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

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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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – Jan 1 to Jan 9

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about the labels and the publishers meeting with newly elected President Trump on Copyright issues under the pretense of helping artists.

We all know that when these organizations meet with government officials it’s for their benefit only and maybe some small change to the artists to keep em quiet.

And based on how all of these investment houses are buying the rights to songs from artists, expect to see a new player in the meetings with government over copyright and its terms.

8 Years ago (2013)

The site was still young and new and I had a few posts in the month of January but none during this period.

But… I’ll cover a bit of history.

Jason Newsted flirted as a band called Newsted and released the underrated “Metal” EP. Interest was high, they played smaller venues and they sold out on the physical CDs for “Metal”.

The plan was for three EPs.

But that got canned and the same year they also released the album “Heavy Metal Music”.

The band was costing Newsted money. He was the investor for the tours and what not. And it was on a tour of Australia that Newsted ended the band for personal reasons.

And Black Veil Brides released the excellent album “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” which gave rise to their biggest song. “In The End” currently stands at 99.299 million streams on Spotify.

Check em out.

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

2020 Summary

This is it, the final wrap up from the thousands of words written in 2020. Here are the stand out albums for each month.

January
Storm Force – Age Of Fear

February
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic

March
Harem Scarem – Change The World

April
Trivium – What The Dead Men Say

May
Vandenberg – 2020

June
Protest The Hero – Palimpsest

July
Bush – The Kingdom
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?

August
John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity

September
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium

October
Smith And Myers – Volume 1 and Volume 2

November
AC/DC – PWR UP

And here is a “best of” list of stand alone single releases.

January
Free Spirits Rising – “I Would Love To Rock The World”

February
Machine Head – “Circle The Drain”
Royal Bliss – “Feeling Whitney”

March
Collateral – “Mr Big Shot”

April
Free Spirits Rising – “Moon Of Forever”
Spoken – “Awaken Me”

May
Dee Snider – “Prove Me Wrong”
Shinedown – “Atlas Falls”

June
Free Spirits Rising – “Landing In Heaven”

July
Night Demon – “Vysteria”

August
Daughtry – “World On Fire”

September
Rise Against – “Broken Dreams Inc.”

October
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Impossible”

November
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Paper Moon”
Machine Head – “My Hands Are Empty”
Protest The Hero – “Protect The Land”

Enjoy.

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

Best Of September 2020

As we got into the final months the releases started flowing out like a busted water pipe. All of those held up releases from when lockdown began, started to come out.

So September had seven posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

For single song releases, Rise Against dropped “Broken Dreams, Inc.”.

They contributed the song to the “Dark Nights: Death Metal” Soundtrack, DC’s new Batman comic-book series. Another creative way to release songs with comic book culture.

The song deals with levelling the playing field for everyone to have a chance at achieving the American dream.

When we owe more than we’re worth
And they’re changing the locks on the doors

The banking industry got wealthy from selling debt.

How’s that for a career?

When the factories are automated
Broken dreams incorporated

Stryper released the Metal with “Even The Devil Believes”. Michael Sweet works hard, writing and recording new music via his many different projects but the project which is his bread and butter is Stryper.

It’s a return to their “Soldiers Under Command” sound from the 80’s and it showcases the influence of Judas Priest to their music.

Seether released “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”. The title translates from Latin to, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’.

Bad Juju from Melbourne, Australia released the excellent “You’re Not Alone” album.

Landfall from Brazil is a melodic rock band signed to Frontiers and this album was a big surprise. It brings back that feel-good 80’s vibe with the window down, driving 100km on the highway and the wind licking my face on my way to the city with hopes and dreams.

10 Years released “Violent Allies”, produced by Howard Benson.

Benson also produced the “Feeding The Wolves” album back in 2010. That album is a favourite of mine, but there is a portion of the fanbase that hates what Benson’s generic pop production did to 10 Years. But that’s the production I like.

And the album which reigned supreme for me in September is “Dead Elysium” from Vanishing Point.

I wrote about this album here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

In other words, check it out.

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

Best of July 2020

July had four posts on the new releases.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

For single song releases, “Night Demon” released “Vysteria” on Spotify. Since they came up with the word, they also defined it as “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement incited by the media, especially among a group of people during a pandemic”.

It’s basically about COVID-19 and how our lives have been affected by restrictions and lockdown, with the conspiracy catch cry of “is it the end of the world, or the thinning of the herd”.

NOBODY IS SAFE
THE VIRUS HAS NO PREDJUDICE
NO BLACK OR WHITE
THE RICH AMONG THE POOR

Tokyo Motor Fist released the “Lions” album.

“The world is in chaos” is how the title track starts off. And it sure is.

Michael Grant And The Assassins released the excellent and underrated “Always The Villain” album. It’s a Frontiers release and I became a fan on the first listen.

So who is Michael Grant?

When you listen to the album, remember that Michael Grant is playing those riffs, the majority of the drum tracks, the bass lines, the guitar lead lines and he also does the vocals.

“The Assassins” part of the name comes from his touring band, but they didn’t play on the album.

And before going solo, Grant was the founder, and lead singer/guitarist in the alternative melodic hard rock band “Endeverafter” between 2004 and 2012, who had a deal with Epic Records, and they released one album “Kiss Or Kill” in 2007.

From 2012 to 2018, Grant was the guitarist in LA Guns and also wrote and recorded “The Missing Peace” album, released in 2017.

The LA Guns camp said he left the band to pursue his solo project, while Grant said he was fired from the band.

Anyway.

Every single song on this album is melodic, with good riffs, catchy AOR choruses and great leads.

“Nightmare” is my favorite today, because of the lead break that reminds me of Dave Gilmour but depending on the day or my mood, other tracks take over.

Haken released the album “Virus”, which is a coincidence because the title was decided way before the whole COVID-19 spread worldwide.

And if you like progressive and technical rock/metal, then this album would fill the void.

And two albums reigned supreme for me in July.

“How Do We Want To Live?” from Long Distance Calling was released in June but I really sank my ears into it in July. From Germany, its instrumental Pink Floyd style rock with Tool like grooves and a few vocal tracks. And it’s the moods that always hook me in.

“The Kingdom” from Bush took me by surprise. This is their best album since the first two albums. Its heavy and it’s the Bush I like.

“Flowers On The Grave” has the riffs.

“The Kingdom” starts off with a bending note, before it explodes into a heavy riff that reminds me of Tool and Rossdale is nailing the vocal.

Only in the silence we can see who we are

When we are alone with our thoughts, that’s when it’s real. That’s when we know who we are. Are we thinking of how to make it, or are we thinking how to get back at someone who upset us or to get it on with someone else.

“Undone” moves me, every single time.

On my grave nothing really matters

Death gives us perspective.

Check it out.

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

November 2020 – Part 5

Stan Bush

If you’ve watched any 80’s movie with a hard rock soundtrack, there is a very high chance that you would have heard a song from Stan Bush.

My first encounter was “The Touch” from “The Transformers” cartoon movie, when Hot Rod grabbed the matrix of leadership, opened it and became “Rodimus Prime”.

And Jean Claude Van Damme was a big name once upon a time in the action genre, and Stan Bush songs appeared in his movies. But apart from soundtracks, there was nothing else I could get my hands on and information on him was scarce.

So here we are in 2020 and “Dare To Dream” is released.

“Born To Fight” is more melodic metal than AOR rock, with a guitar solo section that reminds of “The Final Countdown” from Europe. And the song is being used to promote a few anime shows on Netflix.

“Dare To Dream” is more in vein with his AOR rock with a bit of Rick Springfield chucked in.

“The Times Of Your Life” is basically the guitar verse riff from “Run To You” from Bryan Adams, played on a piano. And I like it.

“A Dream Of Love” is a cross between Whitesnake and Def Leppard. Think of “The Deeper The Love” and “Hysteria” with a guitar solo that is John Norum level quality, very Euro influenced.

So I had to Google who is playing guitar. And that person is Holger Fath, a German guitarist. He basically does all the guitars and bass, as well as the production.

“The 80’s” sounds like it came from the 80’s. A cross between “Summer Of 69”, “Hysteria”, “Animal” and various Night Ranger songs. It’s a fun clichéd track to listen to.

“Live And Breathe” sounds like those Heart piano ballads with a bit of Michael Bolton thrown in.

“Heat Of Attack” has a bass groove like “Heaven And Hell” which is a perfect canvas for Stan Bush to take over with his melodic rock vocals, about fighting to stay alive and keeping the flame burning inside.

“Dream Big” has a lot of keyboard hooks and an outro guitar solo which I like and “True Believer” has a groovy bass riff with a staccato keyboard riff in the Chorus.

“Never Give Up” has a keyboard riff that reminds me of Bush’s biggest song, “The Touch”, which is very similar to “Jump” from Van Halen.

“Home” closes the album. A ballad straight from the Mutt Lange written cuts, like “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”.

In the end, it’s all these old sounds from the 80’s done in a modern way and I like it.

Wytch Hazel

“III: Pentecost” is the album. The feel is a throwback to those 70’s acts that current bands like Audrey Horne do.

So I did some digging and took in some interviews and reviews about how the band sounds like a cross between Angelwitch and Thin Lizzy. I haven’t heard Angelwitch, so I can’t comment there, but I can hear Thin Lizzy. In the interviews, it was mentioned that Fleetwood Mac and the “Rumours” album was being spun while the writing was happening.

“He is the Fight” kicks off the album with harmony leads and its followed by “Spirit And Fire”. It’s a one two knockout punch musically, so I did some more digging to see who these guitar heroes are. Alex Haslam and Colin Hendra. I’m sure like me, no one has heard of em, but the point of writing blogs is to spread the word. Let the “spirit and fire” lead the way. And listening to the lyrics, it’s a very Christian album. The real Pentecostal kind, so when you hear the lyrics, you know that every word is meant with heart.

“I Am Redeemed” starts off with a bass riff similar to “Wrathchild” from Iron Maiden but once the harmony guitars kick in, its living in Thin Lizzy territory with nods to Maiden in the verses.

“Archangel” has an excellent clean tone intro before it moves into a riff that reminds me of “Ghost BC”. Then the chorus kicks in and it’s memorable straight from the outset. “Dry Bones” has this interlude/solo riff which is just head banging material.

“Sonata” has church organs and a cello/violin before the clean tone arpeggios kick in. And it’s a moody 2 minute instrumental which bleeds into “I Will Not” and that riff. It’s time to pick up the guitar and learn it.

The album closes the way it started with “Ancient Of Days” a high energy hard rock song with harmony guitars and the drumming from “The Ides Of March”.

Within Temptation

I’ve been a fan of this band since the early 2000’s. Their blend of Euro metal and symphonies into cohesive 4 minute hard rock songs is just to my liking.

“The Purge” is a pre-release single drop of a new album. And as soon as it started, I was hooked. It has the riffs, the synths, the almost metronomic drums and the powerhouse vocals of Sharon den Adel.

Avandra

I saw the cover on a blog, liked the way it looked and added the album to my November playlist. Going in blind, the music is progressive rock, with touches of metal and other styles.

“Life Is Not A Circle, But A Sphere” got me to pay attention. It’s track three.

And then “Eternal Return” starts, with its Pink Floyd style of digital delay riffing.

And while I was listening, I did some more digging.

From Puerto Rico.

The beauty of the internet and allowing everyone to create. As a fan of music, I am exposed to artists from all over the world.

“Procgen” has these various moods which I like and then there is this vocal melody that goes with the harmony guitars towards the end of the song, which makes me press repeat.

“Afferent Realms” starts off with some serious shred, which makes me want to break my guitar. It’s all over a polyrhythm riff and drum beat.

Here’s a review for ya from the blog manofmuchmetal, that I agree with (plus it’s the blog that I saw the cover on).

Volbeat

“Die To Live” was a favourite from the album, and the same energy captured there is captured live. It’s just a powerhouse rock-a-billy metal cut.

Crank and let it intoxicate you.

Black Veil Brides

“Scarlett Cross” is the new pre-release single of a forthcoming album. If you read this blog, you will know that I am a fan of the band, especially guitarists Jinxx and Jake Pitts.

These two dudes can play and are modern day guitar heroes.

So I wait..

Trixter

Trixter got labelled pretty quick when they came out with the glam/hair metal tag. Unfortunately labels stick, which in reality wasn’t a right label for them, as they had more of a blues rock sound with AOR rock choruses now and then. After a few albums in the early 90’s they disappeared for a long time only to be resurrected on Frontiers around 2010.

“New Audio Machine” was released in 2012 on Frontiers Records and it features the original line up of the band which is Pete Loran on lead vocals, Steve Brown on lead guitar, P. J. Farley on bass guitar and Mark “Gus” Scott on drums and percussion.

I liked the album then and in 2020 it got a remaster, plus a bonus track thrown in, hence the reason why it appears in my 2020 list.

“Drag Me Down” is a blues southern rock ditty while “Get On It” has this foot stomping blues rock groove. The riffs in “Dirty Love” are influenced from Pasadena and a certain EVH. Steve Brown on guitars is another excellent guitarist who remains ignored by the wider public. Listen to his lead break on “Dirty Love” to get a feel for his abilities.

When Trixter did AC/DC, they did it an way that is more melodic. Listen to the excellent guitar riffs in “Machine” from Brown with arpeggios, palm muted chromatic lines and double stops with an AC/DC feel.

“Live for the Day” is an acoustic/electric ballad, which bands like Matchbox 20, Live and Tonic would be proud to call their own.

“Ride” is a rocker with a heavy riff. “Physical Attraction” and the lead break. Give it a listen.

“Tattoos & Misery” could have come from a Lifehouse album and one of my favourite tracks on the album.

“Walk With a Stranger” is an unused Skid Row song written by Bolan and Sabo, before Sebastian Bach even joined the band. There is a demo of Matt Fallon singing it, released in 1987 on YouTube. It’s a great melodic rock song which has been on the Skid Row backburner for a long time, until Trixter brought it officially back. Coming from the same area as the Skid Row guys, guitarist Steve Brown remembered it from back in the day and this cover is brilliant. One of my favourite tracks.

“Find a Memory” is the European Bonus track and it sounds like “Love Me Back To Life” from Bon Jovi’s “Bounce” album in the intro. Another favourite track for me. “Heart of Steel” is an acoustic cover from a song on their debut album released in 1990. It’s listed as a U.S Bonus track.

If you haven’t heard Trixter before, start with this album. If you like it, then dig deeper.

Stay tuned for part 6 as November was a huge month for releases.

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Music, My Stories

It’s All Rock To Me

I looked at Spotify’s Global Top 50 and I didn’t see a rock artist listed. It was all hip hop and collaborations of other hip hop artists. The Global Viral Top 50 also presented with a list of unknown artists to me. Artists like WhoHeem, Salem Ilese, Ritt Momney, JVKE and I could go on and list so many names and not one of them would be known to me.

And then Spotify releases data reports and tells everyone that hard rock and heavy metal artists are the most listened to. But the Top 50 and Viral lists doesn’t support that.

So people listen to what is popular and they listen a lot while the song is popular and then move on to the next big thing. But in rock and metal, people listen and they keep on listening for years and years.

So the streaming money is in rock. But the labels and the media that supports the labels like to report that hip hop is dominant.

It’s not.

Even in the live arena, rock bands dominate, in ticket sales and merch. And COVID19 has hurt these artists, that’s for sure, but it’s also given these artists an opportunity to get new music done, or a new book, or a new collaboration, or a new side project or something else.

Because music will keep paying forever. Streaming makes that a reality. It scales. As long as you hold the copyrights for your songs, they will pay you and your kids and your grandkids for a long time, because copyright takes a long time to expire these days. And the labels are pushing for never.

And going to a rock and roll show, it’s not all oldsters. There is a whole new audience there, its cyclical and if the kids can’t pay the high prices for the tickets, their parents will.

Remember in the pre-streaming era, a sale was a sale. And if you listened to a record or not was irrelevant. It was still a sale to the label and the artist thought they had a fan. But that was never certain.

But rock is not seen as rock anymore. There is pop rock, classic rock, post rock, hard rock, melodic rock, heavy rock, progressive rock, folk rock, stoner rock, sludge rock, punk rock and I can keep going with the different terms. In other words, there are so many niches and artist are playing to these niches and sustaining.

Hard Rock never went away when grunge came. It was still there albeit at a reduced release schedule and fans of the genre still purchased the albums that got released. And that niche is still there.

For artists, they need to realise it’s about subscriptions. Adobe went to monthly subscriptions and so did Microsoft. Apple is bundling all of their wares into a nice subscription. Netflix is subscription based. So is Amazon. For a small monthly fee, you get a lot of content and in music, you almost get the history of recorded music at your fingertips.

If you still want to create a CD, remember that CD sales thrived because people were rebuying their previous vinyl and cassette albums on CD and people who had computers with CD drives were purchasing CD’s. Computers don’t even come with CD drives anymore.

And for those who are upset that Daniel Ek is a billionaire, remember that without Spotify, Universal and Warner Music would be worth a lot less.

Streaming was gonna happen, because it’s on demand distribution. And people like that.

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

August 2020 – Part 5

Jessie’s Girl 2 (feat Rick Springfield) – Coheed And Cambria

I’ve been a fan from when I was given a CD rip of the “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” album in 2005 and a few months later I was consuming the brand new “Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV”.

Their song structures and the riffs got me interested. And the voice of Claude Sanchez got me to commit. That voice rocks out like Geddy Lee, but still sounds unique and different enough.

And the hair. Man that hair. It’s massive. 

And to top it off, there is the big SciFi saga about a mystical energy source known as “The Keywork”.

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton

Rock bands used to do ballads like this, an acoustic guitar, a light drum shuffle and lyrics that take you down the sidewalk of life.

Chris Stapleton is a country artist and he came across my radar because my kids were listening to a collaboration he did with Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, “BLOW”. And I was interested because it’s a blues rock monster with a wicked guitar riff.

Then I checked out his other songs, like “Parachute” which has over 135 million streams and “Tennessee Whiskey” which has 315+ million streams.

And became a fan.

The Lost Tapes – Dokken

“This was when I was on my own, and I was playing with Juan Croucier [Ratt] on bass. We went to Germany in ‘79 and did a tour, so these were all the demos we did.”

Don Dokken

Don Dokken never should have re-recorded some of the songs but he did because the tapes were bad.

But all is not lost. There are some early gems here, without any re-recordings.

So if you have the “Back In The Streets” EP, which I do, you don’t really need to buy “The Lost Tapes”, however, the “Back In The Streets” EP was released as a bootleg, so Don Dokken never got any royalties from the sale of the EP but he will get payment for this release.

So it’s no surprise that my favourite tracks on “The Lost Tapes” are from the “Back In The Streets” EP.

And I heard that Don Dokken used these actual songs (co-written by Lynch and Brown) to get a record deal under the name of Dokken and this started the rift with Lynch.

“Were Going Wrong” is written by Dokken and Lynch. It has a riff that came straight from “Hot N Ready” by UFO and a certain Rainbow track.

“Day After Day” is a brilliant ballad like the 70’s ballads, with a bluesy guitar solo that Don Dokken should be proud off.

“Felony” is a Dokken, Lynch and Brown cut and this song re-appeared on the “Breaking The Chains” album.

“Back In The Streets” is a Dokken and Lynch cut and it’s got that Sunset Strip vibe. “Liar” is a Dokken cut and its recorded live in the late 70’s, and a version of it appears on the “From Conception” album, a live recording of the early days with Lynch and Brown. 

For the following cuts I don’t have any info on at all. 

“Rainbows” is not on the EP I have and it’s a song I haven’t heard before, but it feels like a re-recording. The intro riff is good. And I don’t know who wrote it.

“Hit And Run” appeared on the “From Conception Live 1981” released in 2007. This song was written for the “Breaking The Chains” album. I’m pretty sure that Lynch is playing on this version and how this song didn’t make the album confuses me. 

S&M 2 – Metallica

I thought this was unnecessary. 

But when artists suddenly cannot tour because of COVID-19, this album suddenly took on a different meaning to me.

It’s a celebration of Metallica. It’s a celebration of gathering and cramming into a venue to let our hair down and be infected with live music. It’s a celebration of bands performing live and bringing their circus to town. This time with a whole symphony.

And since 1998 they have released other albums, so it was good to hear those tracks get the orchestra treatment.

Songs like “The Day Never Comes”, “Confusion”, “Moth Into Flame”, “Halo On Fire”, “The Unforgiven III” and “All Within My Hands”.

Plus there are two symphonies in “The Iron Foundry” from composer Alexander Mosolov and “Scythian Suite” from composer Sergei Prokofiev.

“The Memory Remains” was a favourite of mine when it came out on “Reload” but over the last 15 years, it’s become one of those powerful singalong concert moments like “For Whom The Bells Toll”.

“The Outlaw Torn” is a favourite from the “Load” album, and it’s also a song which translates well with the whole symphony. Plus that outro groove/riff is essential listening.

And “No Leaf Clover” is always a blast to listen too. 

Another World – Gojira

From France.

What a journey it’s been for them. 

Their style morphed from being a technical death metal band to a heavy metal band and now to a hard rock act.

Regardless of style, it’s the riffage that gets me interested.

And their lyrics deal with society and the environment.

Manhattan Skyline – Ihsahn, Einar Solberg

I’ve been a fan of Ihsahn for a long time.

My cousin was into Black Metal. I never got the industrial vocals part, but the movement did give us blast beats to incorporate into normal metal songs and it also introduced symphonic elements to metal music. 

It’s a long way from the Norwegian Black Metal movement he was involved in as the co-founder and guitarist with Emperor.

They wore corpse paint and he didn’t spend any time in prison, while his other Emperor band members committed murder and arson. And his views on Satanism and Christianity always got people talking, even the very open minded Norwegians.

But don’t let the stories detract from listening. Listen with your ears and an open mind as his solo releases just keep pushing the boundaries. 

On this song, Einar Solberg from Leprous (or his sister in law) is guesting with him and it feels like the Euro Pop songs from the 80’s. Its catchy and infectious.

Scars – Fates Warning

There will always be a bias towards Fates Warning. 

This band has been a part of my life for a long time and I still rate their 2000 album “Disconnect” as a perfect connector between the hard rock and metal prog of their earlier albums with the prog of Tool and Porcupine Tree which relied more on groove and atmospheric textures. 

And with “Scars” they continue on their own prog journey, fusing different styles and elements and more emphasis on expression than technicality and even more emphasis on progressive song writing than the standard verse and chorus structure.

Kill The Lights

The album is called “The Sinner” and it’s from a metalcore supergroup band which features members from bands who all had record deals and some success in the past.

Vocalist James Clark (Throw The Fight), guitarist Jordan Whelan (Still Remains), drummer ‘Moose’ Thomas (Bullet For My Valentine) and bassist Travis Montgomery (Threat Signal).

And I had the impression that the album would be screaming verses and melodic Choruses. While that is true for some songs, it’s does have some subtleness.

Stand out songs are “The Faceless”, “Through The Night”, “Tear Me Apart”, “The Enemy”, “Sober”, “Rest” and “Unmoved”.

They worked over the last two and a half years to put the album together and it’s a good mix of songs with different emotions and feelings. Fearless Records signed them after a whole year of negotiations.

“The Enemy” is a great track with a fast guitar opening riff and a foot stomping chorus.

“Through The Night” deals with the anxiety and depression that vocalist James went through. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and that really kicked off his struggles and they kicked in again when his children came into the world.

Adelitas Way and Seether also dropped albums this month, but they will be reviewed in next month’s list.

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

August 2020 – Part 4

Use My Voice – Evanescence

Amy Lee is a musician I would want around for a long time. The sound of her voice (which can be mournful, aggressive, rageful and happy) always gets me interested and the messages in the songs are genuine.

Relationships are difficult and they become even more difficult when one side tries to force their personality onto the other, speaking for them and even questioning them in a negative way in front of others.

Use your voice people, don’t suppress it. Its special and unique to you. This applies to everything in life and not just to relationships. Because no one is entitled to speak for you except you.

Space – Biffy Clyro

This band is hit and miss for me. They have me interested, then they lose me and then they get me again.

And this song has me back again about having a space in your heart for the special someone who is in and out of your life.

Maybe It’s Time – Sixx AM with guests

I liked this song when it appeared on their 2016 album “Prayers For The Blessed”.

It’s been redone now with a lot of guest vocalists to raise awareness of addiction and recovery.

“When I was young, I was dumb”

Indestructible. 

Getting old was never in my thoughts. 

Jumping out of moving cars, getting drunk and generally mucking around, sometimes dangerously, was bred out of pure boredom.

And not of all of us got out alive. People committed suicide and others got addicted to drugs, living a hard life right now with shakes and aliens in the fridge. 

“Maybe it’s time to deal with the pieces in my life”

There has to be a reawakening, a turning point. Some people believe they need to help you see it, but I believe you need to get to that point yourself.

For me, it was lying in a hospital bed with my foot broken and my face bruised and bleeding because I was drunk and jumped out of a moving car. I just had surgery to insert screws and a long road to recovery.

Cruel Hands Of Time – Tygers Of Pan Tang

It’s a crazy world we live in when “Tygers Of Pan Tang” are putting out some of their best music. Guitarist Robb Weir is the only original member left from the 80s.

The riffage on this song is straight from the Sunset strip and I’m pretty sure it’s from the fingers of Michael Crystal who has been in the band since 2013 and vocalist Jacopo Meille has some nice pipes, so the melodies are infectious.

Talk To Me – Apocalyptica with Lzzy Hale

These dudes from Finland have been on my radar since they covered Metallica songs on the cellos. And they have done everything, from the covers, the instrumental originals and the vocal originals.

This time they have Lzzy Hale, the best rock voice.

Satellites – Andy James

That chorus lead melody that kicks in at about the minute mark is emotive and the harmonies just add a nice complexity to it.

One of the best instrumental guitarists right now.

World On Fire – Daughtry

It’s so good to have Daughtry knocking on the door of hard rock again. He’s angry and the addictive melody is perfect over the aggressive guitar riffs.

Stressed out, head trauma, took a beating

Life is already difficult from our own doing and the trauma we inflict on ourselves with our thoughts and feelings So when society gets a hold of us, we are even more beaten down, shaped and moulded.

But we find ways to survive, to move on.

The final part to August 2020 is coming up.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Rock Rap

Rock was/is built on sex.

Like “Slide It In”, “Slow And Easy” from Whitesnake style of sex. Or the “Liquor And Poker” tour from Whitesnake on the back of the “Slip Of The Tongue” album.

Or “She Goes Down” for some “Sticky Sweet” from Motley Crue.

Or pulling the trigger of someone’s “Love Gun” while getting a “Plaster Caster” done from Kiss.

Or how she’s got the “Big Guns” from Skid Row.

But Rap is also built on sex and it has taken over rock when it comes to the mainstream.

Rap artists used any means necessary to spread the word and they embraced the internet.

They had their tracks on SoundCloud for people to listen to and they gave away mix tapes for free to download. This Vice story covers what a mixtape is/means in the world of rap.

In case you don’t read the article, MixTapes are “street albums,” that don’t use the label distribution process for albums. In comparison, albums are designed to move units and issue singles. They are designed to chart. And depending on the artist/label, an approval is needed from the label, before the artist can start recording it.

MixTapes are not designed to do that. They operate outside this sphere.

Mixtapes bring in new fans and provide something for the core fan base to talk about on social media.

MixTapes give the artist a reason to tour.

MixTapes can be jams with other arists.

Basically in the rap world, MixTapes move a rapper’s career forward and it’s done without selling a single copy. Although Bootleg copies of these MixTapes do make their way to iTunes and Spotify from opportunistic people. But the rappers don’t care.

“Embrace the future and don’t complain about it”, is a phrase I hear a lot. The general view from journalists is that rock and metal artists didn’t embrace this future and that’s why the genre is in the rear view mirror but it makes bank on touring.

And there’s been a lot of discussions recently on social media about the comments of Daniel Ek for artists to create more content.

But rock and metal fans are loyal and if they have the means, they will find a way to support the artists they like.

There’s a cool post at Seth’s Blog about deliberate lo-fi.

He talks about communication and how it’s gone downhill.

Like face to face contact went to landline phone calls to cell phone calls to text messaging and to Zoom calls.

And how music went from a live setting to vinyl to cassettes to CD’s to mp3 to streams.

This transition is because people want more and more, so things get condensed to fit this new norm.

But there’s always a shift. Because something that was better in the past will always be better in the future.

Maybe it’s a pretty good reason as to why vinyl has a Cult following. It won’t overtake streaming revenues but it will exist because it’s better.

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