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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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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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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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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11th May 1992 Australian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Charts Snapshot

I posted last week about the albums that made up the Top 20 in Australia back in 1992.

Here is the Singles List.

Number 1
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

The Hendrix “Little Wing” inspired intro from Frusciante converted a lot of rock heads to the RHCP. Their album was on top and their single was on top.

Number 2
To Be With You – Mr Big

Their worst song by far, but it cashed in on the Unplugged acoustic craze. It worked for Extreme and it worked for Mr Big. But those ballad fans who cross over for the song are fly by nighters.

Number 3
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

The variety on the self-titled “Black” album is a big reason why it sold. There was enough there to please metal heads, rock heads, thrash heads, country heads and pop heads. And this song is a perfect example of it. Plus it has a killer James Hetfield lead break.

Number 4
Alive – Pearl Jam

I get why it was popular, but I didn’t like it when it came out and after I purchased the album, I preferred a lot of the other tracks to this.

Number 5
Let’s Get Rocked – Def Leppard

So you wanna get rocked…. I guess we still wanted to get rocked.

Number 6
Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven – Bryan Adams

This is from the “Waking Up The Neighbours” album that went to number 1 everywhere.

Adams has a lot of fans down under, so it’s no surprise his songs chart well. And what a run he had between 1983 and 1999. And he made some big choices, like moving from Jim Vallance to Mutt Lange and the momentum just kept getting bigger.

Number 7
November Rain – Guns N Roses

You get three emotive Slash solos.

What more could you want?

Number 8
Viva Las Vegas – ZZ Top

It’s a cover song, but at this point in time there was nothing that ZZ Top could do wrong. This is one of the two new tracks, the other being “Gun Love”. Like Adams, they were on a winning plus decade.

Number 9
Dream Alone – Killing Time

An Australian hard rock band, which had a band name, the same as the U.S hardcore band and after this single release they would change it to Mantissa.

They supported bands like Janes Addiction, Baby Animals and Pantera on National tours but they had a constant turnover of musicians which felt like a momentum killer.

Number 10
Sister’s Crazy – Candy Harlots

This band story is a combination of Anvil and Motley Crue.

They had a deal offered in 1987 but their manager refused to sign it, because he wanted a bigger cut and then signed the band to a four year management deal, which suppressed the band from signing the record deal themselves. No other label wanted to get involved in this legal mess. They finally did sign a deal in 1991.

They had a massive Club following like Motley Crue. There was tragedy when one of their main songwriters Ron Barrett died before they even got their deal. In the 90’s, Barrett’s death was reported as a drug overdose, while these days, its reported as an asthma attack. And the evolving door of musicians just kept on happening, with drummer Tony Cardinal being the only founding musician in the band when they got their deal.

And as soon as they released their “Five Wicked Ways” album in 1992, within a year it was over.

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Towards Better

Winning streaks don’t last forever. It doesn’t happen in sport and it doesn’t happen in music either. Artists might have a commercial come back in between.

Aerosmith did it.

They had success in the 70’s, then barely survived their addictions by the end of that decade. In the early 80’s no one cared about em and when MTV started to rule culture, Aerosmith was absent until the Run DMC collaboration and then “Permanent Vacation” gave them another winning title. And this kept rolling with “Pump”, “Get A Grip” and “Nine Lives”. Another decade on top between 1987 and 1997 and then it started to dissipate again.

The draw they had in the live arena didn’t translate to high sales of their newer material. And like evert artist who had public acceptance of their music in the record label gatekeeper model, they didn’t know where they fitted in, post Napster. So they withheld their new music for a long time, until they released it (the “Music From Another Dimension” album in 2012) and no one cared about it, to talk or write about it.

But they did enough in their revivals to have a 50 year career in the music business.

Twisted Sister battled hard to get a record deal and make it. They finally got to the top with “Stay Hungry” and their cultural MTV anthems, only to disappear three years later in 1987, to resurface again almost 15 years later in 2002.

So the line from one spot to a better spot is rarely straight. It has its ups and downs and arcs. Even the hard work and the slog doesn’t last forever. Because every day you will be faced with opportunities, which are more or less problems that need to be solved. And you will have a choice, do nothing or to work through the problem.

Imagine if bands like Ratt, Dokken, White Lion and Skid Row worked through their problems instead of breaking up.

What would they be like today?

Because moving on and working towards something better is a habit and if you don’t have that habit, you might miss the chance that appears.

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June 2020 – Part 1

Beautiful
Bodies For The Bones
Die Trying featuring Shaun Morgan
Sweet Forgiveness
Art of Dying

These songs are from their “Demos and Rarities” lockdown release. I’ve been in and out of love with this band.

“Beautiful” is in the similar vein to their “Vices And Virtues” album in sound and theme. It’s the style I like.

“Bodies For The Bones” is super down tuned for heaviness. I don’t like this style. While the music sits super low which I’m not a fan of, the vocal melodies sit in the upper registry and drive the song.

“Die Trying” is one of my favourite cuts. This one features Shaun Morgan from Seether. Remember them. Seether came onto my radar almost 15 plus year ago when they did a song with Amy from Evanescence for “The Punisher” movie. A ballad called “Broken”.

“If it takes forever I would die trying”

The ethos of a lifer trying to make something from their life, to meet their definition of success and happiness.

And that’s the important element here, it’s your definition, that defines you. Don’t try to fit in to other people’s definitions.

“Sweet Forgiveness” has a haunting acoustic riff.

“Come take me out of here, I’m at the end of my rope, there’s nowhere to go”

There is always somewhere to go. Pick up the phone, talk to someone, catch up for a coffee and keep talking. There is always someone who wants to listen.

Darker Thoughts
Ghosts
Ending Days
Paradise Lost

This one-way street you’re on
You’ll never be fulfilled
And this one way street you’re on
Is gonna get you killed

That vocal melody. It’s haunting.

With inner peace gone, you pray
All those darker thoughts are coming back to stay
With inner peace gone you’ve paid
All those darker thoughts are coming back to stay

And then the violins kick in, over a grinding dirgey riff, while the “Godless are sworn to kill, Annihilation” is barked out.

Let’s chuck in an emotive pentatonic minor lead to finish it off.

On The Run Again
Chrome Division

The way this song starts off with the acoustic delta like blues riff, which morphs into a head banging distortion riff. It’s been played before, it’s been heard before, but I still like it.

Dual (featuring Matt Guillory)
Ultra City
Andy James

Instrumental music at its best.

In the 80’s, it got to a stage where the instrumental songs would be just a power chord and a million notes in the bar. Then another power chord and then another million notes. There was hardly any riffs and it became pretty bland. Because once you’ve heard one artist doing it from Shrapnel, you would have heard em all.

But these days, the instrumental players, write a song first, with awesome riffage and then decorate it with great melodic lead breaks.

Andy James is up there for me, with players like John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Lynch, John Sykes, Yngwie Malmsteen and Marty Friedman.

Leave It Alone
Signals Gone
Blacktop Mojo

This band deserves more attention. One of the best hard rock bands out there at the moment.

Far Enough Away
Trapt

They are doing Daughtry better than what Daughtry is doing right now. There is something special about an acoustic guitar, drums, bass and a good vocal melody, with some synth strings thrown in.

Death Diviner
Soilwork

The riff.

A cross between “Schism” from Tool and Soilwork’s signature groove.

Bjorn Strid takes the clean melodic highway on vocals and a classic Soilwork song is born.

That Chorus.

The riff again.

Press play and enjoy.

When All Is Said And Done
Aldo Nova

I didn’t expect this kind of cut from Aldo Nova.

And I like how artists can still surprise me.

This is bluesy, groovy and heavy. If you like the work that Glenn Hughes did with Black Country Communion, then you will like this.

Revelation
Riders Of The Light
Highway To Paradise
Lorelei
From A Whisper To A Scream
Final Hour
Gathering Of Kings

This band’s new take on an old sound is just to my liking. This is album number 2.

“Revelation” sets my mind time machine to 1984/85 and that beautiful melodic rock coming from an excellent band called Y&T.

And if you like tunes like that, then you’ll like this project, a gathering of Nordic musos who want to create.

All Of My Life
The Road
Highway
Between Good And Bad
When She Cries
Mike Tramp

I’ve always enjoyed Mike Tramp’s voice. With the last few solo releases, his lyrics are exceptional and they resonate on this album, “Second Time Around”.

He sold his heart and soul for rock and roll in “All Of My Life”.

He looked ahead on “The Road” that broke him, made him, turned his tears to smiles, brought him home again and the road he never wants to end.

He saw life come and go so fast on a “Highway” as he went for a ride and never looked back, finding love, finding heartache, finding highs and crashing lows.

Loving You Is A Dirty Job
Easy Come Easy Go
Intensity
Lost In The Dark
Back
Victims Of Desire
Built To Please
Passion

Passion covers most of the 80’s/early 90’s sounds and releases from bands.

Kiss. Its covered.

Keel. It’s covered.

Ratt. Its covered.

Steelheart. Its covered.

Skid Row. Its covered.

Hurricane. Its covered.

Winger. It’s covered.

2020
Vandenberg

The whole album is stellar.

It gives me this feeling of when I listened to Bad Company, Rainbow (Dio fronted), Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Deep Purple (Coverdale/Hughes version), Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (Dio fronted).

Each day is a different favourite.

“Ride Like The Wind” reminds of “Gates Of Babylon” from Rainbow. That’s my favourite today.

Yesterday, it was the Bad Company sounding “Hell and High Water”.

The day before it was the “Bad Boys” sounding “Light Up The Sky”.

Tomorrow it could be “Shout”, which reminds me of “Slow And Easy” on steroids, with a driving beat. Especially that section after the solo, when it’s just drums, and Romero is singing, “Get Up And Shout”. Even “I Love It Loud” comes to mind.

There is the “Fool For Your Loving” inspired “Shitstorm” with a David Coverdale like vocal that has been my go to track.

Or the Richie Blackmore inspired “Shadows Of The Night”.

“Let It Rain” reminds of Bonfire.

And my favourite track “Skyfall” closes the album.

And apart from the excellent riffage and song construction, the lead breaks are superb, song within song moments.

And the band is excellent.

Part 2 coming up.

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The Unforgiven II

I’ve been cranking this tune.

My playlist even starts off with “The Unforgiven” trilogy.

My cousin purchased the “ReLoad” album on release day. I didn’t even know it was out. He calls me to come over, as he’s got a song he’s been working on that he wants me to hear.

So I go over and he plays a song. And I’m thinking why is the song starting exactly the same as “The Unforgiven” with that blaring car horn effect.

And I go to my cousin, “why are you playing me “The Unforgiven”, I’ve already heard it.”

But, I didn’t finish the sentence as the distortion chords with the octave guitar melody over the same chord progression as the first song, kick in.

James Hetfield sounds like he’s taken a dose of country as his voice in the verses is exactly like that. Even the way he arpeggiates, and does those double stop bends, it’s country.

Artists growth is an important tool. Hetfield grew up on hard rock and southern rock at first.

In a “SoWhat” interview, James mentions that he even wrote a letter to the Aerosmith fan club address he had in the 70s, telling the band how much their music meant to him and asking them a question, but he never got a response back.

And James brings his influences into the Metallica mix and the band keeps growing.

The Chorus has that unique Hetfield voice, melodic, aggressive and abrasive and it’s that Chorus that remains with me.

What I’ve felt, what I’ve known, turn the pages, turn the stone, behind the door, should I open it for you

The lost soul, a new “The Unforgiven” is found by another. But the door is shut, unable to let this other in.

But now I see the sun, now I see the sun
Yes now I see it

Only when “The Unforgiven” has lost the one thing that was known as love is the door to the heart finally open and the sun let in. But it’s too late.

Play it loud. \::/

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2000 – Part 2

Motley Crue – New Tattoo

Three Crue members plus Randy Castillo, who was a very competent drummer in his own right, but he’s not Tommy Lee nor would he have had the same input and pull as Tommy Lee would have had on the Crue music.

Actually, Lee himself decided to not participate in the song writing for the “Saints of Los Angeles” album. Then again, if you just heard the two songs he dropped recently, maybe that’s a good thing. But as an artist, you need to have different outlets to explore different creative sides.

This version of Motley Crue and this album acts as a music bridge between the eras.

After the excellent self-titled Corabi led album, they brought Vince back and pushed the industrial sonics on “Generation Swine”. This didn’t sit well with a lot of their existing fans, and it didn’t gain them any new fans either. So Nikki Sixx, forever the marketing guru, knew that a return to hard rock would be on the cards.

Musically, it’s okay.

The AC/DC influenced “Hell On High Heels” and “Punched In The Teeth By Love” are typical Motley, while the title track “New Tattoo” carries on the spirit of the 94 Corabi album. “Fake” has a heavy F#m groove which I dig and the punky “Porno Star” has some of the funniest lyrics from Sixx, about his credit card being in debt due to visiting too many dot cum websites.

But the year 2000 isn’t 1980 and some of these lyrical themes just didn’t resonate.

Pretty Maids – Carpe Diem

“Seize The Day and living their life” is what the Pretty Maids (aka founding members Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer) did with this release and their brand of Euro Hard Rock.

“Violent Tribe” is on steroids while “Tortured Spirit” shows you can be heavy and melodic. “Poisoned Pleasures” and “Until It Dies” shows what a great songwriter and guitarist Ken Hammer is.

And track number 5, “Clay”, for a ballad which doesn’t get cheesy is a great track.

And the last three tracks, “They’re All Alike”, “Time Awaits For No One” and “Invisible Chains” makes you press repeat.

Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage

I picked this one up in a bargain bin, 3 for $20 and I was surprised by how good it was. But I didn’t get any of their other music afterwards.

Maybe because guitarist Terry Balsamo left to join Evanescence.

I just did some reading on this album and was surprised to read how people called it a low-budget album (which it wasn’t, as Geffen financed it and had people like Adam Kasper who was doing Foo Fighter albums involved).

Basically if you are a fan of modern hard rock and alternative rock, then you will like this album.

Racer X – Technical Difficulties

Racer X is a band which was needed, so that all of its members could get a start and then go out and take over the world with different bands. You can call it an origin band. An origin story.

Paul Gilbert is now more famous for his Mr Big gig and his solo records and his instructional videos, plus his amazing list of guest appearances and tribute album appearances.

Drummer Scott Travis got the Judas Priest gig for the “Painkiller” album, then went to Fight with Rob Halford and he returned to Judas Priest for the “Jugulator” album in 1997 and has remained there since.

Vocalist Jeff Martin ended up as the drummer for Badlands for the “Voodoo Highway” album and since then he has done stints with Dokken and The Michael Schenker Group. Plus he had an excellent Judas Priest like band called “Surgical Steel” which appeared in a very underrated movie called “Thunder Alley” before “Racer X”. It definitely is a long way to that invisible line which symbolises the top.

Bassist Juan Alderete went into The Scream with guitarist Bruce Bouillet and after Corabi fled the coop for Motley Crue, he started working with others and ended up in “The Mars Volta”.

This album came out in 1999, however I am pretty sure it got a release in Australia in 2000, so it’s in the 2000’s for me.

And it’s their best album by far with the stand out track being the title track and Paul Gilberts guitar prowess.

Check it out and you will know what I mean.

Yngwie Malmsteen – War To End All Wars

The cover is a Frank Frazetta painting so Molly Hatchett came to mind immediately.

When you get tracks with titles like “Molto Arpeggiosa” and “Instrumental Institution”, you know what you are gonna get. Malmsteen and the rockets in his fingertips, tap dancing on the fretboard.

And in “Bad Reputation”, Malmsteen gives his self-defence counter argument in the lyrics.

So if you like overdone guitar leads at the expense of other instruments and cheesy lyrics by Malmsteen, with a crap production, then you will like this album.

And I remember looking at the CD booklet at my cousin Mega’s place, with 20 or so photos of Malmsteen in various self-love poses, thinking, this must be a new record of artist shots for an album.

But…

There are some good songs here, which are lost in the mush that “The Fury” created.

I would really like to hear songs like “Crucify” and “Bad Reputation” with a better production and mix like he had on “Odyssey” and “Marching Out”.

David Coverdale – Into The Light

What can an artist do after being in the game of making music for 26 plus years with Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Coverdale/Page?

What can an artist do in a musical climate dominated by Nu-Metal and Alternative Rock, which proved to be very hostile to the artists who had success in the 80’s, courtesy of MTV and their music videos?

When in doubt, you go back to the beginning, and to the blues.

If you want to read a review I agree with, check out the fantastic blog 2loud2oldmusic by clicking here.

So into the time machine I go and set course for 1985.

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

May 2020 – Part 3

December
Highway To Paradise
Gathering Of Kings

I really need to sink my ears into this album and learn more about the project because even though their brand of melodic rock is derivative, I like it.

On their debut album, it had a lot of guest vocalists, and because Bjorn Strid from Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra was involved, I was interested.

These tracks are from the follow up.

The Shift
10 Years

I’ve been a long time fan of 10 Years.

There form of groove rock, which in the beginning, had a nod to Tool but in a concise 4 minute package, got me interested.

And since then, they have kept on morphing into a unique rock band.

Darker Thoughts
Ghosts
Paradise Lost

I became a fan with the “Draconian Times” album and then they lost me with their Depeche Mode style album in the late 90’s.

Since the start of the 2010’s they have started to creep back in. “Darker Thoughts” is sombre, as it percolates with just an acoustic guitar, violins and cellos. Then it kicks in, and that riff from 2.18.

House On Fire
Asking Alexandria

This band did a covers EP once, and they had songs from artists I grew up with.

For example, on the “Life Gone Wild” EP from 2010, they covered “18 And Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” frim Skid Row.

Then in 2012 they dropped another EP called “Under The Influence: A Tribute To The Legends Of Hard Rock” which had, “Separate Ways” from Journey, “Kick Start My Heart” from Motley Crue, “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake and “Hysteria” from Def Leppard.

This track is from their new album and its different, bordering on the sounds of “Imagine Dragons” in the verses with a massive Chorus, which gets the foot tapping.

Check it out.

Uninvited
Earshot

“Earshot” is another band that found a niche combining the angst of bands like Korn with the progressiveness of Tool, into concise 4 to 5 minute rock songs. This was between 2004 and 2008. Then they disappeared, while similar bands like 10 Years and Chevelle kept on going.

“Uninvited” is a great return.

And I’m interested.

It has this epic, Middle Eastern/Arabic feel as it percolates and rumbles through, with a kicking guitar solo.

The following songs, I have already written about on some of the Release Day Friday playlist posts.

Make It Out Alive
Tell Me How You Really Feel
Trapt

The cover for “Make It Out Alive” is a skull with the American flag painted/engraved into the bone, wearing a gas mask all on a black background. It’s a great piece of art and the song portrays that angst.

Dark Necessities
Luca Stricagnoli

This dude can really play an acoustic guitar.

This is a cover of a RHCP song and what you get, is the guitars, the vocal lines, the bass lines and a percussive beat all played on the guitar.

He also has his own special designed acoustic guitar with three necks which allows him to play these songs live.

Watch his YouTube videos to see him in action.

And it was two of those YouTube videos that made me a fan.

“Thunderstruck” and “Fear Of The Dark”.

Watch em and be in awe.

There is so much talent in the world today, that deserves to be heard and seen, the same way guitarists in the 70’s and 80’s were heard and seen. And Luca Stricagnoli is one of those artists.

Prove Me Wrong
Dee Snider

After 40 years in the business, Dee Snider is still proving people wrong. His recent batch of releases, which takes a stab at modern pop rock with “We Are The Ones” and modern groove metal with “For The Love Of Metal” has returned him to the throne of the black sheep’s, the SMF’s.

And “Prove Me Wrong” has a foot stomping metal riff that could make it on a Metallica album with Dee at his metal best.

Atlas Falls
Shinedown

I am a fan of Shinedown.

Their last two albums moved away from the hard rock sounds that got me into em, but they have enough goodwill in my book, for me to remain a fan, plus they had enough tracks on the last two releases to keep me interested.

So when this track was released, a left over from the “Amaryllis” album released in 2012, I was hooked, because this is the Shinedown I like.

Skyfall
Vandenberg

This tune just smoulders, like those epic 70’s tracks from Rainbow and Deep Purple.

Yep, that’s the vibe I get, a Ritchie Blackmore vibe.

Invasion
Haken

The vocal delivery reminds me of Styx and the sounds in the first minute are like an 80s video game.

Musically, it ticks all the boxes for me.

And just like that, they are back in my life as I became one in 2016, then I was on the fence in 2018 and now I’m back.

Voices
Long Distance Calling

They have no singing, it’s all instrumental, but instrumental music built on a groove or a riff and they just keep building it with derivative versions of the same riff.

You need to listen to it, to understand what I mean.

Change For The Better
FM

I knew about FM from the 90’s but never heard anything from em. And in the 2010’s they started to come into my life.

And then they really came on my radar because of “Shot In The Dark”, the song which is known as an “Ozzy” song.

You see, Phil Soussan wrote that song while he was in a band called Wildlife with the Overland brothers (before FM was created). According to the Overland brothers, they helped develop a lot of the concepts and progressions and lyrical melodies, including the keys for “Shot In The Dark”. But they didn’t get the credit and even questioned what Ozzy Osbourne actually did to the song to get a credit.

So they re-recorded the version they had done with Soussan back in the Wildlife days as a bonus track to their 2016 EP.

Give it a listen on Spotify and or go on YouTube.

And as Wikipedia states, “this authorship issue has become a source of contention over the years, and in spite of its success, the song has rarely appeared on Ozzy Osbourne greatest hits compilations as a result.”

As for “Change For The Better”, it’s a mix of Journey and Toto when they used to rock a little bit.

Blackened 2020
Metallica

It was great to see James Hetfield again on the YouTube video of this.

And what a comeback song for him, with a pretty cool acoustic rewrite in the Ennio Morricone style for one of their most progressive and powerful tracks.

To me, the “Justice” album is an unbelievable record. I don’t care that the bass is missing and that the guitar sound has too many mids or the drums sound too compressed. Because a great song is a great song regardless and the “Justice” album has a lot of great songs.

And man, didn’t “One” really shake up MTV.

For a band that didn’t do any clips, they did two versions, one with the film footage and the other with just the band performing in the warehouse. Suddenly you had a million kids buying a double bass drum kit and off they went to practice the double kick “landmine” section.

But “Blackened” opened the album and it’s 7/4 time signature for the intro riff grabbed me by the throat instantly.

“Termination (termination)”

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