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

Notable Mentions 2021

All of this were close to being in the Top 10 list.

Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist

I’ve heard the name but never really listened.

And they started to come into my life circa 2018 with the “Holy Hell” album, which I liked some songs on, but when “For Those That Wish To Exist” came out in 2021, I was liking a lot more songs.

I was even half way through a review, before I got side tracked with other posts and never went back to finish.

It’s album number 9 which goes to show that artists will never know which album makes a person a fan. They just need to be in the game, a lifer, producing music.

If charts still matter these days, then this album did great business around the world, hitting the number 1 position in Australia and the UK, while achieving Top 10 positions in Austria, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the Billboard Hard Rock Charts.

While the band was known as a metalcore act when they started out, this album is not. It’s a stadium rock album with elements of all different kinds of metal thrown in and orchestral electronics.

Lord – Undercovers

An Aussie Metal band.

How can you knock back a covers album that has metal re-imaginings of songs like “To the Moon and Back” from Savage Garden, “Message In A Bottle” from The Police, “Playing to Win” from Little River Band/John Farnham. “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” from Cutting Crew, “The Sun Always Shines on TV” from A-ha, “On a Night Like This” from Kylie Minogue, “Break the Ice” from John Farnham, “Send Me an Angel” from Real Life and “Touch the Fire” from Icehouse.

And to top it off there are sizzling metal and rock covers of “Hard to Love” from Harem Scarem, “Reckless” from Judas Priest, “Wild Child” from W.A.S.P and “Runaway” from Bon Jovi.

Plus faithful renditions of “Judas be my Guide” from Iron Maiden, “Of Sins and Shadows” from Symphony X, “Shattered” by Pantera, “Someone’s Crying” and “I Want Out” from Helloween, “Creeping Death” by Metallica, “Silent Jealousy” from X Japan and “The Whisper” from Queensryche.

You can read my review here.

Chevelle – Niratias

Otherwise known as “Nothing Is Real And This Is A Simulation” and it’s one of their best albums in the last 10 years, a concept album that deals with interstellar travel, mistrust in leadership, loss and looking back at the past.

It’s more accessible then some of their previous works, with bigger Chorus’s.

Plus there is some great artwork from Boris Vallejo.

Iron Maiden – Senjetsu

It’s great to have Iron Maiden in our lives. The album is a bit bloated but then again, Maiden from the 2000’s onwards have done things their own way and catered to their own creative muses. Which I respect and still purchase.

You can read my review here.

The End Machine – Phase II

The End Machine is listed as a supergroup consisting of guitar player George Lynch, bass player Jeff Pilson, drummer Mick Brown and singer Robert Mason.

Frontiers basically wanted a Dokken sounding album and with 75% of the band being from Dokken plus a singer who worked with Lynch in Lynch Mob, the possibilities of a Dokken sounding album were high.

The self-titled debut came out in 2019 and in 2021, “Phase 2” came out. The difference here was that Mick Brown vacated his drumming gig due to his retirement and his younger brother, Steve Brown took the spot.

I also had a review partially written on this however other posts took my interest and I never went back to it.

But it did have comments like, “’this song reminds me of <insert Dokken song here>.

For example, “Dark Divide” is “The Hunter”. “Blood And Money” reminds me of “Tooth And Nail”. “Crack The Sky” has this “Stop Fighting Love” meets “It’s Not Love” vibe.

And to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because while Dokken is on hiatus for new music, The End Machine definitely fills the void and Mason’s pipes are in fine form, while Mr Don is struggling a bit.

So if you like classic Dokken, then do yourself a favour and press play on this.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Music As A Weapon

The Disturbed Record Vault series is almost at an end.

“Music as a Weapon” is a series of concert tours created by Disturbed. All up this tour did the rounds seven different times.

In 2001, the first edition featured Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Adema, Stereomud and Systematic.

In 2003, which is also the tour captured on the CD, it featured Disturbed, Chevelle, Taproot and Unloco.

In 2006, the tour featured Disturbed, Stone Sour, Flyleaf and Nonpoint.

In 2008, the tour came to Australia and New Zealand which I caught. It featured Disturbed, P.O.D., Alter Bridge, Redline and Behind Crimson Eyes.

In 2009, the tour featured a bigger line up, with Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, Chimaira, Suicide Silence, Spineshank, Crooked X, Bury Your Dead, Born of Osiris and After the Burial.

In 2011, the line-up was Disturbed, Korn, Sevendust, In This Moment and StillWell. It’s also the first time the tour had co-headliners with Disturbed and Korn. The Australia and New Zealand edition had Disturbed, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Forgiven Rival and These Four Walls.

But back to the “Music as a Weapon II”.

It was recorded at The Aragon in Chicago in 2003, and released in 2004.

The DVD also contains Disturbed’s video for their single “Liberate” and it was Disturbed’s last release with bass guitarist Steve Kmak.

On a different note, it was also Unloco’s final release before splitting up. But vocalist Joey Duenas did form a new band called “Anew Revolution” and released two excellent albums called “Rise” in 2008 and “iMerica” in 2010. But that band is also no more.

“Loading the Weapon” (instrumental)

An instrumental track from Disturbed that is not on any album. I love the mood that this track creates.

“Bound”

It then explodes into “Bound” from the “Believe” album.

“Myself”

This CD was my first exposure to Taproot. The live recording didn’t captivate me to listen any further.

“Dehumanized”

It was written and recorded for the “Believe” album, however it didn’t make the final cut. But it was played live during the “Believe” tour and released as a B side to the “Stricken” single from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album, alongside “Hell”.

And it was finally released on “The Lost Children” album.

“Forfeit”

My first exposure to Chevelle and I was instantly a fan. The live recording isn’t the best, but the Tool like grooves into a concise 4 minute song was of interest to me.

“Fade to Black”

From Disturbed.

A Metallica cover. And how good is the whole intro with the acoustic arpeggios and lead break.

“Empty”

My first exposure to Unloco.

“Sumtimes”

Taproot’s other song on the album. It’s like Staind and the track is more accessible than the previous one. But still not interested.

“Darkness”

From the “Believe” album. The piano and acoustic guitar is haunting. Draiman’s vocal delivery is excellent.

“Bruises”

From “Unloco”. This song was in “The Matrix” movies and various video games.

“Prayer”

From the “Believe” album, the fast staccato riffing in the Intro isn’t as powerful as the album version, but I do like the slight increase in tempo which makes the fast staccato riffing even faster.

And Draiman delivers vocally.

“The Red”

David Draiman makes an appearance with Chevelle. Its pitchy especially when Draiman joins in with the harmonies but that’s what performing live is all about.

“Poem”

Song number three from Taproot. The riff sounded interesting and a bit complex, so from this song, I would go on to check out more Taproot eventually.

“Stupify”

From “The Sickness” album, and Peter Loeffler from Chevelle and Joey Duenas from Unloco make an appearance.

In the end, it’s live with no studio overdubs and very different to the live albums I grew up with, (which were basically re-cut in a studio).

I also like how Disturbed put three unreleased songs on this album.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Chevelle, Sebastian Bach, James Durbin, Black Label Society and The Used. And Artists Wonder Why Fans Cherry Pick.

Listened to some new music today that I have been wanting to check out for a few weeks now. The beauty of Spotify.

Chevelle – La Gargola

Chevelle blew my mind when they came out with their Tool infused pop stylings.

It was perfect back in 2002 and 2004. Now it is getting old. In saying that, “One Ocean”, “Choking Game”, “Under The Knife” and “Twinge” are stand out songs, however only the hardcore fans would go that deep into the album. The rest would check out the single, and maybe the first five tracks and move on.

Sebastian Bach – Give Em Hell

Skid Row was powerful with Bach on vocals. There was an X Factor there. Sabo and Bolan couldn’t get signed with all of the previous vocalists and then Sebastian comes on the scene and suddenly the band is hot and dangerous.

One hell of a talented vocalist and with this solo album, Bach is in top form. It is a solid album from start to finish with each song written by a who’s who list of musicians and producers.

And Devin Bronson on guitar, playing hard rock/metal music is triple A. If there is a fault, 12 songs are too much. 9 songs really stand out.

James Durbin – Celebrate

The memories of Durbin doing “You Got Another Thing Coming” from Judas Priest on American Idol still live on. It was that cover song that got me interested to check out his original music when the time came. So the debut comes out and the opening track “Higher Than Heaven” blows me away at its heaviness and popiness.

And now here we are in 2014. It is a good album. It is worth a listen. My wife will love it. In the end if you want to hear James Durbin pretend to be like Kate Perry or One Direction that “forever, ever, ever line” in “Live Right Now” is just too much or the “Jump! Jump! Jump!” in the song “Parachute”.

Noteworthy tracks are “Louder Than A Loaded Gun”, “Real Love” and “Children Of The Sun”.

It’s time to go back to those thirty rock songs that didn’t make it on the album and get them released, because a rock career is forever, whereas a pop career is fleeting.

Black Label Society – Catacombs of the Black Vatican

Love Zakk Wylde. I still remember having a poster on my wall around the “No Rest For The Wicked” period. Zakk was just a skinny little blonde kid. Now he is like a Viking marauder, ready to take over this town.

I like Black Label Society for the same reason I like AC/DC. You know what you are gonna get and it is a good thing. It’s groovy hard rock and metal, with Zakk’s Ozzy meets Layne Staley style vocal phrasing and great guitar playing.

Zakk has nurtured and fostered his audience with this sound. He has put a bikie culture and mentality around his audience and each time he plays a town, he calls on the local BLS Chapter to come out in force. And he gives them what they want. Beer soaked groove rock and metal.

“My Dying Day” is a full strength brewski. “Angel Of Mercy” for a ballad is also a full strength brewski. “Damn The Flood” has a Goddam wah-drenched solo section. So another brewski for that. “Empty Promises” is a double full strength brewski.

The Used – Imaginary Enemy

My first exposure to The Used was in the first Transformers movie and that car chase scene between Bumblebee and the Decepticon Police Car. I loved that riff, so I tracked down the soundtrack and found out that the song was called “Pretty Handsome Awkward” from a band called The Used. I really enjoyed the “Artwork” album.

And I have no idea what The Used is trying to achieve with this album. I’m hearing it and I am thinking about the latest Daughtry album that alienated the hard core fans in its quest for the One Direction and Train pop dollars.

In music, your only as good as the last song you released or the last album you put out or the last show you played.

Start getting a few D grades in both and expect your career to disappear.

At least their club and theater shows are selling out.

The takeaway.

A lot of time was invested to hear the sixty plus songs across the five albums and I only clicked the save button on my Spotify account 20 times. And then artists wonder why the fans cherry pick. And nine of them came from Sebastian Bach’s effort.

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