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

1996 – Part 2.3: Tonic – Lemon Parade

Tonic (for this album) is Emerson Hart on vocals and guitar, Jeff Russo on guitar, Dan Rothchild on bass and Kevin Shepard on drums.

The band was formed in 1993 and three years later they had a massive debut album on the back of one song. In the U.S, it has a Platinum certification. Then again, there is a saying that everything went platinum in 1996.

And for the ones who purchased the album, they would be surprised that there is a lot more to Tonic, than just the one “hit” song.

“Open Up Your Eyes”

It feels like a Collective Soul song, heavy and it opens the album, but it isn’t the song that sold it.

“Casual Affair”

It feels like a Pearl Jam song. Actually, this is the style that Nickelback would use and sound like on “Silver Side Up”.

“If You Could Only See”

This is the song that sold the album. In Australia, it was all over radio and it pushed the album to Number 12 on the ARIA charts.

And at 87.3 million streams on Spotify, it’s also the song that will keep paying em for a long time. Nothing else comes close. “Open Up Your Eyes” is at 6 million streams and “Lemon Parade” is at 1.2 million streams.

The simple light intro strummed chords of Am, C, G, F hide the heaviness to come. I used to cover this in the bands I played in and it always got a reaction.

“Soldiers Daughter”

The first 40 second opening is excellent, almost country rock like as they employ an open D tuning D-A-D-F#-A-D.

The vocal melodies from Hart are emotive, about a certain someone who is there to support a hurting little girl.

The first four songs are all killer.

“Lemon Parade”

This one could have come from a Rolling Stones album, as the riffs smell on Keith Richards. And the lead section harmonies could have come from a Thin Lizzy album.

“Mountain”

There is 40 second acoustic guitar “around the campfire” intro, which reminds me of the 70’s blues rock sounds before that sound returned again with a vengeance in the 2000’s, rebranded as country rock.

And when the vocals start, it feels like a “Live” track.

“Mountain” isn’t throwaway pop music. It’s a career song. After the quite of the acoustics, it amps up.

Like a fire I’m drawn to her lust
I can’t run from her, but lord I must
Like a demon I’m drawn to her flame
I’m gonna burn calling her name

The guitars are preaching religion and the words are preaching truth about love and desire.

And then it gets quiet again, with the acoustic guitars. And then explodes again, with a lead break. Reminding me of the British blues rock bands.

“Mountain” is as fresh today as it was yesterday.

“Thick”

It reminds me of a Led Zep track in the first 30 seconds, before it moves into a groove similar to “If You Could Only See”.

“Wicked Soldier”

It’s back to the rock of “R.E.M” merged with “The Tragically Hip”.

“Mr. Golden Deal”

It’s back to the feel of “Soldiers Daughter”. More ballad country blues rock like.

“Bigot Sunshine”

It’s got a wah wah infused main riff, which scratches and wheezes its way into my brain. There are these jangly open D like chords which remind me of Rush and the great Alex Lifeson.

“Celtic Aggression”

It’s a track that’s more filler.

“My Old Man”

Hart brings the emotion to this one, a slow blues rock closer that takes you back to those 70’s albums that pushed boundaries.

If you like the rock music of the 70’s then you will like this album. Give Tonic a go.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1996 – Part 2.2: Rush – Test For Echo

“Test for Echo” was released on 10 September 1996 on Anthem Records. Rush was one of the earlier leaders in forming their own label to release and distribute their music.

Anthem was formed in 1977 and Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson became associate directors of Anthem. Apart from Rush, they also releases other Canadian acts like Max Webster.

I’ve already written about the tracks “Test For Echo” here and “Driven” here but I still haven’t done a review on it.

After taking a well earned break after “Counterparts”, Lee focused on starting a family, Lifeson went to work on a solo album and Peart studied with Freddie Gruber, the guru of swing drumming. Peart’s constant reinvention of his style is a huge component to Rush not sounding the same on each record.

“Test For Echo”

Here we go in slow mo

To me, it’s the best Rush song from the 90’s.

The guitar riffs from Alex Lifeson are so easy to digest, powerful, heavy and groovy, even when they are down tuned a whole step.

Lifeson begins the song with interesting arpeggios. He achieves the unique sounds by combining root five power chords and leaving the 1st and 2nd strings open.

Geddy Lee and Neil Peart lay down a solid foundation, especially in the Chorus, when Lifeson just plays those arpeggios and Lee and Lifeson, set the groove.

Also check out how Peart plays a subdued half time beat in the verses and then starts to pick it up double time. A good drummer could make a simple riff sound fresh by doing just that.

And of course, no Rush song is complete without the lyrics of Peart, a critique of the American justice system which turns criminals into media stars.

Some kind of trouble on the sensory screen
Camera curves over caved-in cop cars

As technology progressed so did the coverage of real time situations. It’s one of the big reasons people watched the news to begin with, to see what was breaking.

Don’t touch that dial,
We’re in denial

We didn’t touch the dial at all, we just kept upgrading our TVs, giving the TV makers billions of dollars in revenue. Because we loved having all of this entertainment in our houses. Live news was the first form of reality TV.

Now crime’s in syndication on TV

Crime and sex always got eyeballs. It didn’t matter the medium. And now with the internet, where everything is available, it feels like we are all so desensitized to it.

“Driven”

It was one of the first tracks finished for the “Test For Echo” album, featuring three separate bass tracks; the main part, the harmony part and the sub bass bottom end, and they sound as one massive bass track.

Neil Peart also plays a little bit behind the beat which gives the riffs a heavier character.

Driven up and down in circles
Skidding down a road of black ice

You know the saying of “going round in circles” well in this case, the feeling is that we are not achieving anything because someone else is controlling the wheel and we keep coming back to the same point or problem.

But it’s my turn to drive

We need to take the wheel and be in control of our choices and decisions. We need to learn from them, grow with them and take ownership of our choices and actions. There is no one to blame when it’s our turn to drive.

The change from distortion to acoustic is soothing before the fuzz kicks in. And the simple chord progression of F, G and Am makes it so accessible.

Driven to the margin of error
Driven to the edge of control
Driven to the margin of terror
Driven to the edge of a deep, dark hole

How driven or ambitious can we be, that we find ourselves driven to the edge of control, or a deep dark hole?

Driven on
By the road to somewhere I’ve never been

A simple meaning of what it means to drive. It offers us the freedom to leave our city limits and go to another city and another.

The road unwinds before me
And I go riding on

It’s what we always do, we get up and live and go riding on. And we sacrifice or give up control, a little bit of our freedom each time which brings us back to the first verse and the words of being driven up and down in circles.

And the cycle repeats.

“Half The World”

The mix of acoustics and electric is a Lifeson thing. This song along with “Totem” and “Resist” feature the 10-string Mandola that Lifeson first utilized on “Victor”.

“‘Half the World’ is one of our finest moments as songwriters as far as writing a concise song without being wimpy or syrupy.

It’s got a little bit of everything: nice melody, and yet it’s still aggressive. It’s hard for us to write that kind of song, really. You’d have to go back to ‘Closer to the Heart’ to find an example of that.Geddy Lee in “Merely Players

The Color Of Right

It’s almost a pop song with its major key Intro and Boston like riff after it.

Make it easy on yourself
There’s nothing more you can do
You’re so full of what is right
You can’t see what is true

So relevant over the last 15 years, especially in our democratically elected governments who tried to pass laws that totalitarian governments have.

Time And Motion

This is the Rush I like. Heavy enough to give all of the 90s acts a run for their money and a bit proggy.

The Intro alone is worth the price of the CD. It wouldn’t be out of place on a Dream Theater CD.

“Totem”

It’s very Celtic like.

The “angels and demons inside my head,” line is visual and sums up the song about what people should believe in.

I believe in what I see
I believe in what I hear

Religion is a very divisive subject when it comes up, depending on which side of the discussion you sit on.

“Dog Years”

At the start it’s like a punk song. Only Rush can get away with this kind of goofy subject matter.

“Virtuality”

How good is the Intro riff?

The blues swagger and jazz like swing beat.

And that line “net boy, net girl, send your signal around the world”.

I was singing it for years afterwards and whenever anyone mentioned “internet”, I would start singing it. And I would cop weird looks I’m the process.

“Resist”

Such an underrated album cut. It’s my favourite.

Geddy Lee mentioned it’s one of his favorites in the book “Merely Players”. Wikipedia tells me that Alex Lifeson states the same.

I like the Celtic like sounds that the Dulcimer brings.

“Limbo”

An instrumental, pieced together from different bits of ideas that the group had sketched out but remained unused, but it’s not “La Vila Strangiato”.

“Carve Away The Stone”

And the album is complete with a song about the Sisyphean myth. I don’t what it is and I’ve never researched it, but I’m sure it will send me down the rabbit hole if I do.

Crank it loud and don’t forget to check out “Resist”.

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

1996 – Part 2.1: Tool – Aenima

“We’ve never been a radio friendly band, which is three minutes, a three minute song. Our label always wants us to edit songs and we refuse to do that.

We grew up in a time when all our favourite albums by bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd weren’t quite radio friendly.

They were working out a lot of emotions in their music, and as long as it took for them to record the songs, whether it was three minutes or 12 or 24 or a whole side of an album, that was fine. We’re sort of getting back to that approach.”
Adam Jones – Tool; Guitar World – August 1996

“Aenima” is the follow up to the platinum selling “Undertow”. That album spawned the single “Sober” and a memorable video involving a creepy little meat puppet guy.

Released in 1996, but I heard it a year later.

It was such an eye opening album for me. Musically and sonically. An hour and 17 minutes in length. Pushing the limits of time on a CD.

And people responded. 3x Platinum in Australia and the U.S.

It’s also the first album to feature bassist Justin Chancellor, replacing Paul D’Amour, who became a victim of indie guilt as the band was getting bigger then D’Amour was comfortable with.

Chancellor joins guitarist Adam Jones, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and drummer Danny Carey. And this version of the band would go on to remain the same to this day.

Another big change is Dave Bottrill producing in place of Sylvia Massey. Jones in various interviews said he would never work with Massey again. They had outgrown what she could offer.

“Stinkfist”

Written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and the departed bassist Paul D’Amour.

The general impression I got from the lyrics (“finger deep inside the borderline”, “knuckle deep inside the borderline”, “elbow deep inside the borderline”) and the title is that the song is about “fisting” but other interpretations mentioned that is about getting your hands dirty with hard work.

A weird effect is added to the guitar for the intro just before the heavy distorted groove riff fades in. Watching em live, I saw how powerful this groove riff is, as a sea of bodies swayed and jumped in unison with it.

At 3.30 a different riff and groove comes in which makes me want to break my desk in half.

And by the end of the song, Maynard is “shoulder deep inside the borderline” as he tells the person to relax, turn around and take his hand.

Okay.

“Eulogy”

Also written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour.

Another weird effect starts it off, which sounds like it’s coming from drum pads. But it’s musical. It percolates as it builds and at 1.58 the song starts. The bass is playing a middle eastern like bass riff while the guitar is jamming on a pedal point. Maynard is singing through a loudspeaker while Carey sets a solid foundation.

When the Chorus riff kicks in at 2.40, its powerful and electric, a complete contrast to the subdued verses.

Make sure you check out the section from 6.10, when Maynard is singing “don’t you step out of line”. Allow the power of the music to fill you.

“H.”

Also written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour. It was the song that hooked me in. The fuzzed out groove in the intro had me turning the volume knob higher. But it’s the King Crimson and Pink Floyd like verses that got me to pick up the guitar to learn it.

I don’t know lyrically what it is all about, but from the various interpretations I have read, it’s got to do with those angels or devils sitting on your shoulder, that whole Ego and Id and Super Ego argument from Sigmund Freud.

Venomous voice, tempts me,
Drains me, bleeds me,
Leaves me cracked and empty.
Drags me down like some sweet gravity.

Which part do we allow to control us?

Which voice do we listen to?

When the Chorus kicks in. Its powerful and head banging.

Then there is the “I don’t mind” section from 4.50. Check it out.

“Forty Six &2”

Now we get to the first song on the album that is written by the band that recorded it, which is Keenan, Jones, Carey and Chancellor.

And what a way for Justin Chancellor to announce himself.

The bass riff to start off this song.

Wow.

If you like “Stockholm Syndrome” from Muse, then you’ve heard Tool. If you like “Home” and “The Great Debate” from Dream Theater then you’ve heard Tool. If you like “Live Or Die” from Reach then you’ve heard Tool. This riff spawned a lot of songs across metal, hard rock, melodic rock and progressive rock.

And the title.

Doesn’t it make you curious. It sure made me curious from the outset. It’s so bizarre.

So, if you like theories then check this one out from Carl Jung. The premise is humans would deviate from the current state of human DNA which contains 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. The next step of evolution would likely result in human DNA being reorganized into 46 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. And by doing so, it changes everything. Check out people’s views on 46 and 2.

Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to.
Forty-six & 2 ahead of me.

“Hooker With A Penis”

I met a boy wearing Van, 501, And a dope Beastie T,
Nipple rings, New tattoos that claimed that he Was OGT,
Back from ’92, From the first EP.
And in between sips of Coke he told me that he thought we were sellin’ out,

The song refers to a fan who accused the band of selling out after their first EP.

I sold out long before you’d ever even heard my name
I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit, then you bought one

Truth right there.

Before anyone accuses a band of selling out, remember they had to sell their rights for a very long time just so people could hear them in the first place.

“Jimmy”

A character from an earlier song on “Undertow”.

Eleven and she was gone.
Eleven is when we waved good-bye.
Eleven is standing still,
Waiting for me to free him,
By coming home.

The ghost known as Eleven is waiting to show him the truth. Very different to “Charlotte The Harlot” and “22 Acacia Avenue”. By the 90’s Tool was singing about “Prison Sex” and “Jimmy”.

“Pushit”

Another song written by the “Undertow” band in Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour.

The title is a combination of “Put Shit”.

How good is the intro riff?

When the drums come in, they set a slow percolating groove. The song could be a non-identical twin of “H.” musically.

Pushing and shoving
Pushing me
There’s no love in fear

Can the song be as simple as an argument in a relationship and that the relationship ends with one saying to the other “I love you” while they claw at their throat. Because it can’t end in no other way.

“Aenima”

An earthquake comes to wash away the fake and superficial people of Los Angeles. This one is also written by the “Undertow” version of the band, in Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour. New bassist Chancellor had to audition with this song.

The title Ænima is a combination of the words ‘anima’ (Latin for ‘soul’ and associated with the ideas of “life force”, and a term often used by psychologist Carl Jung) and ‘enema’, the medical procedure involving the injection of fluids into the rectum.

Take whatever meaning you want from that.

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
Any fucking time, any fucking day
Learn to swim, I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.

And the band goes to town against everything that is celebrity culture, drug addicts, rappers and even Scientology (“Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones”) and asking Mother Earth to just wash em all away

“Third Eye”

The spiritual “Third Eye”.

Can magic mushrooms be the key to opening the third eye?

You have 13 minutes and 50 seconds to find out.

Crank it, take some drugs and enjoy.

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

2001 – Part 2.4: Live – V

To me it’s all just rock music in the end.

“V” is album number five, released in 2001. The band for the album is Ed Kowalczyk on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Chad Taylor on lead guitar, Patrick Dahlheimer on bass and Chad Gracey on drums. Like most of the albums, the majority of tracks are written by Ed Kowalczyk.

Wikipedia tells me that the collection of songs that became “V” was never intended to be released as an album. Guitarist Chad Taylor said, “The goal was to prepare songs for the next studio session. MCA got a hold of the material and pushed us to call it an album.” The songs were originally going to be released free to fans as a collection called “Ecstatic Fanatic”.

“Deep Enough”

One of their most creative songs. I was hooked from the intro.

It basically starts off with a music box piano riff, and then a Middle East music melody crashes in, which keeps repeating under a catchy verse vocal line which I’m pretty sure Karnivool was influenced by for the verse melody on “Themata”.

And the track was meant to be the album’s first single but the record company pulled rank and released “Simple Creed” instead which proved to be a big mistake.

Maybe they got scared from the lyrical nature of the song, about skirts rising and male appendage excitement rising with it.

“People Like You”

It feels like a Guns N Roses song from the “Use Your Illusion” album. In the Chorus, Ed even sounds like Axl.

In a dream I had you were standing all alone
With a dyin’ world below and a microphone
Singin’ hallelujah
I finally broke their mold

We take and cop so much crap as we go through life. People try to shape us to some version that they believe is true. Be unique, be free and don’t let others drag you down.

People like you! people like you! Motherfuckers like you! people like you!

It’s my favourite part of the song, when Ed sings the melody for the above lyrics and the guitar plays the octave guitar melody. And yes, he does say “motherfuckers”

“Transmit Your Love”

This track could have been an album cut on “Secret Samadhi”.

“Forever May Not Be Long Enough”

The piano riff to start the song is excellent.

It’s a co-write with Glen Ballard, who everyone wanted to work with after “Jagged Little Pill” blew up around the world in 1995.

In 1997, Aerosmith worked with him on the very underrated “Nine Lives” album and it’s the song “Taste Of India” which Ballard co-wrote with Steve Tyler and Joe Perry, that I’m reminded off when I hear this song, which was also played during the closing credits of “The Mummy Returns” movie.

“Call Me A Fool”

The Beatles influences come through on this.

“OK”

Musically, this is Live bringing the funk and soul.

Take away my TV
don’t want your fuckin’ therapy
it’s all decay decay decay
not today, not today

Kids listening to this song today, won’t even know why someone would want their TV taken away. For them, the TV is like how the radio was for others, background noise. Most of our attentions are fixated on our small black screens.

“Overcome”

It’s got a piano riff and violins to set the mood and a nice vocal melody, but the lyrics about “holy water in lungs” are way to pretentious.

“Hero of Love”

The Beatles are back again for the album closer. Listen to this song for the Chorus.

“Throwing Copper” at 8x Platinum in the U.S was never going to be topped. It was part of a cultural movement. And “Secret Samadhi” is a great album, but it only went 2x Platinum in the U.S.

No small feat, but a massive drop in commercial expectations. “The Distance To Here” is at Platinum for U.S sales. “V” has no certification, not even a Gold.

And their commercial trajectory was similar to the 80’s bands on albums four and five except Metallica who had their biggest success with album number 5.

But they still do good live business, when live shows used to happen.

Because of “Throwing Copper”.

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

Australian Method Series: Jet – Shaka Rock

“When we were 15 or 16 we were playing covers – not so much grunge, which was very much what was happening at the time.

We were more into The Band and an Australian band called You Am I, and a band called Sloan from Canada, which were a huge influence.”
Nic CesterInterview in the Songwriting Magazine

The debut album “Get Born” released in 2003 went nuts everywhere. In Australia, it’s six times platinum. The songs reminded everyone of other songs that came before and of an era that was seen as innocent and golden.

Every great riff or drum beat was put into the Jet blender.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” became even bigger when it got used by Apple for its iPod ads. When people started to talk about its originality and influences, it became even bigger.

The follow up, “Shine On” released in 2006, is a favourite of mine, even though it didn’t do great numbers commercially like the debut. In Australia, it’s certified platinum, but the press outside Australia was scathing, having them labelled as one hit wonders already. Wolfmother copped the same treatment.

And once the tour finished, the band members went their separate ways. No one spoke to each other for 9 months. They eventually organised to meet at Nic Cester’s place in Italy. They yelled and screamed at each other and made up. Without any label interest, they produced and financed their next album.

“Shaka Rock” came out in 2009. Australian fans certified this album Platinum. To a lot of people, it’s still virtually unknown.

“Shaka” is basically a hand gesture in which the thumb and little finger are extended outwards from a closed fist, used to express approval, solidarity, etc.

“K.I.A” has the bass dominating with a Rage Against The Machine like groove. And vocally, Nic Cester wails and barks his way through the verses while singing his way through the Chorus.

“Beat On Repeat” sounds like a song from The Clash. It’s got that pop punk vibe.

“She’s A Genius” brings a riff which is reminiscent to “My Sharona” from The Knack. “Ain’t My Bitch” from Metallica also had a riff groove like “My Sharona”.

The origins of the riff goes back all the way to 1966 and The Spencer Davis Group with their song, “Gimme Some Lovin”.

“Black Hearts (On Fire)” brings a Molly Hatchett Southern Blues Rock boogie.

The opening bars of “Seventeen” remind me of “Fantasy” from Aldo Nova and “Cold As Ice” from Foreigner.

The Beatles like intro to “La Di Da” is familiar.

“Goodbye Hollywood” has this U2 like vocal as Cester says goodbye to the addictions that came with his fame.

“It just didn’t fit me like it should”

“Walk” has this “Come Together” like swagger.

“Times Like This” is “Long Train Running” from The Doobie Brothers and I like it.

“Let Me Out” has this “Jessie’s Girl”, “My Best Friends Girlfriend” and a bit of “Born To Run” chucked in. Take those little influences and create something new.

“Start the Show” sounds like “Supergrass” making love to “T.Rex” with a little bit of “Cold Chisel” thrown in.

And the final song, “She Holds a Grudge”, is very Rolling Stones ballad like.

The whole album is so easy to listen to and at 41 minutes, it just rolls and rocks.

After “Shaka Rock” and the tour, the band went on hiatus or in their own words, “discontinued as a group”.

Until 2017.

When they reformed for some one off shows and opening gigs for Bruce Springsteen.

And they then played sold out shows around Australia in 2018 and released the album “Get Born Live”.

Check out the Shaka 🤙.

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

Australian Method Series – Bad Juju

I only got into these guys last year. The cover got me interested.

There is a normal looking human hand reaching out from dark grey water and another human hand trying to pull up the person, who is submerged. Then there are two other hands, withered and decaying and white, trying to keep the submerged person in the water and trying to bring the unsubmerged person also into the water. And this takes place in front of a red moon.

I pressed play on the EP called “You’re Not Alone” (released in September 2020) and became a fan. I mentioned it in my September 2020 post. Prior to this, they had another EP release called “Hidden Desire” in 2018, which I pressed play on today, but it’s nowhere near as accomplished as this EP.

So I did some reading.

They are from Melbourne, Australia. A lot of the websites have them listed as an emo act or a pop punk act or an alternative Brit Pop act but this album is basically anthemic rock.

“Disappoint”

The layered guitars of the intro is enough to get me interested. It reminds me of bands like Anberlin.

I don’t want to disappoint you
I don’t want to ask the question where I already know the answer

None of us want to be hated. Acceptance is important. It’s instilled in us from birth. If we are not part of a group, then something must be wrong with us. But that’s not the case.

Sirens

Another catchy guitar layered intro hooks me in which also serves as the chorus music.

Picture Us

It feels like a Brit Pop 90’s song, mixed with The Cure and a little bit My Chemical Romance and Blink 182.

Dawn

My favourite song.

The fuzzed out intro reminds me of Bowie and The Wallflowers. The song deals with being lonely at night and giving life to those dark thoughts. And it’s another song, created on a bed of layered guitars.

Bad Juju’s vocalist Russell Holland mentioned that the song was influenced by a text message which said, “Do you get lonely? Because I get lonely too”.

What do you do when a friend is using drugs to deal with isolation.

The “wo oh” slow interlude section needs to be heard.

Say It”

It feels like a track from “Mellon Collie” from The Smashing Pumpkins. There is also some Blur, maybe some Cure and New Order and maybe a bit of a grungy alternative rock sound if anything.

The truth is I’m not fine and it’s not okay / tell me what you want to be hearing I will say it like I fucking mean it” is the hook in the Chorus.

It’s basically a FU to “Are You Okay?” day.

Because the truth is, we always have doubts and fears.

Let’s Talk”

It’s a pop song about giving up on a toxic relationship.

“I’ve been feeling really really shitty, since you came and moved to this city”

And eventually, he’s leaving town on the interstate, with the window down and a feeling of freedom as to what is next.

After two EP’s, I am interested to hear what is next.

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

The Record Vault – Crawlspace

They appeared on a show called “Hey Hey, It’s Saturday”, performing the song “Afraid”.

There is a YouTube clip of it. They are from Western Australia.

This EP/single release is the only release I’m aware of.

“Afraid” is a cool little rock song with a pop influence. I enjoyed it back then and showed my support by purchasing.

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

The Record Vault – Cold

On Geffen Records.

“13 Ways To Bleed On Stage” is the album in which their spider logo made its first appearance.

It was a bargain bin purchase in Australia even though it was a Gold selling album in the U.S.

I really liked the Staind/Bush vibe of the album.

Scooter Ward on vocals sounded a lot like em but I didn’t care.

“No One”, “End Of The World” and “Confession” stood out right away. Modern rock songs.

“It’s All Good” has a vocal melody in the verses which is catchy.

“Bleed” has an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. As the album closer it is my favourite.

So I went down a rabbit hole listening to their catalogue on Spotify.

On a side note, guitarist Terry Balsamo would depart after the 2003 follow up “Year Of The Spider” to fill the vacant guitarist spot left by Ben Moody in Evanescence.

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

The Record Vault – Conception

“In Your Multitude” is the first album I heard from Conception but it’s their third album.

It’s not on Spotify Australia, but YouTube has it.

And the CD had an insert with advertising of those previous albums called “Parallel Minds” and “The Last Sunset” along with some other artists on the “NOISE” label. 

Conception is from Norway and they started off as a power metal band.

Record after record, the band slowly incorporated progressive elements to their music. But it’s not progressive like a thousand notes per minute progressive. Its progressive in its poly rhythms and the atmospheric song structures. It’s the progressive style I like. Even bands like Styx and Toto had these kind of progressive moments albeit more Rock than Metal.

“In Your Multitude” is a fine progressive metal album. And if a person was new to the progressive metal genre, this album is a good entry point.

“Under a Mourning Star” kicks off the album with a syncopated guitar riff which reminds me of the “Metropolis, Pt: 1” verse riff from Dream Theater. Guitarist Tore Ostby takes centre stage here and vocalist Roy Kahn delivers a great melody in the verses and the Chorus.

“Missionary Man” has a heavy palm muted riff under a Kashmir style drum beat. And the Zeppelin influences continue with the vocal delivery and the exotic scales used. It’s perfect.

“Retrospect” starts off with a progressive riff, before it moves into a Queensryche “I Don’t Believe In Love” verse.

“Guilt” is one of the heavy songs, with a groove straight from a Pantera album and melodic vocals.

“Sanctuary” is a short acoustic song, that gives Ostby a chance to play some nice arpeggios and flamenco styled licks, while Roy Kahn delivers a haunting vocal line.

“A Million Gods’’ is the most progressive track on the album. At 7.45 minutes, it doesn’t feel like it’s that long. And the chorus is memorable. Also check out the bass playing in the verse. It takes centre stage, the way Ostby took centre stage on “Under A Mourning Star”. 

“Some Wounds” has a heavy verse and an arena rock chorus. 

“Carnal Comprehension” is a hard rock song with some nice guitar hero moments. This would become the sound on the next album which alienated a lot of fans.

“Solar Serpent” has a great bass riff in the verse and a melodic chorus. It reminds me of Accept and Judas Priest, with acoustic guitars, fast bass and drums and fast electric guitar solos.

“In Your Multitude” closes the album with its Pink Floyd influences in the intro before the full band kicks in after a minute, sort of like Black Sabbath’s “Sign Of The Southern Cross”. Make sure you check out the guitar solo that goes on and on after 4 minutes.

And they did one more album in the 90’s called “Flow” and then disappeared for a long time. Members went into the band’s Kamelot, Ark and Royal Hunt.

And in the last 4 years they have re-appeared.

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

The Record Vault – The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect are from Brisbane, Australia. Formed in 1999, they dropped their debut EP in 2001.

“Crave” is from their “Begins Here” album released in 2003. The next song “Saved” didn’t appear on any album until their 2016 release, “B Sides, Live and Rarities”. “The Cell” and “Take It Away” appeared on their six song EP, released in 2001. It was “Take It Away” from the EP, which got me interested in the band. 

“Imago” was released in 2006.

It debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts.

You could hear in this album that the band was progressing in their song writing department. You can hear the onus on more melody. Getting older, playing live, building on experiences and relationships all enhance the song writing.

But it wasn’t so smooth making the album.

“I think, as a grown man, I can probably say it would have been the most stressful seven weeks of my life”

Drummer Ben Hall 

Joe Barresi was hired to produce the album. He heard the demoes the band sent and was enthusiastic to work with them. He just finished recording Tool’s “10,000 Days” album and the band flew to LA as soon as a slot came up in Barresi’s calendar.

But the band wasn’t really ready to start recording at this point in time. And Barresi sure let them know it. The band started to not enjoy the process, but the experience with Barresi, showed them gaps in their commitments which they used to realign their goals with their music career.

From the opening one minute instrumental “Imago”, to “Aisles Of White” to “Gone” to “A Slow Descent”, it’s a four punch combo. The ending of “A Slow Descent” is excellent. But the album gets better. “Before They Knew” and “In A Memory” are my favourite cuts on this album. 

“In A Memory” has this bass riff inspired by Tool as it rumbles along and leads the song. But when you think the song is over at the 3.30 minute mark, it moves into this beautiful section which starts with chords and then arpeggios and a haunting vocal melody. And it’s got an ending as good as “A Slow Descent”. And those endings are pure gold.

It’s just a memory of all that we could have been

It’s just a memory and all that we could have been

It’s just a memory, I’ve seen

It’s just a memory, I’ll see 

The way these words are delivered is haunting, like a dream you’ve just had and you are not sure when you wake up, if it’s a real memory or a dream memory.

As good as “Imago” is, their piece d resistance album is “Final Conversation Of Kings” released in 2008.

I have no photo to share of this album because I gave it and the debut EP to my ex drummer, along with “The Dirt” hardcover book from Motley Crue, a  Rush “Live in Rio” DVD and a Coheed and Cambria live DVD. I should have gotten my stuff back first, before I booted him.

And speaking of band members not getting on, The Butterfly Effect had some issues between founding guitarist Kurt Goedhart and lead vocalist Clint Boge. So it was no surprise that the band members went their separate ways, until a few years ago, when they released a new song and announced a tour around Oz. 

Welcome back. 

Standard