A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Week (Last Few Months Actually) In Destroyer Of Harmony History – September 21 to October 31


4 Years Ago

FLYING

Patience. I’ve never confirmed it or looked it up, but i was told once it’s a French word meaning “to suffer”.

And the memories of being patient, flying 14 hours from Sydney to Doha and putting up with screaming little kids. Thankfully they were not mine.

And since the flights are so long, I caught up on movies like “War for The Planet Of The Apes”, “The Quiet Place” and “I, Tonya”. Then we wait 5 hours, board another plane from Doha to Berlin, I watched “American Animals” and “Hotel Artemis” and checked out the audio section. And pressed play on “Walk The Earth” from Europe, along with “Firepower” and “Turbo Lover” from Judas Priest.

During this period, the site became a Travel Blog, as I was doing regular updates of my European adventures in Berlin, More Berlin, Estonia, St Petersburg, More St Petersburg, The Norwegian Breakaway, Macedonia, More Macedonia and The Roma People.

After this holiday I was planning to take in more of the Balkans and the parts of Italy and Austria that surround the Adriatic Sea. This was all planned for 2020. We all know how that panned out.

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

It’s messed-up when humans experiment on other humans and mess with their lives.

Like when people of influence placed triplets from a single mother into three different families across different states. And in the name of science, they lied to the adopted families when they turned up to observe how the kids were progressing.

If you haven’t seen this documentary, watch it.

UPBRINGINGS

I grew up in a steel city and the plan was the same for everyone. Finish high school, get an apprenticeship at the local steel mill, become a tradesman and work until retirement with a nice little nest egg and a government funded pension.

Maybe that worked out okay once upon a time, but as Dylan said, “the times started changing”. The steel mill that used to employ 25,000 back in the mid-70s now employs less than 700. My Dad worked his whole life there, I haven’t worked not one day there. Then again. I was a misfit falling in and out of jobs.

STEVE VAI and OZZMOSIS

In 1994, Ozzy started jamming with Steve Vai. After writing for a certain period, Bob Daisley was called in. Once rehearsals started, it was pretty obvious that Vai’s style didn’t fit Ozzy’s style. But the Ozzy Camp didn’t fire Vai. They told him that the label was shelving the album.

With Vai gone, Daisley and Castronovo got a phone call a few days after to reconvene with Zakk Wylde on guitar. Daisley then got replaced by Geezer Butler.

Steve Vai’s involvement on the “Ozzmosis” album became limited to co-writing just one song “My Little Man”.

And while the song is credited to Ozzy and Vai, I always had my doubts if Ozzy wrote the lyrics.

So, if Ozzy didn’t write them, who did?

Well, the lyrics came from the great Lemmy Kilmister.

Yep, Lemmy wrote the lyrics about his son Paul. But Ozzy told everyone he wrote the lyrics about his son Jack.

All of the debates about intellectual property and how it’s valuable and how copyright protects the writer. It’s bullshit. The real writer is not even credited.

Copyright is a mess and the Copyright’s for Ozzy’s songs are even messier. Much like how Jake E. Lee and Bob Daisley got shafted for the “Bark At The Moon” album.

DYNAZTY

Dynazty came onto my radar in 2016. Actually I heard of em a few years before but avoided them because of the band name, thinking they would sound like Kiss, and why did they spell it with a ‘Z’.

They exist completely off the mainstream radar screen, doing their thing and building their catalogue of songs. And eventually, people will notice. But it takes time. I’m a fan and I don’t even know who the members are in the band.

How is that possible?

It’s so far removed from the label gatekeeper 80’s/90’s model. But in the new streaming era streams are more important than sales and people are listening. Music is a lifers game. You’re either in it for life or it’s just a passing hobby.

And Dynazty are in it for life.

LIVE AFTER DEATH

It’s the best live album out there and it was my first exposure to Iron Maiden. It’s also a pretty good reason why I didn’t feel the need to buy the first four albums until later on.

At the time I didn’t know it, but the tempo of the songs are just a bit quicker on the live album compared to the recorded versions and I’ve grown to know the songs at those tempos. If you don’t believe me, compare the two “Hallowed Be Thy Name” versions.

And I heard Bruce Dickinson sing the DiAnno era songs first, and because of this I can’t get into the DiAnno versions. But i do like them.

This album is also the reason why I purchased a ticket for each of the two Sydney shows on the “Somewhere Back In Time” tour of 2008.

Maiden did find gold again with the “Rock In Rio” release. Especially the DVD. And on this release, Bruce brought to life songs from the Blaze fronted era.

I also purchased the DVD for “Flight 666” which I rank as Maiden’s third best live album and a great memento for the two nights I watched em perform the same set.

COHEED AND CAMBRIA

“Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures” was the new album in 2018. Another concept album.

My first concept experience was “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche, then “The Crimson Idol” from WASP and then “Streets: A Rock Opera” from Savatage. But Coheed take “concept” to another level, with more or less each album except one being part of a concept story called “The Amory Wars”.

Here is my quick summary. There are far more detailed versions out there.

A scientist called Sirius Amory discovers an energy source called “The Keywork” is made up of souls who haven’t transcended. This happens on “The Afterman” album.

Many years later, a person called Wilhelm Ryan starts using the energy of the Keywork to murder and rule. Coheed and Cambria are humanoid robots created to destroy Ryan. Along with a person called Inferno, who also is a robot, they attack Ryan’s fortress and manage to destroy it. Ryan survives, however Coheed and Cambria think he’s dead. Thinking it’s over, their memory is wiped. This happens on “The Year Of The Black Rainbow”.

In “The Second Stage Turbine Blade” Coheed and Cambria get killed and their last surviving son, Claudio, is left to take up the charge. I’m still not sure how humanoid robots have children. But the recent Bladerunner movie also has this story arc.

Claudio finds out that he’s like the chosen one in “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth”.

In “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness” there is a character called “The Writer” that starts to mess up the story because he’s going through a relationship break up. It reminds me of the Matrix characters “The Keymaker” merged with “The Architect”.

In “No World For Tomorrow”, Claudio destroys the Keywork and releases the trapped souls. And the new album “Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures” takes place after this event.

OLI HERBET

“Overcome” made All That Remains (ATR) accessible to me, and I’ve been a fan since.

The first track “Before the Damned” started blasting out of my headphones. Musically it’s excellent. While the death metal vocals happen in the verses, the Chorus is Arena Rock.

At 2.04 we get this head banging metal breakdown and the solo begins at 2.09 over that same head banging breakdown riff. The solo is chromatic and diminished, in the same way Randy Rhoads shreds on “Diary of a Madman”. This concludes at 2.19. It sounds dissonant and atonal.

And the main man behind the guitar is Oli Herbert. A great guitar player, founding member of All That Remains and songwriter who passed away at 44.

Rest In Peace.

I’M READY

It’s a track that Oli Herbert (RIP) co-wrote for Dee Snider’s solo album “For The Love Of Metal”. The other writers are Charlie Bellmore, Nicholas Bellmore and Jamey Jasta.

Crank it.

LEARNING MUSIC IN REVERSE

When I hear a song I like, I seek out more songs from the same artist. And I repeat the cycle with different artists. It’s how I got into music. It happened to me in the 80s.

When I heard Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Kiss and Judas Priest, I didn’t think for a second that these bands would have had influences.

I never understood the debates over Kingdom Come in the 80’s until well into the 90’s when I started seeking out bands from the 70s and started to pay real attention to Led Zeppelin. Then I had that “ah ha” moment and I understood why Kingdom Come were labelled copycats.

I remember when I first heard Aerosmith and Whitesnake. It was in 1987 and I had no idea these bands had a long history dating back to the Seventies.

The beauty of music. I listen, I get moved by the listening and I start to explore.

THE ONE YOU LOVED IS GONE

What a solo from Slash! Actually, two solos. But it’s the middle one that hooks me. And yeah, it might sound like an Alter Bridge song, but that solo is 100% pure grade Slash.

UTOPIA RECORDS

It had the motto “The Home Of Heavy Metal”.

I’d never seen pictured vinyl before, well Utopia had them. I’d never seen 12-inch singles of metal bands before, well Utopia had them as well. And those yellow and black plastic bags with the logo and branding proved to be a badge of honor. It’s like we got patched into the club the same way bike gangs’ patch in their members.

The first location was in Martin Place from 1978 to 1980 and the second location in Martin Place was from 1980 to 1990. It was this second location that I first visited. From 1990 to 1995, they moved to Clarence Street, Sydney, not too far from the original shop. I waited in line for a Sepultura meet and greet because my cousin Mega was a fan of the band. He took in his battered snare skin for signing. Even Igor the Sepultura drummer, was impressed at the brutality of the snare skin.

Hours would be spent here, and some big decisions would be made as to what to buy between my cousin and me Then as soon as we got back to my cousins house, I would dub the records he purchased, and he would dub the records I purchased.

From 1995 to 2001, they moved to George Street, Sydney next to Hungry Jacks and then from 2001 to 2006 they moved across the road under the cinemas. The bigger Utopia got, the uniqueness culture it created for metal heads got lost.

The last time I walked into Utopia was at an address on Broadway in Sydney. They occupied this store between 2006 to 2010. But during this time, they did things differently by having live bands in store and battle of the band’s contests. They kept it going. They kept the name in the conversation. From 2010, they have been at their Kent Street address, and I haven’t been. But I have purchased items online. And I will return one day, because that’s what us Metal fans do.

PIRACY

Debates and arguments never cease when it comes to Piracy.

I became a fan of a lot of bands because of pirated material. Bands like Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, Shinedown, In Flames, Evergrey, Killswitch Engage, The Night Flight Orchestra and Corroded just to name a few. And I had no qualms paying ticket prices if these bands came to town.

High profile bands from the Eighties also had a renaissance in the 2000’s because of pirated material. Motley Crue, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Europe and Whitesnake come to mind immediately. Provided they still wanted to work together. Bands like Skid Row, Ratt, Warrant and Dokken unfortunately missed out because key members hated each other.

It’s a pretty simple business model. Have your music available worldwide for free and people will access it.

All of those bands mentioned above have played cities they’ve never played before and to crowds larger than before. They played these cities without selling any real recorded product in those cities. I can tell you that in Eastern Europe, I did not come across a legitimate music shop. The few shops I did come across (and I use that term loosely) sell rips of albums.

8 Years Ago

ADRIAN VANDENBERG COMPENDIUM

Adrian Vandenberg came to my attention from his tenure in Whitesnake (when he and Vivan Campbell) replaced John Sykes. However, Vandenberg was David Coverdale’s first choice for the lead guitar slot, however Vandenberg turned the gig down to focus on his own band and John Sykes was given the gig instead.

Click on the link in the tile to read my compendium of Adrian Vandenberg classic songs and riffs which covers his projects from 1983 to 2014.

Since then, he has released three Vandenberg’s MoonKings albums with the self-titled debut (2014), “MK II” (2017) and “Rugged and Unplugged” (2018). And then after he was allowed to use his name again as a band name, he released the excellent ‘2020″.

JOHN SYKES COMPENDIUM

Since I was on a Whitesnake journey, click on the link in the tile to read my John Sykes compendium which covers his career from “Tygers Of Pan Tang” all the way to his solo career in the 90’s. But while Adrian Vandenberg re-entered the recorded music market in 2014, John Sykes has been absent since 2001, with only a few YouTube videos appearing in the last 5 years.

HENDRIX AND THE MADNESS OF COPYRIGHT

The music of Jimi Hendirx should be in the Public Domain. When Hendrix wrote the songs, Copyright Law at the time was for a total of 56 years (which involved a 28-year term initially and provided the artist renewed the registration, they would get another 28 years). But laws passed in the 70’s retroactively placed these recordings under new laws which meant, 75 years after death. Basically, it will not enter the public domain for another 20 plus years.

Remember when a Jimi Hendrix Biopic called “Jimi: All Is By My Side” came out and it didn’t have any original music from Hendrix. Well, the Jimi Hendrix Estate denied all attempts to license the music unless they had control over the story line of the movie. The producers felt that this would not gel well with their vision so what the public got was a movie where the actor who plays Hendrix is performing cover songs of other bands.

HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

Evergrey is one of my favourite bands and you can read my biased review on “Hymns For The Broken”.

VOLBEAT AND RIAA CERTIFICATIONS

Volbeat in 2014 just kept getting RIAA Certifications.

It showed the music business that “Recognition Comes Much Later” for Heavy Metal bands. Volbeat entered the mainstream American market ten years after they formed. It also showed the Heavy Metal community that “Streaming Is Not The Enemy” as Volbeat’s streaming numbers are in the multi-millions for certain songs.

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN

Yngwie Malmsteen released four good albums in “Rising Force” (1984), “Marching Out” (1985), “Trilogy” (1986), “Odyssey” (1988) and two average albums in “Eclipse” (1990) and the big budget “Fire & Ice” (1992).

And here he was in 2014, shooting his mouth off with statements like “no new guitar players” and “no new good music”.

PAUL STANLEY

And Malmsteen was joined by Paul Stanley.

GUITAR HEROES

So I did a post on the new guitar heroes in response to Malmsteen’s comments.

AUSTRALIAN MUSIC AND THE RISE OF THE INDIES

Australian Music is ALWAYS a rich vibrant scene. And it is a scene that is underpinned by independent artists. Financially it is a miserable livelihood however the emotional experience is rewarding. And there is no escaping that Australian Independent artists are some of the hardest working artists around and also the lowest paid members of the Australian workforce. The sad thing is that the elite levels of Government have no idea about the independent artists. Any Government funding goes to the large Industry bodies who don’t really disperse the monies to the artists doing the rounds on the streets.

Independently minded musicians and label owners are the ones that are pushing boundaries in music because they want control over what’s being released, when it’s released, and how it’s released. And they are not afraid to use the major labels when it suits them, but ultimately they’re calling the shots.

For a musician it is an exciting time to be a part of the music scene. Especially if you are an indie.

JUNE 1993

It’s June 1993 and I am flicking through the new issue of Hot Metal Magazine, which at the time was Australia’s premier metal and rock magazine. On the cover there was the John Bush fronted Anthrax.

“The Sound Of White Noise” got 5 skulls in the magazine review, which equates to ‘KILLER’. A few months after its release the album was certified GOLD.

Then you have the bloodbath from the Eighties scene.

Jani Lane (RIP) and Warrant had split and both acts had their contracts reduced to demo deals. Imagine that. You had three albums that had moved 500,000 plus units each, and they ended up on the scrap-heap. Kik Tracee also split with vocalist Stephen Shareaux (bet he wished he tried harder for that Motley Crue vocalist spot) and both of them had been reduced to a demo deal.

Meanwhile Rowan Robertson from “The Lock Up The Wolves” Dio era inked a deal with Atlantic Records for his new band that had Oni Logan from Lynch Mob on vocals. We all know that this didn’t end up going anywhere.

While, Roberston’s former employer, Dio (RIP) was working with WWIII guitarist Tracy G after his “Dehumanizer” venture with Black Sabbath went sour. These sessions would go on to create the “Strange Highways” album while Jake E.Lee was working with WWIII singer (and I use that term loosely) Mandy Lion.

Reports coming through at that time spoke about the new Bruce Dickinson solo album being an “updated, toughened up Santana vibe with a heavy leaning towards Peter Gabriel type atmospherics and experimentation.” That album would become “Balls To Picasso” and apart from the song “Tears Of The Dragon” which sounds like an Iron Maiden song the rest of the album was a listen best avoided.

On the drug front we had David Lee Roth getting busted in New York after purchasing a $10 bag of weed. Seriously, for someone like his stature surely he could have done it more discreetly or gotten that $10 bag delivered to the studio. However, Roth is Roth and he decided that he should go out into the town and look for a dealer. On the other drug front, there was news that started coming out about Tim Kelly (RIP) from Slaughter who was alleged to have been involved in a major drug smuggling ring that was busted after a five-year investigation by the F.B.I.

Then we had the Motley Crue vs Vince Neil shenanigans.

The Vince Neil “Exposed” album got a good review in the magazine. I suppose it was inevitable that the solo album from Vince Neil would sound a lot like Motley Crue, even though NIkki Sixx insisted that Vince Neil had nothing to do with the creation of the songs in Motley Crue or the Motley sound. I think Nikki Sixx missed the memo that the actual voice plays a big part in the sound. Credit music business vet Phil Soussan for delivering a stellar performance in the song writing department that helped kick-start Vince’s solo career.

SEPTEMBER 1991

So I am flicking through an old issue of Guitar World that goes back to September 1991 and there is a D’Addario ad with the title “Young Guns II”. Read the post to find out what happened to these “Young Guns.”

METAL EVOLUTION – GLAM METAL EPISODE

I watched the Metal Evolution Glam Rock, Thrash and Grunge documentaries a few nights ago. When you play “The Trooper” as your intro riff to the series, how can you not like it.

If it wasn’t for “Sonic Temple” from The Cult and “Dr Feelgood” from Motley Crue there would be no such thing as the “Black” sound and the millions of metal bands that the Metallica album spawned.

Franke Banali the drummer from Quiet Riot cracked me up with his assessment of Edward Van Halen “the name sounds like a painter”.

It’s good to see Spencer Proffer get recognition for his idea of trying to find a band to record “Cum On Feel The Noize” from Slade. It was a game changer for Quiet Riot even though they resisted it.

Then you have the big heavy metal day on the 1983 U.S festival. It was a game changer for the LA scene and for metal in general.

John Kalonder was hilarious. When he spoke, I couldn’t stop laughing. He sounded like that baddy voice over dub in the movie “Kung Pow”.

And it was a time of excess. If Tawny Kitaen is to be believed, then the 1987 Whitesnake album cost over $2 million dollars to record and produce.

Dunn’s reporting of the “Guns N Roses Effect” on glam rock spot on. Glam Rock died because it got over saturated with inferior bands, along with Gunners showing up the movement with their nod to Seventies classic rock. When Grunge came along with its nod to 70’s bands and punk rock, it offered an alternative to the clichéd glam rock styles and lyrics.

“Bang you Head.”

And that’s a wrap for stories posted back in October, 4 Years and 8 Years ago. Next up are stories posted in November during the same period.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

2022 – The First 4

Here we go. Some lists for 2022.

Evergrey

From Sweden, they hit onto a particular metal style with the “Hymns For The Broken” (2014) album and “The Storm Within” (2016) and they have been living in that world for over a decade now. “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” is their latest album, on the backs of “The Atlantic” (2019) and “Escape Of The Phoenix” (2021).

As a fan, I cannot complain at being exposed to 5 studio albums and 1 live album in an 8 year period.

This album has something for everyone.

It’s got heavy melodic rock, with “Call Out The Dark” and “Heartless”, moody atmospheric with “Wildfires”, groove metal with “Save Us” and “Midwinter Calls”, progressive metal with “The Orphean Testament” and “ “, doom metal with “Ominous”, melodic Metal with “Reawakening” and “Blindfolded” and their special brand of metal with atmospheric vibes with “The Great Unwashed”

P.S.
As a guitar player, the album is full of guitar hero moments from vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund and guitarist Henrik Danhage.

Machine Head

From the United States.

After the departure of drummer Dave McClain and guitarist Phil Demmell in 2018, Robb Flynn kept the Machine Head brand going with stand-alone releases with “Do or Die” (2019), “Circle the Drain” (2020), The “Civil Unrest” EP from 2020 which featured “Stop the Bleeding (feat. Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach)” and “Bulletproof”.

Robb Flynn got hooked on the anime show “Attack On Titan” and wrote a concept story called “Of Kingdom And Crown” set in a futuristic wasteland which revolves around two characters, Ares and Eros, who both go on their own respective killing sprees following the death of their loved ones.

What an album.

The first 3 minutes of “Slaughter The Martyr” is essential listening as they build it up with great melodic vocals from Robb and bassist Jared MacEachern.

When the fast riff kicks in at 3.10, it’s time to break some desks. And that intro section comes back in at the 8.20 mark where it smacks me in the face with its sadness.

My favourite songs are “Unhallowed” (that head banging riff, plus it is the first song in the album sequence that has a co-write from new lead guitarist Waclaw Kiełtyka), “Arrows In Words From The Sky” (a masterpiece), “My Hands Are Empty” (the vocal melody) plus additional song writing by original MH lead guitarist, Logan Mader “Kill Thy Enemies” (the main Chorus riff plus check out that bridge section at 2.40) and “No Gods, No Masters” (the whole song is a masterpiece).

Long Distance Calling

The names of Dave Jordan and Florian Funtmann on guitar, Janosch Rathmer on drums and Jan Hoffman on bass are virtually unknown.

From Germany, it’s all instrumental and I was tuned in the whole time. This isn’t instrumental like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. It’s different. There is always a groove and a riff which form the foundation. Then they decorate. But it’s not a 1000 notes per second decorating. It’s melodic, sometimes it’s just a single note droning across the different bars of the riff. And the drummer by Janosch Rathmer is superb.

After a haunting music box minute intro they kick into the riff heavy “Blades”. But it’s the moody songs like “Kamilah”, “Sloth”, “Blood Honey” and “Eraser” (that section from 4.50 to the end, a masterpiece) that really connect with me. Also check out the riff at 4.30 in “500 Years”, the intro section to “Giants Leaving”, and that melodic riff in “Landless King” at 1.30 or that clean tone section from 3.30.

I don’t like to label them with other bands names because their soundscapes are unique to their own but people like to have that association. Pink Floyd were classified as progressive rock, so is King Crimson, so is Tool, so I

And I want to make mention of the title track “Eraser”. There is a video done in conjunction with Greenpeace which shows how much of the world humanity has erased. Check it out on YouTube. And if you are a fan of the band, you will note how the last track on the previous album “How Do We Want To Live?” had the spoken words of “Humanity is the virus”. In this case, there are no words spoken, but the YT video makes it clear that that “Humanity erases nature instead of living in equilibrium with it”.

The Butterfly Effect

From Australia, “IV” is their fourth album (“duh”) however it is their first piece of new music in over 14 years and what a triumphant return it is.

This album was also anticipated highly by me. You see “TBE” are part of a group of Australian artists like Cog, Karnivool, Birds Of Tokyo, Dead Letter Circus, Superheist and The Superjesus that I really got into between 2001 and 2012. One of the bands I was in opened up for Cog quite a few times.

Every song is strong.

“IV” is a raw, sad instrumental which leads into “Dark Light” and that pseudo melodic metal Chorus. I feel like I hear “Come Undone” in “The Other Side” and I like it.

“So Tired” sounds like a demented Guns N Roses in the verses and a section which reminds me of Aussie rockers “Powderfinger”. But make sure you stick around for the interlude section of the song (which also sees the song to the end). The music and the vocals of Boge as he sings “It’s not over now”. It’s unbelievable.

“Unbroken” is the most streamed song from the album at 458K streams. Its melodicism immediately infects me.

But closing track, “Visiting Hours” is a masterpiece to me. It is an accumulation of their first three albums into an atmospheric, progressive ballad.

Vocalist Clint Boge is one of the best in the business. Guitarist Kurt Goedhart is a riff-meister and he decorates each track expertly while bassist Glenn Esmond and drummer Ben Hall showcase why they are one of the tightest rhythm sections around.

Or in the case of the metal-esque song “Great Heights” one of the most expressive rhythm sections.

And in keeping with the Aussie spirit of sinking a few cold ones before a show, The Butterfly Effect teamed up with their favourite brewery, Green Beacon Brewing Co, to create an ‘Amplified Ale’, which was available to enjoy on their recent sold out tour.

I’ll drink to that.

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

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

There is always a track or two or three on each album from Evergrey that becomes an instant favourite.

On this album at the moment, it is “Call Out The Dark”, “Midwinter Calls” and “Blindfolded”. On the previous album and depending on mood, it was either “In The Absence Of Sun” and “Eternal Nocturnal”.

The whole COVID era of 2020 and 2021 got a lot of artists off the road, back into society, connecting with family and friends and then into the studios. After the brutality of “The Atlantic” in 2019, “Escape Of The Phoenix” came out in February 2021, a live recording “Before The Aftermath” on 28 January 2022 and in May 2022, “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)”.

I have the Vinyl Die Hard edition and a separate Limited Edition box set on its way from Napalm Records in Germany, which I will unbox when they get here.

Their five album run (made up of 4 studio albums and one Live Album) on AFM Records came to an end. And what a run it was, with some of their best work like, “Hymns For The Broken” and “The Storm Within” included in that run.

The sound of the band is made up of the low tuned guitars of Henrik Danhage who uses Charvel Guitars and Tom Englund who is loyal to Caparison Guitars. But not all riffs come from the fingertips of these two. Drummer Jonas Ekdahl is a riff-meister himself and so is bassist Johan Niemann. Rounding out the band is keyboardist Rikard Zander.

The writing of “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” continued after the release of “Escape of the Phoenix”. Englund has even referred to the new album as “Part II”. In the producers chair is, Englund and Ekdahl again. These two have been producing the last few albums, so why change it. Keep it all within the band.

Save Us

A chugging downtuned metal like riff opens the album. It’s heavy and the octaves give it a sense of melody.

The fans participated in the gang like vocals.

The idea came to Englund while he was on a walk. He uses his iPhone to sing his ideas and the voice memos capture sounds pretty good as the phones have decent compression algorithm.

So they put a call out for their fans to sing the words based on a video guide the band provided into their iPhones and submit it. They got 700 plus submissions and those voices became the gang choir you hear when they say “Hey, save us”.

Lyrically, its Englund’s observation of watching people around him who feel they are not good enough to exist in this world, because they are hostages to the social media sites and feel like they need to portray perfection.

Midwinter Calls

“Midwinter calls…”

There is a slight pause.

“Home..”

And then the Chorus riff kicks in.

It’s my favourite part of the song.

The double kick is in unison with the riff from the fingertips of drummer Jonas Ekdahl.

This song also has a gang like vocal chant, utilising more voices from the fans. While in “Save Us” it was actual words, here it is wo-ohs.

Ominous

There is this four note progression played by another four note progression that underpins the main riff. It’s almost djent math like and progressive but very accessible.

Keyboardist Rikard Zander decorates nicely here over the thunderous groove set up by drummer Ekdahl and bassist Johan Niemann.

The guitar solos howl like wolves in the night.

Actually the whole guitar solo sections are guitar hero moments. I’m pretty sure both Englund and Danhage take turns here.

Call Out the Dark

As soon as the musical box piano sound riff started I was hooked. Once the guitars thunder in and the keys turn symphonic, I was ready to break desks. My favourite song on the album. By far.

The solo came is fantastic.

It’s got this classic “Rainbow In The Dark”, Vivian Campbell style from his Dio days. Initially there was a lot of tapping and shredding from Danhage and after receiving feedback from a friend about what he was trying to say with his lead coming after Englund’s lead, he rewrote the first half and kept the crazy shred ending. Press play to hear two virtuosos having conversations musically.

And it ends the way it started, with the musical box piano riff.

The Orphean Testament

Englund’s take on Greek Mythology where Orpheus had a chance to save his loved one from hell, by just walking away and never looking back, but he turns back to look.

Englund takes this view and applies it to modern life, where our ego’s get in the way of making good decisions and how it’s hard to fit in to a world which has different ideals to your own.

The song starts with fast double kick drumming and fast 16th note picking before it moves into a Dimebag style groove riff. Englund has a unique way of singing his melodies and this is no different.

Reawakening

I read on other reviews that the writers saw this track as filler. And I was like WTF. Its melodic heavy rock influences still remain with me after its finished.

The intro is melodic rock, with the keyboards in the lead. The song then quietens down, Queensryche like for the verses, while it builds up in the pre-chorus for the big Chorus.

I’m broken but breathing
I’m still alive but did a lot of bleeding
I’m open to reasons to feel alive

The Great Unwashed

The intro is made up single notes playing in an ominous way. Then a groove like riff kicks in, made from the fingertips of drummer Jonas Ekdahl. While they are chugging along on that riff, Zander plays the ominous intro on the keys and Englund does his vocal melodies.

There is a section after the Chorus that reminds me of “A Change Of Season” from Dream Theater.

And the lead breaks are killer, over a section that reminds me of “The Aftermath” from “Hymns Of The Broken”.

We’ll always unite in the end
We’re stronger than most just pretend
We never mind the dark

We’re the great unwashed

Heartless

Instant connection with the keyboard lick over the thundering distorting chords. The verse riffs are major key, hopeful, but the lyrics are dark, with words like “I can’t find reasons to keep feeding this soul”.

So tired of feeling
I’m tired of feeling you
And all this time that I’ve lost
I’ve lost to you

Relationships take up a lot of time and when they are over, there is regret at the time lost.

There is a section just before the 3 minute mark, with piano chords and Englund’s haunting vocal melody. Then the lead break crashes in, and I am playing air guitar.

Blindfolded

It’s classic Evergrey.

Powerful and technical.

And there is another arena rock chorus. Press play to listen to the phrasing of “Dark nights / coming / we are lost in fragile moments / falsehood / soulless / we run through this blindfolded”.

And if all of that isn’t enough, queue in some killer lead breaks in which the guitars and the keys trade off each other.

Wildfires

Evergrey have always had songs like these, and Tom Englund explores these kind of sparse arrangements even further with the “Silent Skies” side project. The only difference here is that the acoustic guitars replace the keys.

If the sun fell down
And burnt us down to the ground
Would the wildfires remind me of

The album is excellent.

And there is also a trilogy of video clips, released in reverse chronological order, so you would need to watch the last video first to experience the cinematic journey.

Press play on it.

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Top 10 – 2021: Part 1

2021 Top Ten

I suppose it’s that time to start providing some EOY lists.

I’ll start with what I see as my favourite ten albums, EP’s or Singles released for the year. And then there will be another posts on my Spotify listening habits for the year.

So here it goes.

Here is Part 1, which features my go to artists with 2021 releases and it’s not an numerical order.

The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic II

“80’s Miami Vice Pop”.

Two of my favourite Kiss albums are “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” because they brought in other styles of music into the Kiss rock sound and somehow Kiss still made it sound like hard rock.

So I wasn’t surprised to hear that “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” are also the favourite albums for the guys in TNFO and how they see the song “Easy As It Seems” as the blueprint for a TNFO song.

And how can you knock back a song called “How Long” which has been described as “90s Deep Purple on cocaine”.

So if you grew up in the 80’s listening to hard rock and melodic rock, then you need to listen to this.

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the main writer, the vocalist and also one of the guitarists.

Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while the second pre-release single “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.

“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive while “You From You” has this Michael Schenker ballad like vibe in the intro.

Check it out.

Dee Snider – Leave A Scar

Dee Snider has a voice for heavy metal.

A simple dare from Jamey Jasta, brought forth “For The Love Of Metal” and it caught a lot of people by surprise.

“Leave A Scar” carries forth the metal torch.

With tracks like “I Gotta Rock (Again)” the intro riff from Bellmore is excellent and the drum groove smashes you awake.

Be a lifer til I’m done

But “Silent Battles” is my favorite track on the album.

The guitar riff to kick off the song reminds me of all the good things I like about the 80’s. I’m hearing George Lynch, EVH, a bit of Vito Bratta and Nuno Bettencourt.

Don’t leave your mark, leave a scar

There aren’t a lot of artists in their mid-60’s producing quality music like this. Dee Snider is doing it and he’s making it look very easy.

The Bellmore brothers are underrated talents as songwriters and instrumetalists, on the guitar and drums.

Check em out.

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Music, My Stories

The Artbook Saga Ends

The Artbook finally arrived. The saga is over.

It was posted on 18 February, 2021.

Cleared for international departure on 20 February, 2021.

The album was released on 26 February, 2021.

A few weeks ago, I followed up the whereabouts of the Artbook as the tracking number still showed it as cleared for departure in Frankfurt, Germany. The record label responded in their usual, it’s on its way and out of their hands. A typical helpful record label response to the people who make them money. It was beneath them to do any further investigation.

It arrived in Sydney on 14 April, 2021 and arrived at my door on 16 April, 2021.

It’s a nice package with a lot of studio photos, artwork and lyric pages.

I like the size. It’s basically the same size as a vinyl record and fits nice with the vinyl collection.

You get the CD and a 7 inch single bonus track.

It’s a smart marketing move to include the bonus tracks as a 7 inch single. As a collector, I like it.

In previous posts, I have been critical of the album format and why artists would spend so much time recording a slab of songs, just to release them, have their name in the news for a 4 to 6 week period and then nothing. But as a collector and if the edition is done right, it does deliver a cool piece of art.

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2001 – Part 1.1: Evergrey – In Search Of Truth

It’s time to start a new year in review.

And I normally have about six to ten records on a post but in this case it had to be one album as it’s one of my favorite Evergrey albums.

So Part 1 is broken up into 1.1 and 1.2.

“In Search of Truth” is the third studio album and first concept album by Evergrey. It is the first album to feature guitarist Henrik Danhage and bassist Michael Håkansson, as well as the only one to feature keyboardist Sven Karlsson. Founder and mainstay, Tom Englund is on vocals and guitars with the very underrated Patrick Carlsson on drums.

Produced by Andy LaRocque, who had produced all the band’s previous albums up to now.

The album deals with alien abductions, based on the allegedly factual account of alien abduction victim Whitley Strieber’s book “Communion”.

The album cover was created by Swedish graphic designer Mattias Norén, who I once contacted for a possible album cover for an album I was involved in, before I decided to go with Brazilian artist, Gustavo Sazes.

An alien abduction story can be sort of blah, but Englund is the master at showcasing his personal side in the lyrics. So what we hear lyrically is how the main character struggles to understand what is happening and how scared and confused they are.

“The Masterplan”

Less than 5 minutes and what an opener. One of my favourite songs from Everygrey. Make sure you check out the live version on “A Night To Remember”. They do a Maiden “Running Free” singalong after the lead section which is perfect.

And the music video clip, with people painted to blend in the walls is unsettling as their eyes open, as the main character is being watched at all times.

“I have decided to keep this tape recorder with me at all times. Just so that I maybe one day can explain all the strange things happening to me. The lack of sleep…the loss of time. But most of all, the sensation of never being lonely…always being watched…”

And then the 7/8 syncopated intro blasts off.

Then that Chorus. The constant double kick, the power chords and the vocal melody which sings;

We are all a part off, forced to live within, a conspiracy for ages, the masterplan

The next time the second chorus rolls around, there is a little melodic lead before it. It’s a “why not” moment, to break up the verse and chorus structure.

The instrumental section in the interlude, the lead break and how they come out of this interlude and back into the Chorus. A masterpiece.

Make sure you check out Henrik Danhage’s outro lead break.

“Rulers Of The Mind”

It has another memorable intro.

The stomping drumming in the verses reminds me of “Kashmir”.

There is this orchestral choir happening over one of the lead breaks, which is unsettling.

And how good is the Chorus vocal melody and we had to live through an intro, two verses and a solo before we got to it. And then there is silence and a piano line. And slowly, it rebuilds up.

Make sure to check out the lead break at the 3.50 mark. Then at 4.21 those orchestral choirs come back in. They are cinematic and desperate. And the last 50 seconds, the Chorus reappears.

At 6 minutes long it didn’t get boring and I press repeat.

“Watching The Skies”

It feels like a Malmsteen or Dream Theater cut with the keyboard solo. And the double kick drumming from Patrick Carlsson is relentless, fast when it needs to be and syncopated when it needs to be.

Check out the section from 4.05 and the excellent lead break kicks in at 4.45.

“State Of Paralysis”

It has a haunting piano riff to kick it off and Englund is in theatre mode as he plays a fearful and confused abductee.

“They’re coming, they’re coming”

Englund keeps repeating those words.

“The Encounter”

“State of Paralysis” and “The Encounter” are basically the same song split into two different tracks. This one is progressive. Like Dream Theater “Awake” style of album.

Make sure you check out the guitar solo at the 3 minute mark and there is this ten second guitar melody that plays between 3.50 and 4.00.

And those same words, “they’re coming” keep reappearing.

“Mark Of The Triangle”

This is probably Evergrey at its progressive best, with tempo changes and technical playing. But still accessible.

The start alone has the bass locking in with the kick drum while the synth plays chords and the guitars play a lead.

This morphs into the guitars syncopating, with double kick drumming and the keyboard playing a melodic lead.

And it quietens down to the verse, which is just bass, piano and drums with a vocal melody.

At 1.30 the trademark Evergrey syncopated riff kicks in. It’s their style.

The whole guitar solo section from 3.55. Listen to the piano riff that kicks it off. All the pop songs from Max Martin use it. It’s a Sweden thing.

At the 5 minute mark the synths become dominant and its cinematic.

“Dark Waters”

The symphonic choir is haunting.

At 2.44 there is a different symphonic choir for a few seconds that reminds me of “Suite Sister Mary” from Queensryche. Which isn’t surprising as Queensryche is listed as an influence.

And the last three minutes of the song is epic, reminding me of songs like “The Aftermath” and “The Storm Within” from their recent albums.

“Different World’s”

How good is the piano intro?

And then Englund sings, with all his emotion.

The piano takes centre stage again at the 50 second mark with another iconic riff.

Then it goes back to the piano intro and an acoustic guitar with more vocals.

At 3.26, it’s the tape narrative again about, “oh god, it’s happening again”. The piano is haunting and at the 4 minute the guitar solo begins with big bends.

“Misled”

The album closer. It starts off with a piano riff and then the band cranks in.

Listen to the ahh choir before the Chorus and then there is a blast beat section of furious double kick before the Chorus kicks in.

Each verse has a different riff but within the same chord structure. Its creative and a progressive way of thinking.

At 2.59, it’s the style of Evergrey that they have carried to this day, syncopated staccato guitar riffs with a keyboard melody over the top.

The whole guitar solo section and coming out of it needs to be heard.

And then its silence, with a taped piano riff playing and Englund singing, “I’m crawling back to sleep” before the whole band kicks in.

I have to mention again that Tom Englund is a very underrated vocalist. Each song bears his emotion and soul. You hear anger, sadness, hope, fear and happiness. His voice is strong, ballsy, unique to him and it avoids sounding like a Geoff Tate or Ray Adler or Bruce Dickinson or David Coverdale copycat which a lot of artists started doing to get a break in the market. And throughout this album, his voice moves between strong and bold to panic, crying and whimpering in “Different Worlds” as he narrates, “Oh, god, it’s happening again / I don’t wanna be here / I wanna go home”.

This was also Evergrey’s first release on German label, “Inside Out”, a move up to a bigger label from their previous independent label. For the label, Inside Out, 2001 was a big year as they released “Burn the Sun” from Ark, “Terria” from Devin Townsend and “In Search Of Truth” from Evergrey, all seen as defining albums in the progressive metal genre.

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Escape Of The Phoenix

Release Day Friday and the new Evergrey album “Escape Of The Phoenix” dropped onto streaming services.

The line-up has been stable for almost a decade now and this sense of comradery is coming across in their music. While the subject matter is dark and serious and personal, I get a sense of fun and smiles when they are writing the riffs, like those “hell yeah” moments, when you come up with a good riff or an awesome lead.

Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the vocalist and guitarist. He is one of those unique voices that is instantly recognisable. His vocal phrasing moves between so many different styles. When he needs to rock out, he rocks out. When he needs to be aggressive, he gets aggressive. When he needs to be soulful, he gets a little bit of soul. And the dude can play that guitar at a maestro level.

And he has another maestro in Henrik Danhage as his co-guitarist. A true guitar hero if those words are applicable in 2021. If you don’t believe me, check out his lead break in “Eternal Nocturnal”.

Drummer Jonas Ekdahl lays down a solid foundation, while also contributing more than enough riffs for the songs as co-writer

I follow Evergrey on Twitter and during the recording of the album, they would mention when each stage was completed and then certain members would talk about their sound set up and other things. Bassist Johan Niemann spoke about his bass sound which was cool to see.

Rikard Zander has dramatically increased his scope within the band especially from when “Hymns Of The Broken” came out. Instead of following what other keyboardists do (which is play chords or follow the guitar lead), he’s taken to decorating the songs with sounds that take you places, from barren landscapes, to underground tunnels, to echoe’y’ church scapes and what not. In other words, the keys are unique enough that they are their own beast.

Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while second pre-single release “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.

“The Beholder” is a melodic metal cut, with the keyboard riff from Zander giving it a dystopian and barren feel. That section from three minutes, when it quietens down and builds back up.

Brilliant.

“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive. The piano riff is memorable and it remains with me, long after the song finishes. When the choir voices begin, it gives the track this ominous feeling. But then the band kicks in, and it becomes a different beast. Progressive, but that Chorus, goddamn, it’s so good.

“Escape Of The Phoenix” has a melodic chorus over a ferocious double kick drum pattern. “You From You” has this Michael Schenker like vibe in the intro. It’s a slower song, it cranks and it’s a favourite. They’ve done songs like this on previous albums.

Check it out.

Finally, a rant to their German based label.

Surely it can’t be that hard to post the physical art book/CD I purchased a bit earlier, so it gets to me on release day, even if it arrives a day or two earlier.

But they won’t, because they are scared of piracy and leaks and whatever other phantoms they could come up with, plus there is no way they can get the album to the fans a day or two before the actual release date. What an absurd idea they say.

So the labels punish the real fans.

What the labels seem to forget is the fans support the band, but when it comes to hearing the physical product on release day, it never arrives on time, always after the release day and sometimes weeks later in Australia.

Thank god for streaming services which allow me to listen to it on release day, otherwise if I had to wait for my physical copy to come, it would be another 10 days at best. In relation to buying the album from a record shop in Australia, let’s just say that Evergrey is not that large of a commercial band that stores in Australia would stock.

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Evergrey – Eternal Nocturnal

Those lead breaks from Henrik Danhage.

Wow.

So many Guitar Hero moments here, full of melody, emotion and when required, putting the foot to the floor and shredding.

And those tapping licks and legato taps over multiple strings. I’m smashing my guitar right now.

The “Eternal Nocturnal” is that help/support or voice or friend that you need in certain times.

As the lyrics in the Chorus state, it will be the hope when you fall, the shelter when you need a home and in the end it will be there when the time has come.

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2019 – Part 1

A few years ago I stopped doing albums of the year lists and started doing “songs released that year lists”, along with the yearly playlist which Spotify generates for the songs I listened to in the year. These two lists (my lists and the Spotify list) are more precise for what is hot and what is cold in my life in 2019.

And those Spotify end of year lists always surprise me, because even though I didn’t think I listened to certain artists that many times, they still come up. Hey, who am I to argue with the AI counting and tracking my listening habits.

So here we go, here is the Part 1 list of my favourite songs, released this year (except for a few songs released last year that I really got into this year).

The whole playlist is here.

I Am Fuel
Panoptical
Sons Of War
The End Will Begin Again
From Days Of Jupiter

Yep, this album “Panoptical” came out last year, but I dug these songs so much that I kept listening to em this year as well.

And I have written about Days Of Jupiter before, another band from Sweden who is playing a brand of heavy rock which I like.

And I’m still confused as to why “New Awakening” their 2017 release is not on Spotify Australia.

Promised Land
Revolution In Black
We Are Here
Faith In Life
Homes In The Sky
Whats it To Ya!
Raise Our Voice
The World We Live In
From Free Spirits Rising

“Across the world we have grown up knowing, what it means to have terror touch our lives” …from “Raise Our Voice”.

“Our weapons are the way we choose to live, freedom of thought, freedom to love” …from “Raise Our Voice”.

From Australia, the themes of the songs got me interested and there is a lot of guitar in the songs and there is no album release, just a song a month and a very garage sound which reminds me of the 80s albums before MTV required each band to have polished harmony vocals and guitars all sounding sterile and the same.

“Promised Land” and “Faith In Life” deal with enjoying your only life, it’s here, it’s now and you are living in the promised land which you have created for yourself.

“I believe in, living the right way, I believe in, having a say” …from “Promised Land”

“We are here to right the wrongs, we are here to throw back the stones” …from “We Are Here”

“What’s It To Ya!”, “We Are Here”, “Raise Our Voice” and “Revolution In Black” are like the protest songs, about standing up for yourself and using your voice to speak up and try to make change happen.

“What’s It To Ya!” if I like my music loud, and “What’s it to Ya!” if I live my life proud”.

“The World We Live In” just sums up society, and how we like to fill our cups and look the other way.

“Freedom comes, when you have nothing left to lose” …from “Revolution In Black”

Crazy – Acoustic
How You Like Me Now
Hard And Loud
Paranoid
Adrenaline
Light Of The Moon
Devil With Angel Eyes
Be Original
From Royal Bliss

From the self-titled album.

The modern rock sound which combines elements of the 80’s with the Shinedown/Sixx AM style of rock chucked in, really hooked me in, and I became a fan instantly.

When I googled the band name, I found out they are from the US, have been around since 1997, had a major label deal once upon a time and that this self-titled album is number 10.

And the funniest part of their history is that, vocalist Neal Middleton audition for the second season of “The Voice”, but no judge turned their chairs, so he was eliminated. However the eventual winner of “The Voice”, a person the judges felt they needed to turn their chairs for, has more or less disappeared from the music scene, while Royal Bliss and Matt are still at it, releasing albums frequently.

You can’t keep a good rock and roller down. \::/

Never Surrender
West Bound

It came up on a release radar, and the “give it what you got” message with its arena rock chorus and hard rock guitar riffs got me interested.

So I looked em up and Blabbermouth tells me it’s a rock band on Frontiers featuring vocalist Chas West and guitarist/producer Roy Z. And I was interested because Roy Z did a few albums with Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford that I enjoyed.

The song “Never Surrender” is about going through struggles in life and never giving up on your dreams as the tough times can help you define your true character.

Bringin On The Heartbreak
From Matt Nathanson

Matt Nathanson released an acoustic Def Leppard covers album called “Pyromattia” last year. I saw it on a fellow bloggers EOY list for 2018 and I was interested. I checked it out and loved this cover version of one my favourite Def Leppard songs.

Stalfagel featuring Alissa White-Gluz
You Aquiver
Bleeder Despoiler
The Nurturing Glance
The Ageless Whisper
From Soilwork

To me “Verkligheten” (the Swedish word for “Reality”) is Soilwork’s best album. A combination of their aggressive, abrasive and melodic sides. It’s a metal rock album.

Plus, I am a fan of the work that Bjorn Strid and guitarist David Andersson do with Soliwork and The Night Flight Orchestra.

Live Or Die
Shame
From Reach

The album “The Great Divine” came out last year but I really got into these songs in 2019.

Again, it was an EOY list from a fellow blogger that got me interested to check out this release.

And “Live Or Die” with its Muse like vibe resonated straight away, especially that soaring Chorus vocal melody.

The Ending
Problems
From Papa Roach

“Who Do You Trust?” is a weird album for me to digest.

It’s not one of my favourites from Papa Roach but it’s not a bad album either.

Just weird at this point in time and over the last few albums there has been a shift in the sound to the current popular rock train sound.

“The Atlantic” Album
From Evergrey

What can I say?

Evergrey delivers. I have already written my review on this album here.  

And Tom Englund is keeping himself busy with various projects, like his vocalist stint with Redemption and now a melancholy soundtrack like project called “Silent Skies

Check out the song “Horizons”.

You will not be disappointed.

Part 2 coming up.

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Soaked – Evergrey

A vocal line, three heavily distorted palm-muted chords and then the next vocal line.

An intro which gets your attention from the outset.

My chest is open
My heart’s on the ground
My bare feet soaked in my blood
As I leave you without a sound

When you enter the depths of a relationship (friends, family or lover) argument, there is no winner, just a lot of bad blood. And you might smile and pretend that everything will be okay when you make up, the truth is, nothing is the same.

There will always be the words said, and the hurt that came with them. Each make up is a reset and a recalibration.

No one to reach for
Even though I stretched too far

It’s an empty feeling, when you are in the depths of loneliness and your thoughts are getting the better of you.

No one sky to warm me up

There are days like this, when you don’t want to get out of bed and face the different situations the day has in store for you or to see the people you need to see.

As darkness clouds the blue

The darkness of the mind and the thoughts that live there, the thoughts that you are scared to confront or seek help for.

I’m leaving
I couldn’t live with the shame
No more denying
I’ve stopped the search for blame

Leaving and making the choice to leave, is the most difficult decision a person can make. And once it is made, nothing can stop it.

Even at the basic level of leaving a job, a home or a school. Once the decision is made, it’s made. There is nothing that can stop you.

Twenty-seven years of falling
Twenty-seven winters slave
Twenty-seven years of dreaming
And this is all the strength life gave
Twenty-seven summers weaker
And the autumn’s just the same
Twenty-seven years…

When I first heard the song, I associated the 27 years to the years given to a relationship. But then I read an interview and this is what Tom Englund had to say about it;

SOAKED is about a friend of mine who killed himself.
Tom Englund

And suddenly all of my interpretations and meanings took on a different light. And 27 is in that zone which the media reports so frequently when celebrities take their lives. It’s the zone of having lived long enough to decide if their life is worth it.

Because from young, people are conditioned to believe that life is an upward trajectory. And when it doesn’t pan out like that, with more lows and disappointments than highs, well….

And if you’d ask then I’d deny that
I didn’t have the strength to fight that drowning weakness
And I buried all signs to cover what I feel underneath
The hollow remains of me

You basically give up. You portray one side of yourself to people and another side, within the four walls of your room. Even if people asked “are you okay?”, you would smile and say “yes”.

And the outro solo from Henrik is impressive in its melodicism.

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