Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Review in 40 Words, Unsung Heroes

80’s Forgotten Playlist

Spotify Playlist

A lot of good music came out in the 80’s that is more or less lost or forgotten or known as semi-obscure. Hell, there is no way the Spotify algorithm will be able to find it and pick it up.

Blame MTV. The show became popular because it had “hit video clips”. In order to get onto the show, bands needed a hit single. So even though bands went away and recorded a very solid album without any hit singles, the most commercial sounding song and sometimes with the most clichéd lyrics would end up as the single. And if the song resonated, people would highly likely go and check out the album or the back catalogue. This was good for sales and the record labels made a lot of money.

However, the MTV rules still apply today. We’ve come full circle. If you have a hit single today, you will rack up a billion streams on Spotify, which might get people interested into checking out the whole album or the back catalogue. But in most cases, people will be happy with the “hit” single and a lot of music is not heard. Remember a few years ago when Spotify did a check on their data and found over 20 million songs that haven’t even been heard. Think about the number. 20 million songs not even heard. That’s the competition for any new band. With so many bands/artists creating music, how do you rise above the 20 plus million songs that no one has even heard?

Does your latest release just add to the 20 million never heard pile or does it rise above?

And you need people to push it, talk about it and promote it.

Secret Loser
Killer Of Giants

Both tracks are from Ozzy Osbourne’s forgotten “Ultimate Sin” album released in 1986.

“Shot In the Dark” got the glory as the lead single and is probably the reason why the album is not available on CD anymore depending on who you believe. Overland brothers vs Osbourne, or Soussan vs Osbourne, or Overland vs Soussan.

At one stage in the late 90’s, this album was deleted and you couldn’t get any new copies. One of the Australian mags mentioned it’s because of Sharon Osbourne’s contract disputes with Bob Daisley and Jake E.Lee. Maybe it was the authorship issue of “Shot In The Dark”.

Who remembers the movie “The Wraith”?

Charlie Sheen stars in it, as a person who comes back to life to avenge his death at the hands of a car gang (who got away with the murder). He kills his murderers by racing each gang member to death. Well, “Secret Loser” appears during one such car race and it connected right away with me.

How good is the riff?

Trapped in a lonely body
I’m losing control
Can’t show my emotions
And I’m losing my soul
Could it be that I’m obsessed with feeding my disease
I couldn’t make it known the hidden things no one sees

Daisley was pretty good at writing autobiographical stories of Ozzy. I think this one is no different, especially the line about how Ozzy is obsessed with feeding the disease and in this case, the disease is the persona of Ozzy being constantly intoxicated, drugged out and doing something publicly embarrassing.

I can understand that what you see
You think is real
But underneath the surface is a wound
That cannot heal

It’s almost like being a fly on a wall in a shrink therapy session. Just imagine the big bad rock star with an image of decadence and debauchery breaking down within the confines of four walls and a chair.

“Killer Of Giants” is as good and as classic as “Diary of A Madman” in my view. Musically, it’s excellent. It’s got that acoustic introduction, social and political lyrics courtesy of Bob Daisley, a great chorus and excellent guitar playing from Jake E. Lee

If none of us believe in war
The can you tell me what the weapon’s for
Listen to me everyone
If the button is pushed
There’ll be nowhere left to run

Daisley, grew up with the threat of the button being pushed. For the generation of today, the threat of nuclear war is in the past, forgotten. Then again, my kids asked me recently, what would happen if we go to war with North Korea?

Killer of giants threatens us all
Mountains of madness standing so tall
Rising so proudly it has nowhere to fall
This killer of giants

At the moment our leaders are having a war of words with “rogue nations”. While sticks and stones hurt, a barrage of words can undo all truth. Especially words tainted with lies. Sometimes, people never recover. Say the right words, make a difference and doors can open. Say the wrong words and watch doors shut and a very darker difference will be seen.

Jake E. Lee got really shafted with his time in Ozzy. He has no song writing credits for the “Bark At The Moon” album, which he should. And for “The Ultimate Sin” he has the credits, however the Osbourne camp are doing their best to kill off the album and hide it.

Little Fighter
Cry For Freedom

What can I say about White Lion that I haven’t said before?

With Vito Bratta, the band had one of the best guitarists ever. He knew how to decorate a song and his leads are little masterpieces themselves. The other key ingredient to me was when Mike Tramp wrote lyrics about society, the injustices in society and how if we don’t do something right now to protect our world, there will not be a world to protect.

And maybe these serious themes proved to be the downfall of White Lion. I remember Vito Bratta saying in an interview when White Lion played Castle Donnington. They came on after Skid Row and before AC/DC and while the crowd got into the party lifestyle lyrics of Skid Row and Acca, they just didn’t resonate when White Lion sang about Greenpeace or apartheid in South Africa.

Rise again little fighter
And let the world know the reason why
Shine again little fighter
And don’t let ’em end the things you do

The lyrics are written in a way that it can be about many different situations. It could be an inspirational message to a person who is down on their luck. It could be the words in the head of a boxer after he/she have been knocked to the canvas or words to a child who didn’t make the elite team.

The fire is burning
We lay our weapons down to rest
This war ain’t over
‘Till all the people will be free

“Cry For Freedom” is very Dylan’esque in it’s lyrics. South Africa and it’s apartheid policies always made the news in Australia. And when people have nothing else left except to fight for freedom and equality, then there is a high chance they would do so. The truth is, we are never free. Speak to anyone in debt and ask them if they feel free. Our lives are at the mercy of the banking system. In South Africa, racism was used to imprison people.

Our brothers in prison
But no crime was ever done
I call it racism
Ashamed I face my fellow man

Even in our democratic countries people are jailed for no crimes and unfortunately racism will not go away.

Musically, Vito Bratta kills it. All of those people calling him an EVH clone got no idea. It’s like calling LeBron James the next Jordan. Both can shoot threes, slam dunks and do all of the wonderful things players do. But both are different. Same deal with EVH and Bratta. EVH was technical but more aggressive in his style. Hearing EVH play sometimes, I used to get an image of him punching his guitar. The sense of melody that Bratta exhibits is fluent and theoretical. He worked within the modes most of the time, like Rhoads did which made it very melodic.

Bang Go The Bells
Desperate

Babylon A.D is one of those bands that fall into the “should have made it” category. They even caught the attention of Arista Records president and industry music mogul Clive Davis, who signed them at a live showcase in Los Angeles. Hell, their lyrics suited the era to a tee and the musicianship was/is top-notch. The problem (and not really their fault) is too many bands sounded the same and the music consumers/the fans started to get burned on the scene. “Bang Go The Bells” and “Desperate” are from the debut album, released in 1989.

Here we sit in this smoky bar
Two souls drifting through the world alone
Here we talk about life and love

Loneliness is humanities greatest disease. If someone is there, we wouldn’t be lost in the dangers of our own thoughts.

When your dreams seem far away
Take a moment to look over your shoulder
‘Cause, honey, you know I’m desperate too
Everybody’s desperate just like you

It’s not a sign of weakness to say we don’t want to be alone.

“Bang Go the Bells” is written by vocalist Derek Davis, guitarist Ron Freschi and bassist Robb Reid. “Desperate” is written by Derek Davis and songwriter Jack Ponti. Yes, the same Jack Ponti who co-wrote “Shot Through The Heart” with Jon Bon Jovi and went on to co-write the majority of the “Hey Stoopid” album with Alice Cooper and Vic Pepe.

From a guitar point of view, Dan De La Rosa and Ron Freschi bring all of the hard rock flavourings to both songs.

Speak For Yourself
Blood Of Emeralds

From Gary Moore. The songs are from “After The War” released in 1989. “Speak For Yourself” is written by Neil Carter and Gary Moore.

How good is the riff?

It’s a speed rock song and it’s lyrics are still relevant today.

Look around across the nation
Another league of morons marching,
Banners in hand.
Looking for another scapegoat,
Try to take away the things they don’t understand.

The older I get, the more I realize, I’ve got no idea where it’s all going and neither do the people we vote in, who are all beholden to the corporation which pays the most.

Somewhere in the darkness,
There’s a voice that’s crying to be heard.
You feel it deep inside you,
A voice that just won’t be denied.

Speak for yourself.
Someone will hear you,
Someone will listen.
Speak for yourself.
Who knows, you might change your world.

So true and so relevant today. People have exercised their voices with votes, but our leaders are not the problem. It’s the rich corporations in the background that are the problem. Then again when you get leaders who came from rich corporations, mmm, what does that say about the state of the world?

But in all seriousness, people power stopped bad legislation in SOPA and PIPA. People power started to ramp up to stop the Trans Pacific Agreement legislation because it was negotiated in secret and with the corporations present and then Trumpy came into power and killed it dead. Only to replace it with something worse, which we don’t know about yet.

They try to take away your freedom.
They try to tell you what you can
Or what you can’t hear.
Don’t let this moral suffocation
Make you turn out just like them,
Is that what they fear?

The internet has given people a voice. In the process a new on-demand culture was created. People are connected socially over vast distances instantly. And we love it. But corporations who have business models based on control don’t like it and they go straight to their lobby groups to get laws written to benefit their business models. They use laws promoted to benefit the people to take away the freedoms of the people.

For example, in Australia, the large retailers lobby group didn’t like Australians purchasing products from overseas at a cheaper price, so they lobbied hard to get a tax added to overseas purchases. In the end, this tax just made the overseas companies set up a presence in Australia as a big FU.

Copyright is morphing into a censorship law. Videos and posts get taken down due to copyright complaints, however when it’s investigated why the video or the post got taken down, it’s found that the person complaining didn’t like what was being said so they used copyright as a censorship tool.

“Blood Of Emeralds” is written by Carter and Moore again and its more or less an autobiographical song about his time with Phil Lynott.

I was down and out on Skid Row,
But I held on to my pride.
The darkest son of Ireland,
He was standin’ by my side.
We would sail the stormy seas.
Never looking back,
We were afraid of what we’d see.
Through the thunder and the rain,
The deepest blood of emeralds
Was running through our veins.

He covers his time in “Skid Row” (not the U.S band), moving on to Thin Lizzy with Phil Lynott, the darkest son of Ireland and how they would cross into the U.S.

I was angry, I was sad,
Just thinking about the times we had.
I felt so lost and lonely too,
What could I say, what could I do?
And after all, the time goes by.
No one knows the reasons why.
You lived each day like there was no tomorrow.
You spent those years living on time you borrowed.
And in your eyes, all I could see was sorrow.

Phil’s passing and how it affected him.

Gary Moore in the 90’s went all blues and in interviews after the success of “Still Got The Blues”, he was very hateful to his original (he spoke highly of his covers) 80’s hard rock output. Regardless, Gary Moore (along with John Sykes, Randy Rhoads, George Lynch and Vito Bratta) are big influences to me. My guitar style is basically an amalgamation of those 5 guitarists.

With Spotify these days, I have no idea who plays on the songs, like I did in the past. On this album, Gary Moore had Neil Carter on keyboards, Bob Daisley on bass, Cozy Powell on drums, but Cozy didn’t drum on the two songs mentioned above. That was Simon Phillips, who would do also do work with AC/DC during the “Blow Up Your Video” era and Dio during the “Lock Up The Wolves era plus a tonne of sessions for other artists. Don Airey is also on keys for three songs. Hell, what a supergroup.

I Walk Alone
Badboy Breakout

I must admit I am a sucker for polished hair metal as it became known. “Tear the House Down” was the debut and only release from Hericane Alice and released in 1990 I believe, so I cheated on putting this one in this list. Anyway the band is one of many that got a major label deal late in the 80’s and were largely ignored by the record buying public.

The band was formed in Minneapolis in 1984 and after relocating to LA in 88, they got a deal with Atlantic Records in 1989. After the debut, the band recorded some demos with producer Neal Kernon for album number 2, however the shift in music happened and Atlantic passed on the option.

Sometimes your dreams can come true
You’re in heaven, for so long
Nightmares could happen to you
Just remember, life is long

The above is from “I Walk Alone”.

The career trajectory of Hericane Alice was like a dream come true, getting signed and recording an album with major label backing. However, the heaven of a major label turned into a nightmare.

No one can make it alone. We all need someone to listen to us, someone to speak to when we are down and out. Life is scary. Just google all the studies after studies that talk about suicides. People are killing themselves because they’ve lost all hope.

Meanwhile “Badboy Breakout” while great musically has lyrics about a load that’s ready to explode. Still, I am a fan of hair metal. (what a stupid name for music that’s more or less rock).

Ready Or Not
Sign Of The Times

“Out Of This World” was the follow-up to “The Final Countdown” and Europe needed hits to keep the momentum going.

Released in 1988, “Superstitious” took all the glory right off the bat, while a re-recording of “Open Your heart” failed to inspire the record buying public, except me, who has a 7 inch single of it, along with “Superstitious”. Other singles, “Let The Good Times Rock” and “More Than Meets The Eye” also failed to connect and the album didn’t do as well commercially as the previous album.

But to me, “Ready Or Not” and “Sign Of The Times” are the stand out tracks. But you had to be a fan to hear them as they only appeared on the album.

Rock me till I hit that floor
Rock me till I take no more
Rock this hungry heart of mine
Rock me down right to the ground
Rock me like you never done before
Then rock me just a little more

It more or less sums up the rock and roll show.

“Sign Of The Times” also has a signature keyboard lick that should have been as popular as “The Final Countdown” riff.

It’s the way that we make things right
It’s the way that we hold on tight
I know, it’s the sign of the times
It’s the way that we make things turn
It’s the way that we live and learn
I know, it’s the sign of the times

The sign of the times to me is when all our hope’s run out we just need to love one another to get through the day. It’s the way we live and learn. I guess we need a lot more of it these days.

The World Of You and I

It’s from “In God We Trust” released in 1988. The title track, “Always There For You” and “I Believe In You” might have had the attention and the MTV dial a song codes, but this song is a little melodic rock gem hidden on Side 2. And Stryper didn’t need auto tune to sound so in tune. It was all natural and kudos to Michael Sweet for penning such a gem.

You’re out there all alone
Searching endlessly for a home

There’s nothing like been away from home to actually miss what you have.

We Are Strong

Hurricane had some big name pedigree in it’s ranks. The brothers of Rudy Sarzo (Robert Sarzo) and Carlos Cavazo (Tony Cavazo) took the guitar and bass positions in a role reversal to what their older brothers played. If Rudy played bass, Robert played guitar and if Carlos played guitar, Tony played bass.

“We Are Strong” has got that “You Give Love A Bad Name” vibe and it’s a great piece of melodic arena rock.

Facing hard times
Hold on
Time’s still on our side

It’s easy to walk away and destroy what’s been built. So many walk away for reasons that are important to them and some need to do it to escape a hostile situation.

We’ve got to stick it out

Some might be saying for what. Sometimes people are stronger when they go their own ways, reset and restart.

Cry In Shame

It’s from Johnny Diesel And The Injectors, an Australian guitarist/singer who has this bluesy soul rock vibe that just works. And the problem with Australian artists breaking big in the U.S is the deals they sign with Australian labels, who then make it hard for the U.S labels to get a bigger piece of the contract.

Pickin’ up the pieces
Up off the floor
How was I to know
There was gonna be a war
Words of sorrow
Words of spite
Ringin’ in my head
Right through the night

Who hasn’t been in this situation? For me, it was more in the earlier days. As I get older, certain things that used to bother me don’t even get a blip on my radar.

Up all night
With a conscience fight
Just can’t sleep
So I put on the light

It’s so true after an argument. You can’t sleep as you replay it in your head and you get angry at the missed opportunity to say your piece properly when it mattered.

Time To Surrender

Poor, Kip Winger. His face was on a dart board as Lars Ulrich threw darts at him while Beavis and Butthead created a whole show around him. But man, the dude could sing and along with Reb Beach, they became a pretty good songwriting team, crafting some brilliant AOR/Rock gems. But this song is more in the vein of the hair metal vibe and it works.

The lyrics deal with leaving and someone needing to surrender to keep the relationship going, which at the start it looks like Kip is asking the woman to surrender, but by the end of the song, it’s Kip who has surrendered.

Regardless of the lyrics, the melodies and the music work and it’s a good hidden Winger gem from a pretty excellent debut album.

Rock Me

From Great White’s 1987 album “Once Bitten”.

We’d be so good together if we had the time
‘Cause being alone is a nowhere state of mind

Relationships need time investment. If you are not committed to invest, it normally ends.

I search the world for someone I’ll never find
Someone who ain’t the hurting kind

People get hurt all the time. Physical injuries heal, but our thoughts and feelings also get injured. These hidden injuries never really heal. The anxiety and doubt our thoughts and feelings put forth, amplify if they are not checked.

Rock me, rock me, roll me through the night

When the big chorus comes in, it works to a tee.

Great White in the 80’s and 90’s produced some good output even when the musical climate shifted to Seattle.

Today two versions exist, Jack Russell’s Great White and Mark Kendall’s version of Great White. And unfortunately, they are more remembered recently for the Station nightclub fire in 2003 that killed a lot of their fans when pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage.

Run To Paradise

Choirboys are from Australia. This is from their 1987 album “Big Bad Noise”. The song is a classic in Australia, however in other parts of the world it’s unknown or it doesn’t exist. But it should. The song more or less sums up life for a lot of people. It has the partner you liked and how they sort of liked you, the friend who has an addiction problem, the parent who is losing control of their child as they get older and the other friend who drifts away as they get older.

And Paradise can be a city, a town or a place in time in the past that was just perfect, before the big bad world got in the way.

Baby, you were always gonna be the one
You only ever did it just for fun
But you run to paradise

The immortal opening lines of the song. The chord progression is similar to “Crazy Train” moving from the A to the E to the D.

Jenny, I’ll meet you at the grocery store
You don’t need a friend when you can score
You run to paradise

About the friend who isn’t a friend when they are high.

Jesus say’s it’s gonna be all right
He’s gonna pat my back so I can walk in the light
But it’s not alright sometimes.

The Morning After
Closer To My Heart
Looking For Love

“The Morning After” is from the 3x U.S platinum “Out Of The Cellar” released in 1984. “Closer To My Heart” is from the 2x U.S platinum “Invasion Of Your Privacy” album released in 1985 and “Looking For Love” is from the 1x U.S platinum “Dancing Undercover”.

Let’s start off with “The Morning After”.

How good is that intro riff?

The song is credited to Crosby, DeMartini and Pearcy so I have no idea who wrote the intro riff but as a betting man and after reading Pearcy’s biography, I’ll put money on Crosby as Pearcy described him as the Ratt and Roller Riff Meister.

Also that little harmony lead at the end of the solo is brilliant.

Lyrically, Pearcy talks about going home with someone, lifting skirts and then leaving the morning after, when it’s time.

“Closer To My Heart” is written by Crosby and Pearcy and while it may be classed as a ballad today, it was never viewed as a ballad back in the day.

I listen to you, are you listening to me
The way that you are, it’s easy to see
Feelings for you, now I feel free
I’m lost in time

Love is a two-way street. Both sides have a chance to speak and both sides are meant to listen. In the Ballad of Stephen Pearcy, his partner is not listening to him anymore and he’s fallen out of love.

Indecision, it’s all been heard
No more confusion, the page has turned

Moving on is the hardest thing to do in relationships. Friends pick sides and a sense of familiarity is replaced with the unfamiliar.

“Looking For Love” is written by Crosby, Pearcy and bassist Juan Croucier.

I’m lookin’ for you
You’re lookin’ for me
It’s nothing new
You’re only looking for love
I know it’s true
You know it’s me
I know it’s you
You’re only looking for love

It’s a pop chorus full of clichés and overused rhymes and as good as any pop chorus today. Croucier was also an underrated songwriter within the band, producing a lot of songs and due to whatever politics those songs wouldn’t get considered. So while the singles from the album took all the thunder, the above three tracks should not be seen as poor cousins.

Makin Magic
Flight To Nowhere

Tesla. A massive favourite of mine. Their hard rock vibe mixed with southern rock mixed with Randy Rhoads/Michael Schenker/Angus Young/Eric Clapton guitar playing was huge on my song writing. Hell, I even re-wrote “The Great Radio Controversy” in my own way, meaning I wrote songs similar to all of the songs on this album. And man didn’t this album have some big tunes in “Love Song”, “The Way It Is”, “Heavens Trail”, “Paradise” and “Hang Tough”. But these two songs “Makin Magic” and “Flight To Nowhere” have enough metal in em, to break some teeth and they need more love.

Musically, “Makin Magic” and “Flight To Nowhere” have no filler and are chock full of riffs and great leads and great harmonies. Especially the arpeggiated pull off lick in the “Making Magic” chorus.

Now, I don’t wanna waste your time
I only want to satisfy
So wind me up and watch me go
I’m gettin’ crazy as the night unfolds

Men don’t need much winding up to get going.

I got you, now you got me
Feels so good to be
Makin’ magic, makin’ magic
It ain’t no mystery, come on

Bring on the clichés with heaps of melody. Love it. Moving on to “Flight To Nowhere” .

Look at me, I’m young and bold
Even though I may be growin’ old
I’m never slowin’ down

Life is fleeting. Enjoy it, as you are a long time gone.

Opinion is a piece of mind
Some are good, some are just like
Where the sun don’t shine

So true. Unfortunately, people allow opinions to get the better of them. Treat opinions as just that, opinions, not truth.

Now there’s one more thing I would like to say
This is everybody’s world
And everybody’s gonna live it their own way
No matter what we say, yeah

Be tolerant of all, it’s much better. The sad part is money rules the day and as long as people care more about money, hate will thrive and indifference will not be tolerated.

Troubled minds are full of hate
Willin’ to destroy the human race

The world has vehicles being driven into crowds and bombs going off in crowded market places. What’s next, back to public executions?

(Goin’ down) On a flight to nowhere

Are we too far gone to save ourselves? I don’t believe so.

Midnight/Tornado

From Skid Row’s debut album. After a lot of false starts trying to find the right lead singer that was MTV friendly, Skid Row finally got it going with Sebastian Bach and the recording contract was enacted. But to be honest, I prefer the Brain Fallon demo version found on YouTube. The rawness in Fallon’s voice gave the song what it needed.

Musically and melodically the song is brilliant. Lyrically it talks about a person prowling the streets and coming alive after midnight. Can’t say I am a fan of the words and I would love to hear this song with better lyrics.

Hard As Iron

From the much maligned “Ram It Down” album released in 1988.

I’m blazing on to glory
There’s thunder in my veins
And nothing stands before me
Forever I’ll remain
Hard as iron
Sharp as steel
Stop for no man
You better beg and kneel

Is Halford singing about the metal movement or some mysterious being that’s hard as iron and sharp as steel?

Who cares right?

The song is a five-star speed metal ditty that has all the things in it, people in the 90’s came to hate.

Set The World Afire

From Megadeth’s “So Far, So Good, So What” album released in 1988.

Red flesh cloud’s choking out the morning sky
They said it’d never come, we knew it was a lie

Once upon a time nuclear war was the threat in people’s minds. That 80’s TV movie about a nuclear bomb being dropped on a normal U.S town didn’t help either. Today, global warming is a threat. People either don’t care about it or they do, but they shouldn’t ignore it.

Distorted figures walk the street, it’s 1989
Weeds once underneath your feet have grown to vines

It makes me think of the Will Smith movie “I Am Legend”.

Dig deep piles of rubble and ruins
Towering overhead both far and wide
Einstein said ‘ We’ll use rocks on the other side ‘
No survivors set the world afire

For all of the drugs and alcohol Mustaine consumed, you would think he would be a vegetable. But he isn’t and his lyrics are evidence of a person who has read far and wide and digested information.

The Transformers Theme

From the 1986 “Transformers” cartoon movie. The movie started off with all of the Autobots fans knew getting killed off in the first 15 minutes. And it’s got a wicked soundtrack, along with Stan Bush’s “The Touch”, this remake of the cartoon theme into a hair metal track also works.

Lion was formed when two UK artists, vocalist Kal Swann and guitarist Tony Smith located to the U.S and teamed up with bassist Alex Campbell and drummer Mark Edwards from Steeler. After the demo was recorded, Doug Aldrich (yes the same Doug Aldrich that went on to join Dio, Whitesnake and now plays with Revolution Saints) was recruited to replace Smith on guitar and basses Jerry Best replaced Campbell.

Now check out the connections between Lion and some of the bands above.

Aldrich would replace Robert Sarzo in Hurricane for one album, “Slave To The Thrill”. Swan and Aldrich would get together with former Hericane Alice members Jackie Ramos and Ian Mayo to form Bad Moon Rising. Jerry Best would later re-appear in Freak of Nature, featuring former White Lion vocalist Mike Tramp.

Lioooooon, more than meets the eye…

Hearts On Fire – John Cafferty
No Easy Way Out – Robert Tepper
The Sweetest Victory – Touch

The above three tracks are from the unbelievable and super melodic rock “Rocky IV” soundtrack. Stallone sure knew how to pick a song for his movies. From memory, I believe the movie and soundtrack came out in 1985. I still have the cassette to it and in the 90’s I found the LP in a second-hand record shop. Hell, the Rocky IV soundtrack kick started the melodic rock revolution, especially in Europe.

John Cafferty is the cheaper version of Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams. If a movie needed a song that sounded like a Springsteen or Adams song, Cafferty was your man. I first came across his music with the “Eddie and The Cruisers” movie and what a soundtrack he wrote for it. “On The Dark Side”, “Season In Hell” and “Tender Years” are as good as all of the hits from the 80’s.

“Hearts On Fire” is not written by Cafferty. In this case he’s just the performer. Actual songwriters are Vince DiCola, Ed Fruge and Joe Esposito. Vince DiCola is the person responsible for the excellent training montage and the end fight music between Rocky and Drago.

Silent darkness creeps into your soul
And removes the light of self-control
The cave that holds you captive has no doors
Burnin’ with determination to even up the score

Doubt leads us to the cave with no doors and even though the cave has no doors, we still cannot escape the darkness of it. Because of doubt and how we let our thoughts control our actions.

How many of our heroes took their own lives?

How many of our friends have taken their own lives?

How many people turn to narcotics to deals with situations?

Dealing with doubt, fear, loneliness, anger and shame is part of life. Those same emotions drive us and they separate us.

And things that give deep passions are your sword
Rules and regulations have no meaning anymore
Let the disappointment lead to inspiration.

Another find from Stallone was Robert Tepper who ended up contributing “No Easy Way Out” to “Rocky IV” and “Angel Of The City” to the “Cobra” movie.

There’s no easy way out there’s no shortcut home
There’s no easy way out givin’ in can’t be wrong

I know the song is about a relationship, however the way Stallone used it in Rocky IV is brilliant. This is the part as he is driving his car. Apollo was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago and Rocky just agreed to fight him in Russia. He gets home and Adrianne confronts him, not happy about that he decided to fight Ivan Drago. So he jumps in his car to clear his head, the music comes on and all these flashbacks start coming back.

And the message the song conveys is that to avenge Apollo’s death, there is no easy way out. Rocky must fight and beat Ivan Drago, which at the point in time in the film looked super impossible.

“The Sweetest Victory” from Touch is another melodic rock gem. I have no other music from this band, except for this one song on the soundtrack. The song has an iconic keyboard riff and a vocal melody that hits the mark.

What Does It Take

By Honeymoon Suite and their “Big Prize” album released in 1986.

If I could grow wings I would do anything
Just to keep you with me
Can’t you see
If I could fly high I would give you the sky
Don’t you make that mistake
It’s your love that I need
What does it take

What a Chorus. Big. Anthemic. Melodic. Tick x 3.

And I just realised that each song I have selected above has some very good guitar playing. Guess I’m a biased listener.

Enjoy.

More parts will follow.

I’m having a shitload of fun living in the 80’s.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Branding

“Initially when we put the band together in ’89, like all bands, I guess, our intentions were to put it together to keep it together. Man, we’ve had such a revolving door… I think this is really the final version of the band that has the same elements that it initially was conceived to have in 1989; it just works, the chemistry works. I haven’t had that in a long, long, long time.”
George Lynch on a revolving door of members

“If people are still in the band it either means they wanted to stay or I wanted them around. If they’re not, it means they didn’t want to stay or I didn’t want them around. It doesn’t mean they’re not good players or that they’re not nice people. Sometimes things run their course — sometimes things are meant to be, and sometimes they’re not.”
Dave Mustaine on departing members

As much as we want our bands to tough it out and stay together, the reality is very different. On some occasions, a record deal and immediate success would make some tough it out, but it would also make people argue over money splits and what not.

So was Dokken really a band?

It’s been a debate I have been having with people for a while now.

Think about it for a second.

The “band” was made up of veterans from different scenes. When Dokken started to get mindshare in 1983 and 84, and mainstream success by 1985, the band members had been trying to “make it” for over a decade in separate bands. In the end, it took Don Dokken (who was tapped to replace Klaus Meine in the Scorpions once upon a time) to get a European recording contract by using songs that George Lynch and Mick Brown had written in Xciter. So the marriage of convenience was already seethed in resentment, which would lead to their break up in 1989 at the peak of their commercial powers.

“Of course, everything we (Lynch Mob) release is always compared to the benchmark “Wicked Sensation” – and that’s a pretty high mark. That record took probably at least a year or more to make, and about a half a million dollars or more.”
George Lynch

George Lynch via Lynch Mob went first with “Wicked Sensation”. Meanwhile, Don Dokken was holed up in a studio with a supergroup of musicians recording “Up From The Ashes”. But he had the backing of Geffen Records and the large advance.

But Lynch was marketable. He was in Guitar Magazines and normal music magazines. Oni and Mick were also in the mags.

Meanwhile, Don Dokken had a supergroup of musicians, however, the magazines didn’t want to interview them. John Norum is a fantastic guitarist, but in the U.S he was virtually an unknown. Most of the public at that time believed Kee Marcello played on “The Final Countdown”, much in the same way, the majority of the new Whitesnake fans had no idea who John Sykes was.

Don Dokken is a great singer, but he wasn’t a marketable singer in 1990. At the time, the magazines glorified, Sebastian Bach, Jani Lane and so forth. He couldn’t use the Dokken name for the new band, because Lynch and Co.. wouldn’t let him and even took him to court.

In the end, a combination of riffs and melodies would sell the “Wicked Sensation” album. The guitar magazines dissected the songs, devoting pages to the makeup of the riffs and the leads. These articles alone sold the album to the legion of guitarists. None of that PR happened with Don Dokken and his supergroup.

That’s not to say that the Don Dokken album is terrible. It is good, but it was no different to the thousands of other melodic rock releases that came out in 1990. In the end, the brand of the “band” Dokken, wasn’t tied to Don Dokken. It was more tied to George Lynch than anyone else. He was the one selling the brand Dokken because everyone wanted to interview him.

When it comes to Megadeth, did anyone know that ex-members of Megadeth formed a band called “Act Of Defiance” and released an album. As a fan of Megadeth, and based on the two songs I have heard so far, I am officially back on the band wagon. Chris Adler on drums is a machine. The songs are proggy which is so early Megadeth and exactly what a Megadeth song should be.

Did it matter that Mustaine had an ever revolving door of musicians?

Of course it doesn’t matter, because the brand of Megadeth is Mustaine.

And if you are an artist, the brand is where it’s at.

“So much of branding is repetition: Repeat, repeat, repeat. I understood why they (other Twisted Sister band mates) wanted to change it up, but they didn’t understand why I didn’t. My face became the face. I carry the legend of Twisted Sister. Nobody knows who the other guys are.”
Dee Snider

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Leaving The Past Behind

I got an email a few weeks ago from the singer of the previous band I had. Let’s just say his name is “Two Face”.

It was sent to the drummer who is called “In The Band Because I Couldn’t Find Anyone Better”, the bassist “Con Artist” and myself “The Idiot”. The title of the email was GOOD TIMES, and Mr “Two Face” lead singer wanted to remind us all of something great we had at one point in time in the past.

Chasing the lies you live by
Won’t be something new to you
– Sick Of It by Evans Blue

And that was the first issue I had with the email. There was nothing great in that band, once the “Con Artist” bassist joined. He joined the band once the album was recorded. Eight of the ten songs that made the album were all written by me and registered by me with a Performing Rights Association going way back.

And guess what “Con Artist” did?

Yep, he put in a counter registration for the songs on the album for a 25% share saying that he wrote the words and lyrics. The “In The Band Because I Couldn’t Find Anyone Better” drummer also did the same. That was when I spoke to “Two Face” and asked him to tell the truth regarding the song writing and he told me one thing and did another thing behind my back. So think about that for a second.

You might win one battle
But know this, I’ll win the fucking war!
– The Way Of The Fist by Five Finger Death Punch

Four of the songs were written and registered by me with the performing rights association in 2005. The band started in mid 2008, with myself, “Two Face” on vocals, “In The Band Because I Couldn’t Find Anyone Better” on drums and “Original Bassist” joined on bass afterwards.

2005 vs 2008.

“Con Artist” joined in 2010.

2005 vs 2010.

Get your money for nothin’
– Money For Nothin by Dire Straits

You can see why I am bitter. The dishonesty by “Con Artist” and “In The Band Because I Couldn’t Find Anyone Better” just amazed me. Up until then I have never been around people with deceit levels cranked up to a 100%.  I am sure that others have gone through life dealing with some miserable person trying to hold em down. I had three.

Down they come, the swarm of locusts. Skies above converge to choke us
Feast of souls consume the harvest. Young and old, suffer unto the locust
– Locusts by Machine Head

It took a few years, however I finally opened my eyes and realized how much better life is without them. I realized that some people are who they are.

I’ve been the king, I’ve been the clown
Still broken wings can’t hold me down
I’m free again
– Goodbye To Romance by Ozzy Osbourne (with lyrics written by Bob Daisley)

The email further stated that “Two Face” remembers all of us fondly and that he hopes that we get to meet at some point. “Two Face” goes on further to state that we should all forget the bad times and remember those special jam sessions we had.

And that is where I took further issues because to me there are no special jam sessions from when “Con Artist” joined the band on bass. The special jam sessions happened when “Original Bassist” was in the band.

You can’t take my honor, you can’t take my soul
You can’t take the fact you’ll never have control
– Bulletproof by Five Finger Death Punch

The truth is that period of my life was a bitter and angry period. Instead of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and joining established bands, I instead stayed within my comfort zone and surrounded myself with below average players which in turn led to a decline in intensity on my guitar playing.

Another area which led to a lot of arguments was my iron grip on song writing. For every twenty songs that I would write, I would get a partially completed song from “Two Face”, some riffs from “Original Bassist” or an email with words meant to be lyrics from “In The Band Because I Couldn’t Find Anyone Better”.

Notice how no songs were even worked on with “Con Artist”. But hey, this guy feels entitled to put in a claim for 25%.

You’re the monkey on my back and it’s time for you to go.
– Hammered by Motley Crue

So by default, most of the time together was spent on the songs that I wrote. I would always go back and work on the ideas provided by the other band members, but man, they took up so much time and in the end, turned out uninspired.

This then lead to arguments over writer’s royalties (that come to me as the songwriter) and the mechanical royalties (that go to the band as performers on the sound recording). The other guys in the band thought that I was ripping them off and it just deteriorated even more. The sad part is that by then, I had already invested a lot of dollars into the band, with the promise that “Con Artist” and “Two Face” would pay me back.

The only pay back I got was deceit and lies.

Mistakes I would never ever repeat again.

And when my response to “Two Face” wasn’t to his liking, he replied back that I should leave the past behind and stop focusing on it. However he was the one that sent the email in the first place, focusing on the past. Go figure.

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

Intervals

I hate the name “Djent”. I actually hate names given to types of music full stop, however we all use them in conversations to distinguish between styles because the media that reports on music also use them.

All the bands that fall into this “Djent” category are just metal bands with a progressive technical edge. (Yeah I know, more names for types of music).

To me the difference between a good band and a bad band is the song. Regardless of how virtuoso the members are in each group and how great they can play, if they can’t write a good song then what is the point.

I don’t mind Periphery and I never got into Animals As Leaders. However, TesseracT, The Kindred (formerly known as Today I Caught The Plague) and Intervals are my top three at this point in time. Some might say what about Protest The Hero. Well for that band, they are already in the Hall Of Gods, so let’s leave it at that.

I have already written about TesseracT, The Kindred, Periphery and Protest The Hero. Now it’s time for Intervals which is another band I really dig that of course comes from Canada.

Intervals began as an outlet for founder and guitarist Aaron Marshall to create music under. As with all musicians, no band is forever, and Marshall had just parted ways with a band that he was in for many years with his high school peers. Musical break ups are always difficult and as Marshall was trying to figure out what to do next, a friend of his convinced him to shoot a video of him playing one of his newer songs. That track led to Marshall meeting Anup Sastry who would end up being the drummer of the band.

Instead of touring and building an audience, Marshall and Anup built it up online. The first piece of music officially released is an instrumental EP called “The Space Between” in 2011. In the liner notes of this EP, the band expressed that they were open to a vocalist. In 2012, came another instrumental EP called “In Time”. All self released.

Then in 2014 came the album, “A Voice Within”. The big difference here is that as the title suggests, there are vocals on the album and really good clean tone ones at that. Mike Semesky (Ex-The HAARP MACHINE) who played live bass was introduced as the vocalist. The album explores the idea of self-discovery and refers to a person’s inner self and staying true to who they are. They composed three songs by locking themselves in a home studio. They collaborated on the others through file sharing. That’s the modern music business.

It’s a typical DIY attitude. No label involved, no middle men. It is a direct to fan connection. In an interview with “The Wellz Street Journal” from October 24, 20132013 this is what Marshall had to say about it;

We’re really into the DIY approach, for now. Direct support from our fans has been the number one reason we’ve been able to tour and sustain the band. We couldn’t be more grateful for that, so maintaining a direct rapport with our supporters is important to us. We’re not ruling anything out, but we’ve always approached things with that mindset, as opposed to rushing into a deal with anyone. I think it’s much better to be cautious and make the right moves in today’s music industry, as there appears to be more wrong ones to make, than the right ones.

“Ephemeral” kicks off the album. It’s only fitting that a song with title that means “nothing lasts forever” starts off the album. Co-guitarist, Lukas Guyader described the songs meaning in an interview on February 28, 2014 by The Wellz Street Journal;

“The meaning of ‘Ephemeral’ is something that is fleeting. We’re referring to the moments that pass by in day-to-day life, and how you have to make the most of those, even though they are exactly that – fleeting.”

The music might seem disconnected however as the song progresses, you just get it and understand it.

“Say goodbye to the world as we knew it
To the eyes that couldn’t see”

That’s right, time marches forward and it doesn’t break for no one. The chorus is a combination of twisting melodies and syncopated riffs, all topped with a captivating voice.

“It is our duty to live while we can”

Perfect lyric. If you are on cruise control, you need to shake it up because you never know when your time is up.

“Automaton” is by far my personal favourite.

There is a problem in the music business right now that any artist which is not mainstream is almost forgotten on arrival. That is the power of the ones that control the narrative. They only talk about the ones that will give them clicks.

With a title that more or less describes a person who acts mechanically or leads a routine monotonous life, the music underlying the song is chaotic and unpredictable. Nothing like the title suggests.

It’s all about the riff, with that syncopated poly rhythms and perfectly executed technical arpeggios.

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

I always connect to songs that have a “slave to the grind” kind of vibe. I saw my father and my grandfather do the grind each day as they set up a family and a life in a new country. I swore that I would not be like them and when I realised that I was, I switched off the cruise control and shook things up a little bit. However, in time, despite the effort and the haste, as the song lyrics state, the gears start pulling forward and I am back in the same place, doing the grind. And I repeat all the above steps again.

“The Self Surrendered” is both striking and transcending especially from about the 4 minute mark when it goes into this clean tone jazz fusion post rock section. Intervals are not about the single, but the body of work.

The self surrendered are after all
Minds reduced to marionettes
Forever performing on our stage

A common theme of dancing like marionettes to the symphony of destruction.

“Breathe” is just brilliant. The song opens up with arpeggio lines that sound like rain drops. It’s an instrumental, it only goes for about 2 minutes and it acts as an intro to the more frantic song called “The Escape”. But it’s two minutes without any filler. Quality all the way.

With “Atlas Hour” Intervals scores a hit that lives in our head space and that’s the most important one.

Through functional dependency
We endure conformity
A greater purpose will be served
Within this life and the next

“A Voice Within” is a song that can cross over into the mainstream. It has all the elements of being unique enough to be rooted in technical metal, mainstream rock and (cough, cough) pop rock.

In time we all will hear what resonates from within
The voice that we must find and embrace to guide us

To feel, to see, to create, to dream
It is our duty to live while we can

And as quickly as Mike Semesky came in as vocalist, he was gone and the band is currently a three-piece with the original crew from 2011. The announcement said that the remaining three members are looking for a new vocalist that can dedicate themselves to Intervals. Maybe, dedication played a part in the departure of Semesky.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Winning and Losing

In sports people lose all the time.

However when it comes to life, money and status no one wants to lose. Everyone just wants to win, all the time.

And music over the last 30 years has followed the mantra of winning, which brings us to the music of today which is all about the payday.

When you get artists whingeing about fans not buying their music, then how can they tell me that their views are not about money.

I understand that they want to get paid. I go to work Monday to Friday to get paid. I provide my time and effort to a company who wants to pay me for that time and effort because I have a certain skill set that they need for their business.

Music is not like that.

When an artist starts out there is no one there that wants to pay them for the time and effort they put in to create music. There is no fan base and there is no record label. Furthermore, people don’t become fans of music because those musicians have a certain skill set.

If an artist does have a fan base and they create new music, then there is no guarantee that the new music that artist creates will have the same impact on the fans as the previous music did.

Metallica is always a band that is up for discussion on this point alone.

There is a segment of early day fans that detest everything Metallica released after “…And Justice For All”.

There is also another segment of fans that detest the fact that the band made a film clip for the song “One” from the same album. For those fans, that endeavour alone was a sell out.

Then there are fans of the band that came into the fold because of the “Black” album. Now these fans are seen as imposters by the ultra-radical early days fans, however to me these fans are very important in Metallica history because the whole back catalogue of the band started selling like crazy as well.

And that is because these new fans wanted more. They didn’t know that Metallica had four albums prior. So they went deep into the Metallica catalogue and as a result all of the previous album became multi-platinum superstars.

So in a roundabout way, Metallica went from pushing boundaries and creating what they want with no restrictions to a band that created music under the restriction/pressure of not losing what they gained with the Black album success. The problem is further compounded when everyone else attached to the artist now needs to get paid. The labels, the managers, the accountants, the lawyers and all the other middle people involved want to get paid.

So we have a music business were everybody that participates wants to get paid a percentage. This then leads to musicians that want to be as rich as the businessmen that grace the Forbes 100 lists.

Why.

Those billionaires are hated. Do you reckon Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos or Rupert Murdoch get any respect from ordinary citizens?

Of course not.

Meanwhile the artists are idolised and adored. Artists have the reach. Their music dominates Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

So I don’t believe in this bullshit about the recording industry being financially challenged because the real truth is that there are millions upon millions of dollars in music to be made if you’re a star.

However in most metal and rock circles, 99.9% of the artists like Machine Head, Shinedown, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Halestorm, In This Moment, Killswitch Engage and so on are working class acts. But if you look at their box office returns for each show, all of these bands are grossing $150,000 plus each gig and that is the paradigm shift the recording industry can’t handle. Most of the money now comes from live instead of recordings.

And just like the company I work for, 99.9% of the staff are from working class families. That is reality so why deny it and if you are an artists starting off that is grounded in reality, expect to have a successful working class musical career. However if you are an artist that is grounded in dreams and one in a million stories, then expect to be disappointed and make sure your education is up to scratch.

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

Six Degrees Of Separation – Marc Ferrari, Oni Logan and Rowan Robertson

Did you know that Marc Ferrari featured on Pantera’s “Power Metal” album that came out in 1988?

“Proud To Be Loud” was written by Marc Ferrari  and it was originally intended for Keel’s 1987 self-titled album. The song didn’t get used, however the Pantera guys heard the song back in 1985 when Keel was in town for a live performance and wanted to record it. Ferrari then went to Texas to produce the vocal on that track and he ended up playing rhythm guitar on the song and also lead guitar on another song called “We’ll Meet Again”.

Marc Ferrari then left Keel in February 1988, after the touring cycle ended for the self-titled album. After the tour, the band were about to change labels from MCA to Atlantic Records. With anything that is record company related, the band started getting pressure from the label to get that hit single like Bon Jovi. Ron Keel’s vision for the band was much different from Marc Ferrari’s vision and when a keyboard player was brought in, Marc Ferrari stepped out.

Then Ferrari discovered Oni Logan who at the time was working in Florida. Logan moved out to California to do some demos and showcases. The band was originally called Ferrari, then Crying Shame until they were told that they couldn’t use the name. Since they had a cool logo with the C and S intersecting, they tried to keep within the C and S theme and Cold Sweat came out of that.

Enter George Lynch.

Being a higher profile guitarist than Marc Ferrari, Logan was made an offer he couldn’t refuse and left Cold Sweat on the day they either entered the studio to record their debut album / or were meant to sign their major label contract (there are differing stories). Logan for his departure more or less slowed down the Cold Sweat project, nevertheless, he went off to create the excellent “Wicked Sensation” album with Lynch Mob that came out in 1990 on Elektra. The funny thing is that Cold Sweat’s debut “Break Out” which came out on MCA Records also came out the same year. However, the Lynch Mob album did far better than the Cold Sweat album.

Marc Ferrari then started working on another project called Medicine Wheel who recorded three records and had a decent following in Japan. The records were issued on a number of small independent labels in Germany and Japan. All of this happened between the years of 1992 and 1999.

Logan on the other hand was out of a job by 1991.

Enter Wendy Dio who suggested that Logan work with Dio guitarist Rowan Robertson. The “Lock Up The Wolves” era of Dio was put on hold while Ronnie James Dio reconnected with Tony Iommi for the “Dehumanizer” album that came out in 1992. The writing sessions between Logan and Robertson spawned the band Violets Demise.

Violets Demise managed to get a major record deal with Atlantic, however by the mid-nineties, the label money makers considered hard rock music not a commercially viable product, so the album that Violets Demise recorded with Alice In Chains producer Dave Jerden never saw the light of day officially, until 2002, when it was released as Logan/Robertson Revisited on Oni Logan’s website.

After disbanding Cold Sweat and while working with Medicine Wheel, Marc Ferrari started to get some of his songs placed in films and on TV, so he developed a business called MasterSource which is a music catalogue company that licenses its music primarily in films and on TV shows. And that gig along with the work that he does for Universal is still Ferrari’s main thing. Rather than waiting for things to happen Ferrari made things happen for himself.

So by the mid-nineties, while Logan took the big offer money deal from the Lynch camp to jump ship, it was actually Marc Ferrari that had a stable source of income and in general was better off. Just goes to show that the instant payola might be gratifying when it happens however in the long-term not so much.

Then by 1998, Logan was back with Lynch Mob and recording a demo (that ended up being released as the Syzygy EP on Lynch’s website) for the sole purpose of shopping to record labels to listen to and decide whether or not they wanted to sign the band. Meanwhile, Marc Ferrari also got back together with Ron Keel to finish and complete some of the unfinished tracks the band had lying around in the vault for the “Back In Action” album however his main gig was and is the MasterSource business. While Logan was involved in an EP to obtain a deal, Ferrari was involved in a full album release on an independent Canadian label.

Meanwhile Rowan Robertson fell into a slump after the demise of Violet Demise. However by 1998, he got an audition for a band called VAST. If you haven’t heard the excellent song “Touched” from the also excellent “Visual Audio Sensory Theater” that came in 1998, then you need to give it a listen.  The best way to explain VAST is Enigma meets Metallica meets The Beatles. Even though VAST was seen as Jon Crosby’s project, it was also seen as Robertson’s entry back into the music industry.

Comparing all three, by 1998, Marc Ferrari was way better off. He didn’t have the high-profile gig as Dio’s lead guitarist, nor was he as high-profile as George Lynch however what he did do was create for himself a position in the music business. He created opportunities when they didn’t exist and he diversified, focusing on licensing opportunities and music for television, films and games.

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

Life In Lucidity

“Today I Caught the Plague” was first. I thought the band name was crap but the debut album “Lore” was a real stand out for 2011. I came across the band by sheer luck when I saw a tour poster from “Protest The Hero” and it had “Today I Caught The Plague” as one of the supports.

Their 2011 debut album was over 10 plus years in the making.

While “Lore” was an independent release, “Life In Lucidity” is on Sumerian Records which is the home of PERIPHERY. A label that is perfect for them. Because labels are still the answer to get your name out to the masses. As much as the internet was meant to level the playing field, the labels have more power than ever. So if you want to be on a label, you need to be on a label that specialises and deals with bands that are of similar styles.

The first song I listened to was “Heritage” and I bought the album on iTunes not long after, ordered the CD from Amazon and put it as a favourite on my Spotify playlist.

The album title alone gets me thinking about “Silent Lucidity” from Queensryche. Vocalist David Journeaux explained the title meaning in the following way;

“The album title, Life In Lucidity, relates to the concept of life being nothing more than a very lucid dream, wherein if you were to wake from it you may either wake in to another dream or in to true reality. It also toys with the notion that if you can realize you are dreaming within this world you can gain complete control over everything that happens within it; complete responsibility for the path your life takes.”

Wolvish

“Wolvish” is a perfect concise musical and melodic statement of the djent and progressive rock movements. That opening riff is absolute killer.

It’s got horns, it’s got groove, it’s got meter changes, it’s got a spaghetti western flavour, it’s got a cabaret circus big top feel and that Coheed and Cambria inspired chant ending is just sublime. Basically it’s got everything that a progressive song should have and it all sounds natural.

I must go
Off alone in wild
Where I just might escape my restraints

So simple and one of the best lyrical lines of 2014. It is a simple summation of just cutting yourself free from the society and the life that is unjust. Jump in the car, hit the gas and escape the restraints of society into the unknown. Or in some cases, go online and escape that way.

Heritage

The frantic intro with the chants got me interested, however it was the build-up in the middle from 2.28 that got me hooked.

I would be happy to pay good money to see the band pull off the song. It actually starts out with a quote from “Johann Wolfgang von Goethe”.

“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth”

The song’s topic is what the Copyright Industries are fighting against.

“Heritage” explores the idea about building upon the knowledge of predecessors, by understanding what came before and then applying our own thoughts and ideas to them.

Music is a perfect example of building upon previous works and changing them enough with our own ideas and words. And it’s got a perfect summation for what it is to be human.

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

We are copyists, borrowers. We always have been and always will be.

Everbound

Again the mathletic intro hooks me in and the old school style vocal melodies seal the deal. A song that deals with being away from a loved one. It will not be as big as “Turn The Page” or “Wanted Dead or Alive” because it is an intelligent ode to life on the road.

On long nights, the feeling grows so strong
But still stronger, my resolve that all I need is her word
Nothing can shake this
For twin hearts, inherently kindred
Know all despair will be resolved at companion’s side

An Evolution Of Thought

Is the level that Tool should be at right now. The song has everything in it that I love.

Old School. CHECK.
DT style prog. CHECK
Coheed and Cambria style prog. CHECK.
Tool style prog, CHECK.
Protest The Hero style prog. CHECK.
Periphery meets Scale The Summit style prog. CHECK

And yeah, those vocals kill it. It’s well written, and once again features an ending buildup that leads to an atmospheric chanting chorus that hangs around long after the song is finished.

Ebb and then flow
In time may we learn we never knew one thing
Ebb and then flow
In time may we learn we grow staying open
Ebb and then flow
In time may we learn from those we would estrange
Ebb and then flow
In time may we learn the laws of change

We knew once that the Earth was flat. We believed it. Now we know that is not the case. The takeaway is the line “WE GROW STAYING OPEN”.

Decades

Just look how everything can change
Perspectives falling through with age

Tell that to the Copyright Industries. They don’t want nothing to change. They want it to be like it was twenty years ago. Gated Releases, distribution controlled by them and politicians on their payroll passing laws to benefit their business models.

No moment’s ever the same
Embrace the shift

Seeing the change that the Internet has brought to my life is exponential. Embrace it, don’t fight it.

Years pass by, what was is changed
As years pass by, what is was revised
As years pass by, what was gives rise to now

Again, the perfect takeaway of what life is. What was, is changed. What was, is revised. What was, has given rise to something new. Steve Jobs is the definition of this principle. He took what was invented, revised it, changed it and out came the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Millennia

The blues’iness is perfect and brilliant. For an instrumental I didn’t need the feel to skip it. Love the Pink Floyd feel it gives me, ala “Dark Side of The Moon”.

A Grand Debate

Interpret the words unspoken
The benefits they bear

The one who controls the story is the one that controls the narrative. That is what the Copyright industries like the movie studios and the record labels are trying to keep control of. If they lose the narrative, then they lose the debate.

Do you see that our lies disguise shortcomings?

A perfect lyric.

Seekers and Servants

The lyrics drive this song.

How’d we become so pliable?
How’d we get so loose with trust,
Giving it up to the likes of the ruthless few who
Exploit naive, to ensure their incomes will grow?

Yep, while our parents focused on building a home and saving, the ruthless few kept on plotting and scheming. So what we have is a world that allows the criminals of the GFC to go on public speaking tours. What we have is a world that allows Corporations who contribute nothing to culture to lock it up. What we have is a world that allows democratic governments to spy on its citizens, acting the same as the totalitarian governments they went to war against.

Let’s choose to educate ourselves; question everything

Truer words have never been spoken like this.

But what we’re told and what we’re sold relate
So keep an eye on bottom lines

Living in a world we’re the leaders that we vote in work for the corporations instead of the people. Living in a world we’re everyone focuses on the bottom lines.

If initially we knew to
Work upon ourselves, not everyone else,

Any change happens by starting on numero uno. Get that right. But instead, we want to mold and shape everyone to conform.

Dreambender

Shape the life which you’ve defined

Again another classic lyric.

Like A Long Life

Greed deceives,
Turning everyone to slavery
Causing everyone to live life for salaries

Slavery in 2014 is just that. The rich are not stupid. They lost the war on slavery in the eyes of history, but what they did and what they created is much worse.

Why live a short life like you’re living a long life?

So wrapped up in building mansions for a life that is so brief.

Progressive music in general is having a pretty good run recently and I’m not complaining one bit. The step up from “Lore” to “Life In Lucidity” is a god damn big one.

Standard