Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

A Love Unreal

I first heard “A Love Unreal” from Black Label Society on Friday, 19 January 2017. I overdosed on it. I started writing a post on Saturday, but I got side tracked because Def Leppard’s entire catalogue was finally available on digital platforms. So I spent the last seven days overdosing on the mighty Def Lep, which will be another blog post soon.

So back to Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society.

Since 2014, I have been playing “Angel Of Mercy” non-stop. It’s made my 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 end of year lists. It’s always in my Top 100 Spotify songs I play each year.

With “A Love Unreal” Zakk has orchestrated another candidate.

The guitar solo on this song is a 10 out of 10 for me.

After hearing it, I felt like I can do anything. It’s inspiring in its movements, phrasing and the way it’s all worked out and put together is classy.

It’s a song within a song. God damn, the whole solo section is 1 minute and 20 seconds long. There are pop songs on the charts which are 2 minutes long.

I shared my thoughts about the song with my kids. My eldest heard the song, loved it, added it to his playlist and keeps on telling me how he listens to it and gets lost thinking about achieving goals.

The intro is on a classical acoustic and it sounds out the vocal melody from the chorus. It’s ominous, doomy and sad, but hopeful as well.

And when the distortion kicks in, it’s heavy and groovy. Breaking desks time.

Hand me your doubts, worries and fears
Within this embrace they shall all disappear
A love beyond, a love unreal
This sadness you felt you will no longer feel

We are born into a culture, a tribe which has taken generations to create. Our ancestors who came before us built their own society, invented a way to communicate and solved a lot of problems so we could work on other problems that lurk around the corner.

But no matter how much we advance society, we cannot eradicate doubts, worries and fears. They still exist. The more connected we get, the more alienated we feel. The more we engage socially on-line, the less we do in person. But when we find that right person to engage with and love, when we have our own children, well, that’s a love beyond. No computer or technological gadget can capture that feeling.

This world and all that there is
I give it to you, all to you
Hand me your love and all that you are
Could you promise as I promised you

In many ways, our sacrifices or commitments to each other and our tribes/culture is a small payment to our ancestors who sacrificed and stood up for their rights, to give to us a love unreal. Some of these ancestors we have met in grandparents and some we will never meet.

And that solo. That damn solo. Always has to be a solo.

Do you know it goes for 1 minute and 20 seconds?

Paraphrasing Charlton Heston, “God damn, he blew it all up.”

It’s heartfelt and melodic. If Zakk needs to shred, he shreds at the right time to move from one section to another. It usually doesn’t go more than half a bar. In the end, the solo is melodic like David Gilmour’s melodic lead in the “Comfortably Numb” outro. And every time I hear it, I get goose bumps.

And then it kicks into a section inspired by Black Sabbath.

Hear my words
I speak no lies
The dawn of the new
With open eyes

Our work is to ensure that our great grandchildren have a society to live in, which gives them a voice and they are free to see and decide what is right and what is wrong. It’s only fair. My grandfather went to war for these rights only for us to vote in leaders who want to turn a democratic society into the very same dictatorship our ancestors overthrew. Our leaders want to control the internet and the media. Corporations want our leaders to pass laws to protect their profits. But, it’s changing. Being online and connected has also given us a voice.

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

2017

Every year, I see album of the year lists. And I’ve done em as well. But in truth, a large percentage of those top 10 albums that make it on lists are due to just a few songs that connect with people. Well that’s how it happens with me these days. Of course some albums are great from start to finish, but it’s a rarity.

So this year, my 2017 list is made up songs that I’ve come across in 2017’s Release Radar (in other words released in 2017) or Discover Playlist from Spotify that I’ve heard the first time in 2017 and have connected with me.

In order to compile the list before year-end, I stopped adding music to the playlist at the end of November. So here is my playlist of new music I heard in 2017.

Also in 2017, Spotify gave me a ton of stats.

So I listened to 66,157 minutes of music, which equates to 1103 hours, which equates to about 3 hours of listening each day.

7,084 different songs make up my listening habit for 2017, which is made up of 1,680 different artists. Hell, I even skipped 2,274 songs. Back in the 80’s I listened to less than 30 artists.

My five top artists for 2017 are The Night Flight Orchestra, Whitesnake, Coheed and Cambria, Trivium and Ozzy Osbourne. And here is my Spotify generated playlist of the top 100 songs I listened too in 2017 across all decades.

Life Ain’t Easy (For A Boy With Long Hair) – The New Roses

Who would have thought that a German act would sound better than the American acts that influenced them?

So what can I say
Things got that bad
I stood before the mirror
To shave my head
But then I looked into my eyes
And I knew right then
You’ll let your hair grow
And start a band

Hilarious but it doesn’t take away from the story setting. We don’t know what we should do sometimes. And when it comes time to make a life-changing decision and dealing with the unknown, it’s important to remind yourself of your true calling.

And as the years went bye
Fashion went and came
And everybody changed
But I’m still the same
Now you try to dress up
Like a rock and roll star
You don’t look cool
And you won’t get far
What you’re looking for
You can’t just buy and wear

There is so much truth in the above. I can put on a T-shirt from companies who endorse MMA fighters and it doesn’t mean I support the sport. The same goes for people who wear Harley Davidsons T-shirts while they drive around in 4WD’s. Rock and metal wear is an attitude as much as a lifestyle choice. It was never about looking cool or a fashion statement. It was about acceptance and being a member of the tribe.

Freedom – Revolution Saints

It’s the best song on the album. Deen Castronovo is one hell of a vocalist and he kicks off this song with a great drum groove. Musically it sounds like a Deep Purple song from the Coverdale era and there’s nothing wrong with that influence whatsoever.

Freedom
Sweet freedom
Coming my way

It’s the mood the music sets that hooks me in and the way it builds in the verses.

Gemini – The Night Flight Orchestra

On each album TNFO have a disco pop metal rock track. “West Ruth Ave” took the spot on the first album, “Living For The Night-time” took the spot on the second album and “Gemini” takes the spot on the third album. So many influences are present in this song. It’s like Styx, The Police, Divinyls and Blondie got put into a blender and out came “Gemini”.

Blind Leading The Blind – Adrenaline Mob

Man the “Mob” has suffered on the road. AJ Pero didn’t survive the tour he was involved in and recently David Z lost his life when a truck slammed into their van parked on the side of the road.

The world is running out of time
We all think we know what’s wrong or right
It’s the blind leading the blind

Our governments work for the corporations who are only interested in making money. They don’t care about global warming or our natural resources. The debates between the two sides don’t even exist. How can one side argue their point if the other side doesn’t believe there is a point to argue.

Goodbye Forever – Volbeat

The mighty Michael Poulsen is one hell of a songwriter. As soon as the song starts off with his major key lead and 60’s rock feel, I’m hooked.

Did you say the thing you wanted?
Have you ever felt in love?
A moment where no problems would ever get you down
Free as an eagle but only for a day, yeah listen

Live every moment like it’s your last.

Take the arms that embrace, no more being afraid
Feel the sun on your face or goodbye forever

Live in the now, don’t be afraid.

We are the birth
We are the end
We are the souls
We have a name
We are the rising and fallen ones
We are the spirit forever more

This is my favourite part of the song. I dig how the military style drumming works with the syncopated guitar lines and the gospel backing vocals. Just brilliant.

They Don’t Care About Us – Saliva

It’s a great re-imagining of a Michael Jackson song in a hard rock context. It’s from their “Love, Lies and Therapy” album released in 2016. Hell I don’t even know who is in the band anymore. They sort of dropped off my radar after Josey Scott left.

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, aggravation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Bang bang, shot dead
Everybody’s gone mad

All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us

“Bang, bang, shot dead.” The two biggest man-made killers of people are guns and cars. So it’s not surprising that terrorists are using the two to cause chaos in major cities. But what about the home-grown madman, who takes bags of guns into a Las Vegas Hotel and then proceeds to play target practice at a Country Music Festival. Even though the song was in response to Rodney King’s beating at the hands of LA Police, the message remains the same, 20 plus years later.

Every time mass shootings happen, the Government fails to do anything. And it doesn’t matter who is President. Mass shootings happened under Trump and he has done nothing. They happened under Obama and he did nothing. They happened under Bush Jnr and he did nothing. They happened under Clinton and he did nothing. They happened under Bush Snr and he did nothing.

The Government is voted in by the people, but all they do is please the lobby groups and corporations.

Mass shootings happened in Australia under previous Governments; however when the “Port Arthur” massacre happened while the Liberal Government of John Howard was in power, we finally had a leader and a Government that stood up and made change. Since then, we haven’t had a mass shooting.

People always remember what people do.

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of being the victim of shame
They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can’t believe this is the land from which I came

After 9/11, our rights all around the world disappeared as the democratically elected Governments passed a lot of laws to “try and prevent future disasters from happening” which in turn made these democratically elected governments similar to totalitarian governments.

The laws passed involved the invasion of our privacy. Our phone calls either could be or will be recorded, our emails would be stored and analysed by an algorithm, our Google searches would be reported for certain key words and analysed, our text messages and so much more.

We are the victims of Government corruption to protect the faceless people who pay the politicians to speak for them.

Periscope – Papa Roach

One of the bands I was involved with in the early 2000’s covered “Last Resort” because it had that “Bring Your Daughter (To The Slaughter)” riff.

I don’t want to dive in first
You don’t want to hear these words
It’s only going to make it worse

So the band with each album has been on my radar and with each album they surprise with their diversity. This is another surprise. There’s hardly any distortion but the song still rocks hard.

Black Rain – Eclipse

They are from Stockholm, Sweden. They formed in 1999 and currently they are on Frontiers Records. Singer/guitarist/bassist Erik Martensson also has a side gig writing songs for other artists. Frontiers Records constantly use him to write songs for other artists. If you don’t believe me, check out W.E.T and Revolution Saints even covered an Eclipse song on their debut album.

This song is here because of the lead break. The riff under it reminds me of “Hangar 18” by Megadeth, while the actual lead break itself is reminiscent of the “Mr Crowley” outro lead and the “Tornado of Souls” lead by Marty Friedman.

No Surrender – Art Of Anarchy
Changed Man – Art Of Anarchy
The Madness – Art Of Anarchy

I was really surprised by this release. Actually I was blown away by it. The lyrics more or less reference the schizophrenic breakdown of Scott Stapp. Hell you can call it a concept album.

“In ‘No Surrender’ I addressed those moments in life where you’ve reached a personal crossroads or crisis. That place where your back is against the wall and you’re left with two choices — to cave in and crumble allowing whatever circumstance to break you forever, or to rise up and fight through holding on to that never give up spirit that lies deep within. I detail in the verses personal experiences, as I lived them, that have taken me to that critical place of choice. Am I to give up, stay down and fade away or get up, fight on and never surrender.”
Scott Stapp

In “No Surrender”, Stapp is singing, “No way out, hit the flat line, we get up, no surrender, it’s your time, grab the lifeline, we get up, no surrender, no surrender”. There it is, the human spirit fighting for its place in society and the world at large.

In “The Madness”, Stapp is singing, “The madness keeps me from the other side”. And the other side is where he wants to be. Its greener, full of love and his family is there. He wants to be there with them.

In “Changed Man”, Stapp is singing, “Give me one more chance, cause I’m a changed man, it’s time to come back home”. You can hear the sorrow and regret in his voice.

You live, you make mistakes, you learn from the mistakes, you create memories and experiences and then you write songs about them. And while a lot of people I know pretend to be perfect and happy, reality is so much different.

The Violence – Rise Against

I came across this band via Guitar Hero. My kids had “Savior” up and man it was a pretty wicked song and I’ve been a fan since.

Are we not good enough? Are we not brave enough?
Is the violence in our nature just the image of our maker?
Are we not good enough? Are we not brave enough?
To become something greater
Than the violence in our nature?

I guess a few madmen who are in charge spoil it for the billions who don’t seek violence and war.

Pariah – Steve Wilson

Porcupine Tree or solo!

Does it really matter for Steve Wilson?

I’m tired of Facebook
Tired of my failing health
I’m tired of everyone
And that includes myself

Can we ever really disconnect from society and people in our current social media driven times?

Carry Me My Bones – Corroded
A Note To Me – Corroded

It’s the acoustic version from “The Nevo Sessions”.

“Carry Me My Bones” in distortion is a pretty good song, but man, the acoustic version is swampy and groovy and rawer and better.

Carry me my tired bones

If only our bones could talk and tell us the secrets they hold of how they kept our body together in times of stress, being overworked, being drunk or depressed.

“A Note To Me”

I’m just a coward who hates everything about me
Everything I’ve done was a lie
It’s hard not to cry

Self-assessment or awareness of invulnerability is what makes us better.

I stand before you in my nakedness
I admit that I was wrong
My only hope is that you will forgive
And that someday, someday, will forget

I’m not perfect. I’ve said words that have hurt people. Some of them have forgiven me and others haven’t. But I’ve learnt from every word said in spite to be better.

Light Me Up – Doom Unit

It’s got this swampy bluesy feel which I really dig. Plus the vocal melodies are addictive. And they are from Finland. I’ll be honest, there is something in the culture water’s around Northern Europe because there is so much good music coming out of the region.

When I start another day
I’m slowly drowning all the way
Light me up

When the day isn’t happening the way you planned and nothing is going right for you, you need to focus on what you can control.

Human (Jim Eno Sessions) – Ran’n’Bone Man

Elton John reckons Rag’n’Bone man has the best new music out there. If you haven’t heard “Human” then you should. It’s a hit and it’s getting there slowly, as all good music does its converting people like me into it. This version is a simple piano/acoustic guitar version. It’s raw and the vocals are emotive.

I’m only human
I make mistakes

We all make mistakes. And we get a lot of chances to make amends and learn from those mistakes.

Playing With Fire – I Am Giant

I’m through with playing with games in the presence of a liar

It’s the opening line of this groovy little number.

Are we dragging up the past when I’ve walked the line already

Yes, our memories can have a negative impact. There are always things in the past that we regret. But, for some, regretful words, choices and actions remain with them forever. Every single memory from the past comes with an emotion. Get stuck with a past emotion and you roadblock your future.

Lost – Death Angel

I thought this was Adrenaline Mob when I heard it. And even though the song came out in 2016 on “The Evil Divide” album, I only just heard it, so it’s in my 2017 list. And it’s that bridge section that comes in at 2.50 that hooked me in.

Rain down on me and wash this pain away

In every ancient text, rain is seeing as the great redeemer. It’s part of Mother Nature’s arsenal to destroy the sins of man-made structures.

From The Flame – Leprous

I had to Google to find out more information about Leprous. Wikipedia tells me that Leprous is a Norwegian progressive metal band formed in 2001 and the band gained prominence as the backing band for former Emperor front man Ihsahn’s live shows.

You’ll find me here when I’m gone
Where I made my surrender

There is always a street, a home, a beach, a park where something went down. A paradigm shift so big that the person’s life was/is changed forever.

Send In The Clowns – End Of Green

This song is so gloomy but I like it. I have no idea who End of Green is or how the album sounds. All I know is that this song came up on my Release Radar playlist and it’s been a save from the outset.

So I went to Google to find out more. Check out what Wikipedia tells me.

End of Green is a German gothic/doom metal band formed in Stuttgart in 1992. According to singer Michael Huber, the band’s name implies the end of the colour green, which typically symbolizes hope. This fits with the type of music the band produces. The band describes its style as Depressed Subcore. The lyrics are about loneliness, depression, pain and death.

Damn right it’s depressing and yet there is something hypnotic about it.

In this moment so painful
I’ll wear the chains of the past

So true.

When we feel down, it’s the memories of the past that keep us weighed down, unable to get out of the hole. The words said or not said and the actions taken or the lack of actions taken. And those memories of the past normally come with an emotion. It we allow that emotion to control us, our current days will be pre-loaded with pain and angst.

All my life they have pushed me around

At some point in time, we will hit the wall. Like it or not, endings are real and there’s nothing that can be done. But all endings serve a purpose and are necessary. An un-loving or over controlling or violent relationship prevents us from reaching our potential. So what do we do, when we take back control of our lives?

Basically, good things cannot start to happen unless the bad ends.

Promised Land – Sweet & Lynch

People who know who I am and what my faith is all about know that heaven is often referred to as the Promised Land. That’s exactly what the song is about. How we struggle through life yet through it all, we need to stay strong and focused. Eventually, we’ll see the Promised Land.
Michael Sweet

“Promised Land” is the opening track and the first single in the lead up to the album release. This song deserves more attention, but it’s hard to break through the noise. Each new track is competing against all the hit records plus everything in between.

“Take my hand, the promised land”.

The promised land can be any place or event that you have kept a discipline or focus to get to. It could be the home you built or purchased or a personal achievement or goal.

My Fate – Vimic

Is this Joey Jordison’s third or fourth post Slipknot band?

The reason why this song is here happens from 3.15 to the end. You need to hear it to appreciate it.

And that outro guitar solo. You need to hear that as well to appreciate it.

I am the author of my fate

One of the best lines I’ve heard. The buck stops with you. The place you are in right now is because of you and the decision you made. You are the author of your fate.

Here I Stand – In Whispers

I got no idea who this band is and how many albums they have released. But this song came up on a Release Radar or Discover playlist and it was good enough to end up in my 2017 playlist.

The song originally hit YouTube in 2011. The album “Sound The Alarm” came out in March 2013. The first time I heard the song is in 2017. It’s the way of the world. Things take some time to get our attention.

Are you still around when it happens?

The main riff hooks me in, a combination of Judas Priest style riffing made famous by Avenged Sevenfold and Black Veil Brides in their songs. ‘Knives and Pens’ by Black Veil Brides sounds like Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘Unholy Confessions”.

Here I stand
And I won’t fall down
Mercy me
With both my feet on the ground
Shame on me
Forever holding you down
Here I stand
And I won’t fall down

Every time I hear “Here I Stand” I think of standing before someone (a powerful entity, a corrupted employer or a loved one) to face judgement or punishment for some act in the past. Who gave the right to these people to judge upon me?

The Road – Quiet Riot

As soon as I heard the voice, it was familiar. I’d like to tell you that I knew it was Durbin on vocals just from hearing him, but I had to Google it to find out. Hell I had to Google who was in this version of Quiet Riot. It’s good to see that Quiet Riot is still releasing new music, even when the two founders in Rhoads and DuBrow have both left this Earth for astral planes far and wide and main songwriter from the 80s Carlos Cavazo is now bending strings for Ratt which looks like to be on hiatus anyway.

Feels like we just got back
I’ll kiss my family and I’ll be out the door again
We’re running around in the dark
We are together apart

Unless your family is travelling with you, the road is just you, the guys in the band, some members of the road crew and lonely miles between cities. A lot of artists don’t come back. Randy Rhoads didn’t come back home. Steve Ray Vaughan didn’t come back. A lot of the guys from Lynyrd Skynyrd didn’t come back. Cliff Burton didn’t come back. Kurt Cobain came back but didn’t want to go back out. Chris Cornell didn’t come back. Chester Bennington didn’t come back. AJ Pero didn’t come back. David Z didn’t come back and the other guys from Adrenaline Mob got pretty banged up.

American Rock ‘n Roll – Kid Rock
Greatest Show On Earth – Kid Rock
Stand The Pain – Kid Rock

From his newest album “Sweet Southern Sugar”. I can’t say I’m a huge Kid Rock fan, but I do check out his stuff from time to time. I also caught him live on the Bon Jovi “Because We Can” tour. He’s a showman and a very good one at that. These three songs are hard southern rock all the way and man, they are a joy to listen too. It’s like one big party jam committed to tape.

American Rock ‘n Roll

It’s the laid back rock of the 70’s which today is known as country rock.

“Headlights shining on rusted fences as I pass the rail yard”

I love the lyric. It brings back memories of the past regardless where you lived.

Fire up the lighter and a Lucky Strike
The radio’s saying “Take a walk on the wild side”

If you are a smoker today, you are seen as a fool.

Why would you put a cigarette in your mouth when you know how it kills ya? But once upon a time, smoking was a part of life, especially socially.

Give me that heart and that soul
American rock ‘n’ roll

Amen.

Greatest Show On Earth

It’s the in your face album opener. Again, it’s dirtied up blues in Kid Rock’s own unique way.

I’m a full-blown
Down home rolling stone
I’m a cyclone
I’ll shit wherever I roam

The attitude, groove and lyrical phrasing in the verses hook me in. Like any rocker who hits the road, they come and leave like a cyclone.

The Chorus, is the best Chorus that Aerosmith didn’t write.

Welcome to the greatest
Love you when you hate us
Welcome to the greatest f….. show on earth

A showman Kid Rock is. I saw him opening up for Bon Jovi on the  “Because We Can” tour and he nailed it. He had the stadium crowd in his hands and he took us on his journey. Even my wife, you never heard one single note from Kid Rock enjoyed the show.

Stand The Pain

It’s got the same message like all the rock anthems of the past. But it’s not a rocker. It’s a laid back rocker.

When it feels like you just can’t stand the pain
And when it feels there’s nothing left that you can do
Just bow your head down and plow right through

Working smarter is better than working harder. If the day’s events caused a massive change in your life, there is no use in attaching emotions to them because it will always end in pain. The best way is to move onto the new day and into new beginnings.

Sometimes life’s plans can be postponed
And it’s hard to step back out into the unknown

I’ve been in situations like this. I can plan for some future state but life is full of random variables which can never be foreseen. And suddenly, when these variables strike, I am navigating unknown roads, looking for answers.

You and Me – Farmers Boys

It’s weird to explain this band. It’s like Muse went a bit heavier. Wikipedia tells me they are a heavy metal band from Stuttgart, Germany and have been active since 1994. They reached their peak of popularity with their album “The World Is Ours” in 2000. Wikipedia further tells me their musical style is a blend of Machine Head’s groove metal and Paradise Lost’s gothic metal. Add Muse to that list.

You and me against them all; this is how it ends

Humans are excellent at finding something to be afraid of. This ranges from our partners, to the people in the shadows, to the faceless network of people conspiring against us and what we stand for and so forth. However, if there is someone who lets us down, it’s normally ourselves. Our doubt cripples us. Because of doubt, we don’t trust in our own abilities to try to do something new. But a time comes in all of our lives, when we become brave enough to rise.

We never giving up giving in
That’s how we bring the system down.
You and me carry on
’till all the kingdoms fall

Redefined – H.E.A.T
Best Of The Broken – H.E.A.T

H.E.A.T is a Swedish hard rock group formed in 2007. These songs are from album number 5. Yep, back in the 80’s, if an artist went global or continental, they might get to album number 5. In the internet era of 1999 plus, artists are getting to album number 5 and above without getting out of their own continent.

Redefined

You tell me what you want
And I give you what you need
We don’t realize we’re redefined
You tell me what you want
And I give you what you need
We don’t realize we are redefined

Our roles in society, relationships and our lives in general are constantly redefined. Sometimes by choices we made or by choices of others. And it’s okay if we make short-sighted bad decisions based on short-term thinking. Everyone does it. However not everyone can correct those decisions.

Best Of The Broken

Welcome, now, say goodbye
Good men will be sacrificed
We are the industry, running free
Wearing rings of cyanide

Damn right. The recording industry makes a lot of money. And that money buys them influence. When you have influence, you are basically allowed to run free and do whatever you want. However, when the internet introduced a new distribution system which the recording industry couldn’t control, they screamed and moaned and paid a lot of dollars to get laws written to give them back control.

Smalltown Boy – Apollo Drive

When I first heard the song I thought it was a Coldplay song from their earlier albums. It’s got an iconic piano riff and I’m thinking, this song is massive, why isn’t it a bigger hit. So I Google “Smalltown Boy” and I find out the original artist who performed it is Bronski Beat on their 1984 album “The Age Of Consent”. On their Spotify account, the song has 24 plus million streams, while the Apollo Drive account has only twenty thousand streams.

Anyway, I prefer the Apollo Drive. And it’s weird that in this day and age, I know nothing of the band. A quick Google search tells me they are from Sweden and they took their band name from a LA street where the deal was done to form the band.

You leave in the morning with everything you own in a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain on a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand why you had to leave
But the answers you seek will never be found at home
The love that you need will never be found at home

People had to escape their towns and head to the cities if they wanted to make something of themselves. Some succeeded, some failed and some just didn’t make it. It doesn’t have to be that way today. You can be somebody from the confines of your bedroom walls, while you still live with your parents.

Karma – Cyhra
Closure – Cyhra
Dark Clarity – Cyhra

I had to Google who Cyhra are. It’s like a Scandinavian supergroup. It features former Amaranthe vocalist Jake E., ex In Flames guitarist Jesper Strömblad, ex In Flames bassist Peter Iwers and drummer Alexander Landenberg from power metal outfit Rhapsody. The foundations are all based on friendship and a desire to create music.

Karma

Consumed by greed
You trade your hearts away
You don’t practice what you preach
Well you’re planting your own dismay

Is it about a band member that did them wrong or a manager or someone else that ripped them off? Either way, it’s a brilliant verse.

And the song is a cross between the Euro modern metal vibe of their earlier bands with Bon Jovi style Choruses. It’s brilliant and I’m a fan.

Closure

It’s got some wicked harmonies for a ballad.

And every single argument’s
Like walking on glass
Whatever the setback
I’ll never look back

Damn right it is. An argument is never fully finished because each party feels like they should have said more, so it just sits there until next time.

Dark Clarity

Again, harmony guitars kick off the song and once the drums come in, it’s moshing time.

I’m romancing a cliché
In this life we portray
We conduct our own demise
I want to break out

We wear so many masks in our daily lives. Sometimes it gets so much living a cliché, we just want to rip those masks off, before it’s too late.

Angel Of Mercy – Black Label Society

I don’t know what it is, but man this song gets the hairs rising on the back of my neck. It brings back memories. I can just imagine lying on my bedroom floor listening to this on headphones! For those that don’t know, the song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society. It’s not a 2017 release but it’s been in my playlist since it came out in 2014.

The lead break is pure magic. It just explodes out of the speakers and builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display. The song will never be a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.

Til It’s Gone – Kenny Chesney

He’s a country rocker and this song sounds like those southern rock bands of the Seventies for some reason. It’s from his 2014 album, “The Big Revival”. I had to look him up to see what’s the go because to be honest I don’t follow country music. Wikipedia tells me he has recorded 20 albums, 14 of which have been certified Gold or higher by the RIAA. Goes to show that you could be king of your niche/genre but it doesn’t mean that everybody in the world knows who you are.

Got nowhere to go and all night to get there
But I’m going there with you

It’s the opening line of the song and it hooks me in.

The Doomed – A Perfect Circle

I really dig A Perfect Circle. “The Doomed” is their first piece of new music since 2013 and scheduled to appear on their fourth studio album, their first in 14 years. I suppose anything that involves Maynard from Tool, takes time to fruition.

Wikipedia tells me that the song’s origins go back to a small orchestral part written by guitarist/founder Billy Howerdel, who was writing the soundtrack for the indie film D-Love during the band’s downtime in 2015. The part didn’t end up making it in the film; however Howerdel sent the part to band vocalist Maynard James Keenan which Keenan then in return asked Howerdel to write a song around it.

And with anything involving Maynard, the lyrics generate a lot of debate.  Howerdel mentioned that, to him, the song is about how power corrupts the people in control of the world.

Behold the new Christ
Behold the same old horde

It doesn’t matter who gets voted in or who leads a nation or a company. The people who forced out the previous leader are still there. The faceless horde is still scheming and plotting.

Blessed are the fornicates
May we bend down to be their whores?
Blessed are the rich
May we labor, deliver them more

I guess not much has changed in human history. The majority of People are still building the dreams of a few people.

Doomed are the poor
Doomed are the peaceful
Doomed are the meek
Doomed are the merciful

If you have a pure heart and a utopian vision, you are doomed. Lies and deceit rule the day. Ignorance and race rule the day. Money and power rule our lives.

You’re on your own!”

We are always on our own.

Rags to Riches – Babylon A.D

“Rags To Riches” is one of the singles released in the lead up and it hooked me in with its “Atomic Playboys” style riff. Musically its excellent and that solo break with that riff underpinning it, is just brilliant.

Rags to riches, young girl got her wishes

With the whole #METOO movement and people speaking up, maybe the young girl didn’t get what she really wished for.

Wanderlust – Black Country Communion

I dig this “super” group. First, I am a fan of Joe Bonamassa on guitar. Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals is a no brainer. Then when you add the rest of the personal, you can see it’s got some serious cred.

I don’t know what the song is about lyrically. I don’t really care, because the sounds, the groove and the feel hook me in.

Forever Alone – Bigfoot

I dig this. It’s got a cool Journey vibe circa 1980-1983. So I had to Google them to find out more and to be honest, the Google search didn’t give me back much information except they are on Frontiers Records (which is no surprise),

What I did find is they are a 5 piece Hard Rock band based in Wigan, England, formed in 2014. Their website tells me they have influences stemming from many different genres from The Eagles to Pantera.

And this song sounds like Journey.

The Outsider – Black Veil Brides
My Vow – Black Veil Brides

You either dig BVB or hate BVB. There is no in between. Personally, I got into the band because of the guitarists and by album number 3, the songs started to grow on me. These two songs are from album number 5, called “Vale” due to be released January 2018.

The Outsider

You know how A7X copped flack for cloning some great metal songs on “Hail to the King”. Well, I think BVB cloned the whole A7X album on this song. And that my friend is why I love music. The familiarity of the melodies and the sounds.

This wall of stone
That they built to cage our minds

No truths or facts will change a mind that doesn’t want to be changed. And our viewpoints from birth are shaped by the social tribes we grew up in. Eventually as we get older, we start our own research and start to form our own views. And some of us just remain with the views that we grew up with.

Say a prayer, every night
All we hear must be right
I am the outsider

The power of religion is huge. Those words in the Bible are treated like truth. But people are forming different views. I always say that the entities with the power get to rewrite history in a way that it suits them. The wealthiest entity in the world is religion.

My Vow

The way the song starts off hooks me in. The riffs are classic heavy metal straight from the metal 80’s.

Like a bomb that ticks when my heart clicks
I’ll be left for dead with what I’ve said

Such a cool lyric about the moment when the words you say are like a bomb going off in a room.

And that lead break is shredalicious.

Bloodline Lullaby – Otherwise

As soon as it starts, I am reminded of “The Afterman” by Coheed and Cambria.

Another day, another moon

So true.

Any time you’re feeling lonely
Just listen to the wind, you’ll hear me
Sing your song across the sky
This is our bloodline lullaby

It’s about being a parent, the bloodline that ties father to child.

Crazy as it seems, love in the spotlight
Chasing out a dream, living through fault line
You are all I need, you’re my everything
Counting down the hours, so how the time flies
Running the miracle mile, crossing the state lines
I’m right here with you, always true

And that’s the truth. Once you become a parent, your priorities change. Suddenly the spotlight you craved ceases to be the most important thing in your life. And on tour, you are counting down the days before you get back home to see your son or daughter. Not all artists have those same feelings, only some.

God of the Sun – Sons of Apollo
Alive – Sons Of Apollo
Labyrinth – Sons Of Apollo

When I read that Portnoy/Sherinian started a project together I wasn’t interested. However as a fan of Ron Bumblefoot Thal, I was suddenly very interested. And when I read that Portnoy/Sherinian tapped Jeff Scott Soto to do vocals, I was very intrigued.

Any fan of progressive rock/metal will love this album. It has everything that all the great albums have. Even the musical interludes are memorable and hummable, which has become a forgotten art form over the last 15 years as bands play more technical and physically exhausting intricate passages in their songs.

God of the Sun

The Arabian Middle Eastern feel in the intro hooks me in right away and when Bumblefoot kicks in with the riff at 1.20, its breaking desk time. But it gets even better at the 2 minute mark with another head busting, desk breaking riff. And when JSS starts singing at the 2.30 minute mark, the feel is laid back and very Kashmir like in the groove.

Cause I am the light
Surrender tonight
I am the face of tomorrow
Now I’ve just begun
You can’t hide or run
Cause I am the god of the sun

JSS brings out his Dio influences in the chorus. Hell, this passage could have appeared on a Dio/Malmsteen album.

Then at the 5 minute mark, the song moves into a laid back solo section before going all proggy at the 7 minute mark.

Even though I am not a drummer, I remember watching a video of Mark Portnoy discussing how he drums certain songs and he spoke about a cool little technique called Stretch and Grow. It’s like they play a 4 bar riff, with a 1 bar melodic passage. Then they play the same 4 bar riff, but this time, the 2 bars of the melodic passage. Then they play the same 4 bar riff, and the now 3 bars of the melodic passage. You can see how they are stretching and growing the 1 bar melodic passage. Then they play the same 4 bar riff and 4 bars of the melodic passage.

Then they start contract the “Stretch and Grow” back to the 1 bar melodic passage. So it basically goes, 4 bar riff, 4 bar melodic passage, 4 bar riff, 3 bar melodic passage, 4 bar riff, 2 bar melodic passage and it all ends with the same 4 bar riff and 1 bar melodic passage.

And that my friend is Prog 101.

Alive

It’s about drug use. Hell, most of the addictions we have these days are legal ones. Prescription drugs, nicotine and alcohol are all-powerful legal drugs.

Colorize the sadness; the fear is black and white
Tunnel of denial, looking for the light
The devil on my shoulder, the master of disguise
Can you hear him singing?

The song is a power ballad.

Labyrinth

Stare at the wall
Pray for reflection

The black mirror screens we stare at are the walls that reflect back at us.

Cause it takes me in
And I can’t let go
But I’ll never win
In this labyrinth

Social media is a labyrinth. Our quest in connection has created a labyrinth which takes us in and never lets us go. I know the song is not about social media, but making the connection is easy.

Time stands still in this virtual land
There’s no winning this losing hand

And the way the song weaves in and out of progressive rock and hard rock, is like a labyrinth.

Internal Masquerade – Galactic Cowboys

This band had a lot of promo from Geffen Records back in the day, but the audience just didn’t come. Eventually they got dropped and disappeared, only to return. And what a nice return it is.

As soon as the intro riff kicks in, I’m hooked. It’s a combination of natural harmonics and scalar runs, outlining the chord progression.

I’m your fear from deep inside
I’m the hate that you can’t hide
I’m the demons that comprise your very soul
I’m the rose amongst the thorns
I’m the angel with the horns
I’m the deeper darker side of you

How many times have you smiled but really felt like ripping the other person’s head off in rage. We all have that darker side.

The Sin And The Sentence – Trivium
Other Worlds – Trivium
Beyond Oblivion – Trivium
The Revanchist – Trivium
Endless Night – Trivium

It was the James Hetfield vocals on “The Crusade” that hooked me in. Fast forward almost 10 years later and Trivium is still at it and still kicking some butt.

The Sin and the Sentence

The first thing that comes to mind is the T1000 Cybernetic drummer. Wow, the speed and precision. Human capabilities never cease to amaze me.

You better practice your lines
You better practice your words
I know that real monsters lie
Between the light and the shade

Hell, this could be directed at any leader of a democratic country. Isn’t it funny how democratically elected leaders want to turn their country into a totalitarian state, like the same ones our grandfathers went to war to defeat?

You condemn me
Cause you don’t understand me

And that my friend’s is life in a nutshell. The politicians are so out of touch with society and reality, they don’t understand us. They are so wrapped up in their ivory towers I bet if a journalist asked any leader of the U.S, U.K or Australia for the price of bread and milk, they wouldn’t know the answer.

Beyond Oblivion

Matt Heafy sure knows how to write a catchy chorus.

(What have we done?) Creations devised
(What have we done?) To put an end to all life?

Have you seen the AI demonstration that Elon Musk put out on his twitter account. It’s scary. Very scary.

A dead road, a dark sun
Now waits beyond oblivion

Maybe in our quest to conquer nature and get other people to work for us, we create tools that will end up destroying us.

Other Worlds

Cause we’re living in other worlds
Breathing in other worlds

Let me see how many worlds I live in. My home world, my work world, my sporting world, my music world, my social world, my parents world and to be honest I can keep on going forever.

The problem in relationships is when one person spends their time living in a world more than the other person. For example, one person is spending their time living in their home world, while another person is spending their time living in their social world. Suddenly we have a disconnect and a problem.

The Revanchist

Hell I didn’t even know what “Revanchist” meant. Google dictionary tells me it’s “an advocate or supporter of a political policy of revanche, especially in order to seek vengeance for a previous military defeat.” Hell, World War II is a perfect example. The song is a perfect example of storytelling.

I’ve been waiting here on the outside
I’ve been watching you from afar

It sounds like the revanchist is vetting supporters.

You say you’ve lost your world, you say you’ve lost your faith
I’ll be the shelter in the dark, clothe you in my hate

Indoctrination.

Profiteers and preachers
Sycophants and leachers

It doesn’t matter from what social circle you come from. The Revanchist will accept and indoctrinate all.

The Revanchist, his thoughts become mine
How deep they become intertwined
He said, “Submit for salvation, submit for salvation”
The age old lie

The followers are ready to submit themselves to the war of the revanchist. It’s their salvation.

Thunder High On The Mountain – Joe Satriani

It’s one of Satriani’s stronger songs released recently. Just the way it starts it off, with the war like click drum, the orchestra hits and a finger tapped legato line, is brilliant. I’m hooked and I’m paying attention. And the movements between section works.

New World – Robert Plant

This song surprised me when I heard it. The mood, the groove and the vocal melody all work together.

In songs we praise a happy landing
On yet another virgin shore
Escape the booming world
Embrace the new world
Out here the immigrant takes hold
Across the planes and over mountains
Put flight to all who came before
They’re barely human
It’s time to move them
And let them kneel before the sword

Human’s quest for land and power led to cultures being eradicated or enslaved.

Find Your Way Home – King King
Broken – King King

There is a lot of good music out there and artists like “King King” are virtually unknown in the major music markets. It was their cover of Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy” that made me a fan.

Find Your Way Home

It’s a cool bluesy ballad.

How did it work out they we’d be enemies?
Where did everything go wrong?
When the sun goes down on your memories
Please find your way home

He’s basically saying, those memories with emotions attached are killing the relationship. When the sun goes down on them and basically kills em off, come home. He’ll be waiting there for you.

Broken

This world is broken
We can’t hold on
My hope is fading
Our faith is almost gone

We need something to change. The world and our governments of the free world have been hijacked by money.

This Is War – Audrey Horne

My favourite supergroup of extreme metallers (along with “The Night Flight Orchestra”) is back with a new album that brings back memories of the Seventies and Eighties. Once the harmony guitars that sound like “Fear Of The Dark” from Maiden kick in, I’m ready to throw my computer screen at the window.

It’s brilliant.

We will never be silence or divided
This is war

My 2017 call to arms.

Miracle – Story of the Year

I Swear I’m OK – Story of the Year

This band is a favourite of mine. They can be rock, metal and pop all on one album. Their label stuffed em up, by labelling them that whole emo rock/hard-core tag.

I need this more than you know
I need a miracle
Tell me I’m not alone
Please don’t let me go

You are in the situation where change is needed. Your old self needs to be washed off and a new being needs to rise. But you need to make hard choices. Are you read for what will come after? Are you read to let go of what you know?

I’m not the man I promised I would be

It’s from “I Swear I’m OK”. I never make promises as they always lead to disappointment. I can try to commit to do things differently but promises can never be measured.

Nevermore (Acoustic) – Art of Dying

For some reason, when “Art Of Dying” goes acoustic, they rock harder.

Waking Lions – Pop Evil

Waking the lions in me
I’m waking the lions in me

We all have that grit and resilience inside of us. If we choose to do something with it, is a different story all together.

And that my friends brings 2017 to close.

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

Score Card Inc V2.0

Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora
“Aftermath of the Lowdown” is way better than any Bon Jovi music released from 2007 onwards. It’s deep and personal and there was no way that Jon Bon Jovi would have put his vocals to those songs, so they ended up being Richie Sambora songs. But it did nothing commercially and Sambora is from the cloth of sales and charts. So he went back to the comfort zone of Bon Jovi, but he wasn’t feeling it, so he went solo again,which has morphed into a duo called RSO.

Meanwhile, Bon Jovi continued on as business as usual, making huge profits at the box office. However, all was not well with the label and “Burning Bridges” was meant to be the goodbye letter, but money talks. And Jovi is back in league with the label they hated and a new album called “This House Is Not For Sale” is out. Suddenly the press is going gaga over its number 1 charting and since the legacy labels still control the news cycle. But the album is a flop. It’s second week was a disaster and nothing has been mentioned about its third or fourth week. But, the ones that control news cycle are doing their best to rewrite history, seizing on a few words that Jovi said “down playing Richie’s role in the song writing”. Suddenly, Richie wasn’t involved as much.

The truth is they are better together than apart.

But then again, all of the good bands had a high creative span of about 10 years before they split or went on hiatus. The Beatles, The Eagles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Kiss and Aerosmith all had close to 10 years of mega creativity in the 70’s.

Metallica, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith (again), Slayer, Megadeth, Skid Row, Van Halen and many others had a good run from 1980 to 1992.

But the MTV era gave bands a longer shelf life and what we have in the modern age is sub-standard music.

But past success is no guarantee of future success. Our lives and society in general is more fluid, especially when it comes to new music. And Jovi is selling c grade re-writes of past hit songs, and using his brand to do it. There are just not enough new things there to convince people to listen and there’s not enough new things there to convince people who weren’t paying attention before to pay attention now. And Jovi along with Universal are hoping that people pay attention to the marketing and not to what’s inside the album. And the media is out of touch with consumers and the people in general. In all democratic countries, the media is consistently getting it wrong. Hell, they couldn’t even get Brexit and Trump correct because they fail to understand that success or failure is in the hands of the people and not the celebrities. And why haven’t all of the celebrities left UK or the US when Brexit and Trump happened.

What Jovi needed was a hit single. Instead we got 17 songs (that is if you got the deluxe edition) requiring too much of our time. Only diehard super fans will have the time, however, even those fans will have competing priorities these days. U2 is in the same boat and let’s not talk about the mess that was Aerosmith’s last album.

Because bands shouldn’t forget, that their newest release is competing with the history of recorded music and their old hits. I can easily switch from Metallica to Led Zeppelin to Dream Theater to Motley Crue to Ratt to Kiss to Machine Head to Dokken, etc.

Europe
Europe broke through to the mainstream about the same time Bon Jovi did in 1986 and that is where the similarity ends. While Jovi had commercially successful albums in “New Jersey” and “Keep The Faith”, Europe had modest success with “Out of This World” and “Prisoners of Paradise”. Europe then went on hiatus and lost their record deal with Epic in the process, while Jovi went on to more albums and eventually a comeback hit with “It’s My Life”.

But when Europe got their act together in 2003 and got control over their music catalogue, a funny thing happened. They started to make more money then what they did at the peak of their commercial success.

And Europe in 2016, is a better creative entity than Bon Jovi is.

Since 2003, the band has released five albums. The very modern and down tuned “Start from the Dark” album came out in 2004. Then in 2006, the very modern and melodic “Secret Society” album came out. The very modern but retro sounding “Last Look At Eden” album came out in 2009, followed by their jam record in “Bag Of Bones” in 2012. Then in 2015, their classic rock album “War Of Kings” came out.

And suddenly, Europe is getting traction again in the U.S and Australia, but this time it’s on their own terms and their own control. By doing what they do best. Be musicians first and create. They didn’t try and be tech entrepreneur, football club owners, gadget makers and so forth.

Digital Summer
One of the best DIY bands out there. In 2013, they were riding the wave of their fan funded “Breaking Point” album, released in 2012. 2013 also gave us “After Hours: Unplugged & Rewired”, which was followed by a stand-alone single called “50 Shades” in 2015. In between keeping a band going, the guys still hold down full time jobs.

Meanwhile, a new hashtag #DSAquarius has been doing the rounds on their Facebook page while new family additions in the DS world has led to a halt of the songwriting process for the follow up album. That’s how DIY Indie bands roll.

Don Dokken/George Lynch/Jeff Pilson/Mick Brown
In 2013 there was talk of a Dokken reunion but it never happened. Then finally in 2016 it happened and they all got paid well.

Since 2013, George Lynch has been the most creative of the four even though Don Dokken keeps on telling everyone that these projects didn’t do well commercially. Surely an artist should create because of a need to create, not because of a need to make millions.
• 2013 – Lynch Mob – Unplugged: Live from Sugarhill Studios
• 2014 – Lynch Mob – Sun Red Sun
• 2014 – KXM (featuring Doug Pinnick from King’s X and Ray Luzier from Korn)
• 2015 – Lynch Mob – Rebel
• 2015 – George Lynch – Shadow Train
• 2015 – Sweet & Lynch – Only to Rise
And Lynch has new releases coming out for Project N Fidelikah, Lynch Mob and KXM in 2016 and 2017 and it looks like Sweet and Lynch will have another album coming out as well.

Dokken on the other hand, released Broken Bones in 2012 and a rumoured project with Michael Schenker is still being talked about. Meanwhile, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown have become touring go to guys for Foreigner and Ted Nugent.

Black Veil Brides
So in January 2013, the Black Veil Brides told us “The Story Of The Wild Ones”, their concept rock opera about standing up against the army of F.E.A.R., which was also adapted into a film called “Legion of the Black”. The lead single, “In the End” became a streaming behemoth for the band with 32,301,515 streams and still counting.

Then in October 2014, they released their self-titled album, otherwise known as “Black Veil Brides IV” with Bob Rock as the producer. It gave birth to a favourite of mine in “Goodbye Agony” and on Spotify it has racked up 7,105,442 streams. Sonically it’s one of their best recordings. Since then Andy Biersack issued a solo release and we wait for new music from BVB. Like a lot of other bands in music, having new music out on a yearly basis is the new thing, like how it was in the seventies and eighties.

Zakk Wylde/Black Label Society
In 2013, Zakk dropped “Unblackened” a live acoustic album, which was forgettable, but no one can forget “Angel Of Mercy” (currently it has over 1.5 million streams) and that unbelievable lead section from Zakk.

“Angel Of Mercy” appeared on the “Catacombs of the Black Vatican” album released in 2014. Then in 2016, we got another acoustic album in “Book Of Shadows II”, but what we want is another groove metal Black Label Society album.

Dynazty
Matt Heafy from Trivium tweeted once that he has found his new favourite band. And I don’t disagree with him at all. Sweden has a healthy hard rock and metal scene and Dynazty is another to add to that list. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the band was formed in 2007 and it wasn’t until 2008 that they found a lead singer. Fast forward 8 years later and I am hearing the band for the first time in 2016.

And they sum up what it means to be involved in the music business. You exist today completely off the radar screen. And eventually, people will notice. But it takes time.

It makes me want to scream “Fire, Flames, Fury”.

Black Stone Cherry
It’s the era of the bands with Black in their band name. Black Sabbath, Black Veil Brides, Black Label Society and Black Stone Cherry just to name a few. Vocalist Chris Robertson on the earlier recordings sounded better than Chris Cornell ever did. In 2013, the band was recording “Magic Mountain” and it came out in 2014. While 2016 gave us the “Kentucky” album (the band’s 5th album) and the ten year anniversary of their debut album.

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

The Perfect Album Of 2014

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

It looks pretty solid from start to finish.

Machine Head – Now We Die

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

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

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

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

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

Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun

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

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

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

Evergrey – King Of Errors

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

They call us kings
And then we fall down broken

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

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

Black Label Society – Angel Of Mercy

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

OZZY – Guitar World, October 1989

Enough said.

Door of memories
Closed forevermore

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

Intervals – Automation

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

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

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

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

The Kindred – Heritage

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

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

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

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

Machine Head – Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones

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

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

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

Adrenaline Mob – Dearly Departed

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

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

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

Fight or Flight – Leaving

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

Living life through compromise

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

Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died

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

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

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

ONE LAST ENTRY: Black Veil Brides – Faithless

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

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

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

Dee Snider would be proud.

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

My Own Top 40 List Based On iTunes Play Metrics

I made the upgrade from the iPhone 5 to the 6 and when I synced up the old phone to iTunes to back it up, I saw the top 30 songs that did the rounds over the last 12 months.

1. Lift Me Up
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 1481

What can I say, “The Ultimate Sin” influence just connected with me and I kept on coming back to the song over and over again.

2.Shepherd Of Fire
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 1319

Any song that can combine “Enter Sandman” and “Trust” from Metallica and Megadeth deserves attention.

3. West Ruth Ave
The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs
Released: 2012
Plays: 1271

What can I say, the Kiss “I Was Made For Lovin You” vibe connects and that Chorus melody is infectious.

4. A Day in My Life
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side of Heaven & the Righteous Side Of Hell, Vol. 2
Released: 2013
Plays: 1071

Five Finger Death Punch have two entries in my top 5. This one is a classic from Volume 2. The chorus is indelible.

5. Angel Of Mercy
Black Label Society
Catacombs Of The Black Vatican
Released: 2014
Plays: 1124

The monster that is Zakk Wylde returns with a classic. The song opens up for Zakk’s masterclass in soloing.

6. Be Somebody
Thousand Foot Krutch
The End Is Where We Begin
Released: 2012
Plays: 996

The song just flows that it sounds effortless. Brilliant.

7. Used To Be
Arrows To Athens
Kings And Thieves
Released: 2011
Plays: 743

Very surprised by the album when I came across it this year.

8. Mist
Protest The Hero
Volition
Released: 2013
Plays: 660

I thought this song would have been higher as i certainly feel like I have played it a 1000 times. Guess I’ll be a Newfoundlander.

9. Conquistador
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
Released: 2013
Plays: 557

The riff owes a lot to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song” and when Jared Leto/backing vocals sing, “we will, we will, we will rise again” you can just imagine Freddie Mercury singing “we will, we will rock you”.

10. Heritage
The Kindred
Life In Lucidity
Released: 2014
Plays: 419

Love the band formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague”. The message in this song sums up exactly how I feel about culture, we build on what came before.

11. Fly On The Wall
Thousand Foot Krutch
The End Is Where We Begin
Released: 2012
Plays: 403

Another song that just flows effortless from the fan funded “The End Is Where We Begin” album.

12. Fallen
Volbeat
Beyond Hell Above Heaven
Released: 2010
Plays: 387

Our Danish heroes deliver a rockabilly metal classic.

13. Draw The Line
Disciple
O’ God Save Us All
Released: 2012
Plays: 322

The lyrical content connects and the song is a great pop ditty from a band that borders on metal, rock and Christian gospel.

14. Tuesday’s Rain
Asphalt Ballet
Asphalt Ballet
Released: 1991
Plays: 223

A brilliant song that got lost in the seismic shift of 1991/92. You were either in or you were out. Asphalt Ballet was deemed to be out.

15. Strife
Trivium
Vengeance Falls
Released: 2013
Plays: 222

With a Judas Priest sing along intro, Trivium deliver with “Strife”. Go on Spotify and you will see that it is getting some serious traction.

16. Denial Waits
Ashes Divide
Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright
Released: 2008
Plays: 215

This song is unique and in a league of its own for production, craftsmanship and melodies. A classic that deserves more attention.

17. High Wire
Badlands
Badlands
Released: 1989
Plays: 210

If Jake E.Lee wants Red Dragon Cartel to reach a certain level of success and be ubiquitous than HE needs to write songs that are better than “High Wire”.

18. Hail To The King
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 209

What can I say, who doesn’t like a song that reminds them of AC/DC and “Thunderstruck”.

19. American Slang
The Gaslight Anthem
American Slang
Released: 2010
Plays: 200

The song that Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi wish they wrote.

20. Lick It Up
Kiss
Lick It Up
Released: 1983
Plays: 197

The song that saved Kiss’s career.

21. Rainbow in the Dark
Dio
Holy Diver
Released: 1983
Plays: 195

The Corey Taylor version from the Dio tribute album appears further down the list. An infectious song just tattoo’s itself on the skin and remains forever.

22. The Last Time
Badlands
Voodoo Highway
Released: 1991
Plays: 194

If Jake E.Lee wants Red Dragon Cartel to reach a certain level of success and be ubiquitous then HE needs to write songs that are better than “High Wire” and “The Last Time”.

23. Moth
Hellyeah
Blood For Blood
Released: 2014
Plays: 177

Clearly the best song on the new album.

24. Live In Love
Times Of Grace
The Hymn Of A Broken Man
Released: 2011
Plays: 167

This should be added to the set list of Killswitch Engage, it is that good.

25. Until It’s Gone
Linkin Park
The Hunting Party
Released: 2014
Plays: 167

It’s a return to the Linkin Park trademark sound.

26. Attack
Thirty Seconds to Mars
A Beautiful Lie
Released: 2005
Plays: 147

The song that got me into the band. A pure masterclass in electronics, industrial and fuzzed out rock.

27. End Of My Rope
Asphalt Ballet
Asphalt Ballet
Released: 1991
Plays: 139

From a band that deserved way more than what they got.

28. Hell Or Hallelujah
Kiss
Monster
Released: 2012
Plays: 135

The best song that Kiss or Paul Stanley has written since “Psycho Circus”. Mmm, “Live To Win” was also pretty good, however that was from Paul’s solo album of the same name.

29. Wolvish
The Kindred
Life In Lucidity
Released: 2014
Plays: 122

Progressive music the way it should be.

30. Watch You Bleed
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 121

Another chorus melody that is ubiquitous.

Other songs outside the Top 30 are as follows:

31. Rebellion
Linkin Park
The Hunting Party
Released: 2013
Plays: 103

It was like System Of A Down never went away. Having Daron Malakian on it doesn’t hurt at all.

32. Orestes
A Perfect Circle
Mer de Noms
Released: 2000
Plays: 103

This song was pivotal as my development as a songwriter. Much in the same way that Evergrey showed me that good music is still being created from a metal point of view, A Perfect Circle showed me the same from a progressive art rock point of view.

33. Wrong Side Of Heaven
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 93

The emotion grabs me. One of the best ballads that FFDP have created.

34. It’s Time
Imagine Dragons
Night Visions
Released: 2012
Plays: 84

The main vocal melody is the same as a melody for an instrumental song I wrote for my wedding. So it connected from the outset.

35. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute
Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension
Released: 2012
Plays: 83

What can I say, when the “Wasted Years” like intro starts off, I was hooked.

36. Line Of Fire
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Released: 2014
Plays: 79

The mighty Dutchman is back and he sure knows how to turn it up to eleven.

37. Out Of Reach
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Released: 2014
Plays: 73

An emotional roller coaster that straps you in and doesn’t let you go.

38. Rainbow In The Dark
Corey Taylor
Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life
Released: 2014
Plays: 73

Corey does a stellar job on the vocal.

39. When Truth Lies
Vanishing Point
Distant Is The Sun
Released: 2014
Plays: 69

One of the most consistent and best progressive metal bands to come out of Australia.

40. Coming Home
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 63

Synester Gates goes to town on this song. That whole minute plus lead break is beautiful.

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

“Why Do You Do What You Do?” And Guess What! “Rock Is Not Dead”

Gene Simmons from KISS declared that “Rock is finally dead” which stirred up a lot of debate in the music industry. Dee Snider was one of the first to post a rebuttal. Then came Dave Grohl’s rebuttal and recently it was a diplomatic Slash. Basically everything that he said I more or less agree with.

“The music business itself is not catering to rock ‘n’ roll at all. And if you’re aspiring to be a guitarist or a drummer or a singer in a rock band and trying to make your way up the ladder, the obstacles are much bigger than they were when I first started.”

The music business does cater to rock’n’roll however it is the recording business that doesn’t cater that much to it. The majority of the labels monies are focused on the pop stars singing Max Martin songs.

“The rock ‘n’ roll audience is rabid. It’s huge and just as alive and kicking as it ever was.”

That’s god damn right. The audience for rock music is there. Also with so much rock music coming out right now, that is the evidence right there to prove that rock is very much alive and kicking.

And that is a biggy.

With so much rock music being released every day, how is the rabid rock audience going to find it and hear it. Apply simple supply and demand economics to the equation. When the record labels controlled the distribution, the music that was released and when it was release, the actual supply to the fans was limited even though demand was high. Now with all of those barriers of entry torn down, the supply of new music is constant. And even though demand is still high, our time is limited.

Another big difference is that the way we consume music. It is still a very fragmented marketplace. Think about it for a second.

There are the usual CD sales. Amazon is still a big player in this regard along with the record labels and the unique limited deluxe editions they offer. In addition the brick and mortar stores still exist that cater in sales. Then there is the sales of MP3’s. Apple is the big player here, while Amazon offers AutoRip features on CD’s sold.

Then there is streaming. You have Spotify type streaming and the radio style streaming of Pandora. Terrestrial Radio is still there as well. So as an artist it is a confusing time. Hell, even the cashed up labels are confused as to what needs to be done as they still rely on the nuclear bomb style of marketing to push new acts or new music from established artists.

“If you’re really passionate about the kind of music you wanna do and you’re not looking at it from a dollars and cents point of view, but you just want to create new music and somehow go out there and play live and get it out there, that passion has to be honed in and it has to be real.”

So what is your view of success?

Do you have a short-term view on measuring success or a long-term view? Is success your main motivator for creating music because if it is, there are risks in a short-term view of measuring success and there are risks in having success as your main motivator?

It comes down to the “Golden Circle” idea from Simon Sinek. “How” is in the centre, surrounded by the “Why” which is then surrounded by a larger circle called the “What”.

Apply those principles to a musician. A musician knows that what they do is to write and perform music. A musician knows how to write and perform music but do they know WHY they do it. If a musician’s “WHY” is solely to make money then they need to be reminded that their “WHY” is a “RESULT” of “WHAT” they do.

As Sinek explained, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And if you don’t’ know why you do what you do, then how will you ever get someone to buy into it, and be loyal, or want to be a part of what it is that you do.

A perfect example of a simply WHY can be found in Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. The WHY is to get dressed in your BLS Chapter colours, get together at the show and drink a lot of god damn beers. And guess what. People responded to that WHY in the thousands. They want to let their hair or goatees or beards down and down a few brewskis.

Protest The Hero focused on the WHY on their fan funding campaign for the “Volition” album. They told their fan base that their time with record labels has resulted in the labels telling the band that they have no fan base and that they are not a viable option for a label to support. The fans wanted to show that is not the case. And the best way was for the fans to be a part of what Protest The Hero wanted to do, which was to record an album, promote it and tour on the back of it. The fans didn’t care how they did it because we bought into the WHY they were doing it.

Claude Sanchez’s WHY for Coheed and Cambria is to tell the Amory Wars story and guess what, thousands upon thousands of people bought into it. Comics, Albums, Novels, T-Shirts, Deluxe Packages, Live Shows and Vinyl Re-Issues. You name it, we have supported it.

So ask yourself, why do you want to be  a musician?

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

Take These Ten Rockmandments

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

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

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

City Limits

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

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

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

“Are we living or merely killing time”

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

2. THOU SHALT MAKE THEIR ENEMIES INTO FADED MEMORIES.

Dearly Departed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draw The Line

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

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

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

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

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

“Another battle I lost fighting solo”

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

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

Angel Of Mercy

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

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

“No Angel Of Mercy
Is gonna hear my call

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

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

It’s Time

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

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

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

Used To Be

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

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

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

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

The commandment right there.

7. THOU SHALT NOT FAIL EVEN THOUGH FAILURE EXISTS.

Moth

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

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

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

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

What a fucking line! What more can be said.

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

Until It’s Gone

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

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

Pause.

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

9. DO NOT DWELL ON THOSE THAT NO LONGER CARE

Denial Waits

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

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

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

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

End Of My Rope

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

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

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

Standard