We still live in an environment where artists insist on making albums and then spending time promoting a body of songs, believing if they yell loud enough people will care. But we don’t. Volbeat singer/guitarist Michael Poulsen hit the nail on the head, when he said “kids these days have a new favourite artist each week”.
Sometimes it takes months or years for excellence to rise to the top. So it’s always interesting to see what songs the Discover Playlist comes up with, because I have been pretty slack at following or liking or saving some of my favourite artists in Spotify.
I am always surprised when songs from artists I normally support come up, or from artists I haven’t heard in a while. Sometimes, it’s from an artist I have heard off, but haven’t heard any music from. Other times it’s from artists where I have heard an album or a song, but never really got into it. Other times it’s from artists where I own an album or two and the songs are from an album I don’t own or haven’t heard.
Alter Bridge – Slip Into The Void
I have the CD’s of Alter Bridge and their music on my iTunes, however the Spotify service had no idea I liked Alter Bridge. But, from my listening habits on the service, its algorithms worked out that Alter Bridge could be a band I would be interested in. That’s one point for the algorithms.
It’s from 2010’s “ABIII”.
How good does the song start off?
It’s a hypnotic riff, and when Myles comes in with the vocals, it feels dangerous.
Slip to the void
To the dark
To the fall
Crawl to the life you shouldn’t know
You should never come this way
To test the hands of fate
You don’t belong here
In our life we have highs and lows and as much as we believe or want to be happy all the time, none of us can be all the time. “Slip Into The Void” is a dark song
Then from 1.30 the intro is over and the song cranks to eleven.
John Norum – Love Is Meant To Last Forever
An important ingredient to Europe’s breakout success in 1986 is John Norum. He played on the album, was on the original cover and is included in “The Final Countdown” video clip but never toured behind the album support.
Who knows why Norum left Europe at that time.
Having a step father who was high up at CBS/Sony at Sweden might have influenced him, while on the other hand, the death of a close friend in a drowning accident while Europe filmed a concert for live broadcast might have affected him.
My John Norum exposure post Europe goes something like this. He played with Don Dokken on the excellent “Up From The Ashes” album, and then he went solo again with “Face The Truth”. That album I do have because of Glenn Hughes doing guest vocals on it. It’s an excellent piece of melodic rock. However, “Love Is Meant To Last Forever” is from “Total Control”, Norum’s first solo album released in 1987 and post his departure from Europe. I remember seeing the album advertised in the Guitar magazines I purchased during the time, but I never picked it up.
From the intro, I am hooked.
I always enjoy melodic rock/metal music. A lot of the times the lyrics in those songs would make me grind my teeth, but musically, the genre is spot on. Future Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Goran Edman provides vocals for the song.
You are my best friend
And I will try to understand
The moment you need me
I’ll be there so just take my hand
We are all just visitors to this world, so our time is short and one thing we are all looking for is a love that will last forever.
Dynazty – Titanic Mass
Matt Heafy from Trivium tweeted that he has found his new favourite band. And I don’t disagree with him at all.
Sweden has a healthy hard rock and metal scene and Dynazty is another to add to that list. The band was formed in 2007 and it wasn’t until 2008 that they found a lead singer. Fast forward 8 years later and I am hearing the band for the first time in 2016.
The whole song is a perfect example of the style of music I enjoy and that Chorus reminds me of “The Fire Still Burns” from Twisted Sister.
As an added bonus, how good is the harmony interlude section that kicks in at 2.30.
It makes me want to scream “Fire, Flames, Fury”.
Rev Theory – We Own The Night
I got into this band with their 2008 release “Light It Up” and the songs “Hell Yeah”, “Broken Bones”, “Wanted Man”, “Ten Years”, “You’re The One” and “Far From Over”. After that I heard the “Justice” album and it just didn’t connect with me, so I sort of lost them afterwards. But this track is up there with my favourites.
The band’s journey has been going since 2002.
They released “Truth Is Currency” in 2005, on Element Records, an EMI subsidiary. In 2007, they got a major label deal with Interscope Records and released “Light It Up” in 2008. “Justice” had the big name producer in Terry Date and it was released in 2011 on Interscope Records. In 2012, they release an EP called “Take ‘Em Out” on Killer Tracks, a subsidiary of Universal.
In August, 2014, Rev Theory signed with Another Century Records a subsidiary of Century Media/Sony Music and here we are in 2016, with “The Revelation”.
“We Own The Night” has a groove that I dig. It starts off with a distorted arpeggiated guitar riff. Then a simplistic “We Will Rock You” drum groove comes in, along with the emotive and catchy vocal line. When the Chorus kicks in, I’m hooked.
Walk the line with no opinion
Ideas and opinions can shape the world but our degree factories condition us to believe we don’t have an opinion and as soon as we get into debt, we fail to voice any opinion, just in case it gets us dismissed from work, because without work, we cannot pay our debt.
Turn up the audio, lose yourself and all control tonight
I’ll keep on clawing my way until there is a change
An old message of turning it up appears in 2016. Quick call the plagiarism lawyers.
Place Vendome – Streets of Fire
The song begins with a beautiful sounding piano lick merging the chorus chords with the vocal line. After 25 seconds, the song moves into melodic rock territory.
Frontiers Records is doing its best to keep melodic rock and metal going. Place Vendome is one of the many “supergroup” projects put together by Frontiers Records president Serafino Perugino and one of his earliest that dates back to 2004.
Michael Kiske from Helloween fame is on vocals while Denis Ward from Pink Cream 69 is bassist, producer, mixer and engineer. The songs are all written by outside writers. In the end, it is a full on AOR project, where the music decisions are made by the A&R departments of Frontiers and not the artists themselves.
Our time has come, we must take justice in our hands
I feel heavy and hard, but that’s just the way it is
There out to steal our dreams, our pride, our dignity
Will we find in the art we play, will we roll the dice?
It’s the rebellion theme of the 80’s.
Streets of fire
The rise and the fall
In the streets of fire
War raging on
Once the fight begins it never really ends. The loser will bide their time, until they strike again.
Also check out the tasty finger tapped lick in the solo.
Days of Jupiter – Bleed
The do Disturbed better than Disturbed and I mean that in a good way. The song is from their “Secrets Brought To Life” album released in 2012. Of course they are from Sweden. Where else would good heavy rock bands come from these days?
Life will make you
It’s down to who you wanna be
It’s down to you
Take another bite from insanity
Take another bite from reality
Step up to who you wanna be
Step up to who you wanna
Take another bite from insanity
Take another bite from reality
Life will make you bleed. There is no doubt about it. Decisions made in the past will make you bleed. But it is down to the person as to how they respond to the insanity that reality throws at them.
Black Trip – Die With Me
It’s heavy rock and it has this Seventies attitude that I dig.
No loss, no life, let go and die with me
The Chorus. Once it comes in, it just hooks me in.
The will is struggling in a state of despair
These broken pieces I cannot repair
There’s nothing here that I can argue about
It’s just a shame I couldn’t figure it out
I know nothing about this band. Spotify tells me the song is from an album called “Shadowline” released in August, 2015. So I went to their website and saw the band is no more due to a band member departure, however the band will continue under a new name. It comes as no surprise that they are from Sweden.
So the genesis of the band goes back to 2003. Like Audrey Horne, Volbeat and The Night Flight Orchestra, the artists wanted to create a band based on their musical upbringing. But things don’t go as smooth and the project got put on the back burner until 2011. There is another album called “Goin Under” that came out in 2013 that I will check out as well.
Marillion – Hooks In You
Love the intro riff on this. Guitar player, Steve Rothery is excellent and he deserves more attention for his deeds.
It’s from the “Seasons End” album released in 1989 and the first to feature current lead singer Steve Hogarth, following the departure of former vocalist Fish in late 1988. I have the Marillion LP’s and nothing of them on digital, so another bonus point to the Spotify algorithm for recommending Marillion based on my listening habits.
She’s got her hooks in you
No one else ever sounded like Marillion, either then or now. As a result we’re left with a body of work from 1983 to 1989, which really gets no accolades today. A cult like fan base sustains Marillion and to the hard-core fans they will never be forgotten.
David Lee Roth – Just Like Paradise
Wow, it’s been 20 plus years since I’ve heard this song. It’s amazing how time makes you forget but as soon as you hear a song from your past, you are familiar with it, you know every word and it takes you back to a point in time, to MTV, to the video clip, to Steve Vai and his heart guitar, to big hair, to over the top lead singer antics and just a feel good innocent time where I believed I was indestructible.
The power of music.
Rockin’ steady in her daddy’s car
She got the stereo with the big guitars
And that’s all right
The scene is set with lyrics no one will ever forget.
This must be just like livin’ in paradise
And I don’t wanna go home
The undeniable chorus hook .
“Just Like Paradise” appeared on 1988’s “Skyscraper” album and the last to feature Steve Vai. I saw the album for sale when it came out but passed on it for AC/DC’s “Heatseeker”. I suppose Angus coming out of a television was a better marketing angle than David Lee Roth hanging on a mountain. Then that night, I caught the clip on MTV and I went back to the store the next day. I was afraid I’d missed my chance. Was that one LP still available?
It was. The impact of a song to sell an album cannot be underestimated. So I came home and dropped the needle and fell into confusion again. Like “Eat Em And Smile”, it was a very hit and miss album. But there is no denying the star of the album. It was a perfect MTV song for a band who’d paid their dues with previous artists, because, once upon a time paying your dues mattered.
Eclipse – Bleed and Scream
That intro riff over the foot stomping drum beat is addictive. This is from 2012.
Now you’re begging on your knees
And you’re begging me to stay
You beg me to look past your little mistake
There’s nothing you can say to me
No nothing you can say to me
Did she sleep with someone else?
I can handle the pain
Handle the betrayal
Handle the knife you stabbed in my back
You’re nothing but a memory
Someone I’m gonna forget
Man, this is an angry break up song and that solo takes me back to the 80’s. It’s structured and well thought out.
Another band from Stockholm, Sweden, formed in 1999. Currently they are on Frontiers Records and singer/guitarist/bassist Erik Martensson is constantly used by the label to write songs for other artists. If you don’t believe me, check out W.E.T and Revolution Saints covered an Eclipse song.
Marys Creek – Hypnotized
Mary’s Creek hail from (drum roll………) Sweden. Formed in 2004, they have a Euro Pop vibe happening in the Chorus and the verses are a combination of heavy rock Euro metal.
The song is from the “Infinity” album released in 2016.
The intro to this song is like a commercialised edited version of “Seasons In The Abyss” from Slayer. Then from the 30 second mark, it goes into a very heavy AC/DC, “Long Way To The Top” vibe.
I try to love
I try to hate
Don’t give me pain
Cause my soul can’t take no more
You Want It, You Want It So Bad,
I will never let you go,
Come take it, you can take what you want, you’ve got me hypnotized
So I was curious to check out the album. Of course “Hypnotized” is the opening track and an excellent introduction to the band.
The next track to grab my attention is “So Afraid (To Live). Musically it’s a foot stomper and a modern take on the grooves of AC/DC.
So afraid you can’t go on this way
You have to live your life, you have to live
“The First Day” is up next and it’s pretty hooky.
This is the first day of the rest of my life
“The Ghost Inside” is more of what I expected from the album based on the song “Hypnotized”. It has that metallic edge and the cowbell comes out in the interlude.
Insanity is the ghost inside
“Forever Lost” is another track that deserves more attention, however it is buried at the tail end of the album. It crosses between metal and rock.
Could it be today I take my final breath?
You just don’t know when that day will be, so it goes without saying, don’t waste any time.
Slash – Wicked Stone
From 2014’s “World On Fire” album.
It starts off like a Van Halen song, but then when the main riff comes in, it reminds me of “Locomotive” from “Use Your Illusion II” and the vocals of Myles Kennedy are instantly recognisable.
I have this on CD, so I never told Spotify that I liked the band. Another bonus point for the algorithm.
It’s a great song, with a groovy swagger and an arena rock chorus.
Once a rolling stone
Now a falling star
Was so close to home
Now so far
Fame is fleeting. Each artist has a peak which is followed by a low. Some make it back to new highs, some just make it back and some just get off the grid.
Work Of Art – How Will I Know?
To be honest, with power been taken away from the labels as to who can release music, it has brought about a new era of artists who have no real reason to try to sound a certain way. Artists don’t have to worry about trends.
And that’s how Work of Art comes into the picture.
This song just brings back memories of the 80’s for me. It’s from the “Framework” album, released in 2014 and of course they are from Sweden. The bands origins go back to 1992 and the project got put on hold. They tried again in 1998. It got put on hold. Then they tried again from 2002.
How can I know if this love can be true?
We don’t and we never will. From what I have experienced, love changes as the years go on. That lustful love at the beginning changes a lot as time goes on.
The track was good enough to make me go to the album and hear it. And it was a cool listen. It’s classic melodic rock from the 80’s done at its best and for any fans it’s a worthwhile listen.
Other stand-out tracks are “How Do You Sleep At Night” and “The Machine”. Both songs have excellent guitar playing and that jazz fusion lead in “The Machine” is sublime.
Thunderstone – Through The Pain
How good is that groove in the intro?
Melodic metal from Helsinki, Finland at its best. Formed in 2000 but the member’s origins go back even further. In 2001, they got a deal with Nuclear Blast. Their self-titled debut came out in 2002 and since then they have released 5 albums and changed members.
Give me your heart, give me your soul
You’ll feel alive again, take my hand, I’ll set you free
I will take your through the pain with me
The song is from the “Apocalypse Again” album released in 2016 and based on the strength of it, I immediately went to hear the album on Spotify.
After a generic power metal opening track, I was hooked by “The Path”. Wow, what a track. A foot stomping intro riff leads into a subdued verse, which is followed by a middle eastern sounding pre-chorus and capped off by a massive arena rock chorus.
You will always find your way back to your home
This is the path you’ll always roam
Damn right, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Higher” is the next track that hooks me in with the intro guitar lick that reminds me of Ozzy era “Hellraiser meets Zombie Stomp meets Welcome To The Jungle intro”. It doesn’t have that big power metal chorus and it relies solely on the groove and that intro lick.
“Days Of Our Lives” is another foot stomper. For some reason, when Thunderstone move away from the fast power metal songs the songs are just better and more addictive. This one has a Kashmir like drum groove.
These are the days of our lives
The time to be alive
Get wings and learn to fly
Soar up in the sky
I know, it’s been said so many times before, but who cares. This is heavy metal. Fly on your way like an eagle. Oh, wait a minute that was “Flight of Icarus” from Maiden. It doesn’t end well for poor Icarus.
UFO – Rock Bottom
At 7 plus minutes, you forget how powerful this track is. No one has the time these days to spend 7 minutes on a track. But back in the 80’s, all we had was time. And to anyone who wanted to listen, I’ve always said this track is the embryo that gave birth to the NWOBHM and speed metal movements in general.
Almost 40 years later the track still gets the head nodding and the foot tapping.
In the solo you can hear why Michael Schenker became an influence to a million guitarists. And he’s still doing it tough financially due to bad contracts, bad management deals and bad accountants who took large chunks while they drip fed him pennies.
Rock bottom (x6)
From a time when Choruses had the title repeated over and over again.
Lucifer goes walkin’
Down for you to meet
Good old Luci gets a mention. How did this song pass the censors back in the 70’s?
Warlock – All We Are
It’s from 1987’s “Truimph And Steel” album and it was perfect for MTV. A hot looking blonde front woman decked out in black leathers and an MTV friendly backing band.
Think of Warlock as the record label experiment that would lead to Mr Big a few years later. All of the members were recruited from bands that had either a good guitar player, a good bass player or a good drummer and nothing else. So the label A&R heads decided to keep the talent and eventually something will come along.
All we are
All we are, we are
We are all, all we need
How catchy is that Chorus?
That was the hook. A call to arms to all rock and metal heads to realise that all we need to make it or to be somebody is the unity. The strength of the pack.
Harem Scarem – Slowly Slipping Away
I passed on the LP because of the band name and that doll on the cover. Many years later, I heard the record and I was an instant fan.
We’ve had our share of confusion
We’ve been let down so many times before
Simple, yet so right.
Black Country Communion – One Last Soul
I’m a big fan of Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa, so I was very interested when I heard they got together. The usual outlets wrote a lot of good things about their little project, that also includes Jason Bonham. But I didn’t know where to start musically. I didn’t want to invest time into the whole album. I wanted recommendations. So thank you Spotify Discovery for bringing me “One Last Soul” from the debut self-titled album, released in 2010.
You’re the one last Soul
Who can win it
You’re the one last Soul
If you try
You’re the one last Soul
If you live it
The solo has this classic rock, Michael Schenker vibe.
And after three albums, they are on hiatus or broken up. I read some interviews with Glenn. He was angry at Joe’s commitment during the recording of the third album recording.
Sacred Mother Tongue – Evolve/Become
The song is from the album “A Light Shines” released in 2012.
This one is interesting. It’s got a huge arena rock melodic rock/metal chorus, with thrash style riffing and barking lyrics in the verses. I dig it.
Reflection of our failings, and all we’ve done
Our power is in numbers, unite as one
We’ll wash away destruction, when said and done
Evolve in forward motion / We must Become
Fates Warning – One
From the addictive “Disconnected” album, released in 2000 and to me is a perfect blend of Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Tool and “Images and Words” era Dream Theater. This one is very influenced by Porcupine Tree.
Under the spotlight
I feel our world becoming one
You know the feeling when the spotlight shines on you. You cannot see anyone else and you feel like you’re the only one.