Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Disturbed – M.O.L

M.O.L. stands for “Meaning of Life”, a song from “The Sickness” and it’s the title of a DVD released in 2002.

They all started off the same as other bands. Each member performed in various bands before hooking up.

But the vocalist spot was proving a problem. They put an ad out and Dave Draiman answered the ad. He was the anti-rock star with real short hair and sandals but he was onboard with focusing on originals.

And when Dan Donegan played an original riff and Draiman started singing a melody, that was it. That song became “Want”.

There is studio footage from November 25, 1999 and December 2, 1999 and its cool to see how “Bill Ward like”, Mike Wengren is on the drums, very groovy like with a bit of swing.

And Johnny K was not what I expected him to look like. I was thinking like another Kevin Churko. Even though I’ve seen his name on so many albums I never really googled him or read any interviews.

It’s always strange watching things back and the way bassist Fuzz talks about “how lucky the band got with David” but in the end it was the personality differences between Draiman and Fuzz which led to him getting fired.

In Australia this DVD release did good business and it was certified Platinum.

Check it out.

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

The Record Vault: Dio – Holy Diver Live

The rebuild of the Dio brand in the 2000’s involved a revolving cast of musicians.

Tracy G served as the guitarist from 1993 to 1999. He brought in different elements to the band and assisted it keeping the band going throughout the 90’s.

Craig Goldy came back in between 1999 and 2002 to help with a new album “Magica” and keep the live show going.

Doug Aldrich came in between 2002 and 2003 for the album “Killing The Dragon” and to keep the live show going. Warren DeMartini did a small stint in 2003 for the live show, with Craig Goldy to return for a new album called “Master Of The Moon” in 2004.

Doug Aldrich returned again as a touring musician for 2005.

Interest in Dio was high, as “Master Of The Moon” was highly praised and recommended. The 1983 “Holy Diver” was also reissued by Rock Candy during this time.

The band for the tour was Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Scott Warren on keyboards, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Simon Wright on drums. The show was filmed at London’s Astoria Theatre on October 22, 2005 and released in 2006. The DVD booklet describes the concert as “one of the best hard rock gigs of all time”.

The stage show is not as extravagant as the 1983/84 stage shows. Wright is only 70cm off the ground, instead of the 3 metre drum riser that Vinny Appice had to contend with.

“Tarot Woman”

From Rainbow.

When I saw it as the opener, I was surprised, but goddamn, the song is full of energy and the riffs in the song are perfect foot stomping live riffs. Blackmore wouldn’t create anything else.

Aldrich’s tone is stellar and is faithful to Blackmore as much as possible with a bit of improvisation in the lead break.

“The Sign of The Southern Cross”

From Black Sabbath.

How heavy does this sound on this recording?

A perfect addition to the set list and the crowd responds.

“One Night in the City”

From “The Last In Line” album. I used to mix up “Caught In The Middle” and “One Night In The City” and intertwine the lyrics of the songs.

Then we get the whole “Holy Diver” album.

“Stand up and Shout”

The band is on fire. Sarzo and Wright own the foundations while Aldrich comes across like he’s been in the band forever. Dio is vocally good, singing in a lower range, so he doesn’t overstretch those vocal chords knowing that as you get older, they seem to disappear.

At 3.32 long, its fast and relentless.

“Holy Diver”

The feedback leads into the riff of “Holy Diver”. The tempo feels a bit slower compared to the previous live performances I’ve watched.

Dio’s voice is gravelly and perfect. Wright is a monster on the drums and Rudy Sarzo is still making love to his bass. Aldrich here remains as close to faithful to Campbell’s licks and leads. And there is no better singer at ad-libbing on the outro’s than Dio.

“Gypsy”

It’s got a groove riff that’s like a “let’s get this party started” riff. Aldrich here is given the freedom to do his own thing in the lead break. And the song morphs into a “Drum Solo” and you all know my views on these kind of lone solos in concerts.

“Caught in the Middle”

How good is the intro riff?

And I love that melodic rock chorus?

Just press play to hear Dio ad-libbing the outro.

“Don’t Talk to Strangers”

A great song to listen to and Dio is all gravelly on this one as well, giving it a different vibe. By now, Aldrich is sweating and his rock hard abs are on show for the predominantly male audience.

“Straight Through the Heart”

The groove riff to kick it off and the verse vocal melodies are my favourites. Aldrich also shines on the lead break while Wright and Sarzo, along with Warren on the keys and peculiar dance moves, provide a great foundation

“Invisible”

Once the clean tone arpeggios are done, a distorted riff kicks in and it sounds similar to “Shout At The Devil” from Motley Crue.

It’s amazing how many albums released around the same time (1983/1984) had similar songs.

“Rainbow in the Dark”

As soon as the Am chord comes crashing in and the synth lick starts playing, the crowd is involved and loving it.

In the ending part of the song, Dio is saying to his audience, “you are all my rainbow in the dark”.

“Shame on the Night”

The bluesy Pink Panther crime noir style riff always gets my foot tapping.

And just before the Outro of the song kicks in, there is a “Guitar Solo” moment, but done as part of a jam with the band which is a lot better than just the “lone ranger” style of solo. And you can hear how exotic Aldrich is, with his melodic minor soloing.

Then the “Escape From New York” influenced outro kicks in.

And for some strange reason, they reprise “Holy Diver” again, maybe as a way to musically say to the audience that this is the end of the “Holy Diver” album play through.

“Gates of Babylon”

From Rainbow and how can you not like it. It’s got an exotic riff, pentatonic riffs and a killer Dio vocal. Warren on the keys is excellent, Sarzo and Wright bring the power, while Aldrich is excellent especially in the lead break, which goes to show how complex Blackmore can get.

“Heaven and Hell”

The best Black Sabbath song and we get 11 minutes of it.

This time around, the crowd is chanting the opening riff with Dio and they are all in when Dio’s starts singing, as he waves his devil horns salute around.

Rudy Sarzo is one hell of a bassist. Very underrated.

The middle section lead break is faithful to Iommi.

And we get four minutes of the fast outro section with Aldrich wailing away.

I guess the world is full of kings and queens who blind our eyes and steal our dreams.

“Man on the Silver Mountain”

The first song of the encore is from the Rainbow days. And Aldrich nails the song riff, using the pick and his fingers to sort of chicken pick the intro riff.

If you listen closely, you will notice how Dave Sabo was influenced to write “Youth Gone Wild” and “Monkey Business” from this riff.

And I like how they go into the “Little Wing” influenced “Catch The Rainbow”.

“Long Live Rock and Roll”

And those Rainbow days are back again for 3 minutes and 30 seconds of energy and crowd sing-alongs. And if this was the end of the concert, it would have been a worthy end.

But there was one more track to come.

“We Rock”

The closer, which became a standard closer for Dio but with the fast metal riff, it could easily be an opener.

At almost 2 hours, the show is done and Dio leaves the building.

P.S. From start to finish the set list flows like a classic metal album, a one stop overview of Dio’s career and if you’re a fan, you will see a lot of songs missing that maybe should have been in, such was Dio’s quality output.

P.S.S. Doug Aldrich is faithful to the past material and the riffs/leads of Vivian Campbell, Richie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. In Whitesnake, he also did an admirable job in being faithful to the past and assisting David Coverdale to keep the brand going.

P.S.S.S. Dio at 63 is aged and his voice is not the same but if you went to the show you wouldn’t be disappointed. He still delivers a worthy performance befitting a man of his age.

P.S.S.S.S. I can’t believe how many great songs Dio wrote/co-wrote across three different bands and over three decades.

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

The Record Vault: Dio – We Rock (DVD)

“We Rock” (the DVD) was released in 2005. It collects two VHS releases from the early 80’s and brings them forth into the 2000’s. The sound is still rooted in the 80s with a bit of a clean up.

The early 2000’s became a period of re-invention for Dio. After experimenting with Nu-Metal in the mid 90’s, he went back to his roots, to his kind of metal and rock and re-established the “Dio” brand as a commercial force.

For studio albums, in 2000, we got the “Magica” studio album, “Killing The Dragon” came out in 2002 and “Master Of The Moon” in 2004. In addition, “The Devil You Know” from Heaven and Hell hit the streets in 2009.

For live albums, in 2005, we got the “We Rock” DVD and “Evil or Divine – Live In New York City”, “Holy Diver – Live” in 2006 and “Live From Radio City Music Hall” in 2007 from Heaven and Hell.

But it was the live show which brought in the money. His audience from the 80’s remained faithful and they turned up with their adult kids.

Through placement in movies and certain bands covering his songs, Dio was also generating revenue from licensing, sales and streams. And while artists have their views on piracy, having the Dio catalogue available to download for free, increased his supporter base, which led to an increase in the audience to the live show. This happened for a lot of bands who did it tough during the 90’s. Motley Crue and Twisted Sister come to mind.

In the link, the research suggests that every ten music albums pirated leads to three extra concert or festival visits. However, at the same time, it leads to a significant drop in physical album sales and digital downloads.

Dio – Live In Concert 1984

The show was recorded in Holland/The Netherlands on 4 December 1983.

The stage show is massive, with Vinny Appice sporting a very unpleasant looking red leather jumpsuit is sent up on the second level of the building. In other words, the drum riser is very high.

“Stand Up And Shout” is the opener, with Vivian Campbell playing a black Les Paul shaped guitar, running around like a madman on stage, while Jimmy Bain holds it all together, especially when Campbell drops out for the lead breaks. And of course, Dio is nailing his melodies, as the tempo at which they play the song live wouldn’t have helped vocally.

“Stand Up And Shout” feedbacks into the groove riff of “Straight Through The Heart” and I like it. Dio’s voice is like an instrument here itself, especially in the verses.

“The Pink Panther” like riff kicks off “Shame On The Night”, which gets the audience clapping along, before it moves into the doom riff. It’s slower tempo is perfectly placed in the set list.

How good is the bass and drums on the verses, as they carry the music along with Dio’s melodies?

And the outro riff reminds me of the “Escape From New York” main theme.

“Children Of The Sea” is next and a nice recognition of his Black Sabbath output. Dio and Appice really shine on this track, while Campbell and Bain carry out what needs to be done musically. Then the solo comes and Campbell shines, staying faithful for a bar or two and improvising after that.

“Holy Diver” is the pinnacle of the show. The band is on fire and the audience is loving it.

When the song ends, a “Drum Solo” starts.

I hate lone drum solos and guitar solos in concerts. I see no point in them, especially when the artist has enough material to play songs. But I do like it when a drum solo or a guitar solo is within the song, which I’ve seen some artists do.

After the “Drum Solo”, one of my favourite cuts starts in “Heaven And Hell”. As soon as Dio starts with the “sing me a song” line, the whole crowd is in the palm of his hand, singing along with him. It sounds like Claude Schnell came out of hibernation to add some synth licks but he’s nowhere to be seen on the stage.

Campbell is faithful to Tony Iommi as much as he can and when it comes time for the lead breaks he does improvise a lot, but then again so does Dio, adding new vocals over the jam grooves.

As they are jamming along, with Campbell soloing, the music stops and we get a “Guitar Solo”. As mentioned, I hate it when they take up time in a concert, however you do get to hear how accomplished Campbell is as he pulls out all the licks and tricks from his arsenal.

Bain and Appice then kick in with the “Heaven And Hell” groove and Campbell keeps soloing with music as the background and this I like.

Dio then comes in and gets the crowd involved in a sing-a-long.

The issue I have is that it does go on and on and on and on.

Finally the fast outro kicks in, however it is ultra-fast here, with my favourite lyrics in “the moon is just the sun at night”.

After about 20 plus minutes of the song, (including the guitar solo), the song ends. And the Dutch are screaming “Dio”.

Band introductions take place and Dio says something like “I like to introduce the next song, which has rainbow in it but nothing to do with the band of the same name”. Since no Rainbow songs are included on the release, you can presume the bad blood between Richie and Dio was still too much. But I do think he played a couple of em, but just didn’t include them.

“Rainbow In The Dark” cranks in and how can you not sing when Dio starts with “when there’s lightning”.

Once the song ends, the crowd chants again “Dio” over and over again.

It’s all black, then red eyes light up from Dio’s mascot and an encore is happening.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” closes the gig, the embryo to “The Last In Line” and “We Rock”.

Dio – A Special From The Spectrum

The opening track “Stand Up And Shout” is not included in the DVD release, but you can see it on YouTube if you want.

The stage show is a bit different, going with the theme of “The Last In Line” album cover, however Appice still remains on the second floor, so high up from the rest of the band.

This time around Campbell is sporting the red leathers and his playing a Charvel/Fender style guitar. Dio as usual is nailing it vocally and Bain is always reliable with his bass rumbling away and then carrying the music when Campbell drops out for the lead break.

And the band is ferocious this time around. They have the “Holy Diver” album and tour behind them and their out promoting “The Last In Line”.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” is song number 2 and it opens up the DVD concert version. On the “Holy Diver” tour, this was the closer. And it’s a great decision to open the album with two songs they have played a lot because their delivery is so fluent.

“Mystery” is up next, the first song played from “The Last In Line” album. It’s major key vibe and Hard Rock Mainstream style Chorus works well in the set, after the two metal cuts before it.

Then my favourite Dio song starts in “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”. That riff from Campbell and the slow “Heaven And Hell” drum groove from Appice is all I need. Suddenly I’m singing, “in the land of the lost horizon” and “when the world was milk and honey”.

Half way through the song, a “Drum Solo” starts and as you know, I hate these moments in concerts.

And like the previous show, they go into “Heaven And Hell” and this time Campbell is playing an Explorer shaped guitar. And like the previous show, as soon as Dio starts singing the first verse, the crowd is singing with him. The song is played similar to the previous concerts with a lot of jamming in the lead break.

And then the music stops and we get a “Guitar Solo”. You know my views on these lone solo pieces. I don’t know why Campbell would need to have this moment as he was wailing away on the “Heaven And Hell” groove and it sounded so good. Anyway, like the previous show, Appice and Bain then kick in with the “Heaven And Hell” groove and Campbell keeps soloing and this little piece I like.

Dio comes out, and yells, “Vivian Campbell and his magic guitar” and the crowd roars their approval. Then he gets the crowd involved a sing-along. And I’m bummed that the fast outro of the song doesn’t get played.

But they do go into “The Last In Line”.

The medieval fingerpicked intro hides the metal cut that the song would become.

“We are coming”, silence, “hoooooome” as the riffs kick in. The band is nailing everything and Appice is thundering. And for such a new song, the crowd is singing along with him. I guess you can’t keep a good song down.

Once the song ends, something unexpected happen. They go into the fast outro section of “Heaven And Hell” and I’m not bummed anymore as this is my favourite section of the song. Campbell is wailing away here on the guitar again, which makes me question why there had to be a lone “Guitar Solo” spotlight.

“Rainbow In The Dark” cranks in, with Dio sending out his devil horns salute at the end of every fourth bar. They know what needs to be done and they deliver.

Campbell’s playing is excellent and I like how he adds a few extra fills here and there in his lead break, letting the energy of the show take over and command his performance. And Appice can play a metal cut with just his snare, he’s that good on it.

“Mob Rules” kicks in. It’s full of energy, and Campbell goes all shred in the lead break, totally playing his thing, sort of like how Randy Rhoads did with the old Black Sabbath cuts.

The show ends, it goes to black, only for the band to come out and tell the audience they deserve another one.

And what a closer.

“We Rock” kicks in and that opening guitar riff is head banging, circle pit like. And there’s fireworks going off like crazy, lasers and did I mention that Appice can carry a song with a bass drum and snare. He can.

And the show is done.

If you want to see the classic era Dio band at its best, this DVD is a must have. Press play and enjoy, as half of the band has come home and I guess we’ll never know if they were evil or divine. RIP Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain and thanks for the music and memories.

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

The Record Vault: Creed – Live (DVD)

It’s just called “Live”.

This concert was filmed on their “Full Circle” tour in 2009. Joining the usual 4 members, Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall, is Eric Friedman on guitar.

Friedman has an interesting story.

Tremonti really got behind him around 2002/3 but his journey starts in 1996, when Kenny Wayne Shepherd pulled him onstage for a jam session. He got a Fender deal at 13 and a developmental record deal with Steve Vai’s label Favored Nations at 15. He appeared on the excellent Submersed album “In Due Time” (released in 2004) and as the rhythm guitarist with Creed on their reformation tour. He’s also in the Tremonti band.

Creed gets blasted for various reasons by critics and haters, but if you look at their output and the years those albums came out, you will notice that their releases acted like a bridge between eras.

“Human Clay” is that album that bridged the 80’s and early 90’s with the newer sounds from the late 90’s. After “Human Clay” we would get hundreds of derivative bands, in the same way we got hundreds of hard rock bands in the early 90’s.

I think of “Human Clay” in the same way I think of “Sad Wings Of Destiny” from Judas Priest which bridged the derivative blues rock from the early 70’s and space prog rock into a sound that I know as metal.

“Bullets”

It’s a great opener, very metal like. Check out the intro riff for aggression.

It’s also the second single from Creed’s third album, “Weathered”.

When I watched em in Sydney on the “Weathered” tour, they also opened with this one.

“Overcome”

“Please allow us to re-introduce ourselves. We have overcome”, Stapp said as he introduced the song.

From the new album, and it was like Creed never broke up. But it was a different Creed as well, as Tremonti delivers a killer lead break.

“My Own Prison”

“When we got back into the room after six years of not playing together, I asked Mark, “what do you want to play” and he said, “let’s go back to the beginning”” was how Stapp introduced this song.

And “My Own Prison” begins. Its slower tempo groove fits perfectly in the set list after two heavy openers.

“Say I”

One of my favourite tracks from Creed as it incorporates a few different feels and styles. If you like Tool, then the verses would remind you of Tool. If you like hard rock, then the pre-chorus will remind you of hard rock. If you like metal, then the intro and chorus riff will remind you of metal.

For me, this is a deep album cut and to see it in the set list, I wish I was in Houston watching the show.

And they jam the interlude groove, which I didn’t think they would do. But they did, making the concert experience different from just playing the song as per the recording.

“Never Die”

“This song is about innocence”, Stapp said in his introduction. I still reckon this is an awesome Pearl Jam song. Maybe more so for the vocal than the music, as the riffs from Tremonti incorporate so many different styles. And if you read his interviews, you will feel like you had the same upbringing as him and his discovery of music.

“Torn”

One of my favourite songs to jam to. Tremonti is a master at creating a great riff.

“A Thousand Faces”

This is another album cut, which defines the Creed sound and make sure you check out the Tremonti solo towards the end of the song.

“What If”

How good is the Chorus and that chromatic Metallica/Megadeth like interlude?

Then they jam. The solo section has Tremonti and Friedman trading licks and none of it is from the studio recording. It’s all part of the live show.

“Unforgiven”

If you are a fan of Creed because of “Higher” and “What’s This Life For” then you will be bored by this song. It’s basically speed metal and aggressive.

And Creed brought back the big Rock N Roll show. Check out the photo below.

They had a similar stage design with pyro and flames in 2003, which at the time was “anti trends” as most bands from 1994 and onwards operated in shadows.

“Are You Ready?”

The groove of the riff is head banging stuff.

“What’s This Life For”

One of my favourite songs from the debut. It’s a ballad, but those last two minutes of the song, are excellent.

“Faceless Man”

“This next song is very personal to me”, Stapp said as he introduced this.

Its cinematic and this part of their music always get overlooked. This track was hidden behind the hits, “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open” but this track is the piece d’resistance on the album as it moves between rock and ballad and rock and ballad.

And I hated learning it, because I had to change my tuning to an open D5 tuning. But, I believe the open D5 tuning just makes you play with an eastern feel, so make sure you check out the main eastern sounding riff.

This song is Creed folks.

Put it on and crank it.

“With Arms Wide Open”

The anthem, with its “Dust In The Wind” inspired progression. And while it was written for the birth of a child, the song has taken on many different meanings. Tremonti’s finger picking gets a highlight moment, but that defining moment would come with “One Last Breath” a bit later on.

“My Sacrifice”

This song doesn’t get the respect it should. The riffs are stellar and the vocal melody is iconic.

“One”

From the debut album, another song with a killer riff that is fun to jam.

“One Last Breath”

On Songfacts, Tremonti mentioned that “One Last Breath” is one of his favourite riffs. On YouTube it’s got a massive amount of views. On Spotify, it’s at 135.3 million streams, even more than “Higher” which is sitting at 110.1 million streams or “My Sacrifice” at 127.3 million streams.

This song really highlights Tremonti’s clean fingerstyle.

In a Guitar World issue, Tremonti mentioned how he would have devoured all the Classical/Baroque stuff, but subliminally his style developed by devouring the acoustic pieces from metal and rock artists, like “Mechanical Resonance” and the style of Frank Hannon or the fingerstyle stuff from Metallica on their slower tempo songs and instrumentals like “Call Of Ktulu”.

“Higher”

The closer. If you don’t know it, then you haven’t been part of the mainstream.

By the end of it, the band is drenched in sweat, Stapp went shirtless and the thousands of fans in attendance would have gone away happy. It’s not always perfect, but hey, that’s why it’s called the live show. And no live show is the same as the last show. If we wanted perfect, we would listen to the studio albums.

P.S. I forgot that I had this DVD when I did the original Record Vault post on Creed.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Question Everything – Inspiration From Killswitch Engage and Jesse Leach

After overdosing on the new Protest the Hero album “Volition” for some reason the last song “Skies” got me thinking about Killswitch Engage. So out come the headphones and on goes the new album “Disarm the Descent.” I haven’t listened to it since about July. Our favourites don’t last long in the times of today. With so much new music coming out, we move on very quickly. As Jesse Leach pointed out recently in an interview with Lithium Magazine, the title is a creative way of saying redemption or rising again.

“You’re in a state of your life where you’re approaching rock bottom and you find a way to pick yourself up again before you hit the floor.”

I came to Killswitch Engage late. I didn’t listen to their first three albums. The only song I heard was “My Last Serenade” back in 2004 and that was via a bass player friend. However at that time, nothing really connected with me and that was it. There was no urge to commit to the band for me.

Fast forward a few years and the “Guitar World” issue arrived in the mailbox. I don’t recall which month; however it was a magazine from 2007. At that time the magazine still came with a DVD of bonus content. One of the bonuses was a lesson from the Killswitch guitarists on how to play “My Curse” and after watching it, I was hooked.

So I asked my bass player friend to burn me all of their albums, which he did. At the time, I had no idea that vocalists changed, which after hearing “Alive or Just Breathing” in 2007, I realised that the tones of the vocalists didn’t match up. So what do we do when we need information? We Google. We click on Wikipedia. In addition, “My Last Serenade” suddenly mattered. The song sucker punched me and I was hooked. The timing was right in 2007, for Killswitch Engage to enter my life on a full time basis.

By the time, their 2009 self-titled album came out; I was purchasing it without even listening to a single note. As a bonus their back catalogue was on special at the time, so I picked them up as well and added the official releases to my collection. That is why I always say that no metrics can ever measure the reach or pull of a band at the time of a release.

Of course, sales data can show what is in demand at a certain point in time; however the reach and the popularity of a certain band or a certain album cannot be properly measured until years later. Remember that history is written by the winners. In music, the winners are the artists or bands that outlast the competition.

Going back to the different singers, since Jesse’s split with the band, he kept busy with other projects, like the stoner-rock outfit “Seemless” and the metalcore/hard-core influenced “The Empire Shall Fall”. During this period, he also appeared with Killswitch Engage, performing the track “My Last Serenade” alongside Howard Jones at the Roadrunner United concert in 2005.

Then in 2011, I was blown away by “Times of Grace”. Everything about that album connected with me on so many different levels. I saw “Times Of Grace” open up for “Machine Head” at the Uni Roundhouse in Sydney in February 2012. Adam Dutkiewicz had his leg in some form of a support cast and he still went ballistic on stage, commenting frequently that “Aussie girls are hot.”

In relation to “Times Of Grace”, I could hear the regret in some of the songs. When Jesse jumped ship from Killswitch he was fighting a pretty serious depression. He had just gotten married and he couldn’t deal with being on the road all the time and away from his new family.

Songs like, “Fall From Grace (my best song on the album)”, “The Forgotten One”, “Hymn Of A Broken Man”, “In The Arms Of Mercy” and “Where The Spirit Leads Me” capture the more personal side of Jesse Leach. I remember reading in an interview in the “Revolver” April/May issue with Jesse mentioning that at the time of leaving Killswitch he was “broken and unconfident”.

So when Killswitch Engage announced that Jesse Leach is the vocalist again, I was more than pleased. His redemption was complete. When Jesse left Killswitch Engage the album he worked on “Alive Or Just Breathing” was just another album in a burgeoning metalcore scene that helped to kick start the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement.

Today, “Alive or Just Breathing” is seen as a classic. I always state that music is all about creating great music now so that it is recognised later for its greatness. As an artist grows their body of work takes on a new life of its own. It takes a while for something to be assimilated. Artists or bands have to hang in there long enough until they get their turn, getting better while they wait and releasing quality music.

“In Due Time” was the lead-off single.

“All that we suffer through leads to determination
The trials we all go through gives us the strength to carry on 

Something within us burns, desire feeds the will to live
A reason to believe I will see redemption”

As the chorus lyrics go, in due time, the shadows will gave way to the light. You just need to be patient and resilient. The words could even reference Jesse’s redemption to Killswitch and the knowledge that he had to go through all these trials so that he could come back a better person.

“A Tribute To The Fallen” has that hook that resonates. In my view this song should have led the album.

“With a new dawn we rise in renewed strength
Knowing we’ve just begun to fight this war within”

Think about all the crap that is going on in our democratic nations. Governments are spying on their own people. The Corporations and their lobby groups drive legislation. Government granted monopolies like the copyright industry are doing their best to kill innovation and when that fails, insert the corporations and their lobby groups. Transparency is promised however it doesn’t exist. Every communication is suddenly classified. Enables of pirated goods get more jail time than actual criminal offenders.

“New Awakening” has the legend behind it about how Jesse blew his voice while he was recording it in the studio. After the Doctor told him about the strain on the vocal chords, Jesse saw it as a badge of honour.

“There is more to life than this
We are more than just this flesh
We are alive and our time has come
For a new awakening”

It’s the Killswitch revolution. Killswitch wants you. Where do i sign? I’m all in.

“You Don’t Bleed For Me” connects with me because it more or less sums up our politicians and how even though they are voted in by the people, they do not work for the people. Of course there are the rare ones who do their best to speak for the people but in the end money wins the game.

“Fly your flag of righteousness
When underneath it is deviousness, it is greed and lies
Don’t pretend to know me you martyr of disgrace
With your plastic smile
I don’t believe a word you say
You don’t speak for me
You don’t bleed, you don’t bleed
You don’t bleed for me”

The closer “Time Will Not Remain”.

“None of us should be thought of as anything less than a potential to change the world”

What a lyric and what a statement. That is the reason why Jesse Leach’s return means so much to Killswitch Engage and to metal fans in general. He never stopped being who he was. He was not corrupted by the modern era. He questions social norms and ideals. He questions the crap our politicians and news outlets throw at us. He questions everything. The great vocalists always have something to say.

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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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