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

The Force Is Strong In The Kashmir Effect

Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” is the type of song that is so good, that it has become part of pop culture. The song was released in 1975 on the “Physical Graffiti” album.

Even “Kashmir” is a result of Jimmy Page creating derivative versions of previous ideas and songs. The first thing is the CIA tuning that Jimmy Page first employed with “The Yardbirds”. CIA stands for Celtic-Indian-Arabic and the exact tuning is known as DADGAD, a tuning that Davy Graham used for his 1963 rendition of an old Irish folk song “She Moved Through The Fair” which in turn saw Jimmy Page come along and derive a new song called “White Summer”, and another derivative version called “Black Mountain Side”.

If you don’t know who Davy Graham is, go to YouTube right now and type in “Anji” and prepare to be mesmerized. For all the music geeks out there, check out one of the riffs from “Anji” (that comes in at about the 14 second mark) and then go and listen to Queens Of The Stone Age song “No One Knows”. Hear the riff. While “Anji” wallows in internet obscurity, “No One Knows” has 17,883,776 views on the Queens Of The Stone Age Vevo account.

“Black Mountain Side” was recorded in October 1968 and released in January 1969 on the first Led Zeppelin album. It is credited to Jimmy Page as a writer, however the guitar arrangement closely follows Bert Jansch’s version of “She Moved Through the Fair”, recorded on his 1966 album “Jack Orion” which more or less was a cover of Davy Graham’s 1963 version.

All of these songs are in the same DADGAD tuning that was used for “Kashmir”. I am not saying that these songs sound similar to “Kashmir” however these songs needed to be jammed on, so that Jimmy Page could get used to the DADGAD tuning. You see great songs don’t happen overnight or by a committee. They happen by derivative jamming and by derivative accidents.

If there was any doubt about the power of “Kashmir”, then look no further than the metal and rock movements during the Eighties.

Kingdom Come’s derivative version “Get it On” helped the self-titled Kingdom Come album released in 1988 move over a million units in the U.S. Whitesnake employed the same technique in “Judgement Day” from the “Slip Of The Tongue” album, which even though it didn’t reach the sale heights of the self-titled 1987 album, it still moved over a million copies in 1989.

As Yoda would say, the force is strong in “Kashmir”. Kashmir’s legacy in pop culture was solidified in the Nineties when the main riff was used by Puff Daddy in the song “Come with Me”.

The defining part of the song is the ascending chromatic riff over a pedal point which is made even greater by the drumming from John Bonham, playing slightly behind the beat.

Dave Mustaine is a great employer of this technique. “In My Darkest Hour” and “The Call Of Ktulu/Hanger 18” both employ this technique, however there are other Mustaine penned songs that also include this technique. Progress is derivative is the mantra that I employ.

“Mary Jane” from the “So Far, So Good, So What” album released in 1988 has that riff that comes in at 0.46 and continues throughout the song. If it sounds familiar, it should, it is a very close derivative version of “In My Darkest Hour”. Both songs are similar and both songs have the ascending bass line over a pedal point.

“This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction” album released in 1992 has the main verse riff.

“Public Enema Number 1” from the “Th1rte3n” album released in 2011 has the main verse riff.

“The Kingmaker” from the “Super Collider” album released in 2013 has the Chorus riff.

Billy Squier also employed “The Kashmir Effect” and “The Ramble On Effect” in his song, “Lonely Is the Night” from the album “Don’t Say No” released in 1981. The music is “Ramble On” and the beat is “Kashmir”.

Guess progress really is derivative.

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Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories

Top 10 Metal Albums of 1994 According To Guitar World (& then a new Top 10 is born with my additions)

I am in a “dust off” process at the moment. As an avid purchaser of all things musical, especially anything to do with rock and metal, I have a huge collection of magazines from 1986 to today’s date.

At the moment I am flicking through a Guitar World issue from 1995. The first thing that got my attention, is their Top 10 lists for the 1994 year. In the issue, they had a Top 10 list for Rock, Alternative, Metal and Roots/Blues. So here is the list from the esteemed Jeff Gilbert.

1. SOUNDGARDEN – Superunknown (A&M)

“It’s darker than Slayer’s underwear, moodier than Weiland and more depressing than an empty keg. It’s also the best hard music album of the year.”

What a production team of Michael Beinhorn and Brendan O’Brien. Surround yourself with the best and expect them to get great results for you. This is the album that Soundgarden is doing it’s victory lap on. It had a lot of elements that crossed over into the mainstream and it had a lot of elements still rooted in the rock/metal vibe they are known for. The fans agreed, sending the album into the millions. At last count, the album is pushing close to 6 million physical units in the U.S.

2. DANZIG – Danzig 4 (American)

“Danzig kiss the abyss with yet another moon-howling symphony for the devil. All the musical chaos and only one guitar solo. Cool.”

Rick Rubin is on board to produce, along with Glen Danzig. In my view, this shouldn’t be on the list.

3. MEGADETH – Youthanasia (Capitol)

“Dave Mustaine sounds like he’s getting a vacuum cleaner enema, but that’s okay because his riffs and Marty Friedman’s solos are among the best the band has ever spewed forth.”

Youthanasia continued the path away from thrash and more toward a classic rock feel. However the lyrical matter is still dark and depressing, which was perfect for 1994. Max Norman is behind the desk and he completes his trilogy of albums with Megadeth, that also includes Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction. In the ends, the fans spoke with their wallets and they liked the mix of rock and metal and another PLATINUM album was on board the “Train of Consequences.”

4. SLAYER – Divine Intervention (American)

“Furious buzz-bomb guitar runs eat away at your face like flesh-eating syndrome. Swarming solos sting you out of your drunken stupor. Slayer know what’s good for us.”

WTF. It’s like a Nostradamus prophecy. I am reading this in 2013, post Jeff Hanneman (RIP) and the term “flesh eating” just sticks out. The next term that sticks out is “drunken”. Knowing what we know now about Jeff Hanneman’s addiction to alcohol and the problems caused by the flesh eating parasite, the review above just doesn’t sit right. Modern metal producer Toby Wright is on hand to produce a 500,000 seller.

5. PANTERA – Far Beyond Driven (EastWest)

“Shits nails and wipes with barbed wire.”

Terry Date is at the boards again and a number one album is released. What can you say about Pantera that hasn’t been said. Due to Dimebag’s passing, we will never see the original band reconcile and perform again, so what we are left is the memories. Who knew back in 1994, that Dimebag would be shot dead 10 years later.

6. SKREW – Dusted (Metal Blade)

“The metallic counterpart of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry and they used one chord on the entire album. What gods!”

Pop, Dance producer Howie Beno is on board for an industrial slab of metal. It’s a peculiar mix, however 1994 was a peculiar time, with a lot of genre mash up’s happening. I don’t remember anything outstanding from this album that would have made me want to play it again.

7. ENTOMBED – Wolverine Blues (Sony)

“Grindcore masters Entombed pay crunching tribute to the coolest member of the X-Men. Maybe we can hook them up with the Silver Surfer and … oh sorry; someones already beat em to it.”

Grindcore was never my thing however the Swede’s sure know how to create something interesting. The thing about this album that I liked is that each song, had certain sections that just killed it. I remember taking out all of those sections from the songs, mashed them up and recorded them all as one track (a note for note rendition). It came to about 7 minutes. Then I started tweaking the song around, moving some riffs into different places, shortening a few and them combining the shorter riffs to form a new riff and so on. Within about three hours, i had a killer 5 minute tune, all inspired by Entombed, however totally unrecognisable.

8. DREAM THEATER – Awake (EastWest)

“Faster than a Silver Bullet, tighter than the jeans i bought six months ago, more powerful than a box of Ex Lax, this shred party left me punch drunk and, for once in my life, fully awake.”

John Purdell and Duane Baron are on board to produce. Again, another peculiar choice from the record label. A progressive band, has been given hard rock / pop metal producers. Not counting the Terry Date produced, “When Dream and Day Unite”, “Images and Words” had David Prater behind the boards. Following up the very unexpected and successful “Images and Words” album, “Awake” already had an uphill battle. For anyone that has read the “Lifting Shadows” book, it is mentioned there, that Derek Oliver was asking for another “Pull Me Under” and the band was trying to oblige.

9. MACHINE HEAD – Burn My Eyes (Roadrunner)

“Machine Head explore the world of religion gone mad with aggressive and severe riffing more dangerous than a cult leader with a vision.”

What a perfect blend of old school thrash and modern metal. Robb Flynn is the star from the outset. He is what ultimately sets Machine Head apart from the competition. Another difference between “Burn My Eyes” and all the rest of the hardcore/grindcore bands from 1994, was that Machine Head could actually write songs and in Robb Flynn, you had a vocalist that could actually sing.

10. KYUSS – Welcome To Sky Valley (Elektra)

“If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be a laval lamp plugged into a Marshall, this album will take you there. The hairiest thing this side of Kim Thayil’s back.”

This one is a strange addition to a metal list, however it is that good and that varied, it deserves to be on some list. A mix of stoner rock and metal scene with progressive psychedelic elements.

Here are my additions to the above list;

LEVIATHAN – Deepest Secrets Beneath (Rock The Nations)

The best progressive metal album from 1994. It is a very accomplished debut album. While Dream Theater had the backing of a major label, Leviathan was on Rock The Nations, a small independent label. Produced by the excellent Jim Morris (Death, Control Denied, Circle II Circle, Iced Earth and many others).

KORN – Korn (Epic)

Now if this album went platinum or gold in 1994, it would be on the above list. However, this album was a slow burner. It reached GOLD status in 1996, on the back of the “Life Is Peachy” album. Even though I have been a Guitar World subscriber since 1986, it was very typical of what the magazine became renowned for; beholden to the advertisers and the PR companies. This album didn’t rate a mention however years later they trumped it up.

MOTLEY CRUE – Motley Crue (Elektra)

Of course, the Guitar World list is based on what was trending back in 1994 and Motley Crue was not in. However, their self titled album released in 1994, with John Corabi on vocals is heavy as hell and deserves to be on the list. It’s funny that the band that was cool in the Eighties was not cool in 1994. So if you are not cool, don’t expect to get any press from the established magazines. The only magazine that was giving the Crue any press was Metal Edge and then Nikki fucked that up as well.

SAVATAGE – Handful Of Rain (Atlantic)

Another so called “Eighties” band that wasn’t cool in 1994. Reeling from the death of their lead guitarist, Criss Oliva, Paul O’Neill and Jon Oliva wrote the most darkest, sorrowful and heavy as hell album. A worthy addition to any metal list from 1994. Jon Oliva also made his brother proud by recording all the rhythm guitars while gun for hire, Alex Skolnick came in and did the leads.

TESTAMENT – Low (Atlantic)

This is a killer album that got lost in the mix. After the Metallica “Black” album sound of 1992’s “The Ritual” didn’t get a great response, 1994 saw some changes. Guitarist Alex Skolnick and drummer Louie Clemente left. In came James Murphy (Death) and John Tempesta. The end product is “Low.” A different sound and a good one. The songs became lower and faster and groovy. Another slow burner, that kept on selling into 2000 and beyond.

So based on all of the above, here is my top 10 list from 1994;

1. Motley Crue – Motley Crue

What can I say, Bob Rock killed it in the producer’s chair, capturing Motley Crue at their heaviest. It is groove rock, mixed with classic rock, mixed with heavy metal. Listen to the interludes of Droppin Like Flies and Hooligan’s Holiday for supreme Korn like heaviness.

2. Machine Head – Burn My Eyes

Robb Flynn’s vocal style is his life style. A lot of people have tried to imitate it however you have had to have lived his lifestyle in order to pull it off.

3. Leviathan – Deepest Secrets Beneath

A progressive metal band that deserves greater accolades. Think Geddy Lee vocals on a bed of technical metal riffs.

4. Dream Theater – Awake

Worthy follow up to “Images and Words” and the last album to feature the talents of Kevin Moore. Of course Jordan Rudess is a far more accomplished pianist, however to me Kevin Moore is a better band member, due to his lyrical and vocal melody writing.

5. Pantera – Far Beyond Driven

What else can be said about Pantera that hasn’t been said. They kept the flag flying for groove and thrash metal, while other leaders jumped ship or broke up.

6. Korn – Korn

Any album that has an ominous shadow of a man in a kids playground on the cover already has a lot to live up to. In this case, Korn delivered a brutal first album. Not bad for a band that got signed solely based on their demo and no live shows.

7. Savatage – Handful Of Rain

Dark and sorrowful. The best way to pay a tribute to a fallen brother is to keep the music alive. Savatage and especially Jon Oliva, did exactly that.

8. Megadeth – Youthanasia

Dave Mustaine and Megadeth never achieved the “success” in sales as Metallica however to me, they defined and pushed the boundaries of technical thrash metal. Can you ever imagine James Hetfield singing over the “Holy Wars” riff. With “Youthanasia”, Megadeth delivered a killer rock album, which if i had to pick between “Youthanasia” and “Load” from Metallica, “Youthansia” wins hands down.

9. Testament – Low

When a band is more or less written off by the press, that is when they deliver. However due to a lack of label support, the album didn’t get out of the gates properly.

10. Slayer – Divine Intervention

I was going to put Kyuss or Soundgarden here, however my loyalty to Slayer wins out in the end.

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Music, My Stories, Copyright, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Piracy

The Prophetic Writings of Dave Mustaine

Throughout my life, bands like Megadeth, Metallica and Queensryche, have commented a fair bit on governments, democracy and the corruption that happens.

In the last 10 years, the Entertainment Industries have shown to the world, how corrupt they really are, and how they would do anything to protect obsolete business models. When I started writing this post, the themes that started to appear, reminded me of Megadeth songs.

Dave Mustaine is renowned for his mouth and his witty/snarly lyrical writing. Remember a time when musicians used to lead. Dave Mustaine is one of those musicians.

Seeking Asylum

There is a current role reversal happening in our lives today. Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, political dissidents would actually SEEK asylum in Democratic Free countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Now people are looking for asylum in other countries to get AWAY from the Democratic Free countries. How the times have changed?

It reminds me of the lyrics to The World Needs A Hero (from the album The World Needs A Hero, released in 2001).

An Iron Fist quietly sits inside the Velvet Glove
Take control, untouchable just like God above
I can’t escape, wrapped in red tape, what will become of me?
If I object, then I defect my country tis of thee

Bradley Manning, detained in red tape and military courts. What will become of him? He didn’t kill anyone? He didn’t terrorise anyone? He didn’t bomb any public infrastructure? So why is he imprisoned? All he did was to embarrass a government.

Ed Snowden, leaked information about the NSA spying on US Citizens and now he is treated as a criminal, seeking asylum in countries that will not hand him over to the US. Remember the time when Communist defectors seeked asylum in the US. This is what corrupted democracy leads too? All Snowden did was to embarrass a government.

Copyright Levy

Most of Europe has a Copyright Levy imposed on the purchase of storage media, smartphones, tablets and any other connected devices.  In my view, since there is such a levy on digital products, whether devices or storage media, then non-commercial infringement should be permitted. The copyright monopolies shouldn’t get to have it both ways – either they need to go after alleged “pirates”, or they can tax the items “pirates” use. Makes you wonder why organisations like HADOPI (in France) were formed, since the public had already paid for the content without even wanting to?

Sort of like the song Dread and The Fugitive Mind (from the album The World Needs A Hero, released in 2001).

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too
If you shake my hand better count your fingers

Nothing else can sum up the Entertainment lobby groups and the Copyright Cartels better than the above two lines from Dave Mustaine.

ENFORCEMENT

Speaking of enforcement, Hadopi in France, has been a total waste of time and money. It was created as a gradual response system to piracy. Basically three warnings and then no internet. The aim of Hadopi was to push people to legal paid services.

“While illicit file sharing has dropped, legal paid services have not benefited as was hoped.”

The entertainment industry focus should be trying to figure out ways to make more money however the entertainment industries believe that getting rid of piracy will lead to more money. All it will do is push piracy further into a darknet.

Sort of like the lyrics in Symphony Of Destruction (from the album Countdown To Extinction, released in 1992).

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people’s heads a roll

Let’s change them up to suit;

You take the RIAA
And put them in control
Watch them become gods
Watch people’s heads a roll

BLOCKADES

All over the world, blockades of websites is becoming common. The site they are all after is The Pirate Bay. The labels claim that the infamous torrent site facilitates copyright infringement. In countries like the UK and Ireland the courts agreed and ISP’s are forced to implement the block. Of course, users can easily bypass any blockade by using one of the many available Pirate Bay proxy sites. It’s that old whac-a-mole game. The Recording Associations around the world are spending monies in costly legal avenues and lobbying/bribery, instead of innovating.

Reminds me of the song New World Order  (originally recorded for the Youthanasia album of 1994 and released on the Th1rt3en album in 2011).

Monitoring all wages
New world order comes in stages
Your currency is obsolete
Feel the agony of defeat

Power resides in the ones that can purchase legal solutions to assist in their bad business models. The currency of fairness and justice is obsolete, against the power of money. We are all slaves to it. The whole blockade of websites is due to money, not piracy.

THE ART OF WAR VIA THE ARM OF THE LAW

The Entertainment industries like the RIAA seem to think that by using the arm of the law to extract money by force or to threaten people by force is a satisfactory response for copyright infringements. Remember people, copyright infringement is a civil matter not a criminal matter. However when power resides with the ones that control government, anything is possible.

Reminds me of the song Endgame (from the album Endgame, released in 2009).

The Ex-President signed a secret bill that can land a legal US Citizen in jail
And the Patriot Act stripped away our Constitutional Rights

All rights removed, you’re punished, captured and enslaved
Believe me when I say, This is the Endgame

Admins of websites have been found guilty for facilitating copyright infringement, have been given sentences harsher then murderers and drug dealers. These admins didn’t kill anyone, however if you take a penny from the wealthy, you have committed a grievous crime that needs to be punished severely.

INNOVATION STIFLING

Spotify has been far more successful in tackling piracy than any law. So what does the RIAA do? They want to charge more for the licensing fees. I am waiting for the punch line to come from the RIAA that this increase is needed to protect the artists that create the content. When it comes to money people just become dumb and those people are in charge of companies that make dumb decisions.

Sort of like the song, Millennium Of The Blind (from the album Th1rt3en, released in 2011)

All your money’s ours to bankroll corrupt wars
You can’t see what you’re fighting for
Trust your leaders as they send you out to die
The true face of evil can’t be seen without eyes

You can tweak the above to read;

All the money’s ours to bankroll shakedown wars
You can’t see what we are legislating for
Trust in the RIAA as they protect what you create
Through bribery and corruption so that politicians legislate

JUDGES SET MARKET PRICES

A 3 judge panel has set prices on the rates that internet services like Pandora need to pay, so that they can play music on line and the RIAA claims it is a free market.

Reminds me of the song Bite The Hand That Feeds (from the album Endgame, released in 2009).

They ball-gagged Lady Justice
And blindfolded her so she can’t see

They took everything and anything
As long as it once belonged to me

When the Courts have Judges that used to work for the Copyright Monopolies, the verdict is always the same. Good for business, bad for the people.

POLITICIANS PUSH CORPORATE PROPAGANDA

When are politicians going to stand for the people again. Instead we have the people that we voted in, pushing the agendas of corporations. A good example is the new RIAA stooge Marsha Blackburn. Enough said.

All of this reminds me of Peace Sells (from the album Peace Sells But Who’s Buying, released in 1986) and We The People (from the album Th1rt3en, released in 2011).

What do you mean “I couldn’t be President of the United States of America?”
Tell me something, it’s still “We The People” right

Nope, it is not we the people anymore and it hasn’t been for a long time. It is We With The Money.

Violate your rights, no more equality
Surrender freedom, your social security

When our politicians started to want to earn the same as Wall Street bankers, the writing was on the wall for equality and justice. Looking at all of the headings in this post, it makes me feel like I am living in a dictatorship. All of this is happening in Democracy. Peace Sells people, and the Copyright Cartels have purchased it all up.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Metal Music and Piracy

Dave Mustaine from Megadeth was asked the question “What do you think about the state of the music industry right now with all of the changes that have been made?” when he appeared on That Metal Show (S12:Ep5)

“This generation has grown up to believe that music should be free. We focus on the live shows now. People are very song-focused now.”

While I disagree with David’s assessment that this generation has grown up to believe that music should be free, I do agree with his other comment that people are song focused and that the bands focus should always be on the live show.

This generation is a product of their times. The medium of the times is the Internet. This generation has grown up with the internet. This generation has grown up on quality. Dave Mustaine in the same interview was asked to rate his top 5 Megadeth albums. Guess which albums made his top 5.

1. Countdown To Extinction
2. Rust In Peace
3. Peace Sells
4. Killing Is My Business
5. So Far, So Good, So What

This is Dave Mustaine saying that his best work is in the first five Megadeth albums.

Scott Rockenfield (from Queensryche) was also asked the same question.

“Records are different these days, they are good calling cards for us to continue our legacy. Bands can’t earn a lot of money in record sales anymore. We started out as a live band. A lot of new bands don’t have that.”

No one wants to wait two years for a 14 song record with three or four good songs. We want more songs on a regular basis and we want quality.
The internet allows the bands to do this as the distribution costs are zero.

Record song, upload and share.

If the song is great, the fans will market it for free. That is the way the game is played today. Instead you still have artists thinking that they should record many songs, hype up their release, spend money on a scorched earth marketing policy and then release the product so that people can buy it. It’s all wrong.

As an artist you want your creations to live forever. For that to happen, people need to share the songs, talk about them, do derivative versions and make a connection.

This brings me to artists who just have it all wrong, when it comes to their views on the current state of the music business.

Scott Ian said that people should lose their connection because they share his recorded music. I listened to Worship Music on YouTube. I didn’t download it and I didn’t pay a cent for it. You can say that I unofficially streamed it, since YouTube is the first streaming platform that the entertainment business tried to shut down unsuccessfully.

As far as I’m concerned I went onto a legal site and listened to the music. So based on Ian’s interpretation of the law, the internet connection of the people that went on to YouTube to listen to the album has to be suspended (as we stole it) along with the Anthrax fan who put it up.

The Recording Business is just an arm of the Music Business, that is trying in vain to hold on to its old business models. No one wakes up in the morning, thinking they need to buy a CD. We wake up in the morning, thinking we need to hear this song.

Doc Coyle from God Forbid summed it up in a post on the Metal Sucks website;

“We seem to think people want CDs or books or DVDs as individual items to own and keep, but the truth is, what we really want is the content contained on these capsules of information. The CD, DVD and book are just messengers for the experience contained therein.”

I am going through an issue of Hot Metal from May 1993. As soon as I open the magazine, there is a two page advertisement for the release of AnthraxSound of White Noise. One page has the album cover art and the second page has the heading, RESERVE YOUR COPY OF ANTHRAX’S NEW ALBUM “SOUND OF WHITE NOISE” AT THE FOLLOWING IDN STORES.

Back then we needed to buy CD’s so that we could hear the music. If they said we needed to buy a stereo that plays unlimited music, we would have.

Speaking of buying:
Black Sabbath had week three sales of 25,300 and week four sales of 16,942. (U.S. sales)

It is doing the same decline as other rock/metal artists like Skillet.

Metal bands need to take a leaf from the Imagine Dragons playbook. This band has entered the Top 10 again with sales of 33,223 for its Night Visions album.

Think about that. Imagine Dragons has been selling for 44 weeks. It has sold more in its 44th week than a Black Sabbath album in its 4th week. The last couple of weeks has seen a resurgence for the band. Why? The band is touring.

People are talking about the shows and they are buying the music. Some people might see it as strange that people went to a rock show without owning a physical copy of the music.

These are the times we live in. These are the times that artists need to live in.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, Piracy, Stupidity

James Hetfield – Semi Obscure Metallica Songs – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Metallica have done a lot of work to try and restore their battered image since the Metallica vs. Napster debacle circa 1999/2000. While people see this court case as Metallica taking up arms against their fans and innovation, I saw it as a case where Metallica tried unsuccessfully to get back control as to how their music is distributed and consumed. In the end, the whole debacle was handled poorly by Lars Ulrich.

So in 2003, they started Metallicavault.com, an online site, controlled by the band. It could be accessed by purchasing the terrible St Anger CD. Each CD came with a unique code. The band had live mp3’s and videos available for fans to download. It was nothing spectacular and the promise that more content would be uploaded weekly never came to be.

In 2006, Metallica joined iTunes and finally made their music available digitally in a legal sense. Prior to that, to get Metallica mp3’s you had to either rip your own CD or download illegally. This was done on their own terms and on a separate payment arrangement than other artists. At first it was just in the US and Canada as their overseas label wanted a bigger slice of the pie than they deserved. They basically controlled the negotiations as iTunes wanted them.

Then in 2008 they launched Mission : Metallica. The band advertised that any users that signed up to the Platinum package, will be allowed to download live shows, the new album (plus a physical copy of it), along with the normal membership of watching (heavily edited) footage of the band in the studio. Again this was all controlled by the band.

In 2012, they finally joined Spotify and the streaming revolution, again under their own terms and rules.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to highlight some Metallica tracks that could be classed as obscure.

Leper Messiah

It’s written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. It’s worth noting that Dave Mustaine claimed he wrote the song’s main riff and was not given credit by Metallica.

For all of those haters that said Metallica had sold out with the black album obviously didn’t know that Metallica had similar style songs on their earlier albums. Leper Messiah from the Master of Puppets album is one of those songs.

The best part comes in around the 30 second mark. Cliff’s trademark bass lines just rumble along while James lays down staccato power chords.

The messiah refers the ministers or evangelists and the lepers refers to the lowly people who give their money believing whatever they are told.

Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to leper messiah

Phantom Lord

It’s written by Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich and it was released on Kill Em All. Mustaine even used the Phantom Lord progression from about 2.30 to 3.10 in the Megadeth song, This Is My Life from the Countdown To Extinction album.

Overall the song is very influenced by Ace of Spades from Motörhead.

Hear the cry of war
Louder than before
With his sword in hand
To control the land

When metal music came out screaming in the Eighties, every band had a song about the movement. Twisted Sister called it Rock N Roll whereas Metallica called it Metal. The sword in hand is the instrument of choice.

Escape

Kirk Hammet gets a credit on this song on top of the usual Hetfield / Ulrich combination.

That intro. It’s brilliant. The song is more rock than metal. Like Leper Messiah, this song would not be out of place on the Black Album and it was released on Ride The Lightning. Lars wanted a more commercial sounding song.

The song is about escaping from the prison that is someone else’s reality for you. You can call it another anthem for living the way you want to. It’s the first of a string of songs that references James childhood. The prison mentioned is his home.

Rape my mind and destroy my feelings
Don’t tell me what to do

Take note of a theme in this song that will appear again on later Metallica albums.

Feed my brain with your so called standards
Who says that I ain’t right

This theme of control and manipulation will come up again in Dyers Eve and The Unforgiven.

Dyers Eve

It’s written by Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett and it closes the ..And Justice For All album.

The song lyrics are one of struggle. In this case, James is struggling against the efforts of the ones who want to control him. The theme was used again for The Unforgiven.

“Pushed onto Me What’s Wrong or Right” can be replaced by “They dedicate their lives to running all of his.”
“Hidden from this Thing That They Call Life” can be replaced by “With time the child draws in, this whipping boy done wrong.”
“Always Censoring My Every Move” can be replaced by “Deprived of all his thoughts.”
“Cannot Face the Fact I Think for Me” can be replaced by “What I’ve felt, what I’ve known, never shined through in what I’ve shown.”
“Clipped My Wings Before I Learnt to Fly” can be replaced by “New blood joins this earth and quickly he’s subdued.”

The Unforgiven III

The Unforgiven from the Black album set a new standard for the modern power ballad. It has been imitated by a thousand bands. Even Metallica referenced themselves with The Unforgiven II, however The Unforgiven III was unique and powerful enough to grab my attention. From all the other songs on Death Magnetic, you can say that The Unforgiven III has slipped into obscurity.

The piano intro that references Ennio Morricone sets the sadness and it is a different take to the acoustic intro of The Unforgiven (which borrowed from Ennio Morricone as well).

These days drift on inside a fog
Its thick and suffocating
This seeking life outside is hell
Inside intoxicating

James is documenting his battles with alcohol.

How can I blame you when it’s me I can’t forgive?

Reflection and hindsight. How can a person learn forgiveness if they cannot forgive themselves?

Holier Than Thou

It’s a Hetfield, Ulrich composition. It was supposed to be the leadoff single to the Black album, however Lars had different ideas.

It’s not who you are it’s who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges build them back with wealth
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

The theme continues on from the corrupted justice themes of money buys immunity from persecution. Just like Leper Messiah and Escape would not be out of place on the Black album, Holier Than Thou would not be out of place on any of the earlier Metallica albums.

The God That Failed

The most saddest song on the Black Album is also the most grooviest. The God That Failed deals with Hetfield’s mother’s death from cancer and her Christian Science beliefs which kept her from seeking medical treatment. It’s another Hetfield/Ulrich composition, however I am sure this one is all Hetfield.

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail
Follow the god that failed

Prince Charming

Prince Charming is written by Heltfield and Ulrich and it appeared on the Reload album. It is on this list for a few reasons. The most important one for me, is that James Hetfield breaks out his Ride The Lightning era voice in the verses. That melodic Ride The Lightning bark comes in at 1.13 to 1.23 (lyrics below). It continues during the Chorus and then appears again at 2.13 to 2.23 (lyrics below).

I’m the suit and tie that bleeds the street and still wants more
I’m the 45 that’s in your mouth in a dirty Texan whore

I’m a nothing face that plants the bomb and strolls away
I’m the one who doesn’t look quite right as children play

The song structure of Prince Charming is no different to the Kill Em All song structures. It’s based on the NWOBM style. The only difference is that the tempo is slower and the drumming is more rock driven then metal driven. Otherwise, you add those two elements to Prince Charming and you have a song that would not be out of place on Kill Em All.

The Outlaw Torn

Its written by Hetfield and Ulrich.

This song is heavy as hell. The F to E intro groove is super heavy (pay special attention to when Newsted does it during the solo breaks – it’s the swampy delta blues clashing with a heavy groove) and when the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath riff kicks in at the 30 second mark, it makes me feel like I want to break stuff.

Hear me
And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open
See me
And if my face becomes sincere
Beware
Hold me
And when I start to come undone
Stitch me together
Save me
And when you see me strut
Remind me of what left this outlaw torn

Don’t Tread On Me

With all the other classic songs on the Black album, this is just another song that was easily overlooked. This is classic Metallica, in the vein of For Whom The Bells Toll and The Thing That Should Not Be.

Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail
Once you provoke her, rattling of her tail
Never begins it, never, but once engaged..
Never surrenders, showing the fangs of rage

I like the lyrics, democracy never begins war, but once you engage it, prepare for its wrath. James said that after putting down the U.S for so long, he wanted to write a positive song for America, sort of a “no place like home.”

To secure peace is to prepare for war

It’s doublethink like the classic 1984 novel.

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

Dave Mustaine – What Do Ya Mean? I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Megadeth has a new album coming out, called Supercollider due to be released on June 4, 2013.  It will album number 14.  That got me thinking about the lyrics that Dave Mustaine has written for Megadeth, throughout their 30 year existence.

Holy Wars – 1990, from Rust In Peace

Brother will kill brother
Spilling blood across the land
Killing for religion
Something I don’t understand

Fools like me, who cross the sea
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God’s command?

How prophetic is this song? It was written in 1990, and at the time it was in reference to the IRA and the Northern Ireland issue.  If you hear the lyrics for the first time today, you would make the connection to something different.  The song is intense.  If anyone asked me to play them three songs that would sum up the Thrash movement,  Holy Wars would be first, Master of Puppets from Metallica would be second and Seasons In The Abyss from Slayer would be third.

Symphony Of Destruction – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

You take a mortal man,
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch peoples heads a’roll

I have known people who have been put in position’s where they have a certain amount of power and control.  They start out with good intentions.  In time, they begin to change, they develop the god complex and people either start to turn away from them, or for they ones that stay, they end up getting burned.

Kick The Chair – 2004, from The System Has Failed

Justice means nothing today
Now that the courts are for sale
Pick a crime from the menu, pick a sentence and defend you
And pick up the down payment called bail
The system’s for sale!

Mustaine covers the topics of justice, corruption and freedoms a fair bit.  Kick the Chair is from The System Has Failed album.  The album title alone tells the listener what they are in for.  These days, Justice is given to the ones who pay the most.  We have the Entertainment and Publishing Industries using Copyright as a form of censorship.  Just recently a Latvian school teacher was arrested and interrogated, for creating a website that provided access to school children to certain books.  What is more important, Copyright or Education.  Back in my day, the teachers used to photo copy the text books and give them out to the students.

Bite The Hand – 2009, from Endgame

They ball-gagged Lady Justice
And blindfolded her so she can’t see
The erosion of the people’s trust
Of what will come to be an FDIC Assisted Suicide

The depression of a depression
Worldwide suicide for the economy
Caused by the dialectic chaos when the
Mob on Wall Street took “We the People” for a ride

A song written after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). As each day went by, more information came out as to why the GFC happened.  It all pointed to greed, corruption and conflicts of interest between the revolving door of Government officials and Lobby Groups.

A Secret Place – 1997, from Cryptic Writings

There’s a secret place I like to go
Everyone is there but their face don’t show
If you get inside you can’t get out
There’s no coming back, I hear them shout

Didn’t we all have that secret place growing up.  That secret place in our heads.  Leave it up to Mustaine to make it sound sinister.

Skin Of My Teeth – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

I won’t feel the hurt
I’m not trash any longer
That that doesn’t kill me
Only makes me stronger
I need a ride to the morgue
That’s what 911 is for
So, tag my toe and don’t forget
Ooh to close the drawer

The opener from the excellent Countdown To Extinction has some of the best Mustaine lyrics ever committed to paper.  The last verse is a classic.  It’s a well-known fact that Mustaine has battled addiction, and as he says what doesn’t kill him can only make him stronger.

Peace Sells – 1986, from Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying

What do you mean, “I don’t believe in God”?
I talk to him every day
What do you mean, “I don’t support your system”?
I go to court when I have to
What do you mean, “I can’t get to work on time”?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean, “I don’t pay my bills”?
Why do you think I’m broke? Huh?

Even though Peace Sells came out in 1986, I heard the album in 1988, just before So Far, So Good, So What came out.  Growing up, listening to metal and rock music, put you into this social class of troublemakers, drug takers and devil worshippers.  So when I heard Peace Sells, the words said what I and many others wanted to say.

“What do you mean” became the war cry.  To me, it summed up, the metal community.  Yeah we could get wild, we could get high and we could get rowdy, however in the end, we still paid our dues to the system.  We still worked, we still paid our bills/taxes and most importantly we still contribute to the system.

Foreclosure Of A Dream – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

Barren land that once filled a need
Are worthless now, dead without a deed
Slipping away from an iron grip
Nature’s scales are forced to tip
The heartland cries, loss of all pride
To leave ain’t believing, so try and be tried
Insufficient funds, insanity and suicide

This song was released in 1992 and like Holy Wars, how prophetic was it?  It could have been re-released in 2008 or 2009 and it would have fitted in with that time.  That is the power of music when it is done right.  It is timeless.

The Right To Go Insane – 2009, from Endgame

I barely get to the graveyard shift on time
After pulling another grueling nine to five
I live from credit card to check
The paper money’swhirling by
And I hardly just, just barely, only just survive

I could relate to this song.  Working like a slave just to give it all away to the taxman, the banks and the utility providers.  Then doing it again and again and again and again.

We The People – 2011, from Th1rt3en

Violate your rights, no more equality
Surrender freedom, your Social Security
We, the people face unconstitutional lies
In greed we trust, in revolution we die

Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves
The land of liberty needs a regime change
Until you no longer know right from wrong
The constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on

Final say.

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