arch Enemy – From Sweden, the song “Poisoned Arrow” (2022) and “Handshake With Hell (2022) are in my 2022 list.

Vanishing Point – From Australia, songs like “The Fall” (2020) and “Count Your Days” (2020) are still doing the rounds.

Jorn – From Norway, his cover of “Running Up That Hill” was in my top songs playlists for the last three years, way before Kate Bush made a comeback on the back of “Stranger Things”.

Reckless Love – From Finland, their cover of “Bark At The Moon” (2022) is in my 2022 list.

Gun – From Scotland, reformed in a way and re-imagining some of their songs from their three big albums between 1989 and 1994. In this case “Better Days”, the 2022 version (the song originally came out in 1989) made it to my 2022 list.

Trivium – From the U.S, “The Defiant” (2020) is in my 2022 list.

Dio – Thank you God for giving us Ronnie James Dio (RIP). Classic songs like “Rainbow In The Dark” (1983) and “We Rock” (1984) are still sticking around.

Bad Wolves – From the U.S. their song “Lifeline” (2021) was in my Top 2022 list.

King King – From Scotland, their song “Fire In My Soul” (2020) was in my top songs.

Queensryche – From the U.S, the song “Walk In The Shadows” (1985) connected with me this year and it made it to my 2022 list.

Dee Snider – The voice of my youth, straight from the U.S, with “I Gotta Rock (Again)” is back in my Tip Songs list.

Black Label Society – From the U.S, “Angel Of Mercy” (2014) is still in my Top Songs lists. The guitar solo is one of my favourites ever.

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2022 – The 9 to 12

Okay let’s get going with the 2022 review.

Audrey Horne

From Norway.

Another side project from extreme metallers to pay homage to their classic rock and metal influences which has become their main project. Think of bands like Kiss, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Helloween, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Tool, Metallica, Cheap Trick.

“Devils Bell” follows the excellent “Blackout” album from 2018, which featured “This Is War” and “Audrevolution”, two of my favourites from the.

As soon as you press play to “Ashes to Ashes”, the harmony guitars assault your ear buds. It’s almost doom like and after 46 seconds, the song morphs into something different, but it’s at the 1.40 mark when the guitar hero riff kicks in.

“Animal” has a riff straight from the rule book of the NWOBHM. “Breakout” has a killer riff that is from the 80’s, very Jake E. Lee (Ozzy period) and George Lynch (Dokken period) like and it morphs into a Jimmy Page riff, something like he played on “Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” on Coverdale/Page.

“Return To Grave Valley” (an instrumental) has a Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden influence, which they also used on the excellent “This Is War” from the previous album.

“Danse Macabre” (translates to Dance With Death) has nothing to do with Ghost except that both songs have great riffs and catchy vocal melodies.

“Devils Bell” continues the Iron Maiden/Helloween influences. Make sure you stick around for the interlude/harmony solo section. “All Is Lost” has another killer guitar intro and stick around for the killer middle section which features vocal ohhs and harmony guitars.

“Toxic Twins” has some excellent guitar work. The names Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal and Thomas Tofthagen don’t have the same recognition as other guitarist, but these dudes can play and wail with the best of em. Underneath it all are the mammoth sized bass lines from Espen Lien and the thunderous Bonham meets McBrian drums of Kjetil Grev.

Another key ingredient to Audrey Horne are the early Ozzy like vocals from Torkjell “Toschie” Rod. Its unique enough to be his own and it has enough elements to pay homage to Ozzy.

“From Darkness” channels Uli Jon Roth from his Scorpions days. Think “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man”. And that solo section again, brings back memories of their love for Iron Maiden.

Compared to the streaming numbers of other bands, Audrey Horne is way below those numbers with most of the songs under 100K in streams.

Alter Bridge

From the U.S.

I wasn’t sure I was going to spend time to listen to “Pawns And Kings”. I feel like Myles’s voice is everywhere these days with so many projects happening that I enjoy, like his work with Slash, his Alter Bridge work plus his solo career. But as a guitarist, I am always super keen to hear what Mark Tremonti is up to.

I try to not listen to the pre-release singles but on this case I did spend time with a few. How can you deny a track with the title “This Is War” or “Pawns And Kings”. In the words of Yoda, “impressed, I was”.

After a long three month lead in, the album finally dropped in October, 2022. Compared to the streaming numbers of say, Three Days Grace new album, this one feels like it’s forgotten, however Three Days Grace does have a four month heads start.

The very metal like “This Is War” gives way to the heavy rock riffage of “Dead Among The Living”, which could have come from the recent Tremonti album. “Metalilngus” from their debut album is one of their most streamed songs at 101 million streams on Spotify, so it’s no surprise they try and keep the metal going with “Silver Tongue” which is also their most streamed song from the new album at 3.1 million streams on Spotify.

The intro riff on “Sin After Sin”. Wow. Press play and enjoy the almost 7 minute long song that moves between heavy metal, groove metal and heavy rock. At 1.4 million Spotify streams, it’s one of the Top 5 songs from the album when it comes to streams.

The sequencing on the album is excellent, as it transitions to a major key pop rock song in “Stay”. It’s much welcomed after the groove metal behemoth “Sin After Sin” before it. And at 756,559 streams its more or less forgotten, but it shouldn’t be.

“Fable Of The Silent Son” is an 8 minute epic that kept me interested throughout. Because while it starts off all dreamy like at 2.50 an almost djent like riff kicks in and they make it sound accessible. At the 5 minute mark this Tool like section kicks in before it goes into a Randy Rhoads style like solo section. This is the Alter Bridge I like, when they go back to the 70’s Rock albums and experiment.

And the sequencing again is spot on, as they hit us with a major key song in “Season Of Promise”. Stick around for the section between 2.30 and 3.30, because when Myles is singing like that, how can you not like it.

“Last Man Standing” is the least streamed track on the album at 490K Spotify streams. But I am hooked from the digital delay riff in the intro and that riff that kicks in at the 57 second mark.

The title track. Wow. Especially the “One” like section from about the 2.50 mark. 6 minutes and 18 seconds later I needed to hear it again. When the solo kicks in, the riff under it is very Middle Eastern sounding, so Tremonti is operating in the Phrygian Dominant scale. If you are a Muse fan, then you will enjoy the outro.

Bush

From the U.K.

How good was “The Kingdom” (2020)? 

Well Gavin Rossdale must have thought the same, because he is continuing to live in the music and style of said album with a few little tweaks here and there. As a side note, the song “Undone” from “The Kingdom” only has about 500K Spotify Streams, but wow, what a song that is. 

I feel like I am drowning with “Heavy Is The Ocean”, its downtuned and depressive riffage sinking me.

“Slow Me” immediately hooks me, as it starts off with the vocal melody. “More Than Machines” is the most streamed song at 2.29 Spotify Streams. How good is the vocal melody during the Chorus?

“May Your Love Be Pure” and “Shark Bite” bring the groove rock, while “Human Sand” brings back the retro 70’s feel of Classic Fuzz Rock in the intro. “Kiss Me I’m Dead” also has an intro riff which reminds of 80’s metal. “Identity” has a head banging industrial metal riff ala Rammstein.

“Creatures Of The Fire” is as good as anything on the charts and at 127,815 Spotify streams, the song is forgotten. It reminds me of the excellent “Undone” from “The Kingdom” album.

The closer “1000 Years” is also a favourite, with its synth like guitar riff and Rossdale’s sad vocal delivery.

Shinedown

From the U.S.

It’s not their best work but probably their most angriest. A lot of living has happened between “Attention Attention” (2018) and “Planet Zero”. It’s no surprise that George Floyd, the Insurrection and Covid lockdowns get some attention on this album.

After a brief 22 second intro from “2184”, a punk metal burner called “No Sleep Tonight” kicks in. “Planet Zero” was one of the lead singles and its sitting at 16.2 million Spotify streams, but it’s not the best song by a long shot.

“Dysfunctional You” could have come from “The Sound Of Madness” while “Dead Don’t Die” would keep the fans from “Threat To Survival” happy. 

“America Burning” is patchy. 

But “A Symptom Of Being Human” is by far the best track on the album. An acoustic song, which could have been written during the Smith And Myers sessions, it arrives on this album, exactly when you need it.

“Hope” is a four letter word, is the hook for the song. It’s classic Shinedown doing rock ballads with balls.

“Clueless and Dramatic” is “The Sound Of Madness” part 2 and I like it. “Sure Is Fun” is anything but, while “Daylight” is showing to be a sleeper hit with 7.3 million Spotify streams and counting. It lives in the Shinedown meets The Script meets Imagine Dragons world. 

“The Saints Of Violence And Innuendo” is a cross between Brit Pop and Aerosmith while “Army Of The Underappreciated” is a miss. “What You Wanted” could have come from Smith and Myers.

As a fan, the last two albums have been hit and miss. Three to five killer tracks and the rest loaded with filler.

Just missed out

Reckless Love

From Finland.

The album “Turborider” was moved out of 12th place because somewhere in my subconscious I couldn’t have an EOY list and not have Shinedown on it, especially when they have a new album out.

But check out songs like “Turborider”, “Outrun”, their cover of “Bark At The Moon”, “Like A Cobra”, “For The Love Of Good Times” and “89 Sparkle” sounds like a modern disco dance cut with a dash of hard rock. “Future Lover Boy” is another dance rock tune, with synths and a metronomic drum beat.

“Prodigal Sons” is the heaviest track, reminding me of early The Rasmus. And my favourite.

It’s nothing earth shattering, not really original, the lyrics are dumb, but Reckless Love do their homage to the 80’s really well. And I like it. On some occasions it almost comes across as parody. But never boring and a 35 minute blast from start to finish. And there is still plenty of shred on hand for the guitar purists.

So why didn’t it make my Top 12. 

It’s the electronic dance beats and synths. These add ons on each track made the songs sound too computerized and in some stages the auto-tuned vocals robotic. But I think that was the style they were going for.

Let your ears do the decision making for you. 

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2022 – The 5 to 8

Say hello to the next four.

Coheed And Cambria

From the United States.

“Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind” continues their “Amory Wars” space opera. The “Vaxis” series takes place after “The Keywork” was destroyed and it follows a couple on the run, along with an “Eleven” like Child which came into they care, as they try and

The thing about CoCa that I like is the variety in the music. You get major key songs which sound like Pop Punk/Metal/Rock songs like “Comatose”, “Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord) and “The Liars Club” (My Chemical Romance comes to mind here).

“Shoulders” and “Love Murder One” are modern groove rock tracks.

“A Disappearing Act” could end up on dance floors with its pulsing synth riff and bouncing bass/drum groove, and yet it still rocks hard. Then again, “Love Murder One” has a lot of pop elements as well, which could fit this category as well. “Bad Love” pushes the limits of fusing what is contemporary pop/dance with hard rock. It’s catchy and I like it.

“Blood” is a slow rocker with auto-tuned vocals which serve the song well. It could be on a Post Malone album. “Our Love” is another slow rocker, more U2 and 80’s synth Rush.

“Ladders Of Supremacy” is written after George Floyd’s horrible death. Its heavy and it rocks. And they made it fit the story. Check out it’s Tool like section from the 5 minute mark.

“Window Of The Waking Mind” is progressive in its arrangement and moods.

Claudio Sanchez along with Travis Stever have kept my interest in Coheed and Cambria for the 20 years I have been a fan. During that time drummer Josh Eppard left and came back, while original bassist Michael Todd couldn’t shake off his addictions which put him onto a path of armed break-ins and jail time, who was then replaced by Zach Cooper and what a job Cooper has done the last 10 years he’s been with the band.

Ghost

From Sweden. Their streaming numbers are wow. Along with Volbeat, they are part of big metal acts these days based on their streaming numbers.

“Kaisarion” is a great way to kick into album after the 100 second “Imperium”.

“Spillways” feels like a 70’s Classic Rock track, with its metronomic piano riff. And how creative is the hook, “through the spillways of your soul”. Who comes up with this?

“Call Me Little Sunshine” has me ready to take up arms. It’s clean tone intro feels like the pyramids are getting built and when it cranks into the distortion, it’s time to break desks.

How good is that melodic riff in “Hunters Moon”?

And if the intro to “Watcher In The Sky” doesn’t get you moving, check for a pulse. And that hook, “search lights, looking for the watcher in the sky”. Brilliant.

But my favourite is the Van Halen-ish “Aint Talkin Bout Love” sounding “Griftwood”.

Out Of This World

From Sweden.

I was blown away by this album. Kee Marcello is on guitars and keys here, with Tommy Heart on vocals, Ken Sandin on bass, Darby Todd on drums with Don Airey performing guest keys. In case you are not aware, the name of the band is the same as the album that Kee Marcello played on with Europe. “Out Of This World” was the highly anticipated album after “The Final Countdown” however it only sold half of what the previous album did. Marcello would record the excellent and forgotten “Prisoners Of Paradise” (1992) and he more or less disappeared from the writings of the press.

The way Marcello plays the guitar, he is more of a cross between Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen, then others, and you can hear this on the songs. His love of Styx, early Journey and Toto and their melodic rock songs is also evident here, as it feels like Steve Lukather played on the album. 

Vocalist Tommy Heart is a pro here as well, delivering quality on each song. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how great the music is, if the vocals are crap. And there are no crap vocals here. Hell, on some songs, I feel like Joey Tempest is singing.

The album clocks in at 45 minutes and the only thing I could after it finished is press play again. Tracks like “In A Million Years”, “Lighting Up My Dark”, “Staring At the Sun” and “The Warrior” (Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” comes to mind, then again, “The Winery Dogs” have taken this approach as well) are on par with the well-known tracks from the Melodic Rock and Melodic Metal mainstream era between 1984 and 1991.

Do your ears a favour and press play on it? 

Three Days Grace

From Canada. 

They became mainstream in the early 2000’s (circa 2003/04) and they rode that platinum success for over a decade. Then vocalist Adam Gontier left abruptly in 2013, replaced by Matt Walst from the band My Darkest Days. His brother Brad is the bassist of the band and one of its founders, along with drummer Neil Sanderson and ex-vocalist Gontier. Barry Stock rounds out the band as the second guitarist.

The last album they did with Gontier, “Transit Of Venus” is my least favourite and it’s taken a while for the band to recapture that fan base. “Human” was a good start (“Painkiller is sitting at 140 million streams) but the excellent “Outsider” released in 2018 got me back on board. On Spotify, songs like “Right Left Wrong” (44.1 million streams), “The Mountain” (74.6 million streams), “Infra-Red” (50.7 million streams), “I Am An Outsider” (25.3 million streams), “Strange Days (12.3 million streams) and “The Abyss” (10.1 million streams) need to be listened to. 

So “Explosions” was highly anticipated.

The album immediately introduces the heaviness with “So Called Life”. At 34.2 million streams on Spotify since May 2022, it will surpass a 100 million by this time next year. Because we are looking for something to take the edge off this so called life. 

“I Am The Weapon” is heavy and melodic and it could have come from the melodic metal streets of Sweden. “Neurotic” which features Lukas Rossi is a throwback to the Gontier fronted albums, which will satisfy the core. Along with songs like “No Tomorrow” and “Redemption”. 

You can hear the heartache in “Lifetime”, its slow rock, but if you listen closely, you can hear those ballad like country licks being played.

Press play to hear the intro riffs to “A Scar Is Born”. 

I love the way “Souvenirs” percolates and builds around Matt Walst’s vocal melody until it explodes. And the hooks in the Chorus, “We don’t know why we’re here, but we’re not here for long” and “Surrounded by souvenirs from days that are gone”. Truth right there. At 1.7 million streams the song is more or less forgotten, but it is one of my favourites.

“Champion” is Imagine Dragons and The Script with more grit. “Chain Of Abuse” could have come from Breaking Benjamin. “Someone To Talk To” features the cellos of Apocalyptica,

The closer is the title track.

At 37 minutes long, the album is concise, it rocks hard and the only thing you can do afterwards is press play again.

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2022 – The First 4

Here we go. Some lists for 2022.

Evergrey

From Sweden, they hit onto a particular metal style with the “Hymns For The Broken” (2014) album and “The Storm Within” (2016) and they have been living in that world for over a decade now. “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” is their latest album, on the backs of “The Atlantic” (2019) and “Escape Of The Phoenix” (2021).

As a fan, I cannot complain at being exposed to 5 studio albums and 1 live album in an 8 year period.

This album has something for everyone.

It’s got heavy melodic rock, with “Call Out The Dark” and “Heartless”, moody atmospheric with “Wildfires”, groove metal with “Save Us” and “Midwinter Calls”, progressive metal with “The Orphean Testament” and “ “, doom metal with “Ominous”, melodic Metal with “Reawakening” and “Blindfolded” and their special brand of metal with atmospheric vibes with “The Great Unwashed”

P.S.
As a guitar player, the album is full of guitar hero moments from vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund and guitarist Henrik Danhage.

Machine Head

From the United States.

After the departure of drummer Dave McClain and guitarist Phil Demmell in 2018, Robb Flynn kept the Machine Head brand going with stand-alone releases with “Do or Die” (2019), “Circle the Drain” (2020), The “Civil Unrest” EP from 2020 which featured “Stop the Bleeding (feat. Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach)” and “Bulletproof”.

Robb Flynn got hooked on the anime show “Attack On Titan” and wrote a concept story called “Of Kingdom And Crown” set in a futuristic wasteland which revolves around two characters, Ares and Eros, who both go on their own respective killing sprees following the death of their loved ones.

What an album.

The first 3 minutes of “Slaughter The Martyr” is essential listening as they build it up with great melodic vocals from Robb and bassist Jared MacEachern.

When the fast riff kicks in at 3.10, it’s time to break some desks. And that intro section comes back in at the 8.20 mark where it smacks me in the face with its sadness.

My favourite songs are “Unhallowed” (that head banging riff, plus it is the first song in the album sequence that has a co-write from new lead guitarist Waclaw Kiełtyka), “Arrows In Words From The Sky” (a masterpiece), “My Hands Are Empty” (the vocal melody) plus additional song writing by original MH lead guitarist, Logan Mader “Kill Thy Enemies” (the main Chorus riff plus check out that bridge section at 2.40) and “No Gods, No Masters” (the whole song is a masterpiece).

Long Distance Calling

The names of Dave Jordan and Florian Funtmann on guitar, Janosch Rathmer on drums and Jan Hoffman on bass are virtually unknown.

From Germany, it’s all instrumental and I was tuned in the whole time. This isn’t instrumental like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. It’s different. There is always a groove and a riff which form the foundation. Then they decorate. But it’s not a 1000 notes per second decorating. It’s melodic, sometimes it’s just a single note droning across the different bars of the riff. And the drummer by Janosch Rathmer is superb.

After a haunting music box minute intro they kick into the riff heavy “Blades”. But it’s the moody songs like “Kamilah”, “Sloth”, “Blood Honey” and “Eraser” (that section from 4.50 to the end, a masterpiece) that really connect with me. Also check out the riff at 4.30 in “500 Years”, the intro section to “Giants Leaving”, and that melodic riff in “Landless King” at 1.30 or that clean tone section from 3.30.

I don’t like to label them with other bands names because their soundscapes are unique to their own but people like to have that association. Pink Floyd were classified as progressive rock, so is King Crimson, so is Tool, so I

And I want to make mention of the title track “Eraser”. There is a video done in conjunction with Greenpeace which shows how much of the world humanity has erased. Check it out on YouTube. And if you are a fan of the band, you will note how the last track on the previous album “How Do We Want To Live?” had the spoken words of “Humanity is the virus”. In this case, there are no words spoken, but the YT video makes it clear that that “Humanity erases nature instead of living in equilibrium with it”.

The Butterfly Effect

From Australia, “IV” is their fourth album (“duh”) however it is their first piece of new music in over 14 years and what a triumphant return it is.

This album was also anticipated highly by me. You see “TBE” are part of a group of Australian artists like Cog, Karnivool, Birds Of Tokyo, Dead Letter Circus, Superheist and The Superjesus that I really got into between 2001 and 2012. One of the bands I was in opened up for Cog quite a few times.

Every song is strong.

“IV” is a raw, sad instrumental which leads into “Dark Light” and that pseudo melodic metal Chorus. I feel like I hear “Come Undone” in “The Other Side” and I like it.

“So Tired” sounds like a demented Guns N Roses in the verses and a section which reminds me of Aussie rockers “Powderfinger”. But make sure you stick around for the interlude section of the song (which also sees the song to the end). The music and the vocals of Boge as he sings “It’s not over now”. It’s unbelievable.

“Unbroken” is the most streamed song from the album at 458K streams. Its melodicism immediately infects me.

But closing track, “Visiting Hours” is a masterpiece to me. It is an accumulation of their first three albums into an atmospheric, progressive ballad.

Vocalist Clint Boge is one of the best in the business. Guitarist Kurt Goedhart is a riff-meister and he decorates each track expertly while bassist Glenn Esmond and drummer Ben Hall showcase why they are one of the tightest rhythm sections around.

Or in the case of the metal-esque song “Great Heights” one of the most expressive rhythm sections.

And in keeping with the Aussie spirit of sinking a few cold ones before a show, The Butterfly Effect teamed up with their favourite brewery, Green Beacon Brewing Co, to create an ‘Amplified Ale’, which was available to enjoy on their recent sold out tour.

I’ll drink to that.

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Unto Stone We Are

Sort of Spoiler Alert….

Andor is one of the best shows I have seen on Disney Plus.

If you get to the last episode there is a section which I call “The Funeral Scene”. The music for it is written by Nicholas Britell and the song is called “Forming Up/Unto Stone We Are”.

And it’s always the music, the melodic soundscape to moving images that gets me to pay attention.

It starts with two separate marching bands at different ends of the alleys, just tuning their instruments and sort of jamming with themselves. Then the drummer starts the military like tempo and the most saddest of melodies is heard.

They start to walk towards the town centre and they eventually meet, and they are in time playing the song with each other. Director Tony Gilroy wanted this scene to be massive and he got the musicians to come in and learn the musical score so he could record it live instead of using the studio track.

This small attention to detail resonates.

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