Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

1976 Part 2.2: Bad Company – Run With The Pack

“Run With The Pack” dropped in 1976. Ron Nevison engineered it and Eddie Kramer mixed it. Two names who appeared on a lot of hard rock and metal release I acquired in the 80’s.

For Bad Company, this is three albums in three years but when Daniel Ek from Spotify said that artists need to release more frequently, there was an uproar.

Did anyone see the recorded output from Ronnie James Dio?

From Elf, to Rainbow, to Black Sabbath and his solo career, he was doing a release a year.

“Run With The Pack” is not as solid as the first two albums from start to finish, but there is still enough quality to get people’s attention and it also helps when the first two albums are still selling and being played on radio.

LIVE FOR THE MUSIC

Great title.

The chord and a vocal line, the chord again and another vocal line. And that funky riff in the chorus.

“But when the night time comes I’m ready to rock”

The night is my domain. I feel I’m at my most creative then.

Check out the guitar solo. It’s a simple three note melody, repeated over three bars, with just a small change on the last bar. So simple, but effective. And it pissed me off when writers in the 90’s wrote about how simple and effective the Seattle solos were. I guess they never checked out Bad Company.

Unsung hero here is Boz Burrell on the bass. His holding down the groove but also playing the melody and towards the end of the song, it’s just Simon Kirke and Burrell, grooving away.

SIMPLE MAN

As good as anything from the first two albums.

I love the way the song just rolls after those opening arpeggios. It’s an anthem. So many good lyrical lines like;

“I’m just a simple man trying to be free”
“Freedom is the only thing that means a damn to me”

Ralphs use of acoustic and electric guitars is the same technique he employed on “Feel like Makin’ Love” from the “Straight Shooter” album.

HONEY CHILD

It’s “Can’t Get Enough” part 2.

LOVE ME SOMEBODY

A country blues piano ballad. Songs like these showcase the variation of the 70’s acts. An album purchase would give the listener so many different styles.

RUN WITH THE PACK

It starts off as a rocker and roller.

But the slow-down in the chorus. I love it.

Listen, especially when the violins come in towards the end.

SILVER, BLUE AND GOLD

It’s a fan favourite, with a sweet solo.

YOUNG BLOOD

A rock-a-billy cover. Not my favorite.

DO RIGHT BY YOUR WOMAN

Another country rock cut.

SWEET LIL’ SISTER

It’s “Movin On” part 2. The chord progression was overused. “Sweet Home Alabama” comes to mind.

FADE AWAY

The piano riff is excellent.

They tried to rewrite “Bad Company” and they did a good job with it. It has enough variation to make it sound unique. U.F.O sounded like this on the “Lights Out” album. And Check out the emotive solo.

Press play and relive 1976.

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Music, My Stories, Copyright, Influenced

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 26 to August 1

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was listening to “Promised Land”, which at that time was the new single from the Sweet & Lynch project.

For those that don’t know, Michael Sweet from Stryper joined forces with George Lynch to create Sweet & Lynch. They are supported by one of the best rhythm sections in the business in James Lomenzo on bass and Brian Tichy on drums. Underpinning or financing it all is melodic rock label Frontiers.

Their first album, “Only To Rise” was released in 2014. It’s a great throwback to the 80s style I remember well, but with modern touches and production.

3 years later, they are about to drop the “Unified” album.

The first thing that hooks me from “Promised Land” is the tempo. It’s basically a speed metal song.

A cross between Dokken’s “Lightning Strikes Again” and “Tooth And Nail” in some sections and Stryper’s “The Way” in other sections.

The lead break is one of Lynch’s finest metal moments in 2017. It’s got melody, hammer ons, pull offs, sweep picking and string skipping. All at 140 plus clicks a minute.

Unfortunately “Promised Land” is just another song lost in the 30 million plus songs on streaming services, along with other Sweet & Lynch gems like “Love Stays”, “Me Without You” and “Recover”.

Copyright abuses were pissing me off so I wrote about it.

Ed Sheeran writes songs which become popular. Then he gets hit with a lawsuit because his songs are making money and the family members of a departed artist, or the business entity that owns the copyright of an artist who is departed or has not creating anything worthwhile anymore wants a cut.

If Copyright terms remained how they were originally, this would not be a problem. First, the creator had a 14 year monopoly, with a chance to renew for another 14 years for a total of 28 years. However, once the creator died, all of their works became public property, free to be used by any other artist/creator to create derivative versions. So if the creator passed away during a term, the works ceased to be under copyright and went straight into the public domain.

The British 60’s Rock invasion happened because of these rules.

So who is copyright benefiting once the person who is meant to have the monopoly (the creator) to create works has passed on?

The corporations and estates who control the copyrights of long-dead artists. That’s who.

Frequency is a bad word for rock and metal artists.

Release music frequently is another bad phrase for artists.

It’s a concept artists are struggling with. It’s even more troublesome for bands. The singer/songwriter can make it happen, but for bands it’s a different story.

Netflix wouldn’t be able to grow their subscriber base if they released one TV show every two years?

It’s a streaming world. The youngsters, the ones who replenish the music base are signed up to streaming. And artists who don’t want to be part of the streaming group are still debating the payouts.

The money will come. But you need to control your copyrights so you get maximum royalties. 

The paradigm is different. Your musical output lives online and the money is in what lasts. Success is based upon cumulative streams, not sales of albums, and the streams go on forever.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I watched Dream Theater in Australia on the “Systematic Chaos” Tour and they played for three hours (with an intermission of about 10 minutes in between). For some reason that was perfect, however when I saw them again on the “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” Tour, they played just over 2 hours and it was too much.

And I was confused as to why I felt that way.

I think hitting the same market too quickly and the flow of the set list was the problem. The 2009 show took place almost 12 months since the 2008 show.

They did “Solitary Shell” with extended solos. It is not the strongest song in the Dream Theater catalogue, so what happens when you take a song that isn’t your best and make it longer?

You get a yawn fest, a toilet break or a beer/smoke break.

And at the time did we really need a live album from Metallica?

They had released four DVD packages of Live Concerts during the Death Magnetic tour, as well as the Six Feet Down Under EP’s plus all the stuff they release on Live Metallica.

The saying goes, you need to have lived to create everlasting art.

When Metallica created the “Black” album, the main members were 27 years of age and the producer was 36. Life experiences were on their side.

The main classic rock bands were all about individuality. The Eagles, Boston, Styx, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Rush, Bad Company, Foreigner, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick all had a unique sound.

The Eighties gave us Metallica, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, U2, Duran Duran, AC/DC, Journey, Whitesnake, Van Halen (and yes i know that some of these bands formed in the seventies), Aerosmith again and Foreigner.

Metallica played fast speed metal that was labelled thrash, Motley Crue played a hybrid version of pop, punk, rock and metal. Van Halen wrote the book on the nuclear band, Guns N Roses rewrote the seventies classic rock period with a dash of punk and Def Leppard merged Queen, with Bowie with Mott The Hoople with their NWOBM leanings into a pop rock format. Each band spawned thousands of imitators.

Rush could have recorded a mainstream radio friendly album in 1976 just to please the record label. Instead they recorded “2112”, an album that set up a very lucrative future for Rush and an album that made the record label very nervous when they heard it. As guitarist Alex Lifeson has stated in numerous interviews, “2112” set up a career for Rush.

What happened to the uniqueness?

“Kill Em All” Metallica’s first album was celebrating 30 years in July 2013. At the time of its release it didn’t really set the world on fire, however if you look at the reviews and praises the album is getting now, it is like the album came out and created a movement called thrash metal right off the bat. In other words a lot of revisionist history was taking place.

Let’s put into context the lifespan of “Kill Em All”.

It came out on July 25, 1983. By February 1984, seven months after “Kill Em All” was released, Metallica was in the studio, writing and recording the “Ride The Lightning” album.

The victory lap of “Kill Em All” was seven months. That’s it. If the band wanted to have a career, they needed to get back into the studio and record a new album.

Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard had break through albums with “Shout At The Devil”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Pyromania”. Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was the first American heavy metal debut album to ever reach No. 1 in the United States on the Billboard album charts.

But RNR history is written by the winners. Since Metallica is now inducted into the Hall of Fame, everyone that can put fingers to letters on a keyboard is rewriting their back story.

Bands like Quiet Riot will be written out. Artists like Vinnie Vincent and Jake E.Lee will be forgotten. The impact of other bands will be diminished because Metallica won.

History is written by the winners.

And does anyone know what the Metallica movie, “Through The Never” is about.

Dream Theater were promoting their new album with webisodes which didn’t feature any musical snippets from their new album.

And a listening party which didn’t feature any fans but plenty of writers for Billboard, Village Voice and other media.

Has anyone purchased a Dream Theater album because Billboard Magazine rated it highly or poorly or from a Village Voice review?

The answer would be a definite NO.

Dream Theater built their career outside of the mainstream. It was the mainstream that came knocking on the door for Dream Theater and they let them in.

Remember back in 1991, Metallica had arena sized listening parties for their fans before the release of the Black album.

Connect with fans first and they will support you.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Record Vault: Dio – Lock Up The Wolves

The band changed. There was no one left except for Ronnie James Dio. 18 year old guitar wiz, Rowan Robertson was on guitars, Jens Johansson on keys, Teddy Cook on bass and Simon Wright on drums who left his AC/DC gig that he held from 1983 to 1989 to join.

Actually Robertson was only 17 when Dio announced to the world that he was the new guitarist in July 1989 after more than 5,000 guitarist submitted audition tapes.

“I saw an item in Kerrang! about Craig Goldie leaving Dio, so I knew they needed a guitarist. I sent in a tape just for the hell of it, you know, not expecting much, but figuring I had nothing to lose.

I was 16, learnt to play guitar in my bedroom by banging around to Bad Company records and the only stage experience I had was with a couple of pub bands that were going nowhere. I thought if I was lucky, maybe I’d get an audition”.
Rowan Robertson

I was surprised to see that Jimmy Bain was out. But he was fired (along with Claude Schnell) in mid-1989 and Vinny Appice was let go two weeks before work began on the album.

The production team also changed a little bit, with Tony Platt in the producers and engineer’s chair along with Ronnie. Suddenly the sound became better thanks to Tony Platt’s engineering experience.

According to guitarist Rowan Robertson and mentioned on Wikipedia, two more songs were written and demoed for the album but left off at the decision of Wendy Dio: “Hell Wouldn’t Take Her” and “The River Between Us”. Maybe she felt the songs were too personal.

In 1990, MTV still ruled.

It was simple. You get a music video in mass rotation and watch the album go Platinum. And the Dio camp tried. They really tried.

The photos of the band had them with a bit of a tease and hairspray in their hair. They spent some decent money on a clip for “Wild One”.

And MTV still avoided Dio, who at 48 years of age was seen as a relic of the past with nothing new to offer. My Dad turned 46 that year and I saw him as old.

Also Dio’s lyrics of jesters, clowns, gypsies and rainbows had run its course for the TV station but not for the fans.

While I ignored the “Dream Evil” album when it came out in 1987, I purchased this one.

It was a tab of “Wild One” in the “Guitar School” magazine which got me interested. I was playing along to the song before I even heard it and the guitar solo was a highlight. And I was like, “man, this dude is of a similar age and he’s smoking on the guitar, I need to get practicing”.

Wild One

Written by Dio and Robertson, it’s a great fast song to kick off the album and announce the new guy in town.

That Pre-Chorus, reminds me so much of Savatage.

And the lead break starts off as a blues-a-metal-thon, almost jazz fusion like. Then it goes into the super-fast tapping section. Another great way to announce the new gun slinger .

Check out the head banging outro. How can you not like it?

Lyrically, it was another “stand your ground and be who you want to be” message, although done in a very Dio way full of riddles.

Born On The Sun

A mixture of “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” and “Holy Diver” but with Rowan Robertson providing a more EVH approach to decorating simple grooves.

Check out the drumming on this.

The song is credited to Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice. It sounds like Appice wrote the drum parts but its Wright who plays em.

You can hide in a circle
It’s a way to survive
Be another number
At least you’d be alive

Great lyrics. So much truth in the words.

Scared to be different or speak our minds because of the resistance and the blowback. Especially these days, with social media and how a point of view can blow up and suddenly we have trolls and haters all spamming our inboxes.

Hey Angel

Written by Dio and Robertson.

The majority of stories I read when Grunge came, was how the lyrics from the Seattle bands were more deeper and darker, focusing on depression and anxiety and rooted in real life. It’s like the Seattle artists were the only artists doing stuff like that. Sort of like how the heirs to Marvin Gaye believe he was so original that they sue everyone to oblivion.

Well, heavy metal and hard rock artists did have songs dealing with isolation, loneliness, depression, conformity and being in dark places after a relationship breakdown.

How do you feel right now?
How does it feel to be alone?

My parents never asked me how I feel. These kind of emotions and questions are frowned upon when your ancestry comes from Eastern Europe.

I also grew up in life being told that angels are these all powerful beings that shine a bright light and can’t be hurt.

I suppose if you feel, you can get hurt. If you bleed, you can die. Or in the words of Schwarzenegger in “Predator”, “if it bleeds, we can kill it”.

The solo is excellent on this.

From just one album, Robertson was given a chance to do an instructional tape. His “Speed Picking” VHS tape is out there on the Net.

Between Two Hearts

Another song written by Dio and Robertson. It starts off with an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “Children Of The Sea”.

Then the slow groove kicks in, it’s almost like a blues dirge.

Check out the way Robertson plays the riffs in the second verse, combine palm muted arpeggios, diads and pedal tones.

Put on your party faces and come along
Join in the big parade
Here comes the camera
Do you look as good as your sister
Smile at the animals
They should be the ones in the cages
Turn the pages

A photo for Instagram before it was even invented.

Or a song about the paparazzi and the price of fame when we lived in a monoculture. These days, we live with many different sources informing us, and a person could be making millions from music and be walking the streets and shopping aisles with us and we wouldn’t even know.

Night Music

This one is written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

So open up your arms
Let the night time in
Say the word and it begins

I love the night. I feel the most inspired then and there was nothing better than listening to music at night, reading the lyrics and singing out aloud, like the lyrics to this song, “Night music, you’re singer and I’m the song”.

Lock Up The Wolves

Another song written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

The sound of a clock ticking. Its normal paced. Then it picks up in speed, almost frantic like. The music is ominous, giving the listener a feeling that time is running out. By the time the distorted guitars kick in, the ticking is relentlessly fast.

And the doom feel of the song reminds me of “Sign Of The Southern Cross”.

In the houses of the holy
To the middle of the mystic sea
At the cradle of the world

Its back to his fantasy places, about wolves, screaming for sanctuary and how there is no back door to heaven, just a front door to hell. I guess we’ll meet again.

Evil On Queen Street

Written by Dio, Robertson and Cook. It’s like a 12 bar blues dirge with another killer solo by Robertson.

Walk On Water

Written by Dio, Robertson and Johansson, it reminds me of “Stand Up And Shout” but while “Stand Up And Shout” screams rebellion, “Walk On Water” tells ya to not even try because you can’t “Walk On Water”.

The lead break is guitar hero worthy.

Twisted

A Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice cut.

And when I told the truth
They were sure it was a lie

What would you do if no one believes you?

When your truth is seen as a lie.

Why Are They Watching Me

A Dio and Robertson cut.

It’s confusing lyrically, about being ready to rock and someone watching.

My Eyes

A Dio, Robertson and Johansson cut.

I’ve seen it from heaven and hell
I’ve seen it from the eyes of a stargazer

Great song titles to drop into a song.

Rock and roll eyes
Tell rock and roll lies
And rock and roll lies
Never end

I guess what happens in rock and roll stays in rock and roll.

“I think obviously, my defining moment is the “Lock Up the Wolves” album, and I feel very fortunate for it. It was a good album…it captured excitement and I played really well on it.”
Rowan Robertson

From memory it’s Robertson’s only album.

As soon as the album was released it was met with mixed reviews. Early sales were positive in the U.S and then the album spiralled down the charts as it disappeared altogether.

But it had longevity in the European markets as Dio’s brand was still big business there. So it was no surprise that the first leg of the tour was in Europe.

And Black Sabbath was a just a phone call away, and when that call came, the “Lock Up The Wolves” band was put on ice and never re-awakened after the Sabbath gig fell apart.

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2001 – Part 2.7: Creed – Weathered

Released in 2001.

Bassist Brian Marshall was out after giving up on communicating with Scott Stapp, so Tremonti stepped up and did the bass parts for the album.

“I couldn’t pick a single player who’d be a blue print but Jimmy Page is one of those guys that’d be in there.

Even though his playing is 70% blues oriented, I still feel close to him. I didn’t get into Zep till I was in high school.

In Junior High, I listened to Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate – real dark and heavy stuff.

Tesla was a big inspiration to me as well. I loved how they would have a little intro and a little outro like they do on “Love Song”. Those are the cool little tangents that took me away.”
Mark Tremonti: Guitar One – January 2002

I’ve written it and said it so many times. Mark Tremonti is the reason why Creed became a favourite.

He is the modern day Jimmy Page, as he can move between fast metal riffs, blues rock riffs, heavy groove rock riffs, to folk rock and even classical. There is a lot of variation on the albums he’s involved in. Similar to how Page moved between so many different styles on each Led Zeppelin album. And Page did it by using various open string tunings which Tremonti also employs.

Four years ago, Creed was looking for a record deal. And by 2001 they had become one of the biggest acts on planet Earth. During this time, Tremonti graced the covers of Guitar One on four occasions and Guitar World on three occasions, winning numerous “Best Rock Guitarist” polls.

The third album “Weathered” was anticipated. And they didn’t disappoint.

“Bullets”

It’s a great album opener and a concert opener. A “grab you by the throat” full throttle metal tune.

After the clean tone bass riff plays, a speed metal like riff kicks in. It’s angry and its perfect. After the big anthemic hits of “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open”, this one is anti-anthemic.

At least look at me when you shoot a bullet through my head”.

If you’re going to talk trash, than do it to their face.

There is also an interlude/bridge section here which was only brief but excellent and it is similar to the “Weathered” interlude/bridge section which is fleshed out a little bit better.

“Freedom Fighter”

It has this Texan blues groove but done in a Pantera style for the verses.

“Who’s Got My Back?”

It’s typical of the style of the Creed songs I like (think “Faceless Man”), with atmospheric finger picked riffs in clean tone percolating in the verses, which leads to open string tuned chords and eventually crunching and distorted chords across different intensities.

“Signs”

How heavy is that verse riff in “Signs”?

At one stage its reminding me of Stone Temple Pilots and “Vasoline” or Disturbed “Down With The Sickness”.

“One Last Breath”

Then you are treated to the excellent finger picked lines of “One Last Breath”.

On YouTube it’s got a massive amount of views. On Spotify, it’s at 135.3 million streams, higher than “Higher” which is sitting at 110.1 million streams or “My Sacrifice” at 127.3 million streams.

In a Guitar World issue, Tremonti mentioned how he would have devoured all the Classical/Baroque stuff, but subliminally his style developed by devouring the acoustic pieces from metal and rock artists, like the style of Frank Hannon or the fingerstyle stuff from Metallica on their slower tempo songs and instrumentals like “Call Of Ktulu”.

If you’ve heard the intro to “Love Song” from Tesla, then you would have heard the main riff to “One Last Breath”.

“My Sacrifice”

This song doesn’t get the respect it should. The riffs are stellar and the vocal melody is iconic.

It pushed this album to multi-platinum status in Australia and the U.S

And while I liked the song when I heard it on the album, it wasn’t until I saw Creed live that I really enjoyed the song and the way they played it.

It was the closer, it was delivered with power and a lot of pyro and they made sure they left you wanting more.

“Stand Here With Me”

“Stand Here With Me” came next and its similarity to “My Sacrifice” made me ignore it initially, but the riff stands on its own.

And there is a lead break in this song, which got me paying attention.

“Weathered”

“Weathered” is my favourite track, especially that whole interlude/bridge section from the 3.27 mark and that riff. It reminds me of heavy metal from the 80’s.

And don’t forget the Bad Company/Led Zeppelin like intro and verse feel and groove.

But let’s talk about the section which gets the head banging and the foot moving.

The metal like interlude and bridge from the 3.27 mark. Think of the song, “Fighting For The Earth” from Warrior. That’s the song which used the riff prominently throughout, however the riff appears in so many 80’s music.

Even Bullet For My Valentine used the riff for “The Last Fight”.

But what makes the riff different in this song is the groove. Its slower, its menacing and Tremonti builds it nicely, starting off with single notes and by the end of it, he’s combining single notes and octaves, heightening the intensity.

“Hide”

It’s “My Sacrifice” part 3 and although it is derivative, it doesn’t get boring.

How good is the verse?

The drums and bass stop, and it’s just the guitar with Stapp’s vocals.

The Chorus riff reminds me of “Goodbye To Romance” from Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

“Don’t Stop Dancing”

It has a nice little melodic lead from Tremonti, who really picks his small lead break spots to perfection.

If you haven’t heard this album get to it.

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Australian Method Series: Riff Raiders – Rock N Roll Daydream

A Hard Rock band from Melbourne.

What a cool name.

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

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

Loaded Gun

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

Stop Looking At Me

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

Samantha Jones

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

Best Day Ever

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

Light

A cool rock ballad.

When I’m Dreaming

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

Stepping On A Cloud

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

Standing On My Own

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

Sunset To Sunrise

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

Shade

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

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

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

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

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Australian Method Series: Lord – Undercovers, Vol 1

I dig Lord.

The band is a natural evolution from the band Dungeon, who sounded more in the power and thrash metal style. Lord is like the classic metal and rock sound I grew up with, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We did a some shows with em back in 2010 while they were out supporting their “Set In Stone” album in our hometown of Wollongong. Otherwise known as “The Gong”.

I’ve also seen Lord live a few times opening for overseas acts and on their own run of shows.

The band is currently made up of Lord Tim on lead vocals, guitar and keyboards, Andy Dowling on bass and Mark Furtner on guitar.

“Undercovers” is a 2021 release.

This review is based on the Spotify release. To get the full version (23 songs deluxe), you need to go to Bandcamp.

To The Moon And Back

From Savage Garden.

It’s an Aussie Pop classic. Darren Hayes co-write the song and on Twitter he mentioned how there is a section of fans who like heavy metal and Savage Garden and Lord has given em, an awesome Metal version of the song.

Judas Be My Guide

From Iron Maiden.

That’s how quickly Tim can change vocal styles. From pop rock to Bruce Dickinson.

“Fear Of The Dark” album was maligned for sounding too hard rock but I disagree. To me, it sounded like Iron Maiden.

Send Me An Angel

From Real Life.

There is an 80s like synth as the main riff that makes me think of “Sweet Dreams” from Eurythmics.

I remember this from the “Rad” soundtrack.

Shattered

From Pantera.

This song was Pantera doing Judas Priest on their major label debut. Even Anslemo’s vocals mirrored Rob Halford.

Well Lord Tim is an unbelievable vocalist, so his Halford vocal style was all on show to be heard.

Hard To Love

Readers of this blog know that I have a lot of time for Harem Scarem and their underrated and excellent guitarist Pete Lesperance.

This song is from their debut and Lord don’t mess with perfection much, nailing every part of the song musically and vocally.

(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight

Lord Tim passes the vocal duties to bass player, Andy Dowling.

This song is from Cutting Crew.

I always liked the melodic rock overtones of this song and I still like it to this day.

Reckless

From Judas Priest and the much maligned “Turbo” album.

But.

I like the “Turbo” album. And this version is as powerful as the original with a modern mix. If you like Judas Priest you would want to hear this.

I Want Out (Live)

From Helloween.

It’s faster and energetic. They always delivered in the live arena.

Touch The Fire

From Icehouse.

It’s an Aussie classic and Lord make it a melodic rock classic.

Break The Ice

From John Farnham.

This is an excellent cover of Farnham’s melodic rock era when he was cashing in and singing songs for 80s movies. Before “You’re The Voice” took over the charts around the world.

This song is also from the “Rad” soundtrack.

On A Night Like This

From Kylie Minogue.

Check out the hilarious piss take video clip on YouTube.

Bassist Andy Dowling also has a podcast running called “Nod to the Old School”. Here is the Spotify link.

Finally if you like your 80s hard rock and heavy metal than Lord’s music is waiting for you to invest some time.

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

1976 – Part 1.6: Bob Seger – Night Moves

I always have time for a little bit of Bob Seger. “Old Time Rock N Roll” was the song that got his name into my consciousness. “Turn The Page” was another, but I heard the Metallica version first. Actually, that whole “Garage Inc.” album from Metallica, got me excited to check out bands that I wasn’t sure I should check out.

So “Night Moves” is album number 9. For a person who lived on the road, the cover is perfect, with his image and the spotlight in the background.

At the age of 30, Seger did good live business in middle America, but couldn’t break through nationally.

Then he dropped the “Night Moves” album, a road trip of nostalgia and a soundtrack for many growing up in the 70’s. I didn’t hear this album until the 90’s. Such a long time after its release but if I heard this in the 80’s I wouldn’t have liked it, as I was head over heels in love with hard rock and heavy metal.

“Rock and Roll Never Forgets”

It’s a 12 bar blues romp.

The catchcry of “come back baby, rock and roll never forgets” is truth. As fans of the music and its lifestyle, we can dabble our tastes in other styles but we always come back to our rock and roll roots like we never left.

“Oh the bands still playing it loud and lean / Listen to the guitar player making it scream”

“Night Moves”

When I was doing some reading on Bob Seger, a lot of reviews when the album came out, kept mentioning how his songs sound like other songs that came before. And I’m thinking, perfect, that’s just the way I like it.

“I used her, she used me / But neither one cared / We were gettin’ our share / Workin’ on our night moves”

The strummed acoustic guitar kicks it off, but it’s Seger’s phrasing and vocal delivery, almost “American Pie” like.

The narrative of the secret getaways of teenage lovers takes its cues from Van Morrison and his “Brown Eyed Girl” and the movie “American Graffiti”. Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” from “Born To Run” can also be heard, a coincidence or a fact that both artists have the same influences.

“The Fire Down Below”

It feels like a song from The Eagles “Hotel California” album which came a few years after. Reading comments on the YouTube video of the song, led me to a 60’s R&B singer called Johnny Taylor, and his songs “Who’s Makin’ Love” and “Take Care of Your Homework”. And one comment even mentioned that the Silver Bullet Band is tight in the “Brown Sugar” style of the Rolling Stones.

All I can say is, take what has come before and make it better.

“Sunburst”

“Sunburst” has inspirations from the Beatles “Dear Prudence” and Rod Stewart’s “Handbags And Gladrags”.

Stick around for the change at the 2.10 minute mark when it gets a bit metal like.

“Gaze on the sunburst / His weapon at his side / He flashes it with pride / Before his legions”

What’s this. Lyrics about the wood finish on a guitar. Before the term “Guitar Hero” even existed.

“Sunspot Baby”

Another 12 bar blues romp, that he would really nail with “Old Time Rock’N’Roll”.

“She packed up her bags and she took off down the road / Left me here stranded with the bills she owed / She gave me a false address / Took off with my American Express”

Story telling at its best about a lover who did a number on him as she charged up a fortune on his credit card.

“Mainstreet”

It could be about any town in any part of the world, as we all have the same main streets and a story or two of someone who tried to make it out.

The guitar melodies and leads on this one are excellent.

“And sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat / I drift back in time and I find my feet / Down on Mainstreet”

That’s right, you can never escape your hometown. You know every corner, every crack on the road, every curb and every smell. It’s in your DNA.

“Come to Poppa”

It smoulders along with its “Cocaine” groove.

“If you need a pacifier / Call me anytime”

This is more crude than any lyric that the PMRC found offensive in a decades time for their “Filthy 15” list.

“Suck on that”, I say.

“Ship of Fools”

The Eagles influence is present again with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It Easy” combining to become “Ship Of Fools”.

“Mary Lou”

It’s a cover and it sounds like Seals and Crofts “Your Mama Don’t Dance” or “Jailhouse Rock” or “Smokin In The Boys Room”.

You know the riff I’m talking about.

In the U.S, six million copies were shipped, for a 6× Platinum certification. And “Night Moves” is the anchor to Seger’s most successful period which includes “Stranger In Town” in 1978 and “Against the Wind” in 1980.

How many artists can say that their ninth album broke em him to the masses?

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

1976 – Part 1.5: Scorpions – Virgin Killer

The original cover gets more attention than the actual album. Even Wikipedia was embroiled in the controversy for showing it. I’ll go with the alternative cover.

For me, this album showcases the power of Uli Jon Roth. Four of the compositions “Virgin Killer”, “Hell-Cat”, “Polar Nights” and “Yellow Raven” are written solely by Roth (he even sings on two of em), while opener “Pictured Life” is written with Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker. “In Your Park”, “Backstage Queen” and “Crying Days” are Meine and Schenker compositions.

Rounding out the band is Francis Buchholz on bass and Rudy Lenners on drums, the underrated rhythm section of the band. Dieter Dierks is credited as assisting with the arrangements and production.

“Pictured Life”

It’s like a party is happening. There are leads all over this song courtesy of Roth.

In the intro, in the verses, in the Chorus and after the Chorus.

And one of their biggest songs, “Rock You Like A Hurricane” is very similar to this.

I also think that “Games People Play” from The Alan Parson’s Project sounds like this.

Make sure to check out the Chorus riff.

“Catch Your Train”

Rudolf Schenker delivers killer riffs on this, while Roth creates the Shrapnel label with his shred’a’licious leads.

Check out the lead break here and you will hear a lot of the 80’s players style. Kirk Hammet, Marty Friedman, George Lynch, Randy Rhoads and John Sykes.

“In Your Park”

It’s like a ballad before the word was overused by MTV and for some reason, I can’t stop thinking of “I’m Eighteen” when I hear this song.

“Backstage Queen”

They are doing the British Blues better than the Brits were doing it at this time.

Lenners and Bucholz are super locked in during the solo section and deliver an excellent groove for Roth to solo over.

“Virgin Killer”

How good is the intro riff to this?

When I heard it, I thought of “Too Fast For Love” which came 5 years later.

And the way Klaus Meine sings this, it sounds like an Aerosmith song.

Roth has mentioned that the meaning of “Virgin Killer” is “none other than the demon of our time, the less compassionate side of the societies we live in today, brutally trampling upon the heart and soul of innocence.”

And the record label thought that putting a naked 10 year old on the cover was a good idea and the guys in the band agreed.

“Hell-Cat”

Vocals are provided by Mr Roth for this bluesy number. Musically it sounds like Hendrix and vocally it should have been performed by Meine.

“Crying Days”

It has this arpeggio line in the intro, that appears on “Lords Of Karma” by Joe Satriani and “Hell Child” from Lynch Mob.

“Polar Nights”

This one also has vocals by Roth. Musically, it’s got a sleazy groove and some smooth legato playing from Mr Roth.

“Yellow Raven”

A ballad with some heavy classical overtones.

From the vocal point of view, I would have preferred Meine to sing on all the tracks, because as a fan of the 80’s Scorpions, it’s his voice I am used to.

Crank it for Uli Jon Roth.

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1976 – Part 1.4: Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny

It’s not on Spotify as their original label Gull owns the rights and the split between artist and label was hostile.

Judas Priest recorded this album on a very small budget, whilst working part-time jobs and living off of one meal a day. As they say, hard times and adversity breeds genius.

This album is the transition point between blues rock and a new style about to be born, which is basically the metal that I got to know.

“Victim Of Changes”

It kicks off the album, a combination of two separate songs. “Whiskey Woman” from the band co-founder and original singer, Al Atkins (who also gave the band its name) and “Red Light Lady” from the person who replaced him, Rob Halford.

The riff reminds me of “Stormbringer” from Deep Purple and both songs came out at a similar time. There is a little lick towards the end of the riff that Metallica swiped for “Seek And Destroy” which they use to “get out” of the intro riff pattern and into the verse riff. Wikipedia quotes a source that the riff was inspired by “Black Dog” from Led Zeppelin.

Regardless of the source inspiration, it’s a beautiful example of how you take little bits and pieces of what came before and make it your own.

“The Ripper”

A lot of bands at this time were doing similar riffs, borrowing from each other and allowing themselves to be influenced. The main riff here is reminiscent of “Stranglehold” from Ted Nugent, however both songs came out at the same time. It could be pure coincidence, but it also means that the artists in question had the same influences.

The Chorus riff feels like a Pink Panther soundtrack and the solo section is the way Muse do their solo sections.

“Dreamer Deceiver”

If you want to know the inspiration behind “The Warning” album from Queensryche, just listen to this.

It’s one of those moody slow tempo songs I really like from acts in the Seventies. From a Judas Priest viewpoint, this song is an underrated cut. I would even call it a masterpiece.

Halford covers so much ground with his voice, singing across four octaves at different times of the song.

And the guitar solo from Glenn Tipton. One of the best guitar solos of all time. So overlooked. It’s on par with “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd for pure emotion.

As the solo went on, Halford came in with his super falsetto ohhhs and ahhhs.

“Deceiver”

It has the triplet galloping style of riffing that Sabbath used in “Children Of The Grave” which came out in 1971. And Halford is going to town with his falsetto voice, clearly showing a certain Scandinavian singer called King Diamond, how to develop his style.

“Prelude”

It’s soundtrack music. A friend of mine said, its influenced by “The March Of The Black Queen” from the Queen “II” album. Listen to em both and you decide.

“Tyrant”

I reckon a young EVH was clearly influenced by the riffs in this song. Listen to the intro riff and you will hear it sounds like a certain Van Halen song.

“Genocide”

There is a lot of Deep Purple in this track. “Smoke On The Water” and “Woman from Tokyo” come to mind, from a groove and feel point of view.

“Epitaph”

It’s a progressive song, with layered vocals while musically, it’s just a piano riff. Black Sabbath’s “Changes” and Queen and ELP comes to mind.

“Island of Domination”

And they close off the album with a track that reminds me of “IV” from Sabbath.

The main riff sounds an awful lot like Nazareth’s “Railroad Boy” released a year earlier.

And you all know my view on this, all music is a derivative of some other music. If you listen closely, the section from 2.20 reminds me of “Wake Up Dead” from Megadeth.

For just their second album, there is a lot of ground covered.

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2000 – The 13th Post

Here we are, the final 2000 post which brings to an end, the tandem 2000, 1985 and 1977 series before I move on to 2001, 1986 and 1976 series.

Motorhead – We Are Motorhead

Its fast and fast and fast. A perfect statement of intent for the 2000’s.

Certain songs had different producers like Bob Kulick, Bruce Bouillet and Duane Baron.

Phil Campbell on the guitar is phenomenal. Very underrated. And of course, Mikkey Dee on the drums is a metronomic machine when he needs to be and sleazy swingy when he needs to be.

Then you have Lemmy.

Heavy as lead, all fuzzed out with his bass lines and throwing his voice into the concrete and still sounding good.

“See Me Burning” clocks in at 3 minutes as the double kick pattern is relentless from the start to the end. “Wake The Dead” has another fast double kick pattern from Dee. “We Are Motorhead” sounds like it came from the “Ace Of Spades” album. “Stagefreight” and “Heart On Your Sleeve” continue the speed.

“Slow Dance” is the mid-tempo hard rock track and my favourite. The riff is sinister like and I like it. Especially that harmony lead before the lead break.

And my other favourite, is “One More Fucking Time”. At 6 plus minutes it’s the longest song on the album.

Fozzy

I like the idea behind the first Fozzy album and the funny backstory they put into the promo.

They had signed with a record company and moved to Japan to be huge rock stars, but the company went out of business, leaving them stranded in Japan for 20 years, while all their demos were snatched and recorded by other bands. Once they returned to America, they realized that many famous artists had ripped off their songs.

So this album is mostly cover songs (which are like the Fozzy songs that other artists took) however, the album does have two new original songs, so that these thieving bands don’t have enough time or a chance to “rip” off these new songs.

So who is Fozzy.

Well wrestler Chris Jericho (credited as Moongoose McQueen) is on vocals, Rich Ward (credited as Duke LaRüe) on guitars, Dan Dryden (credited as Shawn “Sports” Pop) on bass, Frank Fontsere (credited as KK LaFlame) on drums and Ryan Mallam (credited as The Kidd) on guitar.

Megaforce Records had high commercial hopes for this album, but it disappointed the label heads and they more or less cancelled their support of the album and the band.

One more album would come two years later called “Happenstance” and when it did even less business than the debut, Megaforce ran to the hills.

“Stand Up and Shout” written by Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain and performed by Dio kicks off the album.

“Eat the Rich” is a Krokus cover, written by Butch Stone, Marc Storace, Fernando von Arb and Chris von Rohr.

“Stay Hungry” is a Twisted Sister cover and written by Dee Snider. Less than 3 minutes long, it’s a speed metal cut.

“The Prisoner” is an Iron Maiden, written by Adrian Smith and Steve Harris.

“Live Wire” is a Mötley Crüe cover, written by Nikki Sixx.

“End of Days” is written by Rich Ward and Chris Jericho. It got some fast palm muted picking but it doesn’t have that classic riff like the songs above, but it does have a wicked pre-chorus vocal melody, when Jericho/Moongoose sings “Can you believe in love?”

“Over the Mountain” is an Ozzy Osbourne cover, written by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake.

“Blackout” is a Scorpions cover, written by Sonja Kittelsen, Klaus Meine, Herman Rarebell and Rudolf Schenker

“Feel the Burn” is another cut written by Rich Ward and Chris Jericho but its forgettable.

“Riding on the Wind” is a Judas Priest cover, written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K. K. Downing. Like all of the other tracks on the album, they are played with a bit of a pedal to the floor attitude.

The album is basically an 80’s Heavy Metal jukebox under 40 minutes.

Symphony X – V The New Mythology Suite

I read some stuff about this band and how good Michael Romeo is on guitars. But to me, it was Russell Allen on vocals that got me interested, because Romeo was too much like Malmsteen on a lot of the stuff, or maybe he wasn’t like Malmsteen, instead it was the keyboard lines of Michael Pinnella that made it sound like Malmsteen.

Wikipedia tells me it is a concept album dealing with the story of Atlantis, ancient Egyptian mythology, and astrology.

There is a lot of same same here, but “Communion And The Oracle” is a bit different, with its soundtrack like feel and very Kansas feel in certain sections. Its progressive the way I like progressive to be.

Nightwish – Wishmaster

I’m a fan of the riffs. The operatic vocals are hit and miss for me on this album, but they do get better with subsequent releases.

“She Is My Sin” has a kicking intro riff.

“The Kinslayer” has another great riff, but on this one, the vocal line is like that “O Fortuna” vocal line. Brilliant.

If the intro to “Come Cover Me” doesn’t get you playing air guitar then you have no heartbeat.

“Wishmaster” continues that symphonic “O Fortuna” element in the Chorus, when they sing “Mas-ter”, “A-pprent-ice” in that style. Check out the harmony leads as well.

In Flames – Clayman

This is the album that put them on the map for me. Thirteen songs at 50 minutes. No fat whatsoever in the songs.

I really like the melody and aggression in the riffs and those European Minor key harmonies and leads.

Case in point, check out the riffs and leads in “Bullet Ride”. Vocally, its more in the vein of acts like “At The Gates” so if you want to hear a more commercial sounding In Flames, then Ghost AD does a pretty good job as the riffs they use are very similar.

Then you get the fast speed metal of “Pinball Map”. But hang around until the 2.20 minute mark, when it breaksdown into a head banging groove. Then the lead break starts, which copies the Chorus vocal melody before it picks up the speed metal.

How good is the intro melodic lead and that chugging staccato riff for the verses in “Only For The Weak”?

Listen to the lead break in the Chorus for “Square Nothing”.

I wanted Metallica to write a song like “Clayman” around this time. But who knew the dramas that Hetfield was going through during this period.

The clean tone arpeggios and harmony lead to kick off “Satellites and Astronauts” always gets me to pick up the guitar and then the madness starts before it goes back to those clean tone arpeggios for the verses.

The riff at 1.30 in “Brush The Dust Away” reminds me of Lynch/Dokken era. And the lead break starts off with some fast legato lines, some melody, then sweeps and harmonies.

“Swim” sounds like a Europe song from the first two albums, but then it moves into a Dream Theater/Petrucci like riff before the Euro melodic riffs kick in.

Finally “Another Day In Quicksand” feels like it’s the younger brother of “The Fire Still Burns” from Twisted Sister.

Children of Bodom – Follow The Reaper

RIP Alexi Laiho.

A Children Of Bodom album has riffs. A lot of fast riffs and a lot of groove rock riffs and a lot of progressive riffs.

And it has leads plus harmony leads with guitars and keyboards and breakdown grooves.

Check out the intro riff to “Follow The Reaper” and those lead breaks in between.

The verse riff in “Bodom After Midnight” is the best Malmsteen riff that he didn’t write.

How good is the intro to “Children of Decadence” and the 80’s melodic pop grooves for the intro to “Mask Of Sanity”?

Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage

For the debut album, Adam Dutkiewicz played drums and he moved to guitars on the albums after. Jesse Leach is on vocals, Joel Stroetzel is solely on guitar and Mike D’Antonio is on bass guitar.

The debut album is way too extreme for me, vocally, with every song in that screaming range. But musically, there are a lot of good riffs in this.

“Temple From The Within” opens the album and listen to that riff at the 1.10 minute mark to 1.33 mark. Then the bass kicks in and its heavy when the guitar kicks in. This track was re-released on the follow up album “Alive And Breathing” in 2002.

Check out the acoustic flamenco section from the 3 minute mark in “Irresversal”, an oasis of melody in the chaos of heaviness and aggression. This track was also re-recorded for “The End Of Heartache” album in 2004.

“Prelude” is only 2 minutes, but that’s enough for an instrumental, with head banging riffs and a sing-a-long lead break. “One Last Sunset” is another instrumental, sad and melancholic.

Nonpoint – Statement

The debut album reminds me of “Sevendust” and “Mudvayne” with a bit of “Tool” on this album. I think it’s a big reason why I gravitated to them.

“Mindtrip” has the vocals kick in start right away and that vocal line “trip inside your mind” reminds me of Tool.

“Endure” is the superior track here, combining melody, aggression and powerful riffs into a cohesive 3 minute track.

“Years” is a cross between clean tone arpeggios, busy drumming and aggressive down picking with a melodic Chorus, very Tool like.

Taproot – Gift

Bands classed as Nu-Metal had a lot of promo in Australia.

But Taproot, while classed in that style had a bit of progressive in them, clean tone vocals, hard core vocals with metal and rock overtones.

“Again And Again” has this groove, which people might say is more Disturbed than anything else, but both bands came out the same time, so let’s just say it’s a 2000 groove. Reminds me of Staind.

“I” is a favourite.

And thats it folks, the year that was 2000 comes to an end.

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