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

Australian Method Series: Parkway Drive – Ire

My journey into the world of Parkway Drive started with “Reverence” in 2018 and backwards I went.

“Ire” came out in 2016. It’s their fifth album, but the second album I’d heard from em. It went to Number 1 on the Aussie Charts and the U.S Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums chart.

The band for the album is Winston McCall on lead vocals, Jeff Ling on lead guitar, Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick on rhythm guitar, Jia “Pie” O’Connor on bass and Ben “Gaz” Gordon on drums.

The label even invested in a vocal coach for Winston McCall to increase his melodic skills as he’s already well known for this guttural vocals.

From listening to “Reverence” first and going back to “Ire”, it’s safe to say that this album was the start of the Hard Rock and Classic Metal tunes this band fine tuned with “Reverence”.

This fusion of Nu-Metal, Thrash Metal, Classic Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock ad Death Metal is not meant to go together and work, but it does and it works very well.

Destroyer

A repeating guitar lick starts the album. Its low, it build in intensity and it’s a lick that the crowd could sing-along with along with the “Destroy” vocal chant. But this section wouldn’t work without the rhythm and drum work. It’s thunderous and like a military march.

Once the main riff comes in, its melodic and heavy at the same time. If you grew up on a diet of hard rock, then this riff would fit the criteria.

Dying To Believe

Any song that starts with the lyric, “like dragging nails through my skin” is going to be fast and aggressive. And that’s exactly how it plays it in the blast beat intro.

Vice Grip

Sitting at 52.7 million streams on Spotify. The video clip on YouTube has 23 million views.

Another sing-along guitar riff to start the song and a Chorus you can chant along to with the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” vocals.

Musically, it’s a hard rock song and I’m picking up the guitar after I finish this post to learn it.

There is a “Rise” chant section, which reminds me of the “Die” section from “Creeping Death”.

Crushed

Religious chants give way to “tear the throat box out” vocals and riffs which are too good to not listen to regardless of your preference for vocal styles.

The section from the 40 second mark to 1.01. Press play for that, just to hear how the religious chants work with heavy music.

Or stick around from 3.26 onwards, just to hear the guitar melody under the vocals which could have come from an Iron Maiden album.

But the overall style of the track is Nu-Metal. Weird I know, but it works.

Fractures

The riffs remind me so much of the 80’s and Pantera’s first two albums.

But press play for the Chorus guitar melodies and “wooahs”.

Check out the section from 3.30 as it slows down and then builds back up. As soon as the guitar lead lets loose for the last 30 seconds of the song, someone decided to fade out the song. Nooooo.

Writings On The Wall

The drum groove is like “We Will Rock You”, so you hear McCall carrying the vocal over a bed of ominous piano notes, synths, bass and abstract guitar lines.

“Put your hands up, put your hands up, we’ll fight until we die, this ain’t ever gonna stop”, whispers McCall in true spirit of the 80’s ethos like “Stand Up And Shout”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Bang Your Head”.

Then at 2.30, the song kicks in with some metal like riffage.

At 2.55, my favourite melodic riff from the album kicks in. And the song ends with the haunting piano lines heard throughout the song.

Bottom Feeder

There are so many riffs that people will class as hair metal in this song. But it’s all Metal to me. It’s one of the heaviest tracks and catchiest.

The Sound Of Violence

The intro riff gets me to pay attention and the breakdown Chorus would work well in the live arena.

Vicious

Musically, this song has some serious hard rock cred. Even Metallica “Black” album era.

Dedicated

I feel like I’m listening to a Killswitch Engage tune on this.

Stick around for the breakdown at the end.

A Deathless Song

Acoustic guitars with a fusion of flamenco vibes and baroque start the song. But at 0.44, those iconic sing-along melodic leads kick in.

And those melodic sing-along leads are heard throughout the song, especially in the last minute outro, as they give way to the same riffs, but played with violins.

In the end it’s a “hard core hard rock” album, Somehow it makes perfect sense.

Check it out.

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

As Daylight Dies

From Killswitch Engage, released in 2006.

It hasn’t stopped selling.

Not bad for an album that Dutkiewicz once said in a Guitar World interview, “had riffs in it, so he could play and drink beer at the same time”.

Last week it moved 2,000 copies on vinyl. It was already certified Gold in 2009 by the RIAA and the song “My Curse,” was certified Platinum in 2020. At the moment it has over 122 million streams on Spotify.

Howard Jones was on lead vocals with the usual crew of Adam Dutkiewicz on lead guitar, vocals, keyboards and Joel Stroetzel on rhythm guitar. Mike D’Antonio on bass and Justin Foley on drums.

“Daylight Dies” (the song) was also certified Gold in 2009 and their cover of “Holy Diver” was certified Gold in 2020 and at the moment it has over 75 million streams on Spotify.

“This Fire” is at 49.2 million streams. It’s basically “Fixation On The Darkness” just shorter. And it’s used as CM Punks theme song in WWE.

Combining all things great from the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene with the American thrash scene and a nod to hard rock and classic rock bands, “As Daylight Dies” captures it all.

The album kept the band on the road for three years. But it also strained the relationship between Dutkiewicz and Jones, which eventually led to the departure of Jones and the return of original vocalist, Jesse Leach.

If you like your melodic metal then check out tracks like “Arms Of Sorrow” (it has this “Back In The Village” solo section) and “My Curse” (the big radio single) which has aggressive hardcore verses and a massive arena rock Chorus. Make sure you listen to the head banging verse riff.

“For You” moves between some of the darkest, progressive and heaviest riffs in the verses to the most melodic riffs in the Chorus.

Check out the intro to “Break The Silence” and if you’re not a fan of the screaming verses, stick around for the Chorus.

“Reject Yourself” is loaded with a lot of good riffs.

P.S. There is no way you could play the riffs on this album and drink beer at the same time, as there is a lot of LH movement.

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The Development Of Zoltan Bathory – Grit and Determination

Raw talent has to mature. So what we have is the artists that stick with music and mature themselves. All the other wannabes got out when they realised that there sole purpose of being involved in music was driven by money and fame. So when those artists that do stick around break through, guess what happens. The majors come knocking with big money.

It is interesting to hear or read about an artist’s development and the things they did to get to where they are today.

If you look at the Wikipedia page for Zoltan Bathory, the earliest musical output you get is from 2004, where he played bass in the band “U.P.O”. However his story begins a long time, in communist Hungary.

So he grows up in a country where the average person is making pennies. In dollars speak it was like a hundred dollars a month. It doesn’t leave a lot of money lying around for guitars, amplifiers and record purchases. He wants to be a heavy metal guitarist, however that music is censored. He wants to be a heavy metal guitarist but he doesn’t speak English. He is basically trying to succeed in a genre that doesn’t technically have a voice in communist Hungary.

You can see already the grit and determination exhibited by Zoltan just to even get to America. Compared that with people who are cruising on sub-standard effort and constantly told that everything they do is great. You can see that an edge exists in Zoltan’s corner.

Determination has been part of Zoltan’s mindset since childhood. I remember reading an interview that his parents enrolled him in judo classes in an attempt to temper his schoolyard aggression and how that discipline has served him well as he got older.

So he puts together a band that would become Five Finger Death Punch. The band is his first thought in the morning and his last thought at night. He lived and breathed the band. Even the style of music that Five Finger Death Punch produce wasn’t very popular at the time. It was Hard Rock, merged with Thrash Metal, merged with Death Metal and classic Euro Heavy Metal.

I have heard bands like Accept, W.A.S.P., Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Possessed and Annihilator mentioned as early influences.

It was all underground. They had no label but they had people connecting with them on MySpace in the thousands. The record labels started to take notice as this underground band where getting more views and plays than their major label artists.

The first album was recorded on their own. They produced it and paid for it. The version that we all got to hear was the Five Finger Death Punch version. The label at the time just picked it up and released it.

If you look at Five Finger Death Punch in 2013, every single member came from bands that had some level of recognition before. Jason Hook goes back to the late Eighties and early Nineties, with ties to hard rock bands, plus various session work and backing bands for pop stars.

Ivan Moody goes back to the mid Nineties before achieving some recognition with Motograter and his side project Ghost Machine.

Drummer Jeremy Spencer has a similar story to Jason Hook. Hard Rock bands are attached to their stories.

Bassist Chris Kael was doing the Las Vegas circuit with various bands and had made enough contacts to vouch for him when the Five Finger Death Punch bass auditions happened.

They took a risk on their music. They gambled. They didn’t know it would resonate and connect with people the way it did. If the music is good, there’s a ton of money to be made. Not all of that money would be on recorded music.

Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they DID THE WORK…
Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they kick ass…
Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they rock each place they visit…

That’s the way rock and roll works.

Life is tough and no one is owed nothing.

People want bands to make a living because we all want to be involved in some way. It makes us feel good on helping artists by going to a show, buying some merchandise or by purchasing their recorded product.

Remember that all of the music that Five Finger Death Punch has released is available on line for free to either stream, view or illegally download. Yet, they still sell. Funny that.

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The State Of Heavy Metal

There it is again. Heavy metal. It doesn’t matter how many times the labels tried to kill it, mainstream it or commercialize it, Heavy Metal has remained consistent from when it began. Whenever pop music becomes pretentious, heavy metal rises up as an alternative answer.

What does the term “heavy metal” mean?

Black Sabbath started something in 1969 in the UK. Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin started something on the hard rock front. In the U.S you had Kiss, Styx, Ted Nugent, Journey. In Australia, you had a pub rock band called AC/DC. Progressive Rock became a force to be reckoned with on the backs of Pink Floyd, ELP, Genesis and Yes.

By the mid Seventies, disco, punk and new wave became the darlings of the scene and heavy metal and all forms of rock went underground again, waiting for the day to rise again.

Then came the New Wave of British Heavy Metal between 1979 and 1983. At the same time, hard rock, glam metal and speed metal roared out of the Los Angeles and San Francisco scene. Think Motley Crue, Ratt, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer.

When heavy metal and hard rock drops off the mainstream scene, it is never gone for long. Heavy Metal is the answer to all things corrupt. It is the soundtrack.

Typically most metal fans come from working-class homes or changed family dynamics. According to a recent study, all us metal heads must have low self-esteem, because that is why we listen to metal music.

The mainstream always ignored metal music, seeing it as too dumb. Of course, when a band breaks through, the mainstream are the first group of media outlets to jump on the wagon. Remember Metallica. Ignored by the mainstream completely. The only mainstream press they got was the sad and tragic death of Cliff Burton. Then the Black album comes out and it is undeniable. It’s a juggernaut and everyone wanted to be a part of it.

So here is the list of the current state of heavy metal.

CLASSIC EVERYTHING

Rush – enough said. Move on.

AC/DC – enough said times two.

CLASSIC METAL

Iron Maiden – they need another great album like “Brave New World” soon or they will be playing to smaller and smaller audiences with each tour.

Metallica – they need to start making better decisions and they need to release new music. Look at their decision-making process. A project with Lou Reed (RIP) that just didn’t connect with the fan bases of each party involved and an $18 million dud of a movie. In relation to new music, they can only go back to the same market place year after year before the fans get burned on it.

Megadeth – Dave Mustaine said on “The Metal Show” that his top five Megadeth albums are “Countdown To Extinction”, “Rust In Peace”, “Peace Sells”, “So Far So Good So What” and “Killing Is My Business”. He needs to have a current album in that Top 5.

Slayer – are finished in relation to new music without Jeff Hanneman. He was the main songwriter in Slayer, full stop. To hear Kerry King saying that if the Jeff Hanneman music in the archives is not good, it will be not used is a load of B.S. Who made Kerry King the gatekeeper?

Judas Priest – is not Judas Priest anymore. It’s all about the dollars.

Black Sabbath – is all about the last paycheck. Anyone remember the recent album? Name me the whole track list without Googling it. I bet if i asked you to name me the whole track list on “Paranoid” or “Heaven And Hell” I would get an answer.

Pantera – lets hope that no one is stupid enough to reform Pantera with a “guitarist” paying tribute to Dimebag. Stick to your guns Vinnie. Pantera died completely when Dimebag died.

CLASSIC ROCK

Led Zeppelin is still big business in the market place. That is what the mighty Zep has become. A Corporate entity.

Pink Floyd are on hiatus however Roger Waters is still doing the rounds. He is the real deal anyway.

Motley Crue have gone back to the same market places year after year since 2008. The fans are getting burnt on this grab for cash as no new music has been forthcoming expect for the song “Sex”. The movie and the farewell tour are constantly dropped to the public.

Deep Purple should call it a day. They are out of ideas and inspiration.

Styx, Journey, Toto and Night Ranger are shadows of their former selves, doing enough to make a living in the current music business, but out of touch of what the music business fans want from their artists today. Which is a direct line, a connection.

THRASH/GROOVE METAL

Machine Head is the leader in this group. In Robb Flynn, they have a work horse of epic proportions who has the grit to see things through.

Trivium are real contenders. Say what you will about them, one thing is clear; they are not afraid to try new shit out and take risks.

METAL (all styles)

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch lead this group. They are ticking all the boxes. They have the sales on the board and both are part of the public conversation.

Bullet For My Valentine – have a great album in them. Can they write it?

Stone Sour – should have released one album instead of two.

Sevendust – I love them and the new album was a welcomed return to form.

Disturbed – The Device album had the same impact as the last Disturbed album. Do they still have a place in the Metal world?

Heartist – could be the next big thing or they could crash and burn with their next album as now they have a record label A&R department in their house.

ROCK (all styles)

Shinedown are the new ROCK GODS. Volbeat are not that far behind with Black Veil Brides and Skillet as decent contenders.

Eve To Adam – released a great rock album but no one has heard it.

Buckcherry – veterans of the scene and play to a niche.

Thirty Seconds To Mars – took too long to release a good album. If you are going to take 4 years between releases, you need to release a great album.

Airbourne – fill the AC/DC void when AC/DC is on hiatus.

Alter Bridge – are an experienced team that deliver consistently.

One Less Reason – great music, great songs however if people buy a physical product from them, they need to deliver.

10 Years – a great fan funded release in 2012. Now they need to make some hard decisions. Do they go the fan funded route again or do they seek to get a deal or something entirely different.

DO IT YOURSELF ROCK

Digital Summer – they run their band as a company that puts money back into the band and they still hold down jobs that gives them money for living.

Burnside – released a great album that no one has heard.

Vaudeville – another band that released a great album.

SUPER GROUP

The Night Flight Orchestra – If you haven’t heard “Internal Affairs” from 2012 you need to. TNFO is made up of melodic death metal bands playing classic rock and metal.

PROGRESSIVE METAL/ROCK

Tool – it’s going to be an event when the new Tool album comes out. Is it too late? Time will tell.

Coheed and Cambria – can’t do nothing wrong currently. Excellent double releases, plus great fan perks.

Dream Theater – are doing their best to maintain the success they achieved 10 years ago. Need a great album otherwise it’s bye bye.

TesseracT, Protest The Hero and Periphery are the new leaders of Progressive Music.

Today I Caught The Plague, Sound of Contact, Op Shop, Scale The Summit and Lizzard are rookies to take notice off.

METALCORE (MELODIC DEATH METAL)

Killswitch Engage are firing on all guns.

In Flames need to bring out new music.

All That Remains needs to head back to the studio.

The rest of the bands in this movement need a re-think.

SYMPHONIC METAL/ROCK

Within Temptation – enough said

DEATH METAL

Lamb of God – they are angry and they are pissed off. A bullshit murder trial and banned in a South East Asian country by ignorant pricks.

SHOCK

One final mention; “Du, Du Hast, Du Hast mish a fraud.” Rammstein has a dicka, so let’s get together, what is the problem?

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