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

Australian Method Series: Parkway Drive – Ire

My journey into the world of Parkway Drive started with “Reverence” in 2018 and backwards I went.

“Ire” came out in 2016. It’s their fifth album, but the second album I’d heard from em. It went to Number 1 on the Aussie Charts and the U.S Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums chart.

The band for the album is Winston McCall on lead vocals, Jeff Ling on lead guitar, Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick on rhythm guitar, Jia “Pie” O’Connor on bass and Ben “Gaz” Gordon on drums.

The label even invested in a vocal coach for Winston McCall to increase his melodic skills as he’s already well known for this guttural vocals.

From listening to “Reverence” first and going back to “Ire”, it’s safe to say that this album was the start of the Hard Rock and Classic Metal tunes this band fine tuned with “Reverence”.

This fusion of Nu-Metal, Thrash Metal, Classic Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock ad Death Metal is not meant to go together and work, but it does and it works very well.

Destroyer

A repeating guitar lick starts the album. Its low, it build in intensity and it’s a lick that the crowd could sing-along with along with the “Destroy” vocal chant. But this section wouldn’t work without the rhythm and drum work. It’s thunderous and like a military march.

Once the main riff comes in, its melodic and heavy at the same time. If you grew up on a diet of hard rock, then this riff would fit the criteria.

Dying To Believe

Any song that starts with the lyric, “like dragging nails through my skin” is going to be fast and aggressive. And that’s exactly how it plays it in the blast beat intro.

Vice Grip

Sitting at 52.7 million streams on Spotify. The video clip on YouTube has 23 million views.

Another sing-along guitar riff to start the song and a Chorus you can chant along to with the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” vocals.

Musically, it’s a hard rock song and I’m picking up the guitar after I finish this post to learn it.

There is a “Rise” chant section, which reminds me of the “Die” section from “Creeping Death”.

Crushed

Religious chants give way to “tear the throat box out” vocals and riffs which are too good to not listen to regardless of your preference for vocal styles.

The section from the 40 second mark to 1.01. Press play for that, just to hear how the religious chants work with heavy music.

Or stick around from 3.26 onwards, just to hear the guitar melody under the vocals which could have come from an Iron Maiden album.

But the overall style of the track is Nu-Metal. Weird I know, but it works.

Fractures

The riffs remind me so much of the 80’s and Pantera’s first two albums.

But press play for the Chorus guitar melodies and “wooahs”.

Check out the section from 3.30 as it slows down and then builds back up. As soon as the guitar lead lets loose for the last 30 seconds of the song, someone decided to fade out the song. Nooooo.

Writings On The Wall

The drum groove is like “We Will Rock You”, so you hear McCall carrying the vocal over a bed of ominous piano notes, synths, bass and abstract guitar lines.

“Put your hands up, put your hands up, we’ll fight until we die, this ain’t ever gonna stop”, whispers McCall in true spirit of the 80’s ethos like “Stand Up And Shout”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Bang Your Head”.

Then at 2.30, the song kicks in with some metal like riffage.

At 2.55, my favourite melodic riff from the album kicks in. And the song ends with the haunting piano lines heard throughout the song.

Bottom Feeder

There are so many riffs that people will class as hair metal in this song. But it’s all Metal to me. It’s one of the heaviest tracks and catchiest.

The Sound Of Violence

The intro riff gets me to pay attention and the breakdown Chorus would work well in the live arena.

Vicious

Musically, this song has some serious hard rock cred. Even Metallica “Black” album era.

Dedicated

I feel like I’m listening to a Killswitch Engage tune on this.

Stick around for the breakdown at the end.

A Deathless Song

Acoustic guitars with a fusion of flamenco vibes and baroque start the song. But at 0.44, those iconic sing-along melodic leads kick in.

And those melodic sing-along leads are heard throughout the song, especially in the last minute outro, as they give way to the same riffs, but played with violins.

In the end it’s a “hard core hard rock” album, Somehow it makes perfect sense.

Check it out.

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Australian Method Series and 1996 Part 3.7: John Farnham – Romeos Heart

“Romeo’s Heart” was released in Australia on 3 June 1996 by John Farnham.

His comeback to mainstream success started with “Whispering Jack” released in 1986. It is certified 24x Platinum in Australia, Platinum in Sweden and Gold in Canada and Germany.

“Age Of Reason” came in 1988 and it is certified 11x Platinum in Australia.

“Chain Reaction” in 1990 is 7x Platinum in Australia.

“Then Again…” in 1993 is 4x Platinum in Australia.

This album is also 4x Platinum in Australia.

The band is top notch as well with Brett Garsed from Nelson fame on guitars along with Stuart Fraser from Noiseworks.

Joe Creighton from The Black Sorrows is on Bass and Angus Burchall also from The Black Sorrows is on drums with Steve Williams on harmonica.

Vocals are provided by John Farnham with Lindsay Field and Lisa Edwards providing excellent backing vocals.

And from when Farnham made his comeback in the mid 80s as a solo artist, the songs he performed on his albums were written by other artists/songwriters.

This album is no different, with every song on it coming from outside writers.

Have a Little Faith (In Us)

Written by Russ DeSalvo (who at the time was writing and working with Celine Dion) and Arnie Roman (who also was working with Celine Dion).

Great song title and a major key chord progression to give its uplifting vibe.

But press play for the gospel like backing vocals in the outro which

Little Piece of My Heart

Written by C. Celli, A. Levin and Jack Ponti.

The same Jack Ponti who co-write “Shot Through The Heart” with Jon Bon Jovi and a heap of songs for Baton Rouge, Alice Cooper and Babylon A.D.

I’m not sure on why they would use this song title for a totally different song. It’s like reusing “Smoke On The Water” for a totally different song and not for a cover.

But in the end a simple funky rock groove is heard throughout the song and it’s cool to jam to.

A Simple Life

Written by Jon Lind and Richard Page. The same Richard Page from Mr Mister and Jon Lind had written or co-written songs like “Crazy For You” for Madonna and songs for Earth, Wind And Fire.

This one is a soft rock song.

Check out the vocal melody for the Chorus.

All Kinds Of People

Written by Eric Pressley, Sheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert.

Yep the same Sheryl Crow and her songwriting partner Kevin Gilbert from her debut album were in demand and writing songs for other artists as well.

It’s in that soul contemporary pop rock vibe which was prominent in the 90s.

Romeo’s Heart

Written by Jennifer Kimball and Randy VanWarmer it appeared on Randy’s solo album “The Third Child” released in 1994.

And here it is a few years later as the title track. It has a soft rock Springsteen vibe.


Don’t Let It End

Written by Aaron Hendra an Australian-born songwriter, singer and guitarist who lives in the U.S.

It reminds of “Time Of My Life” from the “Dirty Dancing” movie.

Hearts On Fire

Written by Tom Kimmel and S. Lynch. I was wondering which S Lynch is a co-writer.

Could it be the Steve Lynch from Autograph?

Nope it’s Stan Lynch, the ex drummer from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers who became a successful producer and songwriter.

On a side note, “That’s Freedom” was also written by Kimmel which Farnham recorded and it became a Top 10 hit for him in late 1990. So it’s no surprise that Farnham used him again.

The “Rocky IV” track comes to mind but it’s not it. The song is more blues soul rock.

Hard Promises To Keep

Written by Kimmie Rhodes ‎and the song appeared on her “West Texas Heaven” album released in 1994 and it’s in the vein of country ballads musically, but the vocal melodies are more in line with pop melodies.

Over My Head

Written by Ricard Pleasance and A. Tanner.

Richard Pleasance is an Australian rock musician and producer. He was a founding member of Australian band “Boom Crash Opera”.

It’s a ballad and it’s chord progressions is more like country rock ballads, reminding me of current songs like “Home” from Daughtry.

May You Never

Written by John Martyn it’s an up beat acoustic track that is played in the way Nuno Bettencourt plays on “More Than Words”.

John Martyn, is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist who released 23 studio albums over a 40-year career. He’s been described as blurring the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues”.

Second Skin

Written by John Farnham, producer Ross Fraser and Chong Lim.

Finally Farnham gets a co-write in a track that is a cross between “Superstition” and “Play That Funky Music”.

If you want to hear John Farnham in a rock way, then “Whispering Jack” and “Age Of Reason” would suffice. If you want to hear Farnham in a soul and country rock way, then this album would donyje

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Australian Method Series: Black Majesty – Stargazer

How can you pass up an album with “Stargazer” as its title?

Black Majesty is from Melbourne, Australia. The band is made up of John Cavaliere on vocals, Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed on guitars with Pavel Konvalinka on drums. There is no bassist listed.

Steve Janevski on guitar lists George Lynch, Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Michael Wilton & Chris DeGarmo, Warren Demartini, Ronnie Letekro as his favourite guitarists. All great influences to have.

And apart from playing in Black Majesty (Power Melodic Metal), he also plays in Wicked Smile (Heavy Rock) and The Radio Sun (AOR Melodic Rock).

“Stargazer” was released in 2012.

Falling

The lead breaks are excellent. Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed showcase their abilities from the outset.

Lost Highway

Harmony guitars and fast double kick start the song off.

Voice Of Change

A killer Chorus and another killer lead break section. Actually killer lead breaks as there are a few.

Killing Hand

It has a “Paris Is Burning” riff to start off and I like it.

Check out the Chorus. Great vocal melodies, fast double kick and the guitars just play power chords.

As it’s becoming the norm, the lead breaks on this album are guitar hero moments.

Journey To The Soul

How good are the harmony guitars in the intro, before it moves into a Maiden like groove?

Holy Hillers

Another great harmony guitar intro.

Symphony Of Death

The slow Intro reminds of Queensryche circa first two albums and once the gallop riff starts, Helloween and Maiden come to mind.

But the lead breaks. Guitar hero stuff again.

It starts off with an open string harmony lick, then each guitarist gets a chance to shred and tap away before coming back to the open string harmonies to close the solo.

Edge Of The World

It’s blasting fast and loud.

And when it comes to instrumental section, Janevski and Mohamed don’t disappoint.

Stargazer

As soon as the Intro leads start, the song could have appeared on “Brave New World” and people would think Maiden wrote it.

The lead section part of the song is essential listening. it starts off with a sing-a-long harmony lead before it goes into individual solos. And man, what solos they are.

By the end of it, you can only press repeat.

If there is a criticism, the drums seem to be on cruise control with the stock fast double kick patterns Power Metal music is known for.

Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed deserve special mention here on guitars.

Vocalist John Cavaliere is a multi-octave vocalist. His voice and style ranges between David Coverdale, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate and Michael Kiske but still sounding unique enough to be original.

I’m not a huge Power Metal fan but I do listen to bands that play that style purely for the guitar playing.

If you like Power Metal, you’ll like this. If you like Melodic Metal you’ll like this. If you like Heavy Metal, you’ll like this.

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Australian Method Series and The Record Vault: De Mont

De Mont is from Sydney, Australia and is made up of Craig Morrison on vocals, Peter James on keyboards, Terry Mandryk on guitar, Grant Byrne on bass and Rodney Willnet on drums.

Signed to Alberts, who were AC/DC’s Australian label in the early days and George Young was one of the producers and songwriters at the label.

Man, they had some serious promotion behind them.

When Skid Row came to town, De Mont was opening. When Motley Crue hit Australia on the “Dr Feelgood” tour, De Mont was again the lucky band tasked with opening the show.

“Body Language” is the debut studio album released in 1989 on Giant Records.

The album’s style is simply AOR Rock.

Move On You

A fast keyboard synth riff starts the song which reminds me.

Musically, once the guitars kick in, it feels like a Bryan Adams rock cut.

Terry Mandryk is virtually unknown, but he lets loose some excellent guitar work on this, especially in the solo. I read on one of the YouTube videos that he used to be in a metal band based on the Central Coast called “Stark Raven.

I Want Your Body

It was released as a single.

The drum beat to kick it off, reminds of Robert Palmer and his “Addicted To Love” song.

Wild Boy

There is a cool synth lick to start the song off, before all hell breaks loose.

And the lead break from Mandryk is guitar hero worthy.

So Easy

It’s a ballad.

And wait for the lead break by Mandryk. And with each emotive bend, it will have you pulling all the orgasmic faces lead guitar players do.

In My Dreams

Big guitars and synths kick off this song.

And what a Chorus. Excellent.

My favorite song on the album.

Close To The Edge

One of the singles. For some reason I have it on 7 inch single and cassette.

Synth chords kick it off, before the band comes crashing in.

The verses are different, unique and when the Chorus kicks in, it rocks but it felt lacking.

Strange World

A guitar riff dominates the song.

Shake It Up

A skip.

Too Late

A ballad. More pop rock than soft rock.

Sex Attention

The horns make it sound sleazy. It reminds me of a few tracks from the “A Little Aint Enough” album by David Lee Roth.

They released one more album “R.I.P.PED” in 1991 (I just found that out) and then like so many other bands, they disappeared.

According to the bio of Craig Morrison who is an artist in Nashville, a management label dispute led to De Mont disbanding.

But they did leave us with “In My Dreams”.

Crank it.

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2001 – Part 3.6 and Australian Method Series: The Living End – Roll On

“Roll On” is the second album by The Living End. It was released in Australia and New Zealand in November 2000, and internationally in March 2001, so I’ll go with the 2001 date.

The band for the album is Chris Cheney on vocals and guitar as well as writing the songs, Scott Owen on double bass and backing vocals and Travis Demsey on drums.

The album is the last work to feature drummer Travis Demsey. In the downtime following the album’s release and subsequent tour, he would leave the band, to be replaced by Andy Strachan.

The album was certified 2x platinum in Australia by November 2007.

Roll On

1,2,3,4 and the band crashes in.

“We roll on with our heads held high” is the catch cry. It remains with you long after the song is finished about a wharfies strike in Melbourne in 1998 and how after a month of striking, if the wharfies didn’t go back to work they would be replaced.

The riffs are classic Aussie Pub Rock riffs, rooted in the blues. You can smell the sweat of the working class in the notes.

Check out the guitar lead.

It’s their big single from the album and a live favorite.

Pictures In The Mirror

It’s a cross between the Foo Fighters, The Beatles and The Clash.

But that solo/interlude section reminds me of Van Halen and Kansas.

“The sun goes down, the moon appears on the horizon, the streets are bare, she walks alone”

The scene is set as the character in the song disappears from the limelight.

Alone.

Because all of those people around you when you’re famous, abandon you when they can’t make money from you.

Riot On Broadway

Similar to “Prisoner Of Society” merging their punk and rockabilly hooks and riffs.

Staring At The Light

One of my favorites.

It’s like a new wave rock track circa “The Police” merged with “The Clash” and made to sound like a modern rock song.

Carry Me Home

That Intro riff would melt the pavement on the Sunset Strip.

Listen to it.

And the NWOBHM influences makes this a metal cut.

And Cheney, is a guitar hero.

Don’t Shut The Gate

A heavy blues rock groove starts it all off before it moves into a Midnight Oil style of cut.

Dirty Man

The Intro lead lick reminds me of something else.

The interlude riff is like a Nu-Metal riff as it’s intertwined with a rockabilly riff.

“I was born on Saturday and I was buried on Sunday” is repeated throughout the song.

Blood On Your Hands

Is there a thing like funk/reggae/punk and jazz?

Well listen to this.

If anything The Police amalgamated these different styles and made it sound rock.

Revolution Regained

It’s a metal cut which has a galloping riff like “The Trooper”, some rockabilly sections and an excellent melodic guitar solo.

Silent Victory

It’s their AC/DC cut.

The Intro is “Dirty Deeds”.

The Chorus is melodic.

And how good is the interlude section between 2.10 and 2.30?

Read About It

Cheney is a master of incorporating so many different styles and techniques into a 4 bar riff.

This song has reggae, melodic rock, punk and metal in it, with a progressive mindset.

The Chorus riff is essential listening.

Killing The Right

Similar to “Read About It”.

Check out the guitar work from 2.30 to 2.50.

Astoria Paranoia

A fast drum riff like “Black Betty” starts the song.

Uncle Harry

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Australian Method Series: Jet – Get Born

Released in 2005.

Riding the wave of “old is new” to a whole new audience who was too young to know the old or to have heard it.

Listening to this album got me to call up a 60’s Rock Anthems playlist on Spotify and it’s surprising how many songs released in the 80s moving forward have riffs from 60’s songs. There are the artists that we all know like Hendrix, Cream, The Who, Steppenwolf, The Doors and Zeppelin but artists like The Kinks, The Kingsmen, CCR, The Animals and even Marvin Gaye have been influential in developing the hard rock and heavy metal riffs.

Jet are from Melbourne.

Nic Cester is on vocals and guitar, Chris Cester is on drums and vocals, Cameron Muncey is on guitars and vocals and Mark Wilson is on bass, piano and harmonica.

Last Chance

“Can you give me one more try at that?”

And LOUD RAWK AND ROLL kicks in.

Are You Gonna Be My Girl

It’s sitting at 347.811 million streams on Spotify.

On the Jet YouTube account the video is at 122 million views.

Yeah, it sounds like other songs (Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” is mentioned a fair bit), but who cares. Imitation is a form of flattery. And all hit songs are derivative versions of songs which came before.

Rollover D.J.

It’s a Rolling Stones track in the verses and a 12 bar blues track in the Chorus.

Look What You’ve Done

58.066 million streams on Spotify.

A piano riff starts the song, with a Beatle-esque “Sexy Sadie” like vocal. Even the lyrics have a similarity.

The Beatles have “Sexy Sadie, what have you done! / You’ve made a fool of everyone”.

Jet has “Oh, look what you’ve done / You’ve made a fool of everyone”.

Progress is derivative. Take something that came before and tweak it.

Get What You Need

The drum groove gets me, but it’s the reminders of other songs that makes me a fan.

If you’ve heard “All Day And All Of The Night” from The Kinks, you’ll hear some similarities.

If you’ve heard “If It Feels Good, Do It” from Sloan you’ll hear similarities.

And if you played NHL 2004, you would have heard the song and become a fan.

Move On

It feels like a Free/Bad Company/Rolling Stones acoustic cut which Guns N Roses also used as an influence for “Patience”.

Radio Song

Say hello to “Hey Jude” or a slower version of “Baby Blue” from Badfinger.

Get Me Outta Here

I went down to the bank just to get me my pay / I’m gonna get me, outta here / I got me some cash, I’m headed back to LA / I’m gonna get me, outta here

Keeping with the theme of “old is new” again, even the lyrics were based on pre 2000 pay days.

Cold Hard Bitch

It’s at 52.995 million streams on Spotify.

They bring so many vibes to this track.

Listen to it and you’ll spot “Woman From Tokyo” by Deep Purple, “Best I Can” by Rush, “Shoot To Thrill“ by AC/DC, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who and a little bit of Stones mixed in.

Come Around Again

A country rock ballad with a Bad Company feel.

“I don’t know when I’m right that I only know when I’m wrong”

Sometimes our minds become our worst enemies.

Take It Or Leave It

The Kinks “unhinged”.

Lazy Gun

The “High Voltage” riff to a funky bass riff. Brilliant.

A Beatles influenced Chorus which also reminds me of “Purple Rain” from Prince and “Faithfully” from Journey. Brilliant.

Timothy

All death is tragic.

Sgt Major

The bonus track.

Check out the main riff. It reminds me of “Kings And Queens” from Aerosmith.

They had some serious momentum in promoting this album in Australia with national station Triple J having em in constant rotation that all the other stations followed pretty quickly.

In Australia, it’s 8x Platinum.

In Japan and New Zealand, it’s Gold.

In Argentina, Canada, UK and US, it’s Platinum.

In other words it was everywhere.

Crank it.

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Australian Method Series: Wolfmother – Wolfmother

The Wolfmother debut.
 
Sometime in 2000, founding members Andrew Stockdale on guitar and vocals, Chris Ross on bass/keyboards and Myles Heskett on drums got together to jam.

But it was in 2004, when Wolfmother was born.

And suddenly things started to happen. After playing a gig in April 2004 in Sydney, they got a record deal with Aussie independent label Modular Recordings with whom they released their (EP) “Wolfmother” in September.

While touring on the EP, Universal Music came in and signed em to an international recording deal.

The self-titled debut produced by Dave Sardy was originally released in Australia via their independent deal on 31 October 2005.

The album was later released internationally by Universal in early 2006.

Like other Aussie artists who got a later international release, the album had an additional track and a rearranged track listing. Spotify carries the international release listing and release date.

As an owner of a book of Frank Frazetta paintings, seeing “The Sea Witch” on the album cover grabbed my attention immediately.

Prior to the release, the band had some serious momentum in Australia. They had the EP out on the charts, they toured and nationwide radio station Triple J, had the band in constant rotation.

Dimension

The bass and drum groove reminds me of an amalgamation of Sweet and Cream in the verses before a Chorus kicks in that sounds like a Sabbath cut.

And a new game is created here in which the listener has to guess which band or song influenced the next song.

And I like games like these.

White Unicorn

You know that section half way through in “Stairway To Heaven” when Jimmy Page starts to play major sounding triads over a droning D note.

Well that’s how “The White Unicorn” starts off. And I like it. Take something that came before and create something new from it.

Woman

Its basically a Sabbath cut with that driving galloping groove from “Children Of The Grave”.

Then again “Roadhouse Blues” comes to mind as well.

The addition of the keyboards makes it sound like a demented Doors cut.

And like other Aussie bands, (Airbourne comes to mind) they capitalized on the video game phenomenon that was happening. “Woman” was licensed to appear in over 12 video games which came out between 2006 and 2008.

Where Eagles Have Been

The beginning reminds of “Goin To California” from Led Zep or “Mother Nature’s Son” from The Beatles or “Brain Damage” from Pink Floyd.

This is the beauty of music. Familiarity is in every song which is created.

Check out the sound effect which increases in intensity at 3.42 and then the guitar solo. This is the best part of the song.

At 4.24 to 4.46 reminds of me of “Dazed and Confused” from Led Zep.

Apple Tree

It has a punk style “My Generation” feel from The Who in the Intro and first verse.

Joker & the Thief

This song has crossed over onto a higher astral plane. It’s everywhere. If you sit down to watch a movie or a TV show, there is a chance you’ll hear it. If you buy a video game, there is a chance you’ll hear it.

When I hear “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss, it reminds me of this song.

“The Hangover” and “Shrek” movies have scenes in the movie, which has this song playing.

Colossal

It feels like a Sabbath cut that hadn’t seen the light of day.

How good is the riff that comes in at the 3.30 mark?

It reminds me of “Ace Of Spades” from Motörhead.

Mind’s Eye

My favorite track.

The arpeggios to start it off are hypnotic. Metallica used a similar progression for “The Day That Never Comes”.

When the verses come in, simplicity at its best. It’s just a single strummed chord and a haunting vocal melody.

I like the simple ascending chord progression just before the Chorus. And it comes back again after the Chorus.

How good is the organ riff?

And they jam on it till the end.

Pyramid

Another song that became a favorite amongst people that didn’t even like this kind of music because it appeared in the “FlatOut 2” car racing game.

Witchcraft

A flute solo. Jethro Tull anyone.

Tales

It’s not a favorite.

Love Train

Listen to “Moby Dick” from Led Zep. Imitation is a form of flattery.

Vagabond

A simple drum metronome style click and an acoustic guitar playing a sort of Country Blues Delta riff start off the song.

Swampy it is and the album is done.

I’ve read reviews that they are copyists and unoriginal. But music is judged on the fun and enjoyment you get out of it. And this album is a whole lotta fun.

Going back to the originality question, the bands that influenced em where also copyists. Led Zeppelin’s first album is a great cover album rebranded as a Zep album.

After all was said and done, the album was certified 5× Platinum in Australia, Gold in Canada, Gold in Germany, Gold in the U.K and Gold in the U.S.

By the time the band started to record album number 2, it was just Andrew Stockdale who remained. But the sound and the songs still remained.

You can read my review on “Cosmic Egg” here.

And spend your weekend cranking Wolfmother.

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Australian Method Series: Airbourne – No Guts No Glory

Released in March 2010, “No Guts. No Glory.” is album number 2 for Airbourne, the follow-up to their 2007 debut “Runnin’ Wild”. While the debut caught a lot of people by surprise, the follow up was anticipated. On the same day of its release, the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack hit the shelves, which is seen as an AC/DC “Greatest Hits”.

You can’t get too much Acca Rock.

The album cover forecasts what the album would sound like. There is a steel works, an out of control truck driven by Lemmy, alcohol, women, raising the flag at the Eureka Stockade, a twister, the band and an Explorer guitar raised high like a trophy by one of the band members.

Airbourne is Joel O’Keeffe on lead vocals and lead guitar, David Roads on rhythm guitar, Justin Street on bass and Ryan O’Keeffe on drums. Production is handled by Johnny K and mixing is done by Mike Fraser. All songs are written by Joel O’Keeffe and Ryan O’Keeffe.

The album was recorded in Chicago at Johnny K’s studio. The band even slept in the studio.

“Born to Kill”

The intro guitar lick is like an out of tune national anthem. Then the rock and roll power starts, to kick off a song about being in a rock and roll band, being loud and doing what you love.

“No Way But the Hard Way”

It feels like “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution”.

The idea of the song originated when the guys in the band lived together in a house (like a band house), while on welfare payments and trying to get the band up and running, and noticed.

As told by the band members in the track by track breakdown of the album on YouTube, after the album was released they were touring in Canada. The vehicle they were in, skidded off the road. They were stuck in freezing conditions for 24 hours, waiting for help.

No way but the hard way indeed. It’s a very Bon Scott like title.

And the film clip has them taking their rage out on the record labels as they enter the office of one and smash it all to bits. As I read in one interview, the labels are big powerful monsters who get demos from thousands of bands so they could put it in a box and never respond. So it was an F.U to them.

“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful”

“For Those About To Rock” or “Powerage” gets a makeover into a “Blonde, Bad and Beautiful” wrecking ball woman with long legs and the moves to break a man.

“Raise the Flag”

An anthem. Airbourne hit the market at the right time, just when AC/DC’s album output was slowing down and they quickly became the next best thing.

So if you love rock and roll, raise the flag. That’s the simple message of the song.

And how good is the intro?

“Bottom of the Well”

The title is self-explanatory, from being in a crap situation to turning it around. This song is more Kiss than AC/DC.

“White Line Fever”

More Kix like but still sounding like it came from the Aussie Pubs. Lyrically, I guess it’s that time again when you’re feeling stressed out.

“It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”

The fastest track on the album. Like “Let There Be Rock” just faster.

“Steel Town”

It was written for people from working class towns. Australia has a few “steel cities” so a lot of their fans here can relate.

“Chewin’ the Fat”

Read the lyrics. It sums up oral sex.

“Get Busy Livin'”

It feels like a Free cut at the beginning, but when the whole band kicks in, its AC/DC all the way.

“Armed and Dangerous”

The intro and verse riff rock.

From the words of the band members, just think of a hot chick walking past and you get a hard on, well you’re armed and dangerous. Enough said. Press play.

“Overdrive”

It’s about living hard and no sleep, having a good time and not caring about the next day. Easier said when you’re young.

“Back on the Bottle”

Another fast rocker, to close the album off, and a subject matter about getting on the piss.

I guess I’ll have one more glass of whatever then.

It charted well in Australia and New Zealand, and it also did good business in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Canada. In the U.S it peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hard Rock Charts as in some states they rocked and in other states they were unknown.

A shrewd business decision by the band and its management to license a lot of the songs from the album to various video games and movies, which brought in a different source of revenue, much higher than what the sales revenue would have generated.

“Born to Kill” is featured in the film “Jonah Hex”.

“Heads Are Gonna Roll” is featured in the video game “Madden NFL 10” and the official trailer.

“Raise the Flag” is featured in the video game “Twisted Metal”.

“Bottom of the Well” is featured in the video game “NHL 11”.

“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful” is featured in the trailer for the film “Bachelorette”.

“Back on the Bottle” is featured in The Good Guys episode “The Dim Knight”.

It’s not original in anyway and there is no great “hit” song to sell the album. But it’s a fun album, cool to listen to and in the words of Bon Scott, “Let There Be Rock” as the album has its foot on the accelerator pedal from the outset.

P.S.

Here is a little playlist that Joel O’Keefe told Guitar World readers in the July 2010 issue. I guess there are no surprises in the list.

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

Australian Method Series – Dead Letter Circus – Dead Letter Circus (2018)

There first EP released in 2007 is also called Dead Letter Circus. Hence why I put 2018 in the title of this LP.

Dead Letter Circus is a well loved prog rock band. To me their music is hard to describe as the songs are all in the 3 to 5 minute range, something that bands listed as prog don’t really do. They don’t have a million notes per minute sections either. It’s all music and vocals. And awesome drumming.

The band is Kim Benzie on vocals, Clint Vincent and Luke Palmer on guitars, Stewart Hill on bass, and Luke Williams on drums.

The Armour You Own

The bass and drums set the groove and the guitar locks in with em. It’s familiar and I like it, in the same way AC/DC play it safe within their blues rock style, DLC do the same in their prog alternative rock style.

You will reach
You will fall down
Every time you fail you will change

Truth.

It’s how we learn.

At 2.50 it quietens down before it builds up again. You need to hear it, to feel it.

The Real You

Hey you there
Show me the real you
Here in the physical
Because I see right through

Social media allows us to portray an image that is fake. Take a photo from above your head and suddenly you look slim and with deep fake photos and videos doing the rounds, no one can tell what is real anymore.

People need to get back to what was real. F

ace to face communication. And we can’t even do that in 2021 because of social distancing and lockdowns.

Change

Another song with a familiar sound from the earlier albums.

You alone the reason
The architect of all this time
Now you own this life
Build it
Fill it

It starts with you and no one else. Don’t blame others. It’s your life, own it and if something is not right, you have the power to change it.

It starts with you.

Running Out Of Time

How good is the Intro?

It’s an anthem. This is the band at their best.

Hoping maybe one day everything you want will fall into your hands
You don’t need to try

Life doesn’t work that way. Being a good student and then getting a job to pay bills and a mortgage will not give you what you want. You need to seize it.

We Own the Light

After four rockers, this one is almost ballad like.

No one else can understand my headspace
I’ve been slipping from my happiness
This whole time

We can only fake it for so long before we hit the wall. And we are not alone. So many others experience the same.

Heartline

The vocal melodies are memorable and hooky. This song just needs to be listened to, so it can be fully understood. one of my favorites.

Ladders For Leaders

Another song that lives in ballad like territory. It percolates and simmers.

Somehow they defeated us with no one even bleeding
No resistance or debate
They just covered our eyes
Villains created, become ladders for leaders
To keep us from asking who’s holding the strings coming from their backs

A brilliant verse.

We like to be comfortable and that means we like to have a stable income to get us through life. And for a lot of us, stability is good and we are happy building someone else’s dream while we believe we are building ours.

But for a small percentage of us, stability is not what we desire and we change the world.

Trade Places

This song would not be our of place on their debut album “This Is The Warning” released in 2010.

Yeah if you and I and them trade places
Make our stand in generation
Let the truth collide

Say It Won’t Be Long

This is the best track on the album and it’s deep in the album order.

The way it percolates and builds towards the end, it needs to be listened to.

Now I feel my confidence is growing
My sense of self worth is unfolding
I am now fearless facing forward
So I start crawling

The mental awakening when you stop pretending to be someone else.

Home

I love the grooves and riffs on this one.

I know I’m chasing something I can find home in
Think of all that I’ve been through
Every scar that I’ve grown through
There is nothing to fear now
I am ready for change now
To find my soul in it

What a great message to end the album with.

Lay back, crank it and have the lyric sheet or the lyrics via the net in front of you.

Let the album intoxicate you.

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

Australian Method Series: Riff Raiders – Rock N Roll Daydream

A Hard Rock band from Melbourne.

What a cool name.

“Rock N Roll Daydream” is album number 2. It came out in 2020 on 30th March. By that time Australia had started its COVID-19 lockdown. Their tour from February to April was halted.

Riff Raiders are powerhouse vocalist Jenni Powell, Marty Powell on guitar and production, Ross Hetherington on drums, Josh King on guitars and Ron E. Smith on bass.

Loaded Gun

As soon as the riff kicks in I was hooked. If you like the ZZ Top blues rock and you like how Jake E Lee composed the riffs on Badlands debut, you will like this song.

Stop Looking At Me

A great modern rock tune, more like Stone Temple Pilots (think “Vaseline”), Shinedown and Nu-Metal with an Aerosmith swagger. Yes, it’s possible as Riff Raiders made it possible.

Samantha Jones

It tells the true story of a fan who left a vinyl copy of their first album on a train, and the efforts Sammy J went to to get it back to him. Musically it’s hard rock.

Best Day Ever

It’s a Foo Fighters like tune and I like it.

Light

A cool rock ballad.

When I’m Dreaming

This song reminds of the power and energy of Jet merged with Queens Of The Stone Age. It’s a perfect blend.

Stepping On A Cloud

If you enjoyed that Oasis hard rock period in the 90s then you will like this one. A perfect psychedelic groove for a song about sky diving.

Standing On My Own

It’s got that AC/DC vibe and a familiar vocal melody. A perfect song for the live arena.

Sunset To Sunrise

It’s got that Led Zep III acoustic vibe. Or Whitesnake on their last few studio albums.

Shade

What a slow sleazy groove to kick it off, merging songs like “Still Got The Blues” and “She’s So Heavy“.

Check out the guitar lead. It’s got Gary Moore and Richie Blackmore influences.

A perfect closer for a worthy album that showcases there is a lot more to Australian rock than AC/DC like acts.

And you hear a lot of classic rock influences like Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, The Beatles and Led Zep, and modern rock influences like Oasis, Foo Fighters, Shinedown and Stone Temple Pilots.

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