Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Removing Music From Spotify

Once upon a time, it used to cost a lot of money to record. Very few acts, got signed and even less acts got a chance to record and get distributed. In other words, getting inside the record label machine was hard, however if an act could penetrate, they could have a long career even if they never had a hit.

The label kept you in business and the label promoted you to get you fans. However the truth is, it was even harder to keep a record deal than getting a record deal. Especially if you didn’t sell. And even more so, once MTV came out and you didn’t sell.

Kiss was one of those bands who benefited from this business model. They relied on the label putting some money upfront for the recording of the album, for the film clips and for tour support.

Then Napster came, then torrents, the iTunes store and streaming and Gene and Paul just kept on shouting it loud to everyone about how there is no music business, while they toured non-stop and made money from the music business.

In the process they recorded two albums in this period. Yes, you read that right, since Napster came out, Kiss have put out only two albums, “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. But for all of the complaing about streaming, the Kiss catalogue was on Spotify Australia. Then when I looked at the Kiss catalogue a few days ago to listen to the “Lick It Up” album, it was gone. Actually, Kiss took off half their catalogue from Spotify Australia.

Are they serious? Is their label serious?

Talk about a slap in the face to the fans who actually pay for a premium account. Didn’t they get the memo that distribution is king and Spotify is the medium. It’s like taking your records out of record shops. If people cannot get access, they will just move on to something else.

Yeah, I know you can get the “classic” songs or the “hit songs” on one of the many compilations still available on the service, however those compilations don’t contain the more obscure tracks which are my favourite. I have no issue bringing out the CD or the LP as I have most of the Kiss stuff on both formats, but that’s not the point in this day and age.

Even my cult favourite band, Evergrey are hit and miss on Spotify. You don’t know what part of their catalogue will remain on the medium with each passing year. I’m against it. I’m against bands withholding their music from a service I pay for.

We are in a new era, where it’s all about consumption. Funds are tight, but Google and Spotify is not the problem. The artists are getting squeezed by the consumer. The consumer either listens or doesn’t want to listen to your music.

Stupid misguided artists bitch about streaming but it’s saving the recording business. Revenues are moving upward. And for the labels, streaming is the best, because it means less costs.

For any artist thinking of withholding their music from a streaming service, don’t do it. Don’t hold back progress. Because if you look at the past, you will see people who said the internet would kill the incentive to make music. Wrong, there’s so much more music than ever before. People said streaming would kill the business. Wrong, revenues are up and not it’s seen as it’s saviour.

Think forward, not backwards.

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

2016

2016 will be seen as the year when the populations of the world, fresh from dealing or seeing terror hit their streets, decided to enforce change with their vote. Whatever side of the fence people sat, it was shown in major countries that the major cities and the governments are out of touch with the rest of their country. When people voted in 2016, it was a protest against the last 30 years of democracy and how the ruling classes became richer while the middle classes became poorer.

Megadeth kicked the year off with “The Threat Is Real” and it sure was. Megadeth released the better album this year, however Metallica’s “Hardwired To Self Destruct” would be more popular.

The messiah or mass murderer
No controlling who comes through the door
THE THREAT IS REAL – Megadeth

The shepherd led, we blindly followed
Into the world of no tomorrow
THE ENDLESS KNOT – Haken

Tyrants overtaking intoxicate with lies
There is no escaping, not this time
The simple man receiving, defending every crime
Somehow still believing they are right
THE LAST HERO – Alter Bridge

Omnipresent endless knot
The architect of every thought
Through the prison walls made by your design
A chameleon hides behind Orwellian eyes
THE ARCHITECT – Haken

We give up more of our liberties and privacy, but how secure are we?

For all the spying our governments do, they have no idea when an event will happen. Sure, they might identify persons of interest and then what. No one stopped the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels but somehow the mainstream media and the police read and believed the fake news sites on the internet.

We will grow strong from this
We will not be defeated
However hard they try
Over and over and over a thousand times
RISE OF THE MELANCHOLY EMPIRE – Sixx A.M.

With hands held high, we can rule the world
RULE THE WORLD – Dee Snider

It’s a call to arms for the “good” people of the world to band together and defeat the “bad” people of the world.

When terrorist bombs go off, the lines between good and bad are clear, we are the good ones and the terrorists are the bad ones. During the U.S election lead up, Trump was portrayed as the bad one and Hillary as the good one by the mainstream media. The fact that over half of the country voted for him, does it mean that all of those people are bad.

The bottom line is everyone is clueless and the future is exactly that, with endless possibilities and outcomes.

So together we’ll build a new world
A better world
OUR NEW WORLD – Dream Theater

But for all of Petrucci’s clichés, the world is much more complex. Robb Flynn asked “Is Anybody’s Out There” that feels just like him. One simple song, with two powerful verses addressing abandonment and racism.

Now I stand as a father, to men with no honor
Ashamed of the racists I used to call brothers
Cause no flag can mean bravery,
when bloodied by slavery,
The rebel, a devil, disguised as a savior
IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? – Machine Head

And he didn’t stop there. After Trump’s election win, he released (via YouTube) an acoustic song called “Bastards”. A simple D to A to Bm to G chord progression, underpins some personal viewpoints about the state of his world. And “Bastards” generated some heated discussions amongst the Machine Head fans, especially the ones who voted for Trump.

I am disconnected from a system I’ve rejected.
ALONE WE STAND – Killswitch Engage

A sign of things to come with Brexit, Trump and the Italian referendum serving as perfect examples of the disconnected people rejecting the current systems in place.

  • And the system allows Volkswagen to cheat on their emissions tests.
  • And the system allows the banks to get away with running the country into the dirt.
  • And the system allows lobbyists to lobby/bribe elected officials into writing laws to benefit corporate profits.
  • And the system allows the CEO’s to scream help to the government for a bail out, while the people, the workers, need to sell because they lost their jobs or they can’t make repayments.

I’ve seen rock bottom and I’ve smashed my fists against it
Just keep telling yourself it will be alright
STRENGTH OF THE MIND – Killswitch Engage

And there’s nowhere to turn
At the end of the road, I can’t hold on
MY ALLIED OCEAN – Evergrey

I’m just a creature of a broken past
We’re all looking for a second chance
PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED – Sixx A.M.

Who hasn’t been there?

You know the moment, when you feel like you are not winning and everything you do just turns to crap. And you cant get out of the rut, because you’re spending your days doing things for others, through obligation or duty to the family. And your life is so far away from the world of possibilities you had when you where young.

Somehow through it all
We carry on (we carry on)
WE CARRY ON – Killswitch Engage

And that’s our lives in a nutshell. We overcome setbacks, deaths in the family, wins and losses. Through it all, we still carry on. We rise.

Speak out, don’t let the status quo define you
This is your world, just put the fear back in their eyes
RISE – Sixx A.M.

Did I decide
Or did the road choose me?
1985 – Haken

Free will is an illusion. We believe we have it, but it ceases to exist when we start to follow the rules set by institutions.

 

Falling from the sky
Cast out from heaven’s light
Drenching the soil with blood
Baptized in the fire hole
THE DEVIL’s BLEEDING CROWN – Volbeat

I always looked for acceptance
I understood what it’s like to be different
PASSING THROUGH – Evergrey

From the day we are born we are looking for acceptance especially those outliers cast out from heaven’s light who do not conform to what the institutions what from them. The key is to stay true to who you are and be accepted and not be the artist who created safe art, looked safe, walked away from their fans to be in partnership with the corporation and so forth.

What have I got to lose
When I’ve already lost it all
PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED – Sixx A.M.

When you’re at the bottom, the only way is up. For a lyric to work for me, the person writing it, has to have experienced it.

It’s the worse when you lose when you know how hard you tried
BELIEVE – Dee Snider

So many times when I was misunderstood
I just wish we had spoken so much sooner
DISTANCE – Evergrey

Life is funny in hindsight and sometimes painful to replay. We all would love to live with no “what if’s” however it never happens that way.

Just like tragedy
Folks line up to see
We forget and the problem’s gone
It just ain’t right to move on
MY LAST MISTAKE – Tremonti

We show outrage initially and then we move on like it never happened. It’s a sick symptom of society where we fail to hold to account, the people responsible for the tragedy. The GFC perps went on college speaking tours and high-five jobs at the financial firms they organised laws to benefit. They escaped unscathed, while the middle class and lower class got their homes foreclosed.

Every time there is a shooting there is outrage, however nothing is done after on gun reform.

For all of the laws passed to spy on citizens in the name of terror, not one terrorist act have they stopped. And after each terrorist attack, our privacy and liberties erode a little bit more.

The people need to hold to account the people responsible. But we cannot devote the time because the people responsible have us hooked line and sinker. We can’t take time of work because the income means more to us than the cause.

Sold my soul and signed my name in blood
Stole it back, now praying in the dark
Fooled the devil, begging for a fight
Count the dollars, make your bet tonight
SEAL THE DEAL – Volbeat

Seduced by fame
A moth into the flame
MOTH INTO FLAME – Metallica

Infamy
All for publicity
Destruction going viral
MOTH INTO FLAME – Metallica

If you wanna lead or be a star
They’ll expose all that you are
Are you sure you want this now?
They will only tear you down
CROWS ON A WIRE – Alter Bridge

Facebook and social media has created a culture wherein everything is on show. Ask yourself the question. Is it fame you want or a career as a musician/artist?

Middle fingers in the air, singing we don’t f….. care, when we say “So What”
SO WHAT – Dee Snider

It’s become the soundtrack to “Standing Rock” in 2016, but it’s been my motto since I got into hard rock/heavy metal music.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

Score Card Inc

Three years ago in November, 2013, I posted a score sheet on certain artists/trends and how they are dealing with the music business.

Three years later, how are the artists fairing.

Robb Flynn
He still understands that it is not all about making records. From Nov 2013 to now, Robb Flynn via Machine Head, kept on releasing his Journals both video and written. In April, 2014, “Killers and Kings” came out for Record Store Day and the band went on tour. He started a clothing range called “Killers and Kings” that didn’t really take off. In November, 2014, “Bloodstone and Diamonds” came out and the band embarked on a lengthy “An Evening With” world tour. In June 1, 2016, “Is There Anybody Out There?” came out as a stand-alone single.

His connection with his audience runs deep. People either dig him or detest him or some people will not just forget him in an orange jumpsuit during the Nu-Metal phase of the band’s career.

Protest The Hero
Back in 2013, “Protest The Hero” showed how the record labels are so out of touch with its customers. PTH was dropped because the label told them they have no audience. However, a fan funding campaign showed a pretty impressive hard-core audience that was willing to cough up some serious dollars for the band. Even the band was blown away at the response.

And they did it again between Nov 2015 and April 2016 with “Pacific Myth” an innovative one song per month release over six months via Bandcamp. Fans had the option of two packages, and I selected the one that also had the six video releases. In between, the guys would upload drum videos, cooking videos, song transcriptions and what not.

Nikki Sixx
In 2013, he talked about a farewell tour. Well that tour finally happened and concluded in 2015. The Crue fan base didn’t really need one more world tour however, they wanted to finish up in their own way and the world tour is what we got, with a new song called “All Bad Things”. The movie is still in the works, they have their own pleasure toys, a rumour of The Dirt 2, plus lawsuits from photographers and opening bands to contend with. Seriously, squirting piss at a bunch of guys who paid $1 million to be on the tour would always end up in the courts.

With Sixx A.M. he has released an albums worth of music and the next album is coming in a few weeks. They are on tour with Five Finger Death Punch, he does his Sixx Sense Radio Show and he doesn’t like to wash his hands after going to the toilet.

Coheed and Cambria
By November, 2013, COCA had been touring non-stop on the back of “The Afterman” two album releases that came out within a 4 month window. Add to that Comic Con appearances, plus Sci-Fi conventions and appearances in Comic Shops and you get the idea that this band realises that it is not just about music and money. It is about creativity.

Since then, Claude Sanchez became a dad. He wrote more comics with his wife called “Translucid” in 2014 and in 2015 managed to release another slab of songs called “The Color Before The Sun” and go on a another world tour.

Metallica
Back in 2013, I wrote;

They need to make new music soon. There are only so many times that a band can go on a worldwide victory lap on the same piece of music. They need to be back in the studio.

Well, we are almost one week away from that new music hitting the streets and in the meantime, we have been treated to three tracks.
It’s a welcome relief to hear Metallica doing what they do best and I believe they have enough new music in their archives for another album to drop within two years this time, instead of eight.

And after hearing the album – yes it is available on the pirate sites, I can honestly say that it’s not worth the 8 year wait at all and maybe 4 song EP’s is the best way to go.

Dream Theater
I wrote in November 2013, that they need a great record soon or they will become yesterday’s news. Dream Theater has a knack for popping up with some goodies, like “Images and Words”, “Scenes From A Memory”, “Systematic Chaos” and “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”.

So in January 2016, they dropped the 130 minute “Astonishing” concept album, about a dystopian future society. Concept albums lead to different revenue spin offs like a stage play, comic book stories, video games, animations, TV series, a movie and so forth. But then again, Slayer are doing a graphic comic book series and have never done a concept album.

Stone Sour
I wrote in 2013, that something went south with their career trajectory. Of course, a beast called Slipknot would devour the creative forces of the band. Their take on modern metal is good, but with Slipknot getting more melodic, is there a reason for Stone Sour to exist.

Five Finger Death Punch
They have an audience who purchases and streams their product. Along the way, each album has received certifications for so many units moved. An onstage meltdown, a record label lawsuit and then a change of label has not slowed the band down in any way. If they can remain together, they will remain a powerhouse.

Trivium
Back in November, 2013, their new album “Vengeance Falls” was called a Disturbed covers album. The truth is, if people are talking about you, it is a good thing. And that album gave Trivium a concert classic in “Strife”. Since then, they released “Silence In The Snow” in 2015. They are always looking to reinvent themselves constantly while staying true to heavy metal. Plus Matt Heafy has a pretty cool Top 10 list of albums that changed his life.

1. Metallica – The Black Album (1991)
“A kid lent me The Black Album at school and it changed my life. I had never heard anything like it before, and I started playing guitar all the time.”

2. In Flames – Whoracle (1997)
“That was at the time of Napster, and I was into the classic great metal bands. I was on Napster and I found In Flames. I had never heard melodic death metal before, and it changed my ear on what kind of music I wanted to play.”

3. Queen – A Night At The Opera (1975)
“What I’ve always loved about Queen is that they’ve never released the same thing twice. Everything is drastically different while still sounding like Queen. Every song on A Night At The Opera sounds different to the next one and they all stand up as fantastic.”

4. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (1988)
“With Iron Maiden it’s hard, because I love so many of their records. They’re all so important. Seventh Son, though, is the one that really got me into Iron Maiden. It’s one of their more epic records; there’s vivid storytelling going on. Getting into Iron Maiden helped me trace the roots of the music that I love. I could see where so many metal, death metal and black metal bands had taken things from.”

5. Ihsahn – Eremita (2012)
“Emperor changed my life, and Ihsahn changed my life again with this album. He spun the idea of black metal on its head by incorporating jazz chords, interesting production and clean singing. That record taught me to never be afraid of making whatever I want to make. We’ve always done that, but this album drove that home for me.”

6. Boston – Boston (1976)
“The vocal production is insane. Everything about this record epitomises the best things of rock ‘n’ roll.”

7. The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
“The Beatles blow my mind in the same way that Queen do in that every song and record is so different to the last. Both of those bands have incredible songwriters as well. It’s not like nowadays where you might have one songwriter in a band.”

8. Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (1997)
“This is where Emperor really changed the dynamic of where black metal was going. Black metal was the rebellion to rock and metal, and was supposed to be different. “When there’s a movement like that, a lot of bands come out playing semi-similar music. That record opened up with clean guitar and there’s this classical singing; it has chaotic moments and beautiful moments all in one. Emperor makes such interesting black metal with these big dramatic moments.”

9. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990)
“Listening to Depeche Mode, you can hear that Rammstein is a combination of Depeche Mode and Metallica. Violator is one of the darkest, scariest records I’ve ever heard. It has this different kind of sadness that you feel in the music.”

10. The London Symphony Orchestra – Mozart’s Requiem (1791)
“The gothic artwork of that record is incredible, and this version for me is just the best. Listening to this, you can hear that out of all contemporary music, metal is the closest living relative to classical. It is the most epic moments of music that have always drawn me in, and I feel that with Mozart’s Requiem that is where you’re getting into the blueprint for everything that was to come.”

Shinedown
They have an audience who want to listen to them and so far, no one’s doing hard rock better than them. Their new album “Threat To Survival” has taken its influences from Adele, Imagine Dragons and other pop artists and they still made it rock hard. Daughtry and James Durbin should take note. Along the way, their fans purchased and streamed all the way to certification after certification.

Avenged Sevenfold
Say what you will about the “influences” on “Hail To The King”, doing that album was a bigger risk for Avenged Sevenfold then their new album and it paid off for them.

Fast forward to 2016, and their new album drops early. It is a creative tour de force but to me it’s already in the rear view. All of the good bits in each song are undone by the creativity of trying to push the boundaries.

Piracy
In 2013, I wrote that piracy is not that large of a problem as the majors and the RIAA make it out to be and with revenues in 2016, approaching the pre-Napster era, it’s further proof that piracy does not affect their bottom lines, especially when there are services out there that can compete with piracy.

Evergrey
The pure definition of perseverance with 20 plus years in the music business and still going strong.

By November 2013, the “new” version of the band that delivered “Glorious Collision” had splintered again and lead vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund was not sure on the next step. A reconnection with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage (who departed before “Glorious Collision”) spawned the excellent “Hymns For The Broken” in 2014 and a few months ago, “The Storm Within” builds on the atmospherics created by “Hymns”.

Megadeth
In 2013, Megadeth’s new album “Supercollider” was outsold by Metallica’s self-titled “Black” album. In 2015, Mustaine got his metal chops back and in 2016, “Dystopia” came out. Another Mustaine Resurrection was at hand.

Tremonti/Alter Bridge
Mark Tremonti knows it’s about putting new music out there and consistently. In 2013, we had “Fortress” from Alter Bridge. In 2015, we had “Cauterize” from Tremonti and 2016 has given us, “Dust” from Tremonti and “The Last Hero” from Alter Bridge. In three years, Tremonti has been part of 4 albums while Metallica ……

The Night Flight Orchestra
The best classic rock side project ever from Soilwork and Arch Enemy band members. The first album “Internal Affairs” came out in 2012 and the second “Skyline Whispers” in 2015. Essential listening to any hard rock fans of the 80’s.

Sales
In 2013, I wrote that sales are not the best metric to measure a bands reach and pull in the market. In 2016, listens are more important than sales.

Bullet For My Valentine
By November 2013, people had lost their “Temper Temper” with them, but in 2015, the band found their “Venom” again, which leads us to new music hitting the net in November 2016.

Revolution Saints
In 2013, this band existed in the head of the Frontiers President. In 2015, they released an excellent melodic AOR rock album. So much potential, so many good songs, great musicians and it all went to hell because Castronovo couldn’t keep his 5555t together. Let’s hope that Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich forgive him and they try for another album. This time with the three of them writing.

TesseracT
One of the hardest working progressive bands out there, building their fanbase, city by city. In 2011, they released “One”. In 2013, they released the excellent “Altered State” and in 2015 we got “Polaris”.

Days Of Jupiter
An unsung Swedish melodic groove rock band, that’s a cross between Evergrey and Disturbed. In 2012 they released “Secrets Brought to Life” and in 2015, “Only Ashes Remain” came out.

Sweet and Lynch
Another album would be sweet.

Muse
They play stadiums but they don’t have the same sales figures as the 70’s and 80’s legends. A perfect example of the modern world, in which massive single songs sell concert tickets.

Live
In 2013, I wrote;
Remember the excitement and the buzz of going to the show. It was uncontrollable. Everyone waiting in line to get inside, to watch a band that rules, in an era that music ruled. Today, it is too expensive to take kids to a concert and that is only for a glimpse in the back. This business needs a reset.

Concert ticket prices are still high, especially for the superstar acts. The price gauge happened as an offset to dwindling revenues from recorded sales, however with recorded music revenue now as high as the pre-Napster era, there is no reason for the high concert ticket prices.

Slash
As an artist, he didn’t need to go back to Gunners. He had enough momentum to keep going as a solo artist and with Myles Kennedy, a better front man than Axl Rose. Slash kept on releasing new music consistently, while Duff and Axl complained of piracy and artistically were dead in the water. Money triumphs over creativity and in this case, it’s really sad.

Album
Back in 2013, I wrote how everyone talks about the money that is lost due to piracy as album sales shrink. Back then 20% of the tracks on Spotify have never been played. So what is the point of the album, when people ignore the songs that are not “hits”. When I go to Spotify and I come across an artist I haven’t heard before, I go to their Spotify page and hear the tracks in their top 10 list. Those tracks in most cases are pulled from many different albums.

And if any of those tracks connect with me, I might dig deeper into the album.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Created by their love of metal and rock music and when that same genre put up roadblocks to a career in music, they changed tact and went all flamenco acoustic on the world. Talk about paying their dues and taking risks. They moved from Mexico and took a chance in Europe. Over an 8 year Dublin residence, they honed their style and songs, so when their “official” debut album hit in 2006, what seemed like an overnight sensation was 15 years in the making.

There is nothing more difficult in the world then trying to make it as a musician. You need to show up day after day, week after week, year after year. And your brand or movement might just make some small gains. Then it hits a few speed bumps, like Rodrigo and Gabriela’s metal band losing their recording contract in 1997 and suddenly you are back at the start. But they kept on showing up, on the coast of Mexico and playing their acoustic guitars in the bars. Because showing up day after day, is the hardest part of making a difference. If you look at the history of the artists we like and admire, you will see many years in pursuit of their dreams.

It is a work of a lifetime to create an impact and build something of substance. In 2013, they were riding the highs of their 2012 “Area 52” collaboration, which involved re-working their best songs with a full flamenco band. Then in 2014, “9 Dead Alive” dropped and new music is needed ASAP.

Sebastian Bach/Skid Row
They shouldn’t get back together, because no one cares about Skid Row in the way they used too. They might have a large audience in Japan, like Dokken, but the rest of the “Youth Gone Wild” have moved on. Sebastian Bach is actually bigger than Skid Row and releases way better music than Skid Row have done without him. But, what was he thinking when he approved the photo for his memoir’s cover.

The Kindred
From Canada and the healthy progressive scene. They started off as “Today I Caught The Plague” from the ashes of another band called “A Legend Falls”. In 2011 they released the excellent “Lore” and went on tour with one of my favourite bands in Protest The Hero and their “Scurrilous Tour”. Then in 2013, a name change happened to “The Kindred” and the excellent “Life In Lucidity” came out at the start of 2014.

However, PTH needed a drummer for their “Volition” tour and it was no surprise that they tapped Mike Ieradi (who also co-founded the group) to fill the spot. Then in 2015, vocalist David Journeaux departed, with Johnny McArthur as their new vocalist and Kenny Saunders as their new drummer. So now I wait to see what comes next.

Streaming
Back in 2013, I wrote that everyone talks about the money which isn’t filtering down to the artist and how streaming is too entrenched to be replaced. Since then the record labels have grown their revenues on the back of streaming. Artists who negotiate deals with the streaming services like Metallica and Motley Crue have never complained about streaming. Suddenly, luddites Anthrax are not complaining and Scott Ian even mentioned how he believes streaming is the best thing to have happened to the recording industry.

Streaming is the future and those artist who don’t grow with this future will be too busy shrinking.

The Gaslight Anthem
They do the early 80’s Bruce Springsteen better than Bruce Springsteen these days. It was like a supergroup of independent musicians that came together in New Jersey in 2006. Their 2010 album, “American Slang” spawned an unexpected hit with the title track and “45” from their 2012 album “Handwritten” became their biggest hit. Since then, “Get Hurt” came out in 2014 and by July 2015, the band went on an indefinite hiatus.

Since the hiatus, singer Brian Fallon released a solo album called “Painkillers” in March 2016, and on April, 2016, a vinyl EP called “Georgia” was released for Record Store Day 2016 with a limited pressing run of 2,000 copies on 10″ vinyl. Let’s hope that “The Gaslight Anthem” get together for more music over the next three-year period.

Volbeat
Seen as overnight sensations however they are over 25 years in the business. It all started with “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” in 2008 and being added to the Metallica “Death Magnetic U.S. Tour”. Then in 2010, “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven” came out and while that was still selling, they released “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” in 2013 and they hit every major music market over and over again. Since then, they released “Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie” and are continuing on their merry ways. For all the newbies, check out their streaming numbers. They are huge compared to other major label metal/rock acts.

Killswitch Engage/Times Of Grace
In 2013, Killswitch Engage released “Disarm the Descent”, their comeback album with Jesse Leach on vocals. And how good is “In Due Time” with brutal verses and an arena rock chorus. Then in February 2015, a new track called “Loyalty” appeared on “Catch The Throne: The Mixtape Volume 2” to promote “Game of Thrones”. They then toured and kept on working on “Incarnate” which finally came out on March 11, 2016. Since then, they toured and are planning on releasing a beer. Meanwhile, “Times of Grace” have five songs completed for a new album to come out, with their last one coming out in 2011.

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

The Storm Within

“When we were making this album a lot of these relationship issues were going on around me; people losing a partner or a loved one and grieving. The Storm Within is about a search for identity, trying to make yourself full when you feel half empty, and I placed that storyline in an interstellar world.”
Tom Englund – Evergrey 

Before I left Australia, I pre-ordered the CD via Amazon. And of course, the album came out while I was in a country where I couldn’t obtain it legally. So I went to the pirate sites and downloaded it.

What else could I do?

I couldn’t wait.

Does that justify downloading the album illegally?

Of course not, but if I could have purchased it legally at the time I would have, even if that meant having two copies of the album.

And people need to understand, all we care about is where can I find the music, in a fast, convenient and cheap way. I am listening to the album on Spotify non-stop in Australia and the CD is still in its wrapping, a collector’s item.

Evergrey is one of those bands that connects musically and lyrically with me. Vocalist/Guitarist and founder, Tom Englund has a unique voice and his vocal phrasing is different to the normal progressive melodic metal singers who are either David Coverdale, Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford. And for 20 years, Englund has kept Evergrey going, building on the loyal following, one fan at a time.

“Distance”
Dissonant piano chords start this song off. When the syncopated guitars, bass and drums kick under a math rock vibe, I’m ready to break stuff. Then the vocal melody kicks in and those same dissonant piano chords are back.

Distance is taking me to new places.

It was the second song written for the album and the vibe of the song caught the attention of the band. Along with the song “Disconnect”, the tone and feel of the album was set in stone. According to vocalist and guitarist Tom Englund, the desolation inspiration came from a French electronic band called “M83”.

It’s not over
We’ll soon be closer than before
Can’t let this distance
Keep our destined souls apart

Relationships are difficult to maintain. Our needs change as we get older. Our tastes change. Pressures of family and work lead to further changes and suddenly those promises of being together forever seem so far away.

And that math rock desolate dissonant vibe is hooking me in even more. Of course it had to be a Swedish band that commercialised math metal.

So many times when I was misunderstood
I just wish we had spoken so much sooner

Life is funny in hindsight and sometimes painful to replay. We all would love to live with no “what if’s” however it never happens that way.

“Passing Through”
It was one of the last songs written for the album.

According to the Spotify commentary, the inspiration came from guitarist Henrik Danhage. It was he who came up with a guitar melody that was then converted into the main keyboard melody during the intro.

The label heads wanted this to be the first single from the album. To me it’s a straightforward rock song with some power metal vibes incorporated and a pretty cool listen.

Ten years from now I’ll watch from far away
Ten years from now I might have found my way
Ten years from now I’ll see through different eyes
Better, wiser and not as blind

There is a reason why artists normally produce their best works after they have experienced life, the highs and the lows. One thing that’s certain is ten years from now we are wiser and not as blind. It doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes, far from it. It just means we don’t have that same innocence of our youth.

I always looked for acceptance
I understood what it’s like to be different

Growing up I was looking for acceptance from my peers about how cool I was. To show how cool I was, I wrote a letter on behalf of my father that demanded his son be demoted to the lower classes, so I could be with my friends. Looking back, it was the dumbest decision I ever did, however I was so cool to do it, because I didn’t want to be called a nerd. While the majority of people grinded away in high school to get into a good college/university, I did the opposite. And those same friends I wanted acceptance from are nowhere to be seen in my life right now.

Then I finished school and entered the workforce and I’m looking for acceptance from my bosses or workmates. And then I got married and I’m meeting new people and looking for acceptance from those people.

For Evergrey, they are still looking for acceptance. Even though they are 20 years into their career, they are still a fringe artist when it comes to the mainstream, making a living from the loyal cult like following of their fans.

“Someday”
The main riff is written by drummer Jonas Eklund and how good is it. At first Jonas drums it exactly the same as the riff and then he goes into overdrive with a build that leads into the verses.

The lyrics ask the question if you had a chance to do certain things the same way, would you.

I was once like you
Used to be like you
Embrace the same horizons
And shared the setting suns

Tom Englund always grabs me and pulls me down the rabbit hole with his lyrics. It’s like those words came from me. I remember

“Astray”
The chorus was taken from an old Tom Englund song and the key change from the verse to the chorus almost killed the song off. With toil came great reward.

This is not for me
I can’t persist or breathe that which poisons me

The moment when you have to move on and break away from a relationship, a job or some other event that was bringing you down. It’s not an easy decision to make and some people never make it, until it’s too late. The unknown terrifies us and it takes courage to break away from toxic situations.

“The Impossible”
It’s mellow and calm and it originated from a Rikard Zander piano riff.

I’ve been watching from the outside
Dying to be on the inside
It’s colder and it’s freezing
While you’re asking the impossible
Because it’s impossible
To be this alone

And there you have it, the difference between eras. Growing up, with so little information, we believed everything was possible to achieve. Now with all the information at our fingertips, I can see the disillusionment. We worry about a terror attack, we worry about the lack of job security, we worry about our children not being able to afford to purchase a house, we worry about repaying our credit cards and in general we think more negative thoughts then positive ones. But, we still have hope that things will be better, but we are more cautious.

“My Allied Ocean”
The heaviest song on the album and written by the band on tour while in Bratislava, Slovenia. It shows the “in your face” vibe that Evergrey are capable off as a unit.

And there’s nowhere to turn
At the end of the road, I can’t hold on

The end of the road has many meanings. Literally it means the place where the road stops, however it also means death. And people don’t talk about it in a meaningful way. It’s our greatest taboo in 2016, in the same way sex was.

“In Orbit”
Nightwish’s Floor Jansen contributes guest vocals. Keyboardist Rikard Zander was the fuse that kicked this song into motion and it’s one of their most streamed songs on Spotify from the new album. It’s got that symphonic Within Temptation groove and it rocks.

I run, but not getting closer

There is always something in our lives that is elusive. A goal or a dream that is hard to attain, but we still strive for it.

Evergrey songs are not on the radio. Their name was driven by the fans. Adoption was driven by word of mouth. This song is very radio friendly but in 2016 what is the point of trying to get a song on radio, when you have the internet.

“The Lonely Monarch”
According to the Spotify commentary, the song was originally called “Moonchild” because the main riff sounded like “Moonchild” from Iron Maiden. The construction of the song came from the various jam sessions the guys did in the rehearsal room.

It’s written across the sky, it’s clear for all to see
That it’s not you, it’s only me who keeps us from falling down

We see ourselves in the songs and world we live in. It’s why we keep listening. Owning my f ups, it’s a hard thing to do and it takes time. Sometimes years. And in that time, a lot of things could happen, especially if people start to abandon you.

“The Paradox Of The Flame”
Englund’s wife Carina contributes guest vocals.

So here we are
I understand our intentions are different

Life teaches me that situations are always evolving and relationships (friends, love, work) are one of those cradle to the grave life lessons. And as the years go on our goals and intentions change. That favourite movie from 20 years ago is not so funny to one person anymore. That favourite band from the past is causing division right now.

Then you have kids and your lives depart even more. Sometimes the departure is so great there is nothing that can save the relationship.

“Disconnect”
How cool is the effect where Floor Jansen does symphonic vocals and it’s blended the keyboards.

If this is all I have now
Then I need to disconnect now
I never meant to be indifferent
Never wanted you to feel irrelevant
You were never insignificant

How good is Floor’s symphonic vocal, especially the vocal that cuts in at the 3 minute mark. Isn’t that the power of music?

It then leads into a guitar solo, then an Iron Maiden like section that morphs into a “Learning To Live” like section from Dream Theater and into another guitar solo. At this stage I’m ready to crack my work desk in half from the emotions the music evokes.

“The Storm Within”
The atmospheric epic title track.

It’s more about the feel than the hook. Evergrey is shutting the door on the album, having said what they needed to say. As soon as the song blasts through the headphones I am hooked by the vibe. It’s about mood, the song is reflective.

According to the Spotify commentary, bass player, Johan Niemann was very influential in the writing of the song and it’s really beautiful music captured within a time limit. According to the Spotify commentary, Jonah had to catch the train back home and they had two hours before he left.

How many people dreamt that a life in a band with a record label, would involve catching a train to and from the rehearsal space?

It’s a tough business.

The lyrics are about celebrating the life you have with someone.

It is dark I can hear the crows
And the autumn leaves falls and falls
Trees asleep still stretch for the sky
They belong to me, they stretch for us you see

The scene is set.

If all were just dreams we’d be safe
But we’re all just pale prints of passed days

Life is fleeting and our life footprints do not last forever.

And I know I’d heal better, if I’d surrender to feel

It’s the whole, “we can’t do it alone” vibe. I feel like Emperor Palpatine telling Luke to surrender to his feelings and give in to his hate.

And we wrote life as it passed
As nothing else could matter at all

Having the courage to live without a safety net.

How cool is the keyboard melody? It’s in the background and then from 4.30 minutes to the end it’s closing the song. And it’s a perfect closer, because it makes me want to press play again to hear the whole album again.

In a world where nobody cares about a bands new stuff, Evergrey are far removed from that view. People go to their shows to hear the new album, as well as the old stuff. And let this be a lesson to all wannabe musicians, you can have a career in the music business and still live in obscurity or in some cases poverty.

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

Evergrey II

A few months back I posted some words on a Swedish progressive metal band called Evergrey, where I focused on definitive songs that resonated and connected with me. However for a band that has churned out albums since 1997, there is more to them than 10 songs.

They are a band that is based on mood. Depending on my mood for the day, certain songs connect. This week, the following ten songs connected with me.

Leave It Behind Us
It’s the opener from the “Glorious Collision” album released in 2011. Music is written by Tom Englund and keyboardist Rikard Zander while the lyrics are written by Tom Englund. It proved that Evergrey still mattered even as the band collapsed and was rebuilt again by Englund.

I’ll take your burdens and sorrows
And I’ll rise if I can
It’s your silence that makes me so hollow

Some days actually seem like that and then I wonder why my blood pressure is at unhealthy ranges.

Make way for the darkness
And create space for something new
Remove the blinds that held us
From seeing what we really should

When a relationship or a friendship crashes and that door closes, it’s amazing how many other doors open. It’s amazing how clearly you start to see things.

In Confidence
After the success of “The Inner Circle” album in 2004, the bigger budget and the bigger label came knocking. What came out of this relationship in 2006 was a polarizing follow-up called “Monday Morning Apocalypse” just as the band were on the verge of breaking through in the U.S.

So when “Torn” came out in 2008, it seemed that Evergrey was catching up on that missed window.

“In Confidence” is a great track from the underrated “Torn” album that strayed more in Modern Rock then Progressive Metal. The music is written by Tom Englund and drummer Jonas Ekdahl, while the lyrics are written by Tom Englund. This song just replays in my head.

I told you in confidence
And trusted you’d never sacrifice our silence
I rise from the ashes and remains of your broken promises

Don’t we all rise from the ashes of secrets told in confidence. The song is that good you cannot help but pay attention.

I Should
From the much maligned “Monday Morning Apocalypse” album released in 2006. The song is written both lyrically and musically by Tom Englund. It’s best to listen to the song, alone, preferably on headphones. Give it your full attention and let it fill your head space. The track is deep into the album list, however Everygrey have always treated each track as important as the first.

How come we bear the cross that you should?
How come we wear the wounds that you should?
I am confused, why is it me who is bleeding?

Exactly. Why am I the one that is hurting when all I did was help you out?

Wrong
It’s also from the “Glorious Collision” album released in 2011. Music and Lyrics are written by Tom Englund and keyboardist Rikard Zander. Meaningful and melodic, its pure magic. By the Eighties standards, this would be a hit because it’s immediately catchy, you get it right away.

Somehow I thought I always knew
The difference between the lie and truth

The truth is we don’t know the difference between lies and truth and it’s scary. If you don’t believe me, talk to anyone that has gone through a break up and you will hear a novel worth of stories about what the other partner did wrong. And if you get the chance to talk to the other side, they will have the same stories that puts the other partner down. Each person tells their side like it is truth.

Recreation Day
From the album of the same name released in 2003. Unfortunately, this very playable album is ignored. Unjustly as it still satisfies today.

Life is fear

Life is scary and it should be. Life should never be comfortable. If it is comfortable then you are not living out your dreams. We are fighting to live from our very first breath and then we are fighting to stay alive from the approaching death.

Barricades
From the new album “Hymns Of The Broken” released in 2014.

And we have been fighting for much too long
We’re getting tired
We’re longing to see
The barricades fall

It has the Evergrey signature sound, but it’s too dark to break through to the mainstream and that darkness is the place that Evergrey occupies. In the space of three years, the band again had to prove to the world that they still mattered after another line up collapse and another line up rebuild, however this time it was the return of two former members.

Black Undertow
Also from the new album “Hymns Of The Broken” released in 2014.

Freedom at last
Feels like a black undertow

This is what appeals to me about Evergrey. The darkness and the experimentation, evidenced in this cut. Never argue with the power of a riff. It just grooves!

More Than Ever
From “The Inner Circle” album released in 2004 and that album was the first piece of music I heard from the band. Immediately I went into the back catalogue. Tom Englund wrote a great lyrical melody over the bed of music written by co-guitarist Henrik Danhage.

Waiting for the waves to break
Hoping for the tide to change
Embracing the awaiting aim
Believing more than ever

And then the guitars start slashing and burning in harmony as they mimic the vocal melody. Brilliant.

The Grand Collapse
The second last song from the “Hymns Of The Broken” album.

We wanted to be caught in dreams that never end

We all want to be born again, we all want to find the key to every door, and what really makes this track soar is the sound and the indelible piano melody that is constantly played over and over again over the melodic chaos underneath it. Add to that the way the following words are sung.

Got so close, you, I

The Aftermath
The closing song from the “Hymns Of The Broken” album. It’s all about the sound. Especially in the fast-paced world of today, we all want something that puts our mind somewhere else.

I one day hope the sun gives way
To rid the clouds that hides our way

“The Aftermath” is just one of those tracks that I can never burn out on. It’s a typical album track like back in the day when album tracks used to count. You know the ones, while the hits draw you in, it was these kind of songs we uncovered as the album played. Like WASP’s “The Great Misconception Of Me”.

And that is also the problem with music today. No one’s got any time to go deep into albums.

Enjoy.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Perfect Album Of 2014

We know that metal and rock bands need to get their heads away from the album format. From all of the 2014 releases that I heard, there was not an album that I loved from start to finish. So for my top 10 list, I have sequenced my favourite songs like an “album”. (Everyone gasps).

It looks pretty solid from start to finish.

Machine Head – Now We Die

It’s the first track and lead single from “Bloodstone and Diamonds”.

Cast off the shackles of the past
Live in the moment nothing ever lasts

So true, live in the now because no one knows when that last day being alive is.

A family friend died last week at 50 years of age however he actually died over 10 years when his wife left him. He just never got over it and it led to 4 heart attacks, stents, pace makers and in the end it was a brain haemorrhage that did it. A few days ago, the mother of a kid I coach in football died from a heart attack. She was under 40 years of age.

The recording business is so enraptured about what they lost that they fail to see the opportunities of the day and what they stand to gain.

Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun

One of Australia’s best kept secrets when it comes to melodic metal. This is the title track of their new album that almost didn’t get made.

 How many times can you walk away
How many years can you give to crying

It covers the years in between albums and the struggle to get the album done due to life being life. They dealt with a record company going bust, band members leaving, shelving the music written with those band members, starting from scratch again, the death of a family member and then finding inspiration to continue.

Evergrey – King Of Errors

The anti-heroes from Sweden. As a fan, there has not been a bad release from them. “Hymns For The Broken” is no different and “King Of Errors” is a great comeback song.

They call us kings
And then we fall down broken

Social media accounts put out an image that all is well in our lives. There we are, happy, smiling, taking selfies with others and having a good time.

I know that life is peaks and valleys. We could be kings and queens for a while but it doesn’t sustain. We all have our lows. We all make errors. I made errors and I made choices that led me to where I am today.

Black Label Society – Angel Of Mercy

“Zakk’s developing into a monster. If you listen to his guitar playing there’s a little bit of Hendrix here, some other stylings there. He’s putting it all together in his own way. Zakk’s a musician for the future.”

OZZY – Guitar World, October 1989

Enough said.

Door of memories
Closed forevermore

I love the analogy of using the door to keep the memories from leaking out. We never want to lose all of those good and bad memories. In the end they make us who we are today.

Intervals – Automation

Intervals is another progressive band from Canada with a cult like following. I came across their name when I saw them on a tour poster with bands that I support like Periphery, Protest The Hero and TesserAct.

“Automation” is from their 2014 self-funded/released album “A Voice Within”.

After a few instrumental releases, this is their first one to feature vocals and what a stellar job they did with it.

The gears pulling forward
Always falling into place
The battle I know is over
Despite the effort and haste

The Kindred – Heritage

Yep, another band from Canada that was formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague” and one of the best progressive bands out there that everyone needs to hear. This song is from the album “Life In Lucidity” released on Sumerian Records.

Now stand on the shoulders of history’s tallest thinkers
See that their height is borrowed from predecessors
And even the worst ideas can spur better conceptions
Pushing humankind along an evolutionary rite of passage

The whole British Rock movement in the Sixties came about because of the love the British musicians had for the American Blues movement. They borrowed from their predecessors to make new creations. Hell, Led Zeppelin took blue and folk staples and built a career of that. That E7(#9) chord that Jimi Hendrix so famously used in “Purple Haze” was used consistently by Wes Montgomery years before. However it is known to the masses as the “Hendrix Chord”.

We’ll be tomorrow’s heritage
The giants of advancing thought
But if only we respect the statuesque preceding

Machine Head – Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones

It was hard to pick a song from Machine Head because “Sail Into The Black”, “Killers and Kings” and “Game Over” are all up there as well, however “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” was a favourite right from the start. That whole intro build up made me want to pick up my work desk and throw it out the window.

From my throat the agonies emit
My demons wrestle and my thoughts conflict
The stench of bile, as I purge this hate
An inner struggle I can’t separate

With all that was happening behind the scenes between the Machine Head members it is a miracle that this album was finished and finally released.

Adrenaline Mob – Dearly Departed

Adrenaline Mob’s aura is a throwback to the Eighties period. Yeah, I know they might have had some nu-metal style of riffing in some songs, overall, the feel is still classic Eighties.

I gave you everything
Took you under my wing
With open arms brought you in the family

I don’t allow people into my life that easily anymore. The band members from my last band left me cautious and then when they put in song writing claims for songs that I had registered in 2005 (and the band formed in 2008, with the bass player that also put in a claim joining in 2010) I was furious. The deceitfulness shown by them I thought wasn’t possible in humans and it was a real eye-opener to me to be more careful.

Fight or Flight – Leaving

The side project that featured members from Evans Blue and Disturbed.

Living life through compromise

Being married for more than fifteen years is basically living a life through compromise on both sides. Having kids further compromises that life. Working a Monday to Friday job is another compromise. Get where I am going with this. Are there any people out there that have never compromised anything of themselves?

Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died

Sanctuary are a cult favourite of mine and the thing is as much as I tried to get into Nevermore, I just couldn’t. Then came Warrel Dane’s solo album and I was like “yeah”. And with Sanctuary’s new one, it’s a “Fuck Yeah”.

What if there is nothing more?
What if there is only emptiness?
What if there is nothing more
Beyond the code of deliverance?
What if everything decays?
What if we’ve all just been betrayed?
The code of deliverance leads us closer
We are closer to the end

It’s like a modern-day “Draconian Times” from Paradise Lost all wrapped up into one song.

ONE LAST ENTRY: Black Veil Brides – Faithless

Say what you want about them and their look but man, this band has two deadset shredders in Jinxx (plus he plays a mean violin) and Jake Pitts.

“Faithless” is a riff romp and the Bob Rock production just takes it to another level. Even the vocal tone of Andy Biersack which I am not a big fan off is pretty good under the tutelage of Rock.

Live with defiance
It’s time to fight
Don’t ever let them keep your words from being heard

Dee Snider would be proud.

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

Evergrey Compendium

Evergrey.

What a cool name for a band!

Tom and Dan Nojd the original bassist came up with the name after they saw their life and situation as always grey. Everything seemed to be forever grey. The logo and the artwork remind me more of a black metal band, which is the yin and the yang because musically Evergrey are melodic and progressive.

To anyone that is prepared to listen to me, Evergrey is one band that I continually try to spread the word for. Just recently I was asked to give a few people a list of the Top 10 songs from my point of view. At first I relished the challenge and then I struggled with it. Evergrey are 16 years into their career and nine albums deep. If you take the average 10 songs per album, there is a pool of 90 or so songs to pick from. Also for a band that hails from Sweden their Spotify presence is not huge so I needed to bring out the good old CD’s and YouTube.

Well after spending a week playing a John Kalodner style role with the music of Evergrey, here is the sequenced list just like they would be on that imaginary album in my head.

The Masterplan

Evergrey was started in 1995 by Tom Englund and former guitar-player Dan Bronell. By the time 2001 rolled around their career had been moving up. There was a fan base to please when they set about creating their third album.

The tone is set with the tape recorder spoken intro.

“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…”

“The Masterplan” is from the 2001 concept album “In Search Of Truth”. On hand again to produce was former King Diamond guitarist Andy La Rocque. How good is that 7/8 syncopated intro? This is Evergrey in Progressive Metal territory.

We are all a part of
Forced to live within
Conspiracy for ages
The masterplan

The vocal melody and the frantic energy of the music seals the deal.

This was a new Evergrey from the previous two albums that came before “In Search Of Truth”. Founder Tom S Englund and hard-hitting drummer Patrick Carlsson welcomed a new keyboard player in Sven Karlsson and a new bass player in Michael Håkansson. Both of them came from the band Embraced. And then there was the new guitar virtuoso from Denmark, Henrik Danhage.

Changes happen in bands because it is hard to have people hat are just not putting in the same effort as to what the others put in. That is why bands make decisions at certain points in time. They all want to have people around them that have the same drive and goals as them.

Broken Wings
From “Torn” released in 2008 and this time Evergrey is dabbling in heavy rock.

For this album, gone is the huge stage presence of bassist Michael Håkansson and in his place comes Jari Kainulainen from Stratovarius.

And if you look at the 2001 version of the band, also gone is keyboardist Sven Karlssonn who was replaced in 2001 by Christian Rehn and Rehn was then replaced by Rikard Zander in 2002. Other changes that happened involved the departure of Patrick Carlsson on drums, who was replaced by Jonas Ekdahl in 2003.

I came so close that I felt the flames
I came so close that I’ll never be safe again
I’d give anything to find a way to leave the fear and evacuate

The flame inspires so many different meanings. We feel the flames when we don’t heed or listen to the advice of others. Icarus failed to heed or listen to his father and flew too close to the sun. In life and in relationships, we always want to see the good in people. We always believe that we can help people. And then we come full circle when the people that we believed we liked or helped turn on us.

King Of Errors
Evergrey released “Glorious Collision” in 2011. Awards, certifications and praise followed after the release however the band was about to be broken again with the departures of Van Dahl and Jidell after only a short time with the band. Englund wanted to call time. However a commitment to play a few festival shows led to an unexpected return and a the possibility of a new future.

“King of Errors” is from the new one, “Hymns For The Broken” released this year. The band now is normal mainstay Tom Englund on vocals and guitar. Rikard Zander is still on keys along with Johan Niemann who joined in 2010 on bass, while Henrik Danhage and Jonas Ekdahl rejoined the band again.

“They call us kings
Then watch us fall down broken”

For some reason, we are all attracted to a story of someone high-profile crashing and burning. For some it is seen as a bittersweet “sucked in” story while others see it as a tragedy. In our personal lives, the kings could be our parents, our partners, a certain friend or a work colleague. And normally when “our kings” crash and burn, we just watch.

I watched my cousin, a person who I looked up to immensely and who also introduced me to metal and rock music “crash and burn” as he struggled with bi-polar and schizophrenia. I just didn’t know how to deal with it and decided it was best to just watch him fall down broken.

Soaked

Also from “Torn” released in 2008.

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

The vocals are straight up.

What a way to start the song?

“Soaked” is a pure metal gem that a lot more people need to hear and digest.

Haven’t you had that feeling in a relationship?

You feel like you have given the relationship everything that you have and it just wasn’t enough. All that is left is to walk away however you never really walk away, as a little piece of you still remains rooted there, like your heart or your blood.

Frozen
The frantic opening kicks off this beauty from the “Glorious Collision” album released in 2011. Another album, another new band dynamic, however due to the monolith that is known as Tom Englund, it is still EVERGREY.

This time around the band consists of Tom Englund on vocals and guitars, Rikard Zander on keys, Johan Niemann on bass along with new additions Marcus Jidell on guitar and Hannes Van Dahl on drums, who came on board to replace Danhage and Ekdahl who left to focus on DeathDestruction.

If we took time to contemplate
The years have passed and now it’s late
Much too late to compensate
The loss that made me frozen

Knowing what we know about the departure of Ekdahl and Danhage, you cant help but feel that the lyrics are about Englund’s emotional state after the departure. Even though they posted that it had to happen to preserve the friendships, there is still a sense of loss and with time, the loss can grow deeper or it can be forgotten.

A Touch Of Blessing
From “The Inner Circle” album released in 2004. You can interchange “The Masterplan” chorus with this one.

Climbing walls of an endless circle
Walking paths you never heard of
Struggling in an endless battle
Searching far for a higher purpose
Drowning in betrayal’s river
The freezing cold will make you shiver
Join the world of greater learning
Crown me king and be my servants

That whole verse vocal melody just reminds me of Maynard from Tool.  Even though the song is part of a concept story about religious cults, that verse just sums up so many different aspects of normal everyday life.

Fear
Another metal classic from the “Torn” album released in 2008. It was like they started fresh again after “Monday Morning Apocalypse”. The “Torn” album to me has three bona-fide metal classics in “Broken Wings”, “Soaked” and “Fear”.

If I could I’d crown myself each day
If I could I’d let myself know I’m okay
If I could I’d throw myself into the flames

I don’t know about you, but I keep my inner fears close to me. So when you see another soul, talk about the same feelings, a connection is made instantly. In 2008, I was going through this fear.

You
“You” is a head banger type of song, purely built for the live show. It is also from the excellent “Glorious Collision” released in 2011.

I wear these marks of shame
Not with pride my head’s held low

History tells me that the people who wore the marks of shame are the persecuted ones and I don’t want to persecute myself mentally anymore. Life is all about mistakes and learning from them, however to others life is about mistakes and then making those people wear those mistakes like marks of shame.

And if weakness is a virtue
And an act of strength a pride
Then I am king and misery’s my empire

So many feelings and emotions.

Archaic Rage

Also from the current album, “Hymns For The Broken”.

‘Cause who I am to you does not reflect the truth

A brilliant lyric. I always keep a little bit of who I am to myself. I call it flexing my style to suit my surroundings. The only problem with that is when I explode, it is never pretty.

Dark Waters

Englund read a book called “Communion” by Whitley Strieber and the book affected him very deeply that he decided to base the concept story on the basic feelings and fears of the character in the book .

This song is a guilty pleasure for me. It is also from the 2001 concept album “In Search Of Truth”. It’s got so many different emotions and movements, that it still stands up as a great song, years later. From about 3.30 the song kicks into gear. It is heavy, then it comes down to a ballad like instrumental movement and it starts to build up again. It just keeps on rolling and rocking.

Deprived of all pride
I’ve been stripped of all value

Welcome to the Evergrey world.

Standard