A to Z of Making It, Music, Unsung Heroes

Going Viral

I have a Killswitch Engage Google Alert set up and from when I set up that alert I would be lucky to get at least one alert a day with a story on Killswitch Engage. The only exception to this rule of thumb was when Killswitch Engage had a new album coming out and the guys in the band started doing the whole promotional run. During those cycles I would get daily alerts with two to three links of interviews.

So imagine my surprise when I started getting Google Alerts a few days ago on Killswitch Engage and it had over 12 to 15 links to different websites all telling the same story.

“Metal Guitarist wins big on “The Price Is Right”.

News outlets that have never run a Killswitch Engage story at all (and probably never will after this) suddenly jumped on the band wagon.

Yep, Adam Dutkiewicz’s hilarious appearance on “The Price Is Right” and then going on to win over $50K in cash/prizes plus a holiday was brilliant and it went viral. For Adam Dutkiewicz, if he got a marketing team and paid them top dollar for this type of promotion, he wouldn’t be able to get it.

The reason why it went viral is that we, the fans shared the fuck out of it because of Adam.

He is a genuine rock star, a great talent, a hard worker (via being a producer and a band member) and a madman that keeps it real.

I remember watching him perform when he toured Australia with “Times Of Grace”. He is a dead set madman on stage. His leg was in a knee brace, however that did nothing to slow him down. Eventually, the knee brace came off and ended up backstage.

So when I saw the footage from “The Price Is Right” it was exactly as you would expect Adam to be. Hilarious and all he wanted to do was say hello to his dog. Because when you have a resume that involves musician, recording engineer, songwriter, and music producer, it leaves little time to be a family man.

That is why he is adored.

Music is his lifestyle.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Guitar Heroes

“There are guitar heroes and there are band guys. Guitar heroes are the top dogs – whatever they say goes. Band guys are team players, committed to the chemistry of the whole. Steve Howe is a band guy from way back.”

October 1989 Guitar World…

Players like Zakk Wylde, Slash, John Petrucci and Marc Tremonti could easily be classed as band guys. James Hetfield is all about Metallica and of course there are many more that have come and gone.

In that same issue George Lynch spoke about his relationship with Don Dokken and how his new band Lynch Mob is a band that will not have a revolving door of musicians just because the band leader might have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. We all know how that turned out.

So it got me thinking about guitar players who are plying their trade day in and day out without getting the recognition they really deserve. It’s tough to be an artist regardless of era. Today, the main focus is on money. However music slays money all the time if done right and when it is done right it usually generates a pile of it anyway.

And I started focusing on two guitar bands that are doing the rounds at the moment. The only criteria I used is that the guitar partnership was formed/created at the start of the 2000’s with their respective bands.

Tom Englund/Henrik Danhage

Evergrey is about to make twenty years in the business and they are stronger than ever in popularity. Thank Tom Englund for keeping the flame burning. They are a band that doesn’t go out to write hit singles however some of the fan base believe they did just that with the “Monday Morning Apocalypse” album in 2006. For me, Evergrey is Evergrey. Dark, honest, melodic and hopeful.

The Englund/Danhage partnership started in 2000, ceased in 2010 and rekindled again in 2013. Clearly the magic is still there. For the uninitiated check out the albums “Hymns For The Broken”, “The Inner Circle” and “Torn”.  “The Inner Circle” album gave me a whole new inspiration to create music again.

They are the antidote, the complete opposite of our phony culture.

Zoltan Bathory/Jason Hook

Five Finger Death Punch are record label darlings at this point in time. With the first three albums all going Gold and the current Volumes 1 and 2 both pushing close to that mark what isn’t there to like from a record label point of view.

Underpinning the mighty PUNCH is the rhythm playing of Zoltan Bathory. Rooted in European metal and its modes, with a dash of hard rock and melodic death metal, Bathory consistently delivers head banging, foot stomping riffola. And no one could have predicted the success that would come.

The Bathory/Hook partnership started in 2009. For the uninitiated check out “War Is The Answer”, “American Capitalist” and “The Wrong Side Of Heaven Volume 1”.

And yes, Five Finger Death Punch are consistent sellers proving once again, people will invest their time and money if they believe in the MESSAGE!

Adam Dutkiewicz/Joel Stroetzel

This partnership started before 2000, however Dutkiewicz was the drummer back then. But in 2001, Dutkiewicz took up the guitar again and a whole new era kicked off.

For the uninitiated check out “The End of Heartache”, “As Daylight Dies” and “Disarm the Descent”. “As Daylight Dies” was an important album for me, as it combined melodic vocals, with brutal riffs and technical playing. Even though the band is not classed as a progressive band, they are progressive. It is a shame that in 2014, progressive music is seen as how fast and technical you can get, where in the past progressive music didn’t mean that. And that is the definition that Killswitch Engage inherits.

Robb Flynn/Phil Demmel

They are like an old act that took four albums to find their voice and hit a groove. And what a groove they found in “The Blackening”. Enough said.  Also “Unto The Locust” is no slouch either and from what I have heard so far, “Bloodstone and Diamonds” is shaping up to be a monster.

Their Machine Head partnership began in 2003 although they knew each other from their time spent in Vio-Lence, it wasn’t until they got together to write the follow-up to the backs to the wall comeback album, “Through The Ashes Of Empires” that they set a new standard in metal and thrash circles. A three-year touring cycle followed. A deserved victory lap for a brilliant album.

And the thing about Robb Flynn that I like is that he fights back. If he is wrong, he apologizes however if he is not wrong he defends himself. Just because someone is criticizing him it does not mean they’re right. And Robb Flynn doesn’t give in so easily.

Claude Sanchez/Travis Stever

Coheed and Cambria have played a vital role in my developing skills as a songwriter. The “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth” and it’s follow up, “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV” showed what can be achieved when you mash-up so many different styles into a story line. “Welcome Home” is a perfect example. It has punk elements, pop elements and classic rock elements. “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth” they showcase prog rock, atmospheric rock and classic rock with a twang of modern rock.

In other words, Coheed and Cambria are unlike anything else. They are so far from the me-too artist that is always trumped up by the media reporting outlets. An artist tests limits and Claude Sanchez definitely falls into this space.

Synester Gates/Zacky Vengeance

There is nothing about Avenged Sevenfold that hasn’t been planned and analysed to the smallest detail. Before they even started they decided on stage names, which is a throwback to the classic rock artists and the Eighties metal heroes. With their BLACK album “Hail To The King” they finally have songs that just rock on the stage.

I witnessed the energy the new songs output compared to the older more complex material. In relation to guitar playing, check out “Afterlife” and “Second Heartbeat”.

Even the mighty Zakk Wylde said that Gates is “the torchbearer for the young kids now to play solos, learn the scales, and develop a feel.”And with Synester’s influences ranging from Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, Slash, John Petrucci, Allan Holdsworth and Frank Gambale, a torchbearer he is.

Luke Hoskin/ Tim Millar

These guys are a perfect example of succeeding through hard work and hewing to their own vision and refusing to adjust to others’ input. While other artists might have had more of the limelight, all this did was allow the Protest The Hero guys to refine their song writing in relative obscurity.

For definitive albums, you can’t go past their new one “Volition”. Funded by the fans and written for the fans.

Matt Heafy/ Corey Beaulieu

Many of us are hooked by something. Trivium is one such band that hooked me. I put it down to their cover version of “Master Of Puppets”. Hell, they sounded better than Metallica.

And the thing that really connects with me is that they are always exploring themselves as artists. They don’t know if they are on the right path, but they are always trying to get there and that is important.

“Shogun” will be seen as their masterpiece album however songs like “In Waves” and “Strife” have proven to take a life on their own. I am really looking forward to their gig with In Flames in November.

Jake Pitts/Jinxx

With so many hard rock or modern rock bands out there, who does a person decide what band to gravitate to as our time is precious.

Having two guitar players that bring back memories of the early eighties is a good start. And that is where Black Veil Brides come in. Now the vocals are hit and miss but there is no denying the quality of the guitar playing and the song writing.

Dee Snider even called them “rockstars”.

Matthew Tuck/Michael “Padge” Paget

A similar set up like Trivium and their career trajectory is almost identical.

Like “Shogun” for Trivium, “Scream/Aim/Fire” is a definitive thrash metal album for Bullet For My Valentine.

Then there are songs from “Fever” and “Temper Temper” that have taken a life of their own. In this case “The Last Fight” and “Breaking Point”.

With so much new music, I usually stop paying attention and go back to my favourites. The above artists have proven themselves since the start of the 2000’s to become my favourites. For other up and comers, yell at me to notice you and I will ignore you. Yell a little bit more, and I will just retreat and burrow down deeper into my favourites.

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Songs Based On Inspiration Rather Than Logic

That is the difference between everlasting music and throwaway crap. You wanna know why Shinedown had a lot of success with “The Sound of Madness” in 2008. It’s because the songs were inspired and genuine. The audience loved the throwbacks to the classic rock of the Seventies. The fan base connected with the lyrical themes. Look at Spotify and YouTube and you will see that one of the most streamed/viewed songs from the album is “Call Me” and it wasn’t even a single.

You see, when fans get behind a band there are so many reasons why they do it. It could be a lifestyle choice. It could be a song connection. There is no exact formula, however the labels will still try to re-create those successes by signing many other bands in an attempt to emulate what Shinedown achieved with “The Sound Of Madness”.

Sort of like how Daughtry and James Durbin went off into the sunset to chase the pop trends of Coldplay, Casting Crowns and Train. Logic will tell you that if you write a song that is of similar calibre it will connect with an audience. But for both of those artists, it failed to pay off. “Baptism” and “Celebrate” both took a long time to complete and they more or less disappeared from the conversation within a week.

Why is “The End Of Heartache” from Killswitch Engage seen as an important album?

The reason why this album is seen as an important album and a classic is that it gave every guitar player hope for a future. The guitar playing on the album is phenomenal and it brought back metal to the masses in a major way. And with anything that is successful, people copy it and try to emulate that same success with other bands. The record labels saturated the market with copycat acts which more or less ensures that the metalcore movement suffers the same fate as the glam/rock movement. The media labelled it as metalcore. For Adam Dutkiewicz and crew, “The End Of Heartache” is basically a band that was refusing to dance to someone else’s tune.

“It’s almost like today’s songs are all written with the same formula – they have the same snare sound, the same bass sound and that generic heavy rock guitar tone.”
Jake E Lee said the above in an interview with Guitar World September 1991 issue.

Why do I mention it?

Because it is TRUTH.

Anyway remember the bands at the forefront of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal. Bands like Bleeding Through, Shadows Fall and Chimaira. All gone. God Forbid is also gone. After 15 years plus in the game, they couldn’t work out how to stay relevant, how to find new fans, how to maintain existing fans and how to create new music that cuts through the noise.

On a personal level, I supported Chimaira and Shadows Fall. On their last couple of releases I was getting the feel that their songs started to focus on a more logical structure. Robb Flynn recently referred to this situation as “samey”.

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Music

Double Threats

There is an article doing the rounds at Noisecreep about rockers who branch out into some other venture (like another successful band) or something that is beyond the musical medium.

So of course the lists focuses on the “SuperStar”. First here is the list from Noisecreep.

10. Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park / Fort Minor

9. Chris Jericho from Fozzy and Professional Wrestling

8. Henry Rollins from Black Flag / Rollins Band (I am adding acting to this)

7. Marilyn Manson

6. Maynard James Keenan from Tool / A Perfect Circle / Puscifer

5. Jared Leto from Thirty Seconds to Mars and acting

4. Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters / Them Crooked Vultures / Nirvana / Scream

3. Corey Taylor from Slipknot / Stone Sour / Author

2. Rob Zombie from Rob Zombie / White Zombie / Directing

1. Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue / Sixx: A.M. + Radio DJ, Book Author and Photographer

What about the artists that are not superstars?

The artists below are doing an unbelievable job or have done an unbelievable job to remain a double threat in the music business.

1. Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambra / Prized Fighter Inferno + Comic / Book Author

2. Adam Dutkiewicz from Killswitch Engage / Times of Grace + Producing

3. Digital Summer (the whole band) – They hold down normal day jobs and they are also a successful modern rock band.

4. Randy Blythe from Lamb of God + successful photographer

5. Robb Flynn from Machine Head + successful blogger

6. John Sykes from Whitesnake / Blue Murder / Solo Artist / Thin Lizzy tribute

7. Joe Satriani – Solo Artist / Chickenfoot / guitar teacher

8. Slash from Guns N Roses / Slash’s Snakepit / Velvet Revolver / Solo Artist + Motion Pictures

9. Doug Aldrich at one stage was playing guitar for Whitesnake and Dio at the same time. Also involved with Burning Rain.

10. David Draiman from Disturbed / Device + Producer

11. Protest The Hero (the band) – successful fan funded band and campaigners.

12. Kevin Churko – Successful Producer / Songwriter and Studio Owner

Original Noisecreep Article: http://noisecreep.com/best-double-threat-rockers/

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Question Everything – Inspiration From Killswitch Engage and Jesse Leach

After overdosing on the new Protest the Hero album “Volition” for some reason the last song “Skies” got me thinking about Killswitch Engage. So out come the headphones and on goes the new album “Disarm the Descent.” I haven’t listened to it since about July. Our favourites don’t last long in the times of today. With so much new music coming out, we move on very quickly. As Jesse Leach pointed out recently in an interview with Lithium Magazine, the title is a creative way of saying redemption or rising again.

“You’re in a state of your life where you’re approaching rock bottom and you find a way to pick yourself up again before you hit the floor.”

I came to Killswitch Engage late. I didn’t listen to their first three albums. The only song I heard was “My Last Serenade” back in 2004 and that was via a bass player friend. However at that time, nothing really connected with me and that was it. There was no urge to commit to the band for me.

Fast forward a few years and the “Guitar World” issue arrived in the mailbox. I don’t recall which month; however it was a magazine from 2007. At that time the magazine still came with a DVD of bonus content. One of the bonuses was a lesson from the Killswitch guitarists on how to play “My Curse” and after watching it, I was hooked.

So I asked my bass player friend to burn me all of their albums, which he did. At the time, I had no idea that vocalists changed, which after hearing “Alive or Just Breathing” in 2007, I realised that the tones of the vocalists didn’t match up. So what do we do when we need information? We Google. We click on Wikipedia. In addition, “My Last Serenade” suddenly mattered. The song sucker punched me and I was hooked. The timing was right in 2007, for Killswitch Engage to enter my life on a full time basis.

By the time, their 2009 self-titled album came out; I was purchasing it without even listening to a single note. As a bonus their back catalogue was on special at the time, so I picked them up as well and added the official releases to my collection. That is why I always say that no metrics can ever measure the reach or pull of a band at the time of a release.

Of course, sales data can show what is in demand at a certain point in time; however the reach and the popularity of a certain band or a certain album cannot be properly measured until years later. Remember that history is written by the winners. In music, the winners are the artists or bands that outlast the competition.

Going back to the different singers, since Jesse’s split with the band, he kept busy with other projects, like the stoner-rock outfit “Seemless” and the metalcore/hard-core influenced “The Empire Shall Fall”. During this period, he also appeared with Killswitch Engage, performing the track “My Last Serenade” alongside Howard Jones at the Roadrunner United concert in 2005.

Then in 2011, I was blown away by “Times of Grace”. Everything about that album connected with me on so many different levels. I saw “Times Of Grace” open up for “Machine Head” at the Uni Roundhouse in Sydney in February 2012. Adam Dutkiewicz had his leg in some form of a support cast and he still went ballistic on stage, commenting frequently that “Aussie girls are hot.”

In relation to “Times Of Grace”, I could hear the regret in some of the songs. When Jesse jumped ship from Killswitch he was fighting a pretty serious depression. He had just gotten married and he couldn’t deal with being on the road all the time and away from his new family.

Songs like, “Fall From Grace (my best song on the album)”, “The Forgotten One”, “Hymn Of A Broken Man”, “In The Arms Of Mercy” and “Where The Spirit Leads Me” capture the more personal side of Jesse Leach. I remember reading in an interview in the “Revolver” April/May issue with Jesse mentioning that at the time of leaving Killswitch he was “broken and unconfident”.

So when Killswitch Engage announced that Jesse Leach is the vocalist again, I was more than pleased. His redemption was complete. When Jesse left Killswitch Engage the album he worked on “Alive Or Just Breathing” was just another album in a burgeoning metalcore scene that helped to kick start the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement.

Today, “Alive or Just Breathing” is seen as a classic. I always state that music is all about creating great music now so that it is recognised later for its greatness. As an artist grows their body of work takes on a new life of its own. It takes a while for something to be assimilated. Artists or bands have to hang in there long enough until they get their turn, getting better while they wait and releasing quality music.

“In Due Time” was the lead-off single.

“All that we suffer through leads to determination
The trials we all go through gives us the strength to carry on 

Something within us burns, desire feeds the will to live
A reason to believe I will see redemption”

As the chorus lyrics go, in due time, the shadows will gave way to the light. You just need to be patient and resilient. The words could even reference Jesse’s redemption to Killswitch and the knowledge that he had to go through all these trials so that he could come back a better person.

“A Tribute To The Fallen” has that hook that resonates. In my view this song should have led the album.

“With a new dawn we rise in renewed strength
Knowing we’ve just begun to fight this war within”

Think about all the crap that is going on in our democratic nations. Governments are spying on their own people. The Corporations and their lobby groups drive legislation. Government granted monopolies like the copyright industry are doing their best to kill innovation and when that fails, insert the corporations and their lobby groups. Transparency is promised however it doesn’t exist. Every communication is suddenly classified. Enables of pirated goods get more jail time than actual criminal offenders.

“New Awakening” has the legend behind it about how Jesse blew his voice while he was recording it in the studio. After the Doctor told him about the strain on the vocal chords, Jesse saw it as a badge of honour.

“There is more to life than this
We are more than just this flesh
We are alive and our time has come
For a new awakening”

It’s the Killswitch revolution. Killswitch wants you. Where do i sign? I’m all in.

“You Don’t Bleed For Me” connects with me because it more or less sums up our politicians and how even though they are voted in by the people, they do not work for the people. Of course there are the rare ones who do their best to speak for the people but in the end money wins the game.

“Fly your flag of righteousness
When underneath it is deviousness, it is greed and lies
Don’t pretend to know me you martyr of disgrace
With your plastic smile
I don’t believe a word you say
You don’t speak for me
You don’t bleed, you don’t bleed
You don’t bleed for me”

The closer “Time Will Not Remain”.

“None of us should be thought of as anything less than a potential to change the world”

What a lyric and what a statement. That is the reason why Jesse Leach’s return means so much to Killswitch Engage and to metal fans in general. He never stopped being who he was. He was not corrupted by the modern era. He questions social norms and ideals. He questions the crap our politicians and news outlets throw at us. He questions everything. The great vocalists always have something to say.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Jesse Leach – What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

I am always asked the question, how can I like a band like Killswitch Engage and then like bands like Kiss, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen at the same time? The answer is easy, I like music. I don’t care how people look, I don’t care what niche they are playing too. If the music is good and the song is good, I am interested. When I tell them that Chuck Schuldiner from Death is a song writing influence I get blank stares, like who is Chuck?

So I have been cranking the new Killswitch Engage album, Disarm the Descent on the headphones recently. I normally hear albums when they come out, and then I put them into four folders, the YEAH folder, the POTENTIAL folder and the SO SO folder. Of course the fourth folder is the TRASH.

The YEAH folder basically has albums or songs where on first listen through, grabbed my attention all the way through. The POTENTIAL folder has albums that have between four to six good songs. The SO SO folder has albums that have 1 to 3 good songs. I normally go back to the YEAH folder and those albums end up on my iPod for constant rotation.

Going back to the story, the Killswitch Engage album ended up in the YEAH folder on first listen through and the new TesserAct album Altered State will join it soon when it comes out officially. If any fans haven’t heard these albums, you can hear them in their entirety on YouTube. The TesserAct album is streamed by their label Century Media. This is interesting, as Century Media once upon a time pulled their whole catalogue from Spotify and other streaming services due to the low fraction of a cent payment per stream. The Century Media catalogue is now back in the streaming game however it looks like they are getting an additional stream income, by streaming albums before their release.

As every Killswitch fan knows, this is Jesse Leach’s comeback into the Killswitch Engage family. In my view, his comeback was set in stone by the excellent Times of Grace project that involved Adam Dutkiewicz and Jesse Leach.

I saw Times of Grace at the University of Sydney Roundhouse in 2012. It was a Machine Head gig, with Times of Grace opening, Shadows Fall on second, Chimaira was on third and then Machine Head. This was a side-show for the bands, as all of them appeared on the Soundwave Music Festival.

The touring band was Adam Dutkiewicz on guitars, Jesse Leach on vocals along with Joel Stoetzel from Killswitch Engage on guitars, Matt Bachand from Shadows Fall on bass (even though he plays guitar with Shadows Fall) and Dan Gluszak from Envy On The Coast on drums.

I am getting side tracked again. This post is about Killswitch Engage. Verdict on the album, I prefer Times of Grace.

How does the new Killswitch stack up against other 2013 metal and rock releases; This release is in my top 10 of releases for the year so far.

It’s brutal, it’s heavy and it makes me want to break stuff. It’s sorrowful, its melodic and it carries a message of power and hope. As expected, it has the usual progressive elements that Killswitch Engage are renowned for. The melodic stuff is done top-notch and Jesse Leach is exactly where he should be. No offence to Howard Jones, he sang on three brilliant Killswitch albums, however to me, it was just a matter of time before Jesse was back in the fold.

One thing is clear, Jesse is a brilliant lyric writer, so here is a selection of brilliant lyrics written by Jesse Leach.

1. Strength In Numbers – from the Times of Grace self titled album.

Our roots must balance our branches

This line speaks a million words to me. Before we branch out in our lives (this can be anything from a personal or professional viewpoint), how strong are our roots. Can our roots balance what we want to do. It’s that old saying, the foundations need to be strong before anything else can be done.

2. Fall From Grace – from the Times of Grace self titled album.

Aspirations bled dry
Eyes that once beamed with hope now only stare in remorse
Even through this pain
I will feel again
Even through these tears
I will love again

It doesn’t matter how bad it is, and how much we suffer. We still have this feeling that things will get better, that we will love again, that we will better people from the experience. It is this hope distortion field that all humans have, regardless if they believe in God or in something else. Even The End of Eternity which is from the same album has a similar theme “We are blind, our future’s crushed and forgotten, Destroyed by guilt, But there is beauty, There is life, hold fast for this could be, the end of eternity.”

Again the same message, from all the destruction of our dreams and hopes, there is still a beauty to be found, and that beauty is life. That is what no one tells you at school. Spending our younger years thinking that we are immortal, and then spending our thirties and forties as slaves to the tax system, trying to find out on what side of the income inequality gap we are on. No wonder I am on blood pressure medications. In Due Time from the new Killswitch Engage album deals with similar themes. “All that we suffer through leads to determination, the trials we all go through gives us the strength to carry on, something within us burns, desire feeds the will to live, a reason to believe I will see redemption.”

All the hardship and suffering we face strengthen us. Anyone that tells you they haven’t experienced hardship or suffering are lying. Our will to live gives us the desire to rise up again and again and again. The message is the same, it doesn’t matter how bad life gets, we always find to see the beauty of the day.

3. Live In Love – from the Times of Grace self titled album.

Don’t mistake kindness and compassion for weakness,
It takes so much more strength to be selfless and live in love.

Again another statement that puts a thousand different meanings into my head. I have gone out of my way to help others and all I expected back was respect. I wonder why when you show someone kindness, in time they then believe that they have the right to walk over you. There is always one or two that ruin everything. Rise Inside from the Killswitch Engage, Alive or Just Breathing album conveys the same message, The time has come to make a difference, Why have we forsaken love, The time has come to raise our voices, So rise up and fight with me.”

 

4. Numbered Days – from the Killswitch Engage, Alive of Just Breathing album.

This is the voice of the voiceless,
We have learned by making choices

That is the only way to grow. Make choices. Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Some choices will pay off and some will hurt. We all have a voice these days. The internet made sure of that. My Last Serenade – from the same album, also covers the same ground, with the lyrics, “Your destination is a choice within yourself, Will you rise or become a slave.”

So the next time you come across a person, complaining about their lot in life, remind them, that they are this destination, due to a choice they made once upon a time.

5. The Forgotten One – from the Times of Grace self titled album.

Lead me to the crossroad, I can find my way home
Devils on my back and angels in between
The scars and dreams that made me believe
Where’s the crime scene in remembrance to me
When our eyes meet do you know the man beneath
Walk the line between desperate and redeemed

The classic story of making a deal with the devil at the crossroads. How far will we go to make it? That is what the whole verse is about. We walk a fine line in life. We can be sinners and saints. The crime scene depends on which side of the line we fall. If we choose to betray the ones we love, so that we can get ahead, will we still see the real person inside of us, when it comes time to look into our eyes.

6. Something’s Got To Give – from the Seemless self titled album.

All your money and possessions,
They mean nothing in the span of time

Isn’t that so true. In the end we all die. We will either be buried or cremated. We live with a large income quality gap. When judgement day comes, death doesn’t discriminate. There is no death gap.

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Music, My Stories

Black Sabbath – Are They Still Relevant?

I watched Black Sabbath at the Allphones Arena, in Sydney last night and i was wondering, if they are still relevant.

Black Sabbath owned the beginning of the 70’s.  Towards the end of that era the band was bleeding and Ozzy was fired.  The beginning of the 80’s, saw Black Sabbath have the Heaven and Hell period, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals.  After that, you can say the band didn’t really set the world of fire, however i must admit that i have a soft spot for the Eternal Idol and Headless Cross albums with Tony Martin on vocals.  The Dehumanizer album in 1992 with Dio was an attempt to make both Dio and Sabbath relevant in the 90’s, however it didn’t really hit the mark.  

In the crowd around me, there was an audience of young and old.  Fan T-Shirts of the younger generation showed a lot of Ozzy colours (especially the Diary/Blizzard era), so it is safe to say, that Ozzy’s solo career has played a big part in Sabbath finding a new audience.   That is how i got into Sabbath, from Ozzy’s solo career.

Then I saw Machine Head, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Rob Zombie and Metallica t-shirts on fans.  These concertgoers are fans of those bands, checking out Black Sabbath, as all of those bands have mentioned Sabbath as an influence.  Rob Zombie is one person who speaks very highly of Sabbath.

One thing that really irks me, is Rick Rubin.  He was an extraordinary producer once upon a time.  Not anymore.  Black Sabbath did wrong taking him on board for the new album.  From what I have heard so far, it is a dead set joke.  It is basically Black Sabbath 2013, covering Black Sabbath 1969 – 1972.

Black Sabbath of the 70’s questioned authority, challenged institutions and preyed on people’s fears of heaven and hell.  They don’t do that anymore.  Why is why the current music they are releasing sucks.

What happened to the two new tracks Psycho Man and Selling My Soul from the Reunion CD?   They are better than the two songs they have released so far from 13.  I was re-listening to God Is Dead! again.  I have given this song a few go’s now, trying to find something to like about it, as all the celebrity metal / rock musicians have spoken what a great song it is.  

It is still mediocre.  Then I came across a song called In Due Time from Killswitch Engage.  It got me interested.  It hit a nerve inside of me, and I needed to know more.  The melody in the music is captivating and heavy, the chorus is unbelievable melodic and catchy, the screaming in the verses borders on insanity… SHADOWS GIVE WAY TO LIGHT…  

Listening to In Due Time brought back memories of Live In Love from Times of Grace, which is more or less Adam and Jesse from Killswitch.  After listening to Live in Love, I went back to the 2009 Killswitch album and cranked The Forgotten, hearing Howard Jones singing it and if he is reading this, he will never be forgotten.

When i listen to Sabbath, i think of Randy Rhoads and the unbelievable version he did of Children of the Grave on the Tribute album.  When i listen to Sabbath, i think of Ronnie James Dio.  When i listen to Sabbath, i think of Ozzy.   To me Ozzy is more relevant than what Sabbath is.  Ozzy really didn’t have to go back to Sabbath for a new album, he didn’t need it.

So is Black Sabbath still relevant.  For their influence and legacy, YES.  As a band writing new music, NO.  It is great that they are attempting to release a new album, however as i have mentioned previously, if it is not great, people will move on.  Our time is short these days.

Life has its highs and it’s lows.  Careers are the same.  I don’t want to waste time listening to lame music anymore, I’m ready for great.  Black Sabbath have been away for a while now.  The Ozzfest shows gave them some leverage again.  People saw them, appreciated it, but no one was eagerly waiting for them to reform and do a new album.

The new Black Sabbath album will be a hit.  It will sell at least a million in my view.  These days, it’s not about the hit record anymore, it’s about sustaining the buzz.  In my mind, 13 is already in the rearview mirror and it hasn’t been released yet.     

 

 

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