A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Release Radar Recap

Gemini by The Night Flight Orchestra

What a classic rock song from my favourite supergroup of metal heads. It’s so catchy. If you haven’t seen the animated film clip, head over to YouTube and check it out. 

The album “Amber Galactic” is out so expect a review to come.

House On Fire by Rise Against

A good listen but not as good as the first single release “The Violence” and the politically charged lyrics, “The bombs are getting closer everyday, That can never happen here we used to say, have these wars come to our doorstep?”..

Blister by Hell Or Highwater

 Another solid track from Atreyu’s drummer Brandon Saller’s other project who takes vocal and guitar duties. Really impressed with this band. 

Chasing Dragons by Adrenaline Mob

Great band. Enough said.

American Dreams by Papa Roach

This is similar to what Papa Roach became famous for. Nu Metal with a dose of Pop.

Halfway Right by Linkin Park

Next…

While You Wait by Dead Letter Circus

Nice acoustic guitars and a Tool/Perfect Circle style vocal delivery makes for a pretty good song.

Choose Your Fate by Warrant

Actually the song is the best one so far from the release but they need to call the project something else guys. It didn’t work for Sabbath without Ozzy, Lizzy with Phil and it will not work for Warrant with Jani.

Indestructible by Harem Scarem

Not as solid as the other tracks released on my radar so far from Harem Scarem but still a good listen.

Something Else by Seether

This band has some great tracks, some good tracks and some tracks that don’t resonate with me. This one falls into the good listening tracks.

Oh Lord by In This Moment

I guess I am a fan of the melodic version of the band and the albums, “The Dream” and “A Star Crossed Wasteland”.

Ever After by Andy James

He’s been around for a while but to me he is one of the new breed of guitar heroes doing the rounds. You can put words to his guitar melodies and have some super catchy syncopated metal songs happening.

God Of Temptation by The Unity

Don’t’ know much about the band, but it’s a pretty good listen.

Stargazer by Seven Kingdoms

Power Metal. Just not in the mood for it. Next

Love Is The Remedy by Jorn

It’s got a tasty riff. For those that don’t know, Jorn is the Norwegian singer that can sound like Dio, Dickinson, Tate or Coverdale on a whim. And all of those vocal influences make him unique. There are some good songs, but this one is a miss.

Still Standing Up by The Ferrymen

The fantasy cover of a masked man ferrying skeletons is hit and miss, but musically, this band is good. Again I know nothing of them, except I have heard three songs over the last three weeks on my Release Radar playlist and saved each song.

Ashes by dEMOTIONAL

Again I know nothing about this band, however each song I have heard on the Release Radar is a good listen, so I will be following up on them.

Days Of Self Destruction by CKY

They have a cool cover in red and shades of black making out dragons. The song is a miss.

Will You Want Me by 7 Days Away

The cover is black with some shades of grey making out the band logo and name. Does it remind you of some other “black” album covers?

I got into this band via illegal downloads. And when I came across them in Spotify, I clicked follow. I’m glad I did.

Skin – Kove Remix by Rag’n’Bone Man

Elton John reckons Rag’n’Bone man has the best new music out there. If you haven’t heard “Human” then you should. It’s a hit and it’s getting there slowly, as all good music does its converting people like me into it. This song is “Skin” and the Kove remix is garbage. Hear the original. Accept no substitute.

New Slaves by Vitamin String Quartet

My kids love the Vitamin String Quartet, especially their take on rock and metal bands. The Iron Maiden tribute brings back memories. For this song, it’s a NO from me.

Clouded Minds by JD Miller

Next.

Endless Roads by Liv Sin

Sister Sin was good. Liv Sin is also good. The music is excellent and rooted in that Euro Melodic Metal sound. Also check out “Endless Roads” and “The Beast Inside”.

Runaway by Bai Bang

Next. Just a bit too clichéd and poppy for me.

I’m Alive by Art Nation

It’s a good listen with a big chorus.

Wolves Reign by Wolfpakk

Musically the song is good. It just needed that Bruce Dickinson style vocal delivery.

Meet My Maker by Life Of Agony

It’s groovy and a good listen.

Blood Sick by Wednesday 13

Skip.

Genesis by Aethere

Next.

Prologue (Deep Sleep) by Lonely Robot

 The end.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Score Card Checkpoint V3.0

A lot can happen in music and to bands in three years.

Vanishing Point
Great melodic metal band from Melbourne, Australia. 2014 gave us the “Distant Is The Sun” album. The excellent title track, “When Truth Lies” and “Let The River Run” still get listens today. I was on their Facebook page a few days ago and a new album is in the works, plus a few of their older titles are getting re-issues via AFM Records.

Harem Scarem
In 2013, they re-recorded their 1993 album “Mood Swings” and called it “Mood Swings II” for Frontier Records, which is all part of their President Serafino’s idea to amass a large and profitable catalogue of hard melodic rock music, so he can negotiate better streaming rates and keep all the profits for himself. In 2014, they released “Thirteen” also on Frontiers.

Rev Theory
I got into this band with their 2008 release “Light It Up” and the songs “Hell Yeah”, “Broken Bones”, “Wanted Man”, “Ten Years” and “Far From Over”. Then came the “Justice” album and it didn’t connect with me, so I sort of lost them afterwards. Then came a couple of hit and miss EP’s and suddenly we have a new album in “The Revelation”. It’s just how it is these days. We fall in and out of liking artists who are also competing with the history of music, plus their old hits for our attention. And for me, the 2008 album is what stands the test of time and because of that release I am always interested to see what the band does next.

Adrenaline Mob
2012 gave us “Omerta”. 2013 gave us “Coverta” and 2014 gave us “Men Of Honour”, while 2015 gave us “Dearly Departed”. In between, Mike Portnoy left and AJ Pero came in. They went on tour and AJ Pero died. Bassist, John Moyer also left and other bassists came in. But the mainstays are still there and still writing, with a new album expected to drop in 2017.

Lizzard
In 2013, I was giving their “Out Of Reach” album released in 2012, a lot of attention. I don’t know how I came across it or who gave it to me. It’s much different to when I used to purchase albums. Anyway, I was wondering what happened to them a few weeks ago, so I searched them up on Spotify and found they released an album called “Majestic” in 2014 and prior to “Out Of Reach”, there was a debut album called “Venus” in 2011.

Their take on Tool like progressive grooves in a shortened pop rock way is unique enough to convert me as a fan. But no one else knows them.

Thirty Seconds To Mars
In 2013, they released “Love Lust Faith Dreams” and went on a world tour to support it. In the process Jared Leto won a few awards for his acting and on the back of the publicity, the band grew a little bit more. With streaming services, they have songs pushing above 50 million streams and some songs pushing close to a 100 million streams.

Audrey Horne
They are one of the original classic rock/metal supergroups created by extreme metallers. This one hails from Norway. It’s their self –titled album, released in 2010 that hooked me in and the song “Sail Away”. In 2013, they released “Youngblood” and 2014 gave us “Pure Heavy”. Since then I haven’t seen or heard any news about them, apart from a few live shows here and there in Norway.

Stryper
2013 gave us re-recorded versions of 80’s Stryper in “Second Coming” and towards the end of the year “No More Hell To Pay” came out. In 2015, “Fallen” was released. Lead vocalist and main songwriter Michael Sweet was also busy with “I’m Not Your Suicide” in 2014 and “One Sided War” in 2016. Sweet and Lynch also released “Only To Rise” in 2015.

All I can say is that Michael Sweet understands what the music business is about in 2016. In 3 years, he was involved in six new music releases and in all of them he was the main songwriter. Remember in the early 80’s, bands released new product each year. Then MTV blew up and suddenly bands became global superstars and releases started to be every two years and then three years and for some, every four years.

Nonpoint
They released their self-titled album in 2012, which was more of a rock record than a metal record. “The Return” came out in 2014 and “The Poison Red” in 2016. In 2017, they will be touring with Alter Bridge and will also celebrate 20 years since their formation in Florida.

Breaking Benjamin
In 2010, all hell broke loose in the Breaking Benjamin camp, when their label made an agreement with other members to release a greatest hits package while vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter Benjamin Burnely was on hiatus trying to find a diagnosis to his health condition. This infuriated Burnley who fired the members and sued everyone in sight.

The recording contact was part of the dispute and the whole world got to see a real recording contract and the band agreement. The case went to arbitration and three years later, it looks like proceedings went in favour of Benjamin Burnely.

By the middle of 2014 Breaking Benjamin was a new band with new members, carefully selected from other modern rock bands. In 2015, “Dark Before Dawn” came out and it went straight to number 1 and it blew away major label releases from other artists in the pop genre who had bigger marketing budgets and PR campaigns.

On Spotify the band has 2,084,806 monthly listeners and lead single, “Failure” is at 20,721,981 streams and “Angels Fall” is at 19,926,003 streams. Meanwhile songs from earlier albums like “The Diary Of Jane” are at 76,513,373 streams (and it’s a song on a Spotify playlist called “Rock the 2000’s, which has 657,616 followers). The future for Breaking Benjamin is bright and the album is still selling and they are still on tour supporting it.

Sound Of Contact
The excellent concept album “Dimensionaut” came out in 2013 almost by pure accident amongst the members writing and performing on solo albums and other projects. For fans of Phil Collins, his son, Simon fronts the band. Then from there, in 2014, Simon was arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs and questioned over possession of drugs. He was released on bail and then all charges were dropped against him, which leaves him free to concentrate on music. And in 2016, Sound of Contact is recording a new album, plus all of the members are recording solo albums.

Kingdom Come
In 2013, Lenny Wolf released the “Outliers” album under the Kingdom Come name. By 2016, Kingdom Come played shows with Danny Stag and Johnny B Frank back in the fold and then Lenny retired the band.

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

The Perfect Album Of 2014

We know that metal and rock bands need to get their heads away from the album format. From all of the 2014 releases that I heard, there was not an album that I loved from start to finish. So for my top 10 list, I have sequenced my favourite songs like an “album”. (Everyone gasps).

It looks pretty solid from start to finish.

Machine Head – Now We Die

It’s the first track and lead single from “Bloodstone and Diamonds”.

Cast off the shackles of the past
Live in the moment nothing ever lasts

So true, live in the now because no one knows when that last day being alive is.

A family friend died last week at 50 years of age however he actually died over 10 years when his wife left him. He just never got over it and it led to 4 heart attacks, stents, pace makers and in the end it was a brain haemorrhage that did it. A few days ago, the mother of a kid I coach in football died from a heart attack. She was under 40 years of age.

The recording business is so enraptured about what they lost that they fail to see the opportunities of the day and what they stand to gain.

Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun

One of Australia’s best kept secrets when it comes to melodic metal. This is the title track of their new album that almost didn’t get made.

 How many times can you walk away
How many years can you give to crying

It covers the years in between albums and the struggle to get the album done due to life being life. They dealt with a record company going bust, band members leaving, shelving the music written with those band members, starting from scratch again, the death of a family member and then finding inspiration to continue.

Evergrey – King Of Errors

The anti-heroes from Sweden. As a fan, there has not been a bad release from them. “Hymns For The Broken” is no different and “King Of Errors” is a great comeback song.

They call us kings
And then we fall down broken

Social media accounts put out an image that all is well in our lives. There we are, happy, smiling, taking selfies with others and having a good time.

I know that life is peaks and valleys. We could be kings and queens for a while but it doesn’t sustain. We all have our lows. We all make errors. I made errors and I made choices that led me to where I am today.

Black Label Society – Angel Of Mercy

“Zakk’s developing into a monster. If you listen to his guitar playing there’s a little bit of Hendrix here, some other stylings there. He’s putting it all together in his own way. Zakk’s a musician for the future.”

OZZY – Guitar World, October 1989

Enough said.

Door of memories
Closed forevermore

I love the analogy of using the door to keep the memories from leaking out. We never want to lose all of those good and bad memories. In the end they make us who we are today.

Intervals – Automation

Intervals is another progressive band from Canada with a cult like following. I came across their name when I saw them on a tour poster with bands that I support like Periphery, Protest The Hero and TesserAct.

“Automation” is from their 2014 self-funded/released album “A Voice Within”.

After a few instrumental releases, this is their first one to feature vocals and what a stellar job they did with it.

The gears pulling forward
Always falling into place
The battle I know is over
Despite the effort and haste

The Kindred – Heritage

Yep, another band from Canada that was formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague” and one of the best progressive bands out there that everyone needs to hear. This song is from the album “Life In Lucidity” released on Sumerian Records.

Now stand on the shoulders of history’s tallest thinkers
See that their height is borrowed from predecessors
And even the worst ideas can spur better conceptions
Pushing humankind along an evolutionary rite of passage

The whole British Rock movement in the Sixties came about because of the love the British musicians had for the American Blues movement. They borrowed from their predecessors to make new creations. Hell, Led Zeppelin took blue and folk staples and built a career of that. That E7(#9) chord that Jimi Hendrix so famously used in “Purple Haze” was used consistently by Wes Montgomery years before. However it is known to the masses as the “Hendrix Chord”.

We’ll be tomorrow’s heritage
The giants of advancing thought
But if only we respect the statuesque preceding

Machine Head – Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones

It was hard to pick a song from Machine Head because “Sail Into The Black”, “Killers and Kings” and “Game Over” are all up there as well, however “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” was a favourite right from the start. That whole intro build up made me want to pick up my work desk and throw it out the window.

From my throat the agonies emit
My demons wrestle and my thoughts conflict
The stench of bile, as I purge this hate
An inner struggle I can’t separate

With all that was happening behind the scenes between the Machine Head members it is a miracle that this album was finished and finally released.

Adrenaline Mob – Dearly Departed

Adrenaline Mob’s aura is a throwback to the Eighties period. Yeah, I know they might have had some nu-metal style of riffing in some songs, overall, the feel is still classic Eighties.

I gave you everything
Took you under my wing
With open arms brought you in the family

I don’t allow people into my life that easily anymore. The band members from my last band left me cautious and then when they put in song writing claims for songs that I had registered in 2005 (and the band formed in 2008, with the bass player that also put in a claim joining in 2010) I was furious. The deceitfulness shown by them I thought wasn’t possible in humans and it was a real eye-opener to me to be more careful.

Fight or Flight – Leaving

The side project that featured members from Evans Blue and Disturbed.

Living life through compromise

Being married for more than fifteen years is basically living a life through compromise on both sides. Having kids further compromises that life. Working a Monday to Friday job is another compromise. Get where I am going with this. Are there any people out there that have never compromised anything of themselves?

Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died

Sanctuary are a cult favourite of mine and the thing is as much as I tried to get into Nevermore, I just couldn’t. Then came Warrel Dane’s solo album and I was like “yeah”. And with Sanctuary’s new one, it’s a “Fuck Yeah”.

What if there is nothing more?
What if there is only emptiness?
What if there is nothing more
Beyond the code of deliverance?
What if everything decays?
What if we’ve all just been betrayed?
The code of deliverance leads us closer
We are closer to the end

It’s like a modern-day “Draconian Times” from Paradise Lost all wrapped up into one song.

ONE LAST ENTRY: Black Veil Brides – Faithless

Say what you want about them and their look but man, this band has two deadset shredders in Jinxx (plus he plays a mean violin) and Jake Pitts.

“Faithless” is a riff romp and the Bob Rock production just takes it to another level. Even the vocal tone of Andy Biersack which I am not a big fan off is pretty good under the tutelage of Rock.

Live with defiance
It’s time to fight
Don’t ever let them keep your words from being heard

Dee Snider would be proud.

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

Take These Ten Rockmandments

Anyone seen Mel Brook’s “History Of The World” movie and that scene of Moses descending down the mountain yelling, ” Lord, take these fifteen commandments” and then one block of stone drops and then he starts to yell “Lord, take these Ten, Ten Commandments.”

Classic cinema. So as on ode to that movie, I have been listening to some tunes on the iPod. Each of these songs has a lyrical line that should be a new commandment.

1. THOU SHALT LIVE AND NEVER LIVE JUST TO KILL TIME.

City Limits

The band is “I Am Giant” and it is from the album, “The Horrifying Truth” released in 2011, however the song goes back a few years more as it came out on an EP.

“These city limits keep on getting bigger
Just when you thought you had made it out”

Anyone had that feeling before. Just when you thought that you had made it, the city limits are suddenly greater than what you thought they would be. Like that small town boy and girl in “Dont Stop Believin” or like those tramps in “Born To Run”.

“Are we living or merely killing time”

A brilliant lyric line, one of the best. It’s that good, it is self explanatory.

2. THOU SHALT MAKE THEIR ENEMIES INTO FADED MEMORIES.

Dearly Departed

From the 2014 “Men Of Honor” album by Adrenaline Mob. I love the mob. Russell Allen and Mike Orlando really do justice to this project. This song connects on all levels because we have all known someone like the person they sing about.

“And now your my enemy, soon to be a memory”

No one likes to be around people who drag them down. Enemies hang around if you let them. The best response to an enemy is to make them a memory.

“We were the best of friends, thought it would never end
I curse the day when they said you were selling me out”

There is a pretty good chance that the people you hang with right now are not the ones that you grew up with or spent a lot of time with.

3. THOU SHALT NOT FIGHT SOLO. THERE IS A STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

Draw The Line

From the album, “O God Save Us All”. Disciple is like an enigma to me. They range from pop rock to heavy rock. This song connects on so many levels.

“Another crash, another fall
Another failure
Another choice i don’t want to remember
I been here too many times”

Who hasn’t been in a situation like this. Some more so than others. Me personally, I have been in a lot of situations like this. Choices I made that even know when I look back, i don’t want to remember.

“This is where I draw the line
This is where the old me dies
Light a match let it burn kiss it goodbye”

In a hospital room in 2010. That is where I drawed the line.

“Another battle I lost fighting solo”

It should be a commandment. Nothing is achieved in a vacuum. Ask for help and count on your loved ones.

4. THOU SHALT NOT WAKE ALONE. LOVE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. BE MERCIFUL.

Angel Of Mercy

The mighty Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. What can I say about this song that I havent said already. It is a masterpiece and that lead break gives me goosebumps.

“I woke alone today
For all the birds have flown”

“No Angel Of Mercy
Is gonna hear my call

It’s that vocal melody and the tone of the voice that makes it work. When you take into account the recent blood clot saga it just ups the emotional stakes a little bit more.

5. THOU SHALT NEVER CHANGE WHO THEY ARE. DON’T LET OTHERS DICTATE WHO YOU SHOULD BE AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

It’s Time

Imagine Dragons and their mega selling “Night Visions” album. I can’t say I am a fan of the whole album but this song just stuck with me. Maybe because the vocal melody in the Chorus is identical to an instrumental song I wrote back in 1998 called “Moonlight Tango” which I used as one of my wedding waltz songs.

I am just the same as i was
Now don’t you understand that
I am never-changing who I am

6. THOU SHALT NOT BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO THE WAY IT USED TO BE. TIME MOVES ON. CHANGE IS CONSTANT. EVOLUTION IS ALL ABOUT CHANGE. EMBRACE CHANGE AND MOVE FORWARD.

Used To Be

From the band “Arrows To Athens” and their 2007 album “Kings And Thieves”. It is a David Hodges project. Yes, the same David Hodges that co-wrote the majority of the “Fallen” album by Evanescence with Ben Moody and Amy Lee.

“Take a breath
Take a long look around
Before you step
Because the tide is coming
Swallowing the ground
And there is no way to tell
If we will drown tonight”

It’s almost biblical with references to a tide that is coming and the uncertainty that the tide brings.

“We cannot go back to the way it used to be”

The commandment right there.

7. THOU SHALT NOT FAIL EVEN THOUGH FAILURE EXISTS.

Moth

From the new 2014 Hellyeah album “Blood For Blood” produced by the great man Kevin Churko. It could have come from a Mudvayne album. It was one of the first pieces of music that vocalist Chad Gray gravitated too for lyrics. And he goes to town on it.

“Treated like an animal since the day I was born”

A person born with a silver spoon will never relate however millions upon millions of others will.

“Like a moth to a flame
My wings burn away”
“Failure is not an option
But the option exists”

What a fucking line! What more can be said.

8. CHERISH WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE ONCE IT IS GONE, IT IS GONE FOREVER. 

Until It’s Gone

From the new Linkin Park album “The Hunting Party”.

“You don’t know what you got (x3)
Until its gone”

Pause.

Then BANG. The song groove kicks in again. Linkin Park are masters of the heavy pop rock song and Chester Bennington has the voice for it. Without him, Linkin Park would be just another band trying to make it. Chester is the X FACTOR.

9. DO NOT DWELL ON THOSE THAT NO LONGER CARE

Denial Waits

From Ashes Divide only album released in 2008, “Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright.”

“If I saw you right now
I’m embarrassed to say
I’d take you back
And we could just pretend you never went away”

It’s pathetic how we continue to dwell on someone who no longer cares for us in the vain hope that maybe they’ll come around and realize what they’ve left behind.

10. THERE IS NOTHING TO LOSE WHEN YOU ARE DOWN TO A POCKET FULL OF CHANGE

End Of My Rope

From Asphalt Ballet and their excellent debut album released in 1991.

Well it’s a ruthless world with a painted face
Ain’t nothing’ gonna change but the time and place

That’s the “History Of The World” in a nutshell.

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Music

Albums From 2012 That Need To Be Heard

The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs

If you never experienced the Seventies, then this album from a super group of melodic death metal bands recaptures it all. From the “Immigrant Song/Achilles Last Stand” references in “Siberian Queen” to the “I Was Made For Loving You” references in “West Ruth Avenue” or the “Play That Funky Music/ Stevie Wonder’s Superstititious in “Internal Affairs”.

It captures it all and more.

Fen
Of Losing Interest

I didn’t know what to expect hearing this. It’s like Rush on Thrash Metal. Then its Rush on Hard Rock. Then its Rush meets Tool. Then it’s Rush on Groove Metal. Then it’s a cross between Rush and Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Being from Canada, the Rush influences are real strong.

Progressive music doesn’t have to be all time changes and technical playing ability. It can be Fen. Just doing something that blends so many different styles together and making it sound infectious.

Check out “Riddled”, it starts off with a thrash metal riff, then it goes into a verse that is Tool like merged with Kansas.

Adrenaline Mob
Omerta

It is balls to the wall metal classic in the style of Accept, Scorpions, Dio merged with the metal stylings of Disturbed and Godsmack. “Undaunted”, “All On The Line”, “Angel Sky”, “Indifferent” and “Hit The Wall” are worthy additions to any metal bands setlist.

The cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” is also a fitting metal tribute to a pop number one hit.

So put aside all of your views on the members that make up the band and from what bands they come from and embrace a great balls to the wall metal project.

Digital Summer
Breaking Point

DIY band from Phonenix, Arizona, getting stronger with each release. “Breaking Point” was a Kickstarter funded project and it didn’t disappoint. The lead single “Forget You” has racked up 1,027,533 views on YouTube. They are great numbers for an independent band, that also manage themselves, record and release their own music and hold down day jobs.

If you like modern rock, then you will like this band.

Richie Sambora
Aftermath Of The Lowdown

The good old Richie Sambora released a great modern rock album that didn’t get the recognition it deserved because at that point in time he was still in Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi (the band) needed him to start the promotional interviews for the “What About Now” album.

Check out “Seven Years Gone”, “Nowadays”, “Every Road Leads Home To You”. Hell, the whole album is good. Give it your time.

Lizzard
Out Of Reach

This band is definitely under the radar for what they do. Think of Earshot meets Tool meets 10 Years meets modern rock. Vocalist, Mathieu Ricou has a voice that crosses between Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lews and Maynard James Keenan.

There is a feel of Progressive Metal, TOOL, Hard Rock, Trance & hypnotic music, DEFTONES, YES and PINK FLOYD. It’s a potent mix.

Vaudeville
Vendetta

Vaudeville is one band that deserves more recognition for what they do. They merge the styles of Muse and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.

Check out the song “Restless Souls”.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Hell Or Highwater
Begin Again

The new band from Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller. Hell or Highwater finds Saller stepping away from his drum kit and taking the mic to be the band’s lead vocalist. It’s hard rock people and it rocks real good and it doesn’t sound generic.

Burnside
Evolution

One of many great bands from Australia. It’s modern rock done really well. Check out “Remember When”, “Lost The Will”, “The Last Time” and “What You’ve Become”.

One Less Reason
A Blueprint For Writhing

This EP was my first introduction to One Less Reason. I knew nothing about them and when I heard “All Beauty Fades”, I was left speechless when the rest of the music and melody kicked in. And they are another DIY band.

It’s a six song EP and there is no filler. A very smart decision to release the best.

Corroded
State Of Disgrace

Corroded have a decent following in their own country of Sweden.

They are a skillful band that create groove based hard rock. Stand out songs are “Let them Hate As Long As They Fear”, “I Will Not”, and “Believe In Me”.

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Music, My Stories

Adrenaline Mob

“Men Of Honour” is a really good solid hard rock / heavy metal album in the same vein as all of the great hard rock albums of this genre from the Eighties. And that is what Adrenaline Mob essentially is. Seasoned professionals collaborating on a hard rock project. For some reason they remind me of Night Ranger.

The debut album “Omerta” was number 4 on my list for releases in 2012. I hold the vocal talents of Russell Allen and the guitar talents of Mike Orlando in high regard. Add to those talents the powerhouse drumming from Mike Portnoy on the first album (and the two EPs) and of course the mighty AJ Pero appears on the second album. As a Twisted Sister fan, this is a great thing to see happen. And finally John Moyer from Disturbed is providing the bottom end.

Listening to “Men Of Honour”, it comes across as a band having fun and man it rocks hard and it is saturated with groove.

In the U.S, Soundscan tells us that it sold 3,600 copies in its first week of release. Seriously does anyone care about the sales. Go on Spotify. You will see that with all the songs combined, Adrenaline Mob has racked up a total stream count of 98,177 streams. On YouTube, the “Come On Get Up” (LYRIC VIDEO) on the Century Media Records has had 184,489 views. The “Mob Is Back” and “Feel The Adrenaline” lyric videos are both over 50,000 views each.

Of course compared to the numbers that the mainstream pop artists are getting, it pales, however Adrenaline Mob are not trying to do battle with Imagine Dragons or One Republic. They want to be kings of their hard rock niche.

I had heard of Mike Orlando but I never knew any of his music. He is like that star guard that slips under the radar, doing his thing. “The Mob Is Back” has that Eddie Van Halen “Eruption” thing for the first minute before it moves into the actual song. Remember the era when bands used to write songs purely for the rock n roll show instead of the charts. Well, this is one such song. It is a live song. A song to let our hair down to and rock away.

“Turn out the lights, we are all here tonight, We came to throw down, the Mob’s back in town.”

I don’t know what to call Orlando’s guitar style. One term I have for it is “Technical Chaos”. He has the chops, but he plays more with improvised abandonment then precision and I like that.

How good is the bridge like part in “Come On And Get Up”. The part I am talking about has the following lyrics;

This is the bed you made
You got one foot in the grave
And you’re slowly dying
Now here’s where you make your stand
Cause your life is in your hands
And there’s no denying
So quit your crying

It’s the arena rock like chorus (and it is a bridge) intertwined with the current modern rock radio verses.

“Dearly Departed” keeps the momentum going. The vocal phrasing reminds me of the great Ronnie James Dio. The track starts off with power, full of attitude and then when they hit the chorus, it’s like Russell Allen is kneeling at the altar and testifying.

When it’s time to die
You can cry your heart out when you’re lying face down
The chords they never lie
Don’t tell me that you’re sorry
‘Cause no-one else is sorrier than me

Adrenaline Mob are a band that will make their money from touring and merchandise. They know that and that is why they write songs specifically for the live show. It is their own niche radio station.

Century Media is their North American and European label. They do great work for metal and rock in general, however I still think they are a label that doesn’t get the current recording business. For example, Century Media did all the things that worked two decades ago.

The album had two different release dates for the US and Europe. Corporate Deals got organised for album streams and track streams. Back in the day, these used to be radio promo singles. Lyric Videos (aka Music Videos) got released in the lead up.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, Unsung Heroes

Lifers

If you want to have a career in the music business “Lifer” is a term that you need to get used to. You need to be in it for life.

Look at Mike Portnoy. He is a lifer. He lives and breathes music. In his youth, he worked in a record shop and substituted his pay for records. It shows his life commitment to music. Since December 2010, he has pushed out new music on a consistent basis and he has toured non-stop behind that new music. I can’t say I like everything from the bands that Portnoy is involved in, however he understands the current music business. And as much as the metal and rock bands don’t like it, the music recording business is not about releasing an album of 10 songs or more every two years and then touring behind it.

The recording business is about releasing music consistently. Capturing that spontaneity. When music is too thought out it loses its soul. It becomes processed. Even though I am not a big fan of “The Winery Dogs”, I do appreciate the soul of the songs, that loose feeling that anything could happen. This brings to mind a quote from Kevin Shirley who was the producer on the Dream Theater “Falling Into Infinity” album. He loved the original solo take that John Petrucci did for the song “Hollow Years” because it had this spontaneous feeling to it that fit the mood of the song. However Petrucci didn’t like it because it wasn’t precise enough and of course, Petrucci ended up re-doing the solo section to make it precise.

Going back to Portnoy, in 2011 he was involved in the Adrenaline Mob EP, the Neal Morse “Testimony 2” album as well as a tribute album to The Beatles (with Paul Gilbert, Neal Morse, and Kasim Sulton) called “Yellow Matter Custard – One More Night in New York City”.

2012 saw the release of the Adrenaline Mob album “Omertà”, the Flying Colors self-titled debut album as well as another Neal Morse album called “Momentum”.

2013 saw the release of a covers album from Adrenaline Mob called “Covertà”, as well as the self-titled debut from The Winery Dogs. In addition, live releases came out from the “Portnoy, Sheehan, MacAlpine and Sherinian” 2012 tour called “Live In Tokyo” as well as the Flying Colors 2012 European tour called “Live in Europe”.

2014 will see a new Transatlantic album called “Kaleidoscope” as well as the new BigElf album that Portnoy played drums on called “Into The Maelstrom”. Also in the pipework’s is a new Flying Colors album and a live release from “The Winery Dogs”.

In amongst all the studio time of the official releases, Portnoy was on the road, touring. That is a lifer to me. He implored Damon Fox from Bigelf to carry on when he thought about throwing in the towel and even stepped up to the plate to play drums. That is a lifer inspiring another musician to also become a lifer. It’s contagious.

What about bassist, Marco Mendoza? Who you say?

The first time I heard Marco was on the Blue Murder album “Nothin But Trouble” released in 1993. He then fell in with John Sykes, appearing on “Screaming Blue Murder” in 1994 and then on John Sykes’s solo album in 1995 called “Out Of My Tree.” He also appeared on the 1997 albums “Loveland” and “20th Century Heartache” and “Nuclear Cowboy” released in 2000. That year also saw a Thin Lizzy (this is the version that John Sykes put together in 1994,with guitarist Scott Gorham, keyboard player Darren Wharton and drummer Brian Downey. After a few one-off concerts, the band toured more consistently from 1996 until 2000, with Downey being replaced by Tommy Aldridge) live release called “One Night Only” as well as his involvement with David Coverdale’s solo album “Into The Light.”

Real musicians are lifers. He hasn’t had that hit single or appeared on that hit album, but that doesn’t make Marco any less successful.

He spent time with Ted Nugent, went back to John Sykes, then jumped ship to Whitesnake, while still continuing with the John Sykes Thin Lizzy project up until 2009. That project then became Black Star Riders. In between he appeared in Lynch Mob and their Smoke and Mirrors album in 2009. He is going to tour Australia with the band “The Dead Daises” led by former Noiseworks vocalist Jon Stevens.

Would you say that Marco Mendoza has been successful at his music career?

Marco has played with two of my biggest guitar influences in John Sykes and George Lynch. He is a great vocalist and from watching the live Whitesnake DVD from 2006, he hits those highs that Glenn Hughes did in “Burn”.

He has never been without a decent sized gig and if he is, he has his little solo band and his jazz three-piece project that play the bars and the clubs. The bottom line is that he is working non-stop. He is a lifer when it comes to music. That is why he is still around. While record labels whine about the lack of recorded sales in a society where streaming has won the war, Marco is the definition of the long hard slog to have a musical career. A lifer. Excellence is the key. That is why he is in demand. He fits in well, is professional and he doesn’t have a social media presence.

You want a career in music, prepare to be a lifer.

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