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

How Has It Aged: Van Halen – Balance

28 years ago. January 24, 1995.

The Seventh Seal

The sound of the monks immediately gets my attention.

When the whole band kicks in, the running bass line from Michael Anthony stands out, while EVH is playing power chords with the high E and B strings ringing out, Anthony is changing the root note.

Then the palm muted riff for the verse begins. It’s perfect.

How good is the section with the lyrics “under darkest skies”?

In relation to album openers, it’s one of their best since “Running With The Devil”.

Can’t Stop Loving You

It’s the Sammy Hagar vocal that rocks here over a chord progression influences by the 60’s and songs like “Stand By Me”.

EVH is also playing a-lot for the song, His free spirited approach is still there but focused.

Don’t Tell Me

When I purchased my 5150 Peavey Combo Amp, this was the first riff I played on it.

A simple riff, with some palm muting, the melodies from Hagar are perfect.

I like how EVH tweaks the chord progression for the second verse, bringing in some arpeggios.

The solo break is perfect. Just the three of em, jamming and no rhythm track. Plus we get an outro solo.

And underpinning it all is the Bonham like drumming from AVH.

Amsterdam

That section from the 3 minute mark. Wow. And I wanted that outro solo to continue until the band stopped but they faded it out.

Big Fat Money

A Bluesy tune but from the fingertips of EVH it’s like progressive blues. The energy is “Hot For Teacher” like level.

Hagar’s breathless delivery in the verses are a highlight. And AVH and Michael Anthony are solid in the rhythm foundations.

Strung Out

Yeah this track was a waste back then and still is. EVH is hitting the strings on the piano I think.

Not Enough

This one is a sleeper hit. Their take on songs like “Hey Jude”. B

Check out the solo here from EVH. His phrasing and his Bluesy bends are the highlight.

Aftershock

My favorite track here. Its shredding. I felt that they tried to rewrite it with “Humans Being”.

Regardless, press play and let your ears enjoy the Van Hagar version at their Metal best.

Especially that section from 2.48.

Then again the solo from EVH is a masterclass in different techniques.

Doin Time

Yeah, I would have left this off.

Baluchiterium

And this as well.

Take Me Back

EVH channels his love of Jimmy Page.

Feelin

An awesome deep cut. Eddie goes to town in the solo.

“Balance” is so underrated in the world of VH. It is heavy, yet it has a bit of everything.

The drama that came after the “Ambulance Tour” between Hagar, manager Ray Daniels and the Van Halen brothers shrouds the greatness of the album.

And before I forget, the production from Bruce Fairbairn is stellar.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 5.6: Wings – Wings At The Speed Of Sound

Wings came into my life because of “Live And Let Die”.

I knew Paul and Linda McCartney were in the band but had no idea who else was.

A quick Wikipedia search showed that Denny Laine is on vocals, acoustic/electric/bass guitars, piano and harmonica, Jimmy McCulloch is also on vocals and acoustic/electric/bass guitars and Joe English is on vocals, drums and percussion.

Let Em In

A door bell like sound starts off the song before a simple drum groove with a locked in bass line rolls in with piano chords on each start of a new bar.

It’s soul noir in vibe.

The McCartney’s are welcoming you in to their house. Paul is on vocals here.

The Note You Never Wrote

Written by the McCartney’s with vocals from Denny Laine.

I like this.

It is typical of the era, with hints of blues, gospel and soul all wrapped up in a ballad like groove with various 70’s sound effects lightly playing in the background. Subtle and not overpowering.

She’s My Baby

It’s a skip for me. The feel good upbeat feel of the song and the title just don’t resonate.

Beware My Love

The acoustic riff in the intro. Press play to hear it.

And it goes through many musical movements. When you get the 2 minute mark it’s almost unrecognisable. But I like it. The 70’s acts all experimented with structures and different musical movements.

Both the McCartney’s share vocals here.

Wino Junko

Great title, it sounds like a Sammy Hagar owned pub.

Written and vocals by Jimmy McCulloch.

I like the acoustic guitar strummed riff. It rolls along nicely, giving space for the vocal melody to lead.

Silly Love Songs

It is one of the most listened songs from the album at 60.6 million streams. But its soul ballad rock just doesn’t connect.

Vocals are provided by the McCartney’s and Laine.

Cook Of The House

The sound of a frying pan starts it all off. Before a 12 bar blues riff kicks in and Linda McCartney starts singing.

Time To Hide

My second favourite just behind “Beware My Love”.

Written and sung by Laine.

The groove on this song connects immediately. Just listen to McCartney’s bass lines. It rules while the guitar just plays chords.

The lead break that kicks in after the harmonica solo is simple, more or less playing the chords with a single note on the higher strings. Yet it works so well. “Play for the song, not for the glory” comes to mind here.

Must Do Something About It

It’s a skip for me. Vocals are provided by drummer Joe English.

San Ferry Anne

It’s got this traditional sea pub groove happening with vocals from Paul.

But it’s a skip for me.

Warm And Beautiful

A piano riff starts it off, a mixture of “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be”. But it stays in that piano and vocal sound for the full 3 minutes and it does get a boring.

Vocals are provided by Paul.

I’ll finish this off with this Wikipedia entry from the Rolling Stone review which described it as a “Day with the McCartneys” concept album. The introduction, “Let ‘Em In” was perceived as an invitation to join the McCartneys on this fantasy day, with explanation of their philosophy (“Silly Love Songs”), a lunch break (“Cook of the House”), and a chance to get to know McCartney’s friends (Denny Laine in “The Note You Never Wrote”, Jimmy McCulloch in “Wino Junko”, etc.).

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

The Week (Last Few Months Actually) In Destroyer Of Harmony History –November 1 to November 30

I am trying to catch up on these posts, so I can do them weekly. So here is another review of November posts from 2018 and 2014.

2018 (4 Years Ago)

I have a Google Alert set up for Copyright and everyday there are ten or more stories on Copyright issues, ranging from Ed Sheeran settling with artists over a copyright suit, artists trying to reclaim their rights back from the labels, to artists selling their rights in songs to corporations for a fee, to Led Zep asking a judge to throw away the Stairway appeal, to local restaurants playing music and asked to pay for a Copyright licence, to parents breaking the Copyright law when they film their kids dance to music and uploading without paying someone, to ISPs being asked to block or censor websites, to Google being told to remove search links to certain sites, to people being charged with piracy and to whatever else the Copyright Industry wants.

If the above doesn’t tell you who copyright benefits, then reread it again.

And The Copyright Ballad Of John Fogerty highlights all of the above and more. He had to buy back a majority stake of the songs he wrote. Think about that for a second. A CEO in an office just made multi-millions for doing sweet f.a. while the person who made him rich had to make him even richer so he could get a majority stake.

I was doing a simultaneously review of 1979 (two posts for that year) and 1984 (one post for that year in the month)

Man, 1979 had a lot of good releases. For the record, most of these albums I heard in the 80s and some in the 90’s.

Kansas released “Monolith”. It’s a fantastic album, but largely forgotten in the streaming era, as the hits from other albums do the rounds on streaming playlists. Styx released “Cornerstone” and my favourite tracks were not the hits. Instead I gravitated to “Love In The Midnight”, “Eddie”, “Borrowed Time” and “Lights”.

Van Halen followed up the debut album pretty quickly with “II” and they danced the night away to multi-platinum. But my favourite track was always “Somebody Get Me A Doctor”.

Graham Bonnet fronted Rainbow founded a whole new melodic metal movement with “Down To Earth”. Which would continue with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals.

Cheap Trick showed how a studio recorded live album can do better than an actual studio album with “At Budokan”. So did UFO with “Strangers In The Night”.

Foreigner started to play “Head Games” with us. Are they a blues rock band, a hard rock band or a pop band or somewhere in between. Meanwhile Supertramp released their best album in “Breakfast In America” and it was their sixth album.

ELO released “Discovery” but the only track worth paying attention to was “Don’t Bring Me Down”. Same deal with The Knack. While the album had a cool pop rock vibe, “My Sharona” stole the show.

The Angels released “No Exit” an album that fused punk with pub rock and blues. And Australian audiences loved it. Little River Band released “First Under The Wire” and how good is “Lonesome Loser” on it.

For 1984, the post I did was titled 1984 – III – Are We Evil Or Divine?

“The Last In Line” is my favourite Dio album period. Plus it was my first purchase of Dio’s solo career. The guitar work of Vivian Campbell was and still is very influential to me.

Kiss was continuing their evolution without the pain with “Animalize”. The opener “I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire) doesn’t get enough love and attention. But it should.

U2 released “The Unforgettable Fire” and sent the charts, music television and radio scrambling to add “Pride (In The Name Of Love) to their rotations.

Queen released “The Works” and Tina Turner gave the melodic rock movement a kick in the butt with “Private Dancer” as songs like “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and “Its Only Love” could cross genres.

And the might Deep Purple reformed and made a massive statement with “Perfect Strangers”.

In some alternate universe I went and watched Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress on Friday 24 November 2017 in Sydney. But in reality I didn’t. What kind of magic was used to make me forget that the concert was on I will now. It wasn’t until a year later when I was cleaning out my laptop bag that I saw the ticket. Not one but two tickets.

Does anyone remember Compressorhead?

It is a Robot band made from recycled parts. They do a pretty mean cover of “Ace Of Spades” cover.

It’s been said that this robot “band” plays real electric and acoustic instruments but in the end, this project was just some great code writing and midi sequencing.

I was spinning George Lynch a fair bit during this period. The songs “Wicked Sensation” and “All I Want” got separate posts.

Since Ronnie James Dio’s death, a few bands popped up from ex-members that pay homage to his style of song writing.

There was “Dream Child” with Craig Goldy on guitars, Rudy Sarzo on bass, Simon Wright on drums, Wayne Findlay on keys and singer Diego Valdez. You also have other Goldy projects in “Dio Disciples” and “Resurrection Kings”.

And then there was “Last In Line” with Vinny Appice on drums, Vivian Campbell on guitar, Andrew Freeman on vocals and Phil Soussan taking over on bass after the passing of Jimmy Bain.

Of course, any retro sounding metal/rock band has Frontiers Music president, Serafino Perugino as the protagonist to get the ball rolling. Only “Dio Disciples”, who have a deal with BMG for an album of original material are not on Frontiers Music.

But the real secret sauce behind all of these Frontiers Music projects is songwriter and producer Alessandro Delvecchio. A very underrated songwriter. If you listened to “Revolution Saints”, well Delvecchio is all over those albums. If you listen to “Resurrection Kings”, he’s also involved with that. The same for “Dream Child”.

And although I liked the album, I wasn’t a fan yet, but I was interested to hear what could come next. And 5 years later, no new product has arrived.

A System That Rewards Attention

If you create a system that rewards attention, the easiest way to get attention is to be a bad actor. That underlies our media ecosystem, that underlies our political system and it’s degrading society in so many ways.

EV WILLIAMS – Creator Of Blogger, Twitter and Medium

Did anyone read the story about “Threatin”.

They are an LA band, created by Jered Threatin. He then created a record company web page that was bullshit, he created a booking agency web page that was also bullshit, he doctored live footage to make it look like he was popular on YouTube which was bullshit and he created a management company website which was of course bullshit as well. He also paid for Facebook likes and comments and YouTube views and many more wonderful things to do with scorched earth marketing.

And through it all, he convinced stupid greedy venue owners in Europe to book him. And he didn’t even have a fanbase. He even convinced these club owners the shows were sold out. If they just did some due diligence and checked out Threatin’s Spotify account, they would have seen the stream numbers don’t match the spin coming from his “management” and they could have asked some hard questions. But they didn’t, they got had and they got pissed.

If Threatin did pull it off and sell out the gigs based on the made up hype, maybe there would be a different discussion, but hey, people fail more than they succeed.

The Purchase Dilemma

Remember the time when you would go through the LP racks (afterwards it would be CD’s) and pull out the LPs you wanted to buy.

Each week I wanted to buy a lot of music but had enough money to buy two.

You can read the rest here, about how album covers, song titles, record labels and producers played a part in deciding what to buy.

And here is a bit of history on when I used to take guitar lessons.

I bugged my Dad to buy me a guitar so he got me a classical guitar with the hope I could learn to play classical songs. He paid $15 for a 30 minute lesson with a man called Niccolini, who instead taught me how to play metal and rock songs because I asked him to.

I used to tell Niccolini which songs I would want to learn, he would then go away and learn those songs and then at the next lesson he would show me. While learning songs from other artists was cool, I also took the lessons, to get the techniques right. I’m big on foundations. If the foundations are not right, everything else that comes after is not right either.

And I would fool my Dad by playing metal and hard rock songs in a classical way. Like anything from Randy Rhoads or Yngwie Malmsteen.

And my record collection was a source of pride. I played them through and through. They are part of my DNA. I used to have the collection under lock and key, in an alarmed room because once upon a time, if someone broke in, they would steal part of the collection. I couldn’t have that happen.

Today, they’ll walk straight past it and go for the tech.

Music is part of my life. It will always be.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

Back in 2014, my posts really focussed on the music business as a whole, using metal and rock artists to illustrate the points I was trying to make.

It seemed like everyone was complaining about being paid. Except the labels.

And if the money was not filtering down to the artist, whose fault is that?

Then again, no one is guaranteed to be paid. People don’t want to accumulate shiny plastic discs or vinyl records while others do. So the price point for music fans of music is very different and this translates to how artists get paid.

Just because the user streams the music for free, it doesn’t mean that Spotify is not paying the rights holder. Accounting is the bedrock of the techies, however for the labels it is a different story.

And if you wanted to know how “breakage” is pure profit for the label, then read this post.

But artists seemed to be missing the point. They still focused on the old models and were failing to see new ways. IN THE END, regardless of what the artist does, it is the LISTENERS/FANS that decide if the artist makes it or doesn’t. The power is in the listener hands. And those relationships start like all relationships with a simple hello. So connect.

That connection could be with B-sides and rare tracks. In 2014 this was a rare thing, but I can say that by 2020, a lot or artists started to raid their vaults as they realised there was value there.

Then again, Minecraft was free to download and play. With the free version, you couldn’t save your progress but for a one of fee of $6.99, you could download the full version and have all the features. There are lessons here for the music business and artists.

Look at any band that is successful and you will see a band member with an entrepreneurial spirit. Some do it out of necessity.

Jay Jay French went and formed his own independent label to release the early singles from Twisted Sister when they couldn’t get a record deal.

Joan Jett had 23 labels pass on releasing her first solo album. Out of a need to get her music out, she founded Blackheart Records with producer Kenny Laguna. This was 34 years ago. By 2014, her label is now a force to be reckoned with, via its music, clothing and film divisions.

Then again, getting a record deal could be a blessing or a curse.

Because everyone is trying to twist the narrative to their own advantage. The labels for themselves. The techies for themselves. The artists for themselves. The publishers for themselves.

I’m a fan of Black Veil Brides and their Bob Rock produced self-titled album was getting a lot of spins. If you haven’t heard it, press play on it right now. Sonically it is one of the best hard rock and old school metal releases in 2014.

Anyone read “Stephen Pearcy: Ratt and Roll”. If you haven’t, don’t. I don’t recommend it. The disintegration of Ratt and the tough times of the Nineties are glossed over. The way the songs came together, and the influences behind them is not even mentioned.

Anyway it got me thinking about the Eighties so I wrote a post that sort of makes sense about learning a lot from history.

And somewhere along the way, everyone forgot how music thrives. By sharing it with others. Go any social media site and people are sharing their lives. Go to any blog site and you will see people sharing photos, writings, music, opinions, stories, etc. And all the things that we share are all free.

How we communicate has changed significantly and how to succeed as an artist has also changed significantly. Artists need to be agile and be ready to try different ways of promoting and connecting.

If you remember, in the October 2014 review, I reviewed the careers of Adrian Vandenberg and John Sykes up until 2014. This month, Digital Summer, Evergrey and Vivian Campbell got the same treatment.

And I was cranking “Bloodstone And Diamonds” from Machine Head a lot. You can read my review here.

Then again, every act has an arc. Like the Bell Curve. Sometimes they have multiple Bell Curves.

Because the new world is hard. Attention spans are lower and what is hot today is gone tomorrow. That album you spent making for 12 months is dead after 4 weeks.

We are living in a world that is besieged by economic problems. We are living in a world that has democratic governments undertaking surveillance on their citizens like the totalitarian regimes that our grandfathers died fighting against. We are living in a world where the majority of politicians are on the payroll of the corporations. We are living in a world that has a digital divide to go along with a class divide. We are living in a world where privacy is eroded a little bit at a time.

Some of my favourite artists had songs that just spoke to me.

“What do you mean I don’t support your system, why do you think I’m broke”.

Dave Mustaine wrote that back in the mid-Eighties. Fast forward almost thirty years, and we are still broke supporting the system. The rich and the powerful caused a global recession and guess what, they got bailed out by the governments while we lost our jobs and homes. Inequality exists in music as it does in economics. You’re either a winner or a loser and if you cross over, you become a global phenomenon. Think Metallica. There crossover was the “Black” album. That is their victory lap album.

“But now the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives, gotta make a million, doesn’t matter who dies.”

The above line is from “Revolution Calling” from Queensryche. Spotify cares about Spotify and they want to make millions. Taylor Swift cares about Taylor Swift and she wants to make millions.

“Words are the bullets to this revolution”

Robb Flynn spits out the line in “Clenching the Fists of Dissent”.

We live in an information age. Everything is at our fingertips so we should put those tools to use to do our own investigations because our media reporting outlets are all owned by large corporations. They report news items that will push their agenda. They report news items that have been paid for by a marketing PR firm. Impartiality is over. Never have we been so divided but connected we are.

The problems of today existed before. However, it is the people of today that had to bail out the rich. If the POOR or the WORKING CLASS did something fraudulent and corrupt, they would be doing time in a cell. When the RICH do something fraudulent and corrupt they end up screaming to the Government for a bail out and escape without punishment.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” was the catch cry once upon a time. It is time it becomes a catch cry of a new generation.

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

Official Bootleg: DEMO Series: The Majesty Demos 1985-86

The above is the cover from the 2003 release. The only place to buy these official bootleg albums was via the Ytse Jam website or at Dream Theater live shows.

While Official Bootlegs are all the rage these last few years with acts like Kiss, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick jumping on, Dream Theater were one of the first few to do an Official Bootleg series. Mike Portnoy was the brains behind this and was inspired by the work his favourite band Marillion did for the fans via the fan club (which Portnoy was also a member of).

But Portnoy had to get John Petrucci’s approval to proceed and once he got it, Ytse Jam Records was formed.

In 2003, three Bootlegs dropped and they kept on dropping while Portnoy was in the band.

But.

Once Portnoy was out, Ytse Jam records ceased to exist.

However the Petrucci led version of the band signed an agreement a few years ago with current record label InsideOut Music.

The purpose of the “Lost Not Forgotten Archives” is to re-release and reissue the entire Ytsejam Records catalogue and the fan club CDs, alongside some new unreleased material. All of the new re-releases will be sold on CD and vinyl, as well as being made available for digital streaming with all new artwork.

Like the terrible one below they did for “The Majesty Demos” re-release”.

“The Majesty Demos 1985-86” covers the initial formation period of Dream Theater, with the songs recorded on a 4 track tape recorder. It was released in 2003 by Ytse Jam records and re-released in 2022 via the Lost Not Forgotten Archives.

In September of 1985, John Petrucci and John Myung met up with Mike Portnoy at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston.

Within the first month of school, the two John’s saw Mike jamming in the practice room and introduced themselves. Besides having a common home base, they had similar tastes in music. They liked progressive, complex music like Rush, Yes, The Dixie Dregs, Frank Zappa and also loved heavy music like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Metallica and Queensryche.

It was just three college kids jamming and having fun. And it is captured on these recordings.

As Portnoy wrote in the CD booklet;

“the music on this very 1st Edition is the very first music we ever created together.

It is very raw (and sometimes even very embarrassing). The audio quality is usually fair at best. We had very limited recording resources available to us at the time.

In fact, we had only one resource at all; my trusty old Tascam 244 analog 4 track recorder that I received as a high school graduation present from my grandmother”.

None of these songs have even appeared on a proper studio album.

The CD booklet explains the tracks a little bit more. 

Particle E. Motion

At 1.38, a small instrumental that shows Petrucci playing arpeggios over a Myung bass groove.

The title alludes to the key of the song. The CD booklet mentions how it is the first thing they ever recorded on Portnoy’s 4 track, to break it in and figure out how to use the damn thing.

Another Won

This is the instrumental version of the song, with Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung, as Kevin Moore was not in the band at this point in time.

“This is where it all began” states the CD booklet. The first song the power trio wrote together.

Musically, it you like the first Queensryche album, early Maiden and Fates Warning, then you will like this song. The bass of Myung is boss here, with a dominant Steve Harris like sound.

Press play at 3.29 to hear the riff and how Petrucci builds it into a solo.

At 5 minutes in length, it’s a standard heavy metal cut, heavily influenced by Queensryche.

The Saurus

An 80 second instrumental which has Petrucci playing this jazz like chords. It’s almost lounge rock when the lead kicks in. It’s very Al DiMeola like.

Cry for Freedom

This song has not had an official release on any studio album. Musically this is Petrucci, Myung and Portnoy (let’s call em “PMP”) living in their Queensryche meets Rush world. And I like it. It’s very accessible.

It’s also the second song the Berklee boys wrote. The CD booklet mentions how much of a lead instrument the bass was when it was just the three of them.

The School Song

Song number three for the Berklee boys. A song that got left behind, and it has never been played live.

A major key riff kicks off the song, something which Petrucci likes to do a lot and its similar to some of the riffs he has written on studio songs like “Our New World” from “The Astonishing” album and “The Bigger Picture” from their self-titled album.

At 2.31, it has this minor key section which screams Iron Maiden. The CD booklet states the same.

The last few chords to end the song is how “Ytse Jam” starts.

YYZ

A Rush cover. It’s how all acts start out. Playing the songs from our heroes.

Portnoy even plays the keys on this.

It’s perfect and it shows how precise they are.

The CD booklet does state how they would jam, “La Villa Strangiatio”, “The Spirit Of Radio” and this one.

The Farandole

A Talas cover which is classical in nature. Who would have thought that almost 30 years later, Portnoy would be in a power trio combo with Billy Sheehan.

The CD booklet mentions that Talas was Portnoy’s and Myung’s favourite band during this period especially their “Live Speed On Ice” album.

I love reading stuff like this.

Two Far

Original song number 4. 

This is the instrumental version.

Musically its Dream Theater’s version of RushMaidenRyche.

Anti-Procrastination Song

A S.O.D. cover at 13 seconds long. Pointless, but hey, what else can you are young and have a 4 track recorder.

Your Majesty

They are still living in their Queensryche meets Rush world with a bit of Malmsteen chucked in. This is the instrumental version of the song.

It’s more of a straight forward type of song, maybe even commercial sounding.

This track was resurrected and played live in Paris in 2002 as a tribute to all of the French Fan Club members which goes by the Majesty name. A perfect way to honour their dedication to the band.

Tracks 11 to 17 are all little snippets no longer than 20 seconds as they play around with multi-tracking on the 4 track recorder.

The tracks in question are “Solar System Race Song”, “I’m About to Faint Song”, “Mosquitos in Harmony Song”, “John Thinks He’s Randy Song”, “Mike Thinks He’s Dee Dee Ramone Introducing a Song Song”, “John Thinks He’s Yngwie Song” and “Gnos Sdrawkcab”.

Each song starts off with Portnoy yelling the title and then you hear 4 tracks of Petrucci harmonizing. Portnoy makes mention in the CD booklet, “it’s amazing how incredibly tight John can double track his guitar leads and still is a master of that today”.

Now we get to the good bit. 

The rare “Majesty” demo with Chris Collins on vocals. He might have yelled, “Scream For Me Long Beach” while they played live and his stage presence and delivery might have been strained, but he does a pretty good job here to give the songs a unique Tate/Midnight vocal vibe.

The CD booklet mentions how the DT guys had a tape of Chris singing “Queen Of The Ryche” and they were in AWE of how perfectly he could hit those Tate notes (which Portnoy further elaborated, “unfortunately, it turned out that was about all he could do”.)

A friend from Berklee called James Hull also had a Tascam 246 and when they put the two four tracks together, they had a whopping 8 tracks to do a real demo.

They also wrote 3 new songs, the heavy and progressive “March of The Tyrant” and 2 more ballade-esque songs in Vital Star and the 11 minute epic power ballad “A Vision” which Portnoy mentions, has some really beautiful moments, not to mention an AMAZING guitar solo.

Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung recorded their tracks at Berklee. When school finished in May, they joined up with Kevin Moore and Chris Collins back on Long Island and added them to the tracks. Portnoy’s grandmother again came to the rescue and funded the band money to press 1000 cassettes.

And Portnoy mailed em and gave em to people who mattered.

Another Won

The delivery and recording of this is way superior to the instrumental version. The addition of the keys makes each section different.

But my favourite section (like the instrumental) starts around 3.37, when Petrucci starts the riff and then leads into the solo. The solo is even better than what he put down on the instrumental. His fast alternate picked lines are perfect this time around. 

Your Majesty

Myung’s bass sets the groove for everyone to follow. The addition of vocals is welcomed and Collins does a fantastic job.

The Chorus is very arena rock like and some of the vocal highs are ball squeezing.

The outro solo is perfect from Petrucci. Simple, melodic and a perfect way to end the song.

A Vision

My favourite track. A 11 minute metal tour de force. I would have loved to hear this with a proper studio release.

An Em(add9) arpeggio chord starts it all off. It builds until the whole band crashes in and Collins is doing all ohhs and woohs. Collins moves between a Dickinson meets Tate vibe here vocally. He sounds fresh.

The Petrucci solo which starts around the 6.30 mark is essential listening. The way he builds it with all the different techniques he employs is a wow moment. At the 8 minute mark it gets a bit more frantic and Petrucci is wailing, while the band is building with him.

The solo finally ends at 8.49 and I wasn’t bored not a second while it played.

But he wasn’t done. He produces another guitar hero solo to end the song. The chops at the age of 19/20 goes to show how competitive the 80’s era was for guitarists.

Two Far

A Neal Peart inspired drum groove starts off the song, and then it goes into a Malmsteen like riff.

The verses are very busy musically so it is difficult to put a vocal melody over it and while the guys tried, they didn’t really pull it off.

However the Chorus is catchy.

The solo section and the unison lines between the guitars and keys is a sign of things to come.

Vital Star

My next favourite. 

Collins does a good job in bringing this song to life vocally with his Tate like influences.

Musically, it is living in that Queensryche debut album sound except for the solo section which shows some of the progressiveness to come. And the outro solo from Petrucci is another great listen.

March of the Tyrant

The song is a mix of so many styles from the early 80’s. It has that exotic sounding Middle Eastern riff.

It definitely has that Rush element and how Alex Lifeson plays a power chord with the ringing E and B strings (DT does it more aggressively and distorted here), plus a lot more. There are musical elements of early Fates Warning, Megadeth, Metallica, Yngwie Malmsteen, Marillion, Yes and Iron Maiden. 

The solo section is very Holdsworth/Morse like over an Iron Maiden like rhythm section. And I like it.

I’ll end the post with how Portnoy ended his opening in the CD booklet; “I hope you can look past the occasional audio distraction and enjoy a glimpse of where we were at, what we were doing and where we were going.”

Back in 2003, this snapshot back in time was perfect. And I wanted more. Which I got. But that is for another post.

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

1976 – Part 5.4: Slade – Nobody’s Fool

“Nobody’s Fools”. Not the Cinderella song, but the sixth studio album by Slade within a 10 year period. It was released in March 1976 and produced by Chas Chandler who was immortalised by his work with Jimi Hendrix on the first three albums.

Slade didn’t exist for me until Quiet Riot covered “Cum On The Feel The Noize” and “Mama Were All Crazee Now”. At the point in time I knew of them, but never listened to them. This would change as the 90’s rolled around and then peer to peer sharing and finally streaming. 

If you expect to hear a balls to the wall rock album then this album is not for you. There is some loud rock, but overall, there is soul, R&B and other popular styles.

Doing this review retrospectively, it’s always cool to read what people said about it at the time it was released. It’s pretty obvious that British fans didn’t like it when their acts tried to break in to the U.S market. When artists normally attempted this, the fans would accuse them of selling out. This happened with Slade. And it didn’t help matters when they band kept saying that they moved to the U.S to rejuvenate and get new ideas as they felt stale in the U.K.

So it’s no surprise that this album is Slade’s first to not reach the UK Top 10, and to drop out of the chart after a chart run of only four weeks. It would be their last album to make a UK chart appearance until the 1980 compilation “Slade Smashes!”.

Meanwhile, the U.S press praised it, but it didn’t translate to the breakthrough they wanted.

But the album stands up today. Its variation is what makes it entertaining.

The album’s cover was created to coincide with the band’s 10th anniversary, showing the band adopting the same positions as they had on the cover for their 1970 album “Play It Loud”.

Slade is Noddy Holder on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jim Lea on bass and Don Powell on drums. All tracks are written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea and the album is produced by Chas Chandler.

Nobody’s Fool

The piano is dominant and its more soul rock than hard rock/glam rock. Think Rod Stewart and “Maggie May”. And I like it especially the Chorus. It’s arena rock and no one can tell me any different.

Lea wanted “Nobody’s Fool” to be a “twenty-minute epic” but that takes balls to do and the only one who had Balls to do songs like that was Jim Steinman and the only one silly enough to perform them was Meatloaf. But with over a 100 million albums sold worldwide, I guess the fools were the labels who rejected them.

Anyway I digress.

Do the Dirty

“Play That Funky Music White Boy” and any riff from Joe Walsh comes to mind when the intro kicks in. Its funky, its dirty sounding and it rocks.

How could the fans not like this song? 

Let’s Call It Quits

It’s bluesy and sleazy. After it became a UK hit, it was served a writ. Allen Toussaint, felt the song was similar to his “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)”. The case was settled out of court with the band giving Toussaint 50% in song writing royalties, though Lea maintained that he has never heard Toussaint’s version before or since. But the version that everyone knows is from Three Dog Night. And that version came out in 1974, and it got a lot of airplay, so this could be the version that Lea heard. 

To me this is a standard blues track musically and as Keith Richards said, “you can’t copyright the blues”. But in this instance the Chorus vocal melodies do sound similar.

Also when you hear the vocal delivery on this song, you can hear from which vocalist, Kevin DuBrow modelled his vocals on.

Pack Up Your Troubles

Sit around the campfire acoustic country about leaving all your troubles behind and heading into the hills with your liquor and wine. It’s adventurous and I like it.

In for a Penny

It’s very Beatles like. “Penny Lane” and “Eleanor Rigby” come to mind.

It is also the only Slade track to feature the accordion and the guitar playing from Dave Hill is more decorative than riff heavy.

And don’t let the accordion deter you, the song is a psychedelic pop rock masterpiece.

Get On Up

It’s back to their hard rock roots. 

Hearing this today, all I am hearing is how much Kevin DuBrow borrowed from Noddy Holder in vocal tone, phrasings and lyrical rhymes. Then again, Holder borrowed from a lot of others as well and that is how music evolves my friends. We all take from what has come before to create something new. 

L.A. Jinx

I love the clean guitar strummed pattern. Its funky, groovy, and it rocks.

Lyrically the song deals with bad luck the band seemed to suffer whenever they played in Los Angeles like their gear blowing up or getting electric shocks.

Press play to hear the whole interlude section. 

And the star of the song are the vocal melodies from Noddy Holder. Unique and original and still rooted in hard rock territory.

Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya

It’s reggae like but with a lot of soul rock thrown in and lyrics that deal with nursery rhymes and a lot of innuendo.

Scratch My Back

Another rock track in similar form to “Get on Up”. 

I’m a Talker

It sounds like another song that I can’t think off right now, but hey, that’s why I love music. This one is acoustic, fast strummed, very folk-rock, campfire like.

All the World Is a Stage

The drum groove sets up this melodic rock track before melodic rock was a thing. It moves between minor key verses and major key choruses.

Since I am listening to this on Spotify, it is the Expanded Edition with Bonus tracks.

Thanks for the Memory (1975 non-album single)

It was a sign of things to come and the sound to come. 

Raining In My Champagne (B-side of “Thanks for the Memory”)

It’s better than the A side in my opinion. Maybe because it sounds like “Twist And Shout” in the Chorus.

Can You Just Imagine (B-side of “In For a Penny”)

A throwback to the sounds of the 60’s.

When the Chips are Down (B-side of “Let’s Call It Quits”)

In the end, this was the album that Slade hoped would break them into the U.S mainstream, instead, this is the album that put Slade out of the mainstream business worldwide, until their 80’s comeback.

But don’t be a fool and ignore it. The band was adventurous and yet they still made it sound like Slade because the songs were written and recorded in between small tours of the U.S with acts like ZZ Top.

And you can hear their blues boogie translate to the grooves here. And at least they learned how to spell properly.

Press play. 

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The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Train Of Thought

Each Dream Theater album had touched on the sounds that I would class as Thrash Metal and Heavy Metal. But on “Train Of Thought” they decided to live in this metal/thrash world. And I liked it.

It begins with an album cover that has Black as its main colour screaming Metal. Then again, Pink Floyd did have a black cover for an album that sold multi millions and it had nothing to do with metal, more like dreamy acid rock.

“Train of Thought” was released on November 11, 2003 through Elektra Records before its parent company Warner Music Group decided to merge Elektra Records with Atlantic Records to become Atlantic Records Group in 2004, only to give the Elektra name a new lease of life in 2009 as an independent entity up until 2018, when WMG relaunched Elektra Music as a stand-alone, staffed music company, with labels like Roadrunner Records, Low Country Sound, Fuelled By Ramen and Black Cement under it.

As I Am

This song is a balls to the wall metal classic.

It starts off with the Black Sabbath riff to kick it off. Yes, it is that Black Sabbath riff.

Then it goes into an “Enter Sandman” like groove for the verses. It gets the foot tapping, and the head banging.

Dream Theater toured with Queensryche in 2003. At this point in time, Queensryche’s commercial zenith was in the past and Dream Theater’s star was still rising. Mike Stone was the guitarist in Queensryche, carrying out the Chris DeGarmo role. And Stone decided he should give John Petrucci tips on playing guitar.

Every time you hear the lyric line “Don’t tell me what’s in, tell me how to write”, just think of Mike Stone giving Petrucci tips.

I like the lead break. It is old school and it burns. There is no rhythm guitar track, just bass, keys and drums. Exactly what EVH did when he soloed on a lot of VH tracks.

Vocally, LaBrie is at his metal best. His voice might strain in the live arena, but in the studio, LaBrie is a master.

This Dying Soul

The feedback from “As I Am” segues into the fast groove metal of “This Dying Soul”.

Here, Mike Portnoy continues his “Twelve-Step Suite”, which started with “The Glass Prison” on “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence”.

For those who don’t know, “The Glass Prison” has the following sections; “I. Reflection”, “II. Restoration” and “III. Revelation”. “This Dying Soul” has the following sections; “IV. Reflections of Reality (Revisited)” and “V: Release”. All of the sections are steps in the Alcohol Anonymous Recovery program.

After the thrash-a-thon in the intro, the song gives way to a Tool like groove and vocal melody in the verses. And I like it.

There is this “Blackened is the end” vocal melody in “V:Release”. Once you hear it, you will recognise it. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the loud speaker rap like verses, but I do give full marks for incorporating new elements into their music.

And since these songs are part of the same universe they do share some of the lyrics and melodies.

Endless Sacrifice

The acoustic intro.

It can remind you of Pink Floyd or Pantera depending on your listening history. They touched on these kind of melancholic riffs in “Peruvian Skies” from “Falling Into Infinity”.

But, it is the Chorus that brings the energy.

Then at 4.56, all hell breaks loose as they make their way into the solo section of the song. It’s got this “Creeping Death” meets “Disposable Heroes” palm-muted patterns.

For 8 seconds between 6.28 to 6.36 it sounds like it came from a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon.

Check out the harmony section from 8.58 which gets em out of the solo section and into the final part of the song.

Honor Thy Father

My favourite song for the riffs and melodies. It’s a metal tour-de-force.

The subject matter about Mike Portnoy’s stepfather didn’t resonate with me, but man, the riffs and melodies are fantastic.

After the heavy intro, press play to hear the first verse. And how good is the arena rock Chorus.

When the second verse rolls again, the original riff is played with distortion and man, it works so well. But at 3.51. instead of going into the Chorus again, they go into a verse with the riff tweaked a little bit more to make it sound different and unique.

And like all the songs on the album, from the 5 minute mark they go into a lengthy solo section.

Vacant

It’s the shortest song on the album, at 3 minutes long. It’s a haunting piano riff (which sounds like the bass riff to start of “Stream Of Consciousness”), with a little bit of an orchestra and LaBrie’s vocals.

The lyrics to “Vacant” were inspired by James LaBrie’s daughter, who fell into a short coma after suffering a sudden, unexplained seizure three days before her seventh birthday.

Stream of Consciousness

The DT instrumentals always have memorable sections via a lead or a riff. This song is no different especially the first two minutes. Essential listening.

The title had been around for a while in the DT world. 

Of course, the solo from Petrucci is Guitar Hero stuff. Yes, there is flash and some fast picking, but it’s so melodic as well. If you like the playing of people like Steve Morse, Al DiMeola, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani, then you will like what Petrucci does here. 

And at 7.30 that fantastic intro music comes back in, more ferocious with a few little tweaks.

The whole  is the longest instrumental on a Dream Theater studio album to date and was the intended title for Falling Into Infinity.

And one of the YouTube comments on the song still cracks me, “LaBrie never sounded better”.

In the Name of God

The closer at 14.15 about religion and how it indoctrinates people to kill in its name.

The acoustic intro sets the tone, before the distortion crashes in. It’s a slow groove by Portnoy before they pick it up and play it double time.

The verse riff is head banging and it reminds me of “As I Am”. Petrucci drops out and lets Myung roll with it on the bass, while Petrucci switches to decorating.

LaBrie is a monster on the vocals here. Listen to him between 4.46 and 5.30. Throat ripping stuff.

As is the theme of the album, they then go into a long solo section in the middle of the song.  

Press play to hear Petrucci wail between from the 8.40 mark.

The album did exactly what it needed to do. It put them on tour again, it got them into large metal festivals, something which they couldn’t do before and it renewed their fan base with metal heads. 

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1976 – Part 5.3: Heart – Dreamboat Annie

The debut album from Heart, released in September 1975 for all Canadian music lovers via Mushroom Records. It then got a U.S and international release in 1976.

The band for the album was made up of Ann Wilson on lead vocals, Nancy Wilson on electric and acoustic guitars, Roger Fisher on electric guitars, Howard Leese is on a lot of different instruments, Steve Fossen on bass and Mike Derosier on drums for two songs, with Dave Wilson, Duris Maxwell and Kat Hendriske providing drums on the other tracks.

Mike Flicker is producing. As Heart got bigger so did Flicker’s career.

But the Heart story doesn’t just start in 1975. It goes back almost a decade.

In 1967, bassist Steve Fossen formed the band as The Army, along with Roger Fisher on guitar, Don Wilhelm on guitar/keyboards and lead vocals, and Ray Schaefer on drums.

In 1969, the band went through some line-up changes and took on a new name, Hocus Pocus. Between this period they took on the name “White Heart”.

By 1973, the band was Ann Wilson on vocals, Steve Fossen on bass, Roger Fisher on guitars, Brian Johnstone on drums, and John Hannah on keyboards and they had taken the name Heart.

Ann’s sister Nancy joined circa 73/74 and the sisters quickly established themselves as the main songwriters.

Magic Man

A simple groove and Ann Wilson’s iconic voice. It’s almost psychedelic and progressive.

Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)

It’s a dreamy acoustic arpeggio riff to begin with, before it morphs into some serious acoustic folk rock playing from Nancy Wilson.

Crazy On You

Press play to hear the riff and the infectious vocal melody. This is what Hook City sounds like.

Soul Of The Sea

Another dreamy washy acoustic guitar riff forms the centrepiece. Almost “Albatross” like. The structure of verse and chorus is not here. It feels like verses and various gateways to progressive like movements, more mood and atmospheric like than a million notes per minute.

Dreamboat Annie

Flamenco like acoustic arpeggios are its foundation.

White Lightning And Wine

Its greasy and sleazy blues.

Love Me Like Music (I’ll Be Your Song)

Country folk rock. Even in the title.

Sing Child

Press play to hear the intro riff.

How Deep It Goes

More dreamy/smoking weed acoustic folk rock.

Dreamboat Annie – Reprise

It continues with the dreamy acoustic guitars. Campfire folk rock.

In the end, the standout track here is “Crazy On You”. It’s melodic rock at its best. Then press play on “Magic Man” for its rock groove and vocal melody. If you are still interested, crank the blues rock of “White Lightning and Wine” and finish it off with the dreamy trilogy suite of “Dreamboat Annie” songs.

In Australia, the album went Gold. In Canada in went 2x Platinum and in the U.S it went Platinum.

The success of the album indirectly led to a break between the band and label.

The band tried to renegotiate their royalty rate to be more in keeping with what they thought a platinum band should be earning. Mushroom wasn’t interested so instead of paying the band more in royalties they used the money earned from the band to take out a full-page ad in Rolling Stone, to mock the band, with a special dig to Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Not long after the ad appeared, a radio promoter asked Ann about her lover; he was referring to Nancy, thus implying that the sisters were incestuous lesbian lovers. The encounter infuriated Ann who went back to her hotel and wrote the words to what became one of Heart’s signature songs, “Barracuda”.

The band then signed with Portrait Records.

But Mushroom wasn’t done yet. It’s a big no-no in label land to let an act leave and make money with another label. So Mushroom said that the band was still bound to the contract, which meant they had to deliver two more albums. The band refused and Mushroom released “Magazine” with incomplete tracks, studio outtakes and live material and a disclaimer on the cover in 1977.

The band got a federal injunction to stop distribution of the 1977 edition of “Magazine”. Most of the initial 50,000 pressings were recalled from stores. The court eventually decided that the band could sign with Portrait, however they did owe Mushroom a second album. The band returned to the studio to re-record, remix, edit, and re-sequence the recordings.

“Magazine” was re-released in 1978 and sold a million copies in less than a month.

P.S. 

Mushroom Records went bankrupt by 1980 although an Australian arm of Mushroom did survive well into the 2000’s.

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1976 – Part 5.2: Abba – Arrival

There is no denying their cultural impact with this album and subsequent re-success in the decades to come.

Before “Arrival”, they had traction, and after “Arrival” they had global success. And it’s all on the back of a few singles.

“Dancing Queen” was everywhere in the 70’s and again in the 90’s and beyond with “Mamma Mia”. In Australia, there was a local film called “Muriel’s Wedding” which was a big hit.

It centered on Muriel, her favorite band ABBA and how all she wants to do is to get married.

So the music of ABBA forms the backbone of the film’s soundtrack.

Songwriters Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson allowed their use in the film and permitted “Dancing Queen” to be adapted as an orchestral piece. Additional ABBA songs included are “Mamma Mia”, “Waterloo”, “Fernando”, and “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”.

ABBA only gave permission for their music to be included in the film two weeks before shooting commenced and the filmmakers were considering changing Muriel’s favourite band to “The Village People”.

“Knowing Me, Knowing You” is the embryo of melodic rock. Pianist Benny Andersson said it was one of their five best recordings. Pay attention to the harmony guitars from Bjorn Ulvaeus.

“Money, Money, Money”, I had the 7 inch single and it was another hit.

How good is the music?

Almost theatrical yet melodic with a bit of classical and gypsy chucked in.

“Fernando” was a hit in Australia, spending almost three months at Number 1, but I’m not a fan of it.

In Australia, this album was huge but like all of their albums in the 70s they didn’t sell in the multi-millions. That honor goes to their “Greatest Hits” album from 1993 that sold in the multi millions.

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Music

2022 – The Rest

Not As Good As I Expected

Megadeth – the riffs are there on a lot of the songs, but the vocal melodies are hit and miss.

Halestorm – I feel like Lzzy believes she needs to scream and throw her throat out all the time like Bon Scott or Brian Johnson to rock hard. She doesn’t. She is an unbelievable singer, guitarist and songwriter.

Papa Roach – Yeah, 10 out of 10 for incorporating different mainstream sounds into their music, but it’s too far departed from who they are.

Crashdiet – I needed more from the same creative juices that wrote “Together Whatever”, “Shine On”, “No Man’s Land”, “Dead Crusade” and “Darker Minds”.

Bullet For My Valentine – They are suffering an identity crises. I don’t know why artists believe that if they scream and growl they get more creds for being tough. Matt Tuck is one hell of a vocalist and when he gets the clean tone and the screamo correct in a song, it’s excellent.

Five Finger Death Punch – They have no identity crises here, but it’s the same as all the albums.

Stryper – with Michael Sweet doing a few different hard rock projects, it’s cool that he is keeping Stryper as metal as they can be. But. I still want the hooks.

Disturbed – the duet with Ann Wilson from Heart (“Don’ Tell Me”) is the best thing on this album. The rest is same same.

I’m Interested Again

Skid Row – If Motley Crue could find a way to work together, then I am pretty sure Skid Row could have done so as well. But whatever Sebastian Bach said to Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo many years ago it has left a wound that would not heal, so in the last 25 years, the fans have had a few different versions of the band with different drummers and vocalists.

But this time, the dance is different. They have a hard rock vocalist, who grew up on the hard rock that Skid Row wrote and who used Sebastian Bach as an influence. I guess “The Gang’s All Here”.

Arch Enemy – The riffs. Super melodic and headbanging at the same time. Press play on “Deceivers”.

 

 

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Guilty Pleasure – My Spotify 2022 Stats

Evergrey (songs from their new album, “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” and last years “Escape Of The Phoenix), Machine Head (songs from their new album only) and The Butterfly Effect (songs from their new album and “Final Conversation” (2008)) took up a lot of space in my Top Songs 2022 Spotify List as each artist had new albums this year.

So did Free Spirits Rising, a one man band from Australia. It’s very diverse, ranging from old school thrash metal, heavy metal and hard rock, and its raw/demo sounding and I like it. A song is released every two months or something like that. Check out songs like “Midnight Train” (melodic hard rock), “Chasing Days” (80’s thrash), “Outside The Lines” (melodic metal), “It’s OK” (pop rock), “Time Trigger” (80’s thrash) and “It Starts With Me” (acoustic rock). There is a lot of variety there. Hell, chuck in “Prey” for its nod to AC/DC.

The Night Flight Orchestra – From Sweden, a side project from Extreme Metal musicians is 10 years deep into their career. Their songs, “Moonlight Skies” (2021), “White Jeans” (2021), “Burn For Me” (2021) and “Taurus” (2020) are still in my Top Songs lists.

Volbeat – From Sweden, “Shotgun Blues” (2021) and “The Passenger” (2021) are still in my Top Songs lists.

John Petrucci – From the U.S, “Happy Song” (2020) is still in my Top Songs lists.

De Mont – From Australia, the band broke up circa 1993/94, however their song “In My Dreams” (1989) is in my Top Songs list.

Daughtry – From the U.S, the song “September” (2009) and various tracks from his recent album “Dearly Beloved” (2021) are in my Top Songs list.

Birds Of Tokyo – From Australia, their song “Broken Bones” (2008) is in my 2022 list.

Dream Theater – From the U.S, “A Change Of Seasons” (1995) was a go to track this year.

Metallica – From the U.S “Master Of Puppets” (1986) is in my 2022 list. How can you not play it after “Stranger Things”.

Times Of Grace – From the U.S “To Carry The Weight” (2021) is in my 2022 list.

Disturbed – From the U.S “The Vengeful One” (2015) and “The Light” (2015) appeared in my 2022 list.

Ghost – From Sweden, the song “Griftwood” (2022) and “Kaisarion” are in my 2022 list.

Arch Enemy – From Sweden, the song “Poisoned Arrow” (2022) and “Handshake With Hell (2022) are in my 2022 list.

Vanishing Point – From Australia, songs like “The Fall” (2020) and “Count Your Days” (2020) are still doing the rounds.

Jorn – From Norway, his cover of “Running Up That Hill” was in my top songs playlists for the last three years, way before Kate Bush made a comeback on the back of “Stranger Things”.

Reckless Love – From Finland, their cover of “Bark At The Moon” (2022) is in my 2022 list.

Gun – From Scotland, reformed in a way and re-imagining some of their songs from their three big albums between 1989 and 1994. In this case “Better Days”, the 2022 version (the song originally came out in 1989) made it to my 2022 list.

Trivium – From the U.S, “The Defiant” (2020) is in my 2022 list.

Dio – Thank you God for giving us Ronnie James Dio (RIP). Classic songs like “Rainbow In The Dark” (1983) and “We Rock” (1984) are still sticking around.

Bad Wolves – From the U.S. their song “Lifeline” (2021) was in my Top 2022 list.

King King – From Scotland, their song “Fire In My Soul” (2020) was in my top songs.

Queensryche – From the U.S, the song “Walk In The Shadows” (1985) connected with me this year and it made it to my 2022 list.

Dee Snider – The voice of my youth, straight from the U.S, with “I Gotta Rock (Again)” is back in my Tip Songs list.

Black Label Society – From the U.S, “Angel Of Mercy” (2014) is still in my Top Songs lists. The guitar solo is one of my favourites ever.

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