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

Lizzard

They have a sound and a style. Their debut album “Out Of Reach” is an experience in itself, merging alternative rock and metal music on a background of progressive and experimental grooves.

And they are a three piece band from France, formed in 2006 that no one even knows about. The vocalist in the band is Mathieu Ricou. The bass player is William Knox and the drummer is Katy Elwell.

Who?

They sure don’t sound like a rock star names like Synester Gates or Zacky Vengeance.

Back when the Record Labels controlled who got signed and who got heard, the French metal scene was more or less ignored. For a band/artist to come out of anY European country that band/artist had to more or less dominate the country. And Europe always has a habit of turning out intriguing acts who only occasionally managed to gain widespread attention.

The Tool influence is very prominent but there are overtones of at least four other bands.

Chevelle, Earshot, 10 Years and Karnivool.

“Out Of Reach” is a perfect example of their style that merges Tool like grooves with Dream Theater like progressive grooves. All of it is underpinned by the melodic vocals of Ricou, who shifts between a Maynard James Keened to an Aaron Lewis to an Chino Moreno.

My personal favourite is “Loose Ends”. The bass groove from William Knox is hypnotic and the drum patterns from Katy Elwell just enhance the groove. Mathieu Ricou knows how to enhance the song with his vocals, his melodies, his phrasing and his guitar lines. “A Perfect Circle” also comes to mind. I still call it hard rock. At 3.05 the trance takes effect with a solid Tool like groove. Then at the 4 minute it goes into a Pink Floyd style atmospheric outro full of dissonant volume swells.

“Twisted Machine” is a stand out. It looks like all three members lived and breathed, “Aenima” and “Lateralus” from Tool while writing this album. From 3.40 the song goes into a wicked groove, ala “Schism”. I actually cranked “Schism” after and thematically the two songs flow in together. And that whole section from about 3.30 in “Schism” got me thinking of “Ragnarok” from Periphery and off I went to digest that song.

At 44 minutes “Out Of Reach” is a compact album, which is how it should be.

Since Tool is on hiatus, Earshot are more or less no more, Chevelle are trying out new musical horizons and Deftones are here and there when they want to me, Lizzard is a perfect replacement to fill the gap. They haven’t just filled the gap, they have made it their own.

They have a fan funding campaign up for their new album on Ulule. It’s in French and the Google translator is working spasmodically. 61 contributors so far and they have achieved 89% of their target. The target is 3,500 Euros.

Did I contribute?

No.

Fan funding to me is about delivering something unique to a fan. The perks are just not unique enough and $15Euro for a CD (which equates to about $22 Australian) is above what I would pay for a CD. So it will be a Spotify album.

If an album sold 61 CD’s it would be seen as a dud.

Fan Funding a CD and offering fans what the old legacy gatekeepers offered fans, is not embracing the new. It is using new and exiting platforms to prop up old business models.

People want access to the music and they will contribute for a perk if they believe they are getting value for their money. Make it worth their while, otherwise it is leaving money on the table.

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Music

Under The Flood

This is one band that has been doing the hard roads since forming in 2005 by bothers Matt (guitars) and Dave (vocals) Nadolski in Charlottesville, Virginia.   The band is rounded out by Brandon Sidebottom on guitar, Ken Davis on bass and Russell Lee on drums.   Fun fact here, Ken Davis shared the stage with American Idol’s own Chris Daughtry in the popular band Cadence.

Before their first album The Witness was released in May 2008 the band had been out on the road paying their dues and building a fan base for the past 3 years.  It was released on Koch Records.  You can hear the Red, Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry and Shinedown influence on this album.

The anticipated sophomore album Alive In The Fire was released in June 2010 on Join Or Die Records.  It followed in the same musical style as the debut album with a little bit of Deftones thrown into the mix.  Wake Up and Believe are good examples of the Deftones influence and the opening single Gravity also merges these influences.

‘I found another one who’s infected by greed,
Such a lazy one, i think i know what we need’

Do you reckon they are pissed at the rich fat cats who get bailed out while the world and its workers pay for their mistakes.  Or the fat cats who make billions from exploiting the artists.

The third album A Different Light was released in February 2012 on Join Or Die Records.  It continues the tradition of the previous efforts before it, focusing on radio friendly formula driven rock songs.  That is not a bad thing if it is done with substance and integrity.  As the songs are written within the band, you will get a touch of humanity to the songs, that songs written by committees cannot never offer.  A heavier version of Daughtry.

Under The Flood - A Different Light - album cover

Stand out tracks are the heavy Fly

‘These complicated times
We’re facing painful realities
But underneath the blame you’ll find
You’re another casualty of your hypocrisy’

The thing i like about lyrics is the interpretation.  The You can be a loved one,  a political institution, an enemy that used to be a friend.

‘I never wanted this design
I hope you open your eyes’.

Isn’t it funny how we call certain situations in life a design.

The title track, A Different Light

‘Fragile and hollow
Leaving the things you want the most
On top of the world
But you still know you didn’t want it’

I remember that i wanted to travel, tour the world and playing music i created.  But i also  wanted the family, the wife and the kids.  I got the family first, and in the end that is what i wanted the most and the one thing i will never leave behind.

Wait follows next and to me that is three in a row of good rock songs.

‘If you could only wait
Another moment with me
Because I only ever wanted you to stay
And I can’t imagine you leaving
And watching you walk away
I was never enough for you to lean on
I’d give anything up if you could hold on
Wait another moment with me’

Drive makes it four in a row, which in this day and age is rare.

‘ Because tonight we’re coming alive again
Open your eyes
It’s do or die
Will you toe the line or take the wheel and drive
You got once in a lifetime
To stand up and shine
You won’t be denied
Will you fall behind or take the wheel and drive
We’ll tear down the walls
We’re unstoppable’

7 years into their journey and three albums deep.  A few things are clear here;

  1. Vocalist Matt Nadolski has the pipes to lead the band into the stratosphere.
  2. The band still hasn’t written their classic album.
  3. They tour like crazy
  4. They have active radio campaigns (which too me is not what they should be focusing on)
  5. The band still hasn’t written their classic album.
  6. Remember, the internet is breaking the old models apart, Under The Flood need to embrace what it can offer them.
  7. Get the fans involved and make them super fans.

Peace…

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