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

2000 – Part 4

A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms

This album became a favourite of mine. It was metal, but different. It was hard rock, but different. It was progressive rock, but with shorter songs and based on moods and grooves. It was atmospheric rock, but different. It was like soundtrack music but it wasn’t.

This project is the brainchild of guitarist Billy Howerdel, who did his time as a guitar techie for countless musicians and tours. On down time, he wrote songs on his computer, which Tool vocalist Maynard heard and wanted to write lyrics to. And APC was born.

It was a 5 skulls out of 5 skulls review in the Hot Metal mag I used to buy, which at this time became known as “HM” as the term “Metal” was uncool to use.

“Judith” has a groove riff which gets the head banging. And that pre – chorus;

Fuck your God
Your Lord and your Christ
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
Still you pray, you never stray
Never taste of the fruit
You never thought to question why

“Orestes” is my favourite track on the album.

The vocal melody from Maynard is like a lead guitar and the drumming in the song, especially in the outro by Josh Freese is a testament in its own right. And when the lead from Billy Howerdel comes in, it’s like a vocal melody as well.

Gotta cut away, clear away
Snip away and sever this
Umbilical residue

“Renholder” has a “Diary Of A Madman” like intro which hooks me. Actually, the band used to merge “Diary Of A Madman” with “Love Song” from The Cure in live settings.

“Brena” which when sang is “Brenya” is another one of those atmospheric songs in the verses with a crashing chorus and a vocal line that sounds like a lead instrument. And again, those outros make you want to press repeat.

Godsmack – Awake

Their brand of Groove Metal, a band name from an Alice In Chains song and Sully Erna’s voice (being different to what I was used to) is what interested me.

While I gravitated to it, a lot of people didn’t. I remember reading reviews that said the band “puts out average boring metal” and I’m like, what the hell does that mean.

And this album is the in between sophomore slump. You know the one. The first album, it has your whole life’s worth of song writing ready for consideration, but on the second album, you only have a few months to come up with tunes. And artists write consistently, but sometimes, they need to go back and revisit tracks. Time makes them great.

Stand out tracks on this one are “Awake”, the closer “Journey/Spiral”, “Trippin” and “Greed”.

The next album, “Faceless” is the album that really put Godsmack on the map.

Papa Roach – Infest

“CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES, THIS IS MY LAST RESORT!”.

The lyrics are from “The Last Resort”, which has a Bruce Dickinson/Gers riff from “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” hooked me in to this band.

Other worthy tracks are “Broken Home” and “Between Angels And Insects”.

And it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, Papa Roach might have broken during the Nu-Metal phase but they are a hard rock band with some serious mileage on the board.

Twenty years’ worth of mileage.

Lifehouse – No Name Face

All of my hard rock friends ignored Lifehouse because they got labelled “post-grunge”. And I was like, what the hell does that mean.

They are just a rock band.

Anyway, Lifehouse just seems to hang around in my life. Maybe it is because my wife played the “No Name Face” album to death at home and in the car when it came out in 2000.

While “Hanging By A Moment” had the traction, it was album cuts like “Cling and Clatter”, “Quasimodo” and “Everything” that hooked me in. And if you do listen to any track, make sure its “Everything”. That last 90 seconds feels like a spiritual awakening, a perfect end for the melancholic beginning.

“No Name Face” is the winning season, the championship, for everything that came after.

Three Doors Down – A Better Life

“Kryptonite”, “Be Like That” and “Loser” got a lot of air play, but this album has some good album cuts, a bit heavier, like “Duck And Run” and “Better Life”. Especially, the lyrics in “Duck And Run”.

To this world I’m unimportant
Just because I have nothing to give
So you call this your free country
Tell me why it cost so much to live

There was always winners and losers but it was never amplified the way it is today, with social media. The endless “death scroll”, as people see the happiness that other people are supposably having. Covid-19 has changed it up a bit, as a lot of people would normally put up holiday shots at scenic places, but these are on hold for the next couple of years.

And I live in a free country as well, but man, I am budgeting my way through life, because to live is expensive. And that’s just to keep a roof over our heads.

All my work and endless measures
Never seem to get me very far
Walk a mile just to move an inch
Now even though I’m trying so damn hard

Ever tried to lose weight. You bust your ass dieting and working out, only to drop a few grams each week, but within a week of stopping, you have put on a kilo.

And when I’m putting plans in place to try and create a better life, there are times, when it feels like I’m operating with an unseen life anchor, which likes to keep me in the same place. It’s at this moment, I ask myself, do I give up or do I change tact or do I re-evaluate and re-calibrate.

And I won’t duck and run, cause
I’m not built that way

As John Cougar Mellencamp said, you need to stand for something or you would fall for everything. Stand for what you believe in and say your truth. People might disagree or people might agree or people might offer different advice. That’s all part of life.

Powderfinger – Odyssey Number 5

They played a brand of rock that music writers said “moved between Post Rock, Hard Rock, Folk Rock and Pop Rock”. And Australian audiences loved em. To me, they are simply a hard rock band.

Bernard Fanning is one hell of a vocalist, who had this voice that could rock as hard as Scott/Johnson from AC/DC, be all Robert Plant like when it needed to be and yet, he could produce the baritone vocals of Eddie Vedder, all tied in with his own unique tones.

“Waiting for the Sun” opens the album with a jangly minor chord and it’s all systems go.

“My Happiness” was the big single.

My happiness is slowly creeping back,
Now you’re at home.
If it ever starts sinking in
It must be when you pack up and go

Whatever your job might be, the worst is when you have to say goodbye to loved ones for a period of time. Going on a tour, going interstate or overseas or being deployed with the military.

“The Metre” starts off with just an acoustic guitar, a vocal and some strings. It was rejected as sounding too similar to their other stuff, but yeah, this is Powderfinger, so you would expect them to have songs similar in style. AC/DC built a 50 year career on it.

And I like the Beatles like chorus melody with the lyrics “Welcome to the saving grace / There’s a sunset on the road / reappearing as we go”.

Time moves forward, and we need to move forward with it.

Sunsets and Sunrises are part of life.

What we do with each one is up to us?

“Like a Dog” has a dig at the Australian Government of the time and their treatment of Indigenous Australians, with an AC/DC like Chorus and a sleazy bluesy single note riff to underpin it.

“Now we’re trying hard to reconcile a history of shame/ But he reinforced the barriers that keep it the same.”

“Up and Down and Back Again” is one of my favourite tracks.

If everybody knows just who you are
When your walk on role becomes a major part
Have you ever attempted to be yourself?
When everybody wants you to be someone else?

You see it a lot when it comes to art, especially art that starts to make money. Because once art starts making money, people who create nothing want a cut, so they enforce their expectation onto the artist. It even happens in the workplace, when it’s hard to be yourself or to express your views.

“My Kind Of Scene” has a rolling single note guitar line, a subdued drum beat, with a haunting vocal line from Fanning.

Tell me where I’m supposed to begin
an unhappy life working, some kind of dead end job

Is this the scene you want?

And Covid-19 has shown the world, that nothing is stable. So people are queuing up for unemployment benefits, while Governments foot the bill.

Which they should?

“These Days” has one of the most simplest and effective vocal intros ever.

This life, well, it’s slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned

So it’s time to re-evaluate and re-calibrate. The destination is never a straight line from here to there. It’s got its bumps and roundabouts and back to starts.

See ya at 1985 for Part 4.

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

2018 – Legends Will Rise – Part 1

It’s time to start the year in review.

Here is the playlist for all the songs.

I have over 150 songs saved, and I’ve broken my comments on each song over a few posts.

When Legends Rise
Godsmack

It’s the title track. Generic nu-Metal in the music, but those vocal melodies from Sully Erna are addictive.

Legs are tired
These hands are broken
Alone I tried
With words unspoken
A silent cry
My breath is frozen
With blinded eyes
I fear myself

It’s the mindset that makes it happen. If the mind believes it’s possible, you will find a way to make it possible, even when your body screams stop.

It’s burning down
It’s burning high
When ashes fall
Legends rise

When your backs against the wall, when you have that last play, that last punch, that last kick, that last run left to do, the ones who succeed are the ones who have failed before.

I played it to my kids and they immediately connected with the lyrics.

Eye Of The Storm
Godsmack

In the eye of the storm I make my stand
But I’m not waiting for the walls to close in
I just brace myself for the winds to change their ways

Great analogy about the chaos of life we face everyday.

Forever And A Day
Gathering of Kings

The song is written by Victor Olsson. Actually all of the songs are written by Victor on this album and there is hardly a mention of him in the news, sort of like how Alessandro Delvecchio is the silent partner in Frontiers project.

This project is like a Steely Dan project in Swedish Melodic Rock circles with musicians from The Night Flight Orchestra, Spiritual Beggars, Treat, Eclipse, Corroded, Saffire and Pretty Maids all involved.

What can I say I’m a sucker for tunes like this.

Through
Remember Me
Gioeli Castronovo

Another Frontiers Records project of getting certain people together to deliver a melodic rock album written by Alessandro Delvecchio.

And how cool does the “Heavens On Fire” vocal melody sound over different chords on “Through”.

Sorry
Stryper

One thing about Stryper is they are still in the game, releasing albums and each one has a classic song or two on them with some killer guitar playing.

Like the lead break on this song.

Check it out.

Monolith
Thirty Seconds To Mars

It’s only a minute and thirty seven seconds instrumental, but it’s enough. It couldnt be any longer as it sets a feel and emotion of something big to come.

Great Wide Open
Thirty Seconds To Mars

Into the great wide open
Across a land of blood and dreams

I remember when Dad and my older brother got our first family car, which was a shitty Mitsubishi L300 Van. It just felt like all the borders and city limits evaporated and suddenly we were traveling into the great wide open.

Live Like A Dream
Thirty Seconds To Mars

Live like a dream
Broken but free

Life is tough. It tries to break us, make us obey and it tries to make us fit a mold made by someone else.

Burn
W.E.T

Get ready to be sent back to the mid 80s in another Frontiers Melodic Rock Project.

Calm Before The Storm
Light The Torch

Howard Jones delivers a stellar vocal performance that deals with addiction.

The nights are getting colder
The days are growing long
And you do not know what you’re fighting for
Come back to where you started
Come back where you belong
And I won’t be your calm before the storm

How good is the Chorus vocal melody?

This Is War
Audrevolution
Blackout

Audrey Horne

From Norway.

I’m fuel to the fire
Flame rising higher
This is war
We we’ll never be silent
Or divided
This is war

When I turn to the news pages on the web, there is so much abuse of power.

Bankers are abusing their position, getting rich by selling debt. Politicians are abusing their positions to cater for corporations instead of the people who voted them in. People in power abusing their positions for sexual gratitude and if the victim doesn’t comply, they railroad their career.

So what can the rest of us do?

Do we just stand divided, so focused on our ones and zeroes in our bank accounts or do we get together and make change.

It’s up to us.

Welcome to the Audrevolution
666 our own constitution

I sing the 6-6-6 with drink-drink-drink.

A Love Unreal
Black Label Society

My review of this song is here and that guitar solo.

Luminary
Juno

Tesseract

Progressive rock has come a long way from its 70s explosion. To me a song can be in 4/4 and still be progressive. TesseracT sit someone in between with their off beat polyrhythms, atmospheric guitars or jarring guitars with melodic vocals.

Are you alone, locked inside
That prison in your head?
You walk through the crowd
Lost in the sound
Invisible to every passing eye

It’s a symptom of the times. We are connected socially by digital means but when in public, we put our headphones on, keep to ourselves and get lost in the crowd, with our thoughts to keep us company.

Walls Come Down
Pink Cream 69

A German act.

You never tried to soften your words
Twisted your terms, took us for fools
And all you know is what you’ve been told

Upbringing, family and the social class you keep as you grow are all pivotal in how you understand the world.

If there is a racist in your circle, you will have racist views. If their is a climate change denier in the group, you will have denial views as well.

And when you come across people with views that differ, how do you respond. Do you yell back with your own views?

The Peace
WASP

Blackie can sure write a kick arse ballad. You can read my review here.

Behind A Mask
Machine Head

Another song which I have covered in a separate blog post.

Right Left Wrong
Strange Days

Three Days Grace

So here I go
Left right left
Right left wrong
I don’t know where I’m going
But I just keep moving on
Moving on

So true. Wandering aimlessly without a thought. You know you need to get away but to where.

Raise a glass to the end of it all
Who’s to blame when it’s everyone’s fault?
And we celebrate our way through dangerous times
Strange days are comin’ for us
Say goodbye to the way that it was
And we celebrate our way through dangerous times

The times in a nutshell. We are comfortable and oblivious to all the shit we allow people in positions of power get away with. To raise our voice, to demonstrate, means to be uncomfortable and the majority just want comfort.

No Surrender
Judas Priest

The riff hooks me and then the chorus lyrics seal the deal.

Chasing a dream as I go higher
Playing it mean, my heart’s on fire
Living my life, ain’t no pretender
Ready to fight with no surrender

Yeah it all rhymes and it’s simple and it’s dumb and i fucking dig it.

Next Few Steps
Surrender The Crown

From Germany.

I know for a fact that duty always bounds to love

Duty means a responsibility or a task of action that one is required to perform as part of ones job.

So when Love gets in the way, get ready for duty.

Transition
CrashCarBurn

From South Africa and they’ve been rocking since 2006. They came into my listening headspace back in 2014 because of piracy.

And since then I’ve been a fan on Spotify. This is from the new album “Headlights” and no one even knows about it.

Love Can Only Heal
Myles Kennedy

The feel of this song and the outro is what hooks me.

Nevermind the pain
‘Cause love can only heal
If only you could trade the dark for light it might reveal
That there’s a place inside
Don’t be afraid to feel
‘Cause love can only heal

Sometimes love is not enough especially when you don’t have it around you.

Blues Won’t Leave Me Alone
RSO

Orianthi kills it on this track. Her vocal line delivery is outstanding and her leads on the track is what legends are made off.

On Spotify it’s totally forgotten at 35K streams and on YouTube it’s sitting at 217K views. Still anemic for the quality in this song.

Creatures
Monsters

Shinedown

As they chase the charts with songs that don’t sound like Shinedown, let’s hope they don’t forget why they made the charts in the first place, by playing kick ass rock.

These two songs are how I like Shinedown to sound.

The Void
Chronos
Prey

Parkway Drive

From Australia.

This is the album that connected with me and it’s album number 6 from them.

Musically the riffs are there, bone crushing when they need to be and melodic when they need to be.

No Masters
Bad Wolves

This is a great song with lyrics that connect.

Back on that chain gang, strumming along
Hammering nails so I can sing my song
The devil done this to me
I drive the spikes down, profound
Building the cages that all broke us down
Boy get back down on your knees

As Sebastian Bach from Skid Row belted out, “how can I be king of the world if I’m a slave to the grind”.

So why are we spending our time building someone else’s dream instead of ours?

So take these chains from me
We’ll break these bastards
There’s no masters here

Sounds great on paper but reality is so much different. As much as we said we’re not gonna take it, we did take it and became slaves in the process.

A thousand boots down on the ground
Beating a drum under a marching sound
You better fucking believe
They’re screaming left right, left right
Fist in the air you better pick a side
Against the plutocracy

Plutocracy means government by the wealthy. And god damn it, it’s true. If the politicians are not wealthy, their faceless sponsors are.

Because even though politicians are voted in by the people, they refuse to serve the people, while the bend over for the corporation and their lobbyists.

Stay tuned for the other parts to come..

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Music, My Stories

Old Friends

An old friend from the “single days” was having a christening for his second daughter. These days, our lifestyles are so busy and with three kids of my own and a full time job, I just don’t have the time to catch up with everyone.

Actually I made a decision about 15 years ago that I would be “unofficially” breaking connections with the old crew. This means that we just stop calling each other and we just stopped organising to meet up. At the time, I just got married, I was working full time (which involved travelling for 3 hours in total to my place of work and back) and I was trying to give my music career a shot. Basically I was walking a different path to my “single” friends.

Then throughout the years, the “single” friends started to get married and then started to have kids of their own along with me having kids. So the only time that I would meet up with them would be at these functions. As the years went by, the paths we all walked on started to became so radically different that when I was at the christening on the weekend, I really didn’t want to be there.

I had nothing to say to them and they had nothing to say to me. It was the usual “HI” and the usual “SO, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO”. My answer to that was “HI” and “THE USUAL”. And the lyrics to “Double Talkin Jive” filled my ears as this conversation was happening.

Back in town an’a all new friends
They sayin’ how ya been?
Fucked up and outta place
That’s how I felt back then

So much living has passed between the “single” days and today, that we are now polar opposites. We are like strangers seeing each other. There is no friendship bond anymore for me. In addition, a lot of “Chinese Whispers” have burned my ears in relation to words said behind my back, so I am very careful around them.

Some of the old crew have remained together, hanging out on weekends and all that, however that is due to the women they got as wives being all friends and knowing each other.

So you have one crew that I call the “Wives Crew”. These are the guys that remained together as “friends” because their wives knew each other. Pantera’s “Walk” comes to mind.

Run your mouth when I’m not around
It’s easy to achieve

Then you have the “Fake Crew”. These are the guys that are all fake. I know this because at one of the functions when they got pretty toasted, they spilled the beans about how hard it is to pretend to like the “Wives Crew”, the “Twins Crew” and the “Backstab Crew”.

Your life’s a lie, that you hide

Then you have the “Twins Crew”. This is the two twin brothers crew, who when single were inseparable and now with wives barely know each other. The older twin by 15 minutes was the one doing the christening and is the one that tries that do the right thing. It looks like the younger twin is under lock and key from his wife, which is causing the issues.

Then you have the “Backstab Crew” that involves two couples that will backstab the “Wives Crew” and “Twins Crew” to the “Fake Crew” and then backstab the ““Twins Crew” and “Fake Crew” to the “Wives Crew” and then backstab the “Wives Crew” and “Fake Crew” to the “Twins Crew”.

Hey! Oh, Mr. backstabbing son of a bitch
You’re living in a world that will soon be dying
And I know, everybody knows you try to be like me
But even at your best, as a man you couldn’t equal half of me

You! You’re another shit talking punk to me
You’re living inspiration for what I never wanna be
And I see, you’ve been blinded by what you believe
And now back up and sit down, shut up and act like you need to be

Nothing sums up the “Backstab Crew” better than “The Enemy” from Godsmack. Legend has it that Sully Erna wrote the song about Nikki Sixx.

And then you have my wife and I. “The Separate Path Crew” that don’t care about what all the other Crews do and that upsets those crews even more. We just don’t fit their mould. And with that, let’s finish the post with some Five Finger Death Punch.

YOU WON’T BREAK ME
NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY
YOU CAN’T SHAKE ME DOWN
I’M FUCKING BULLETPROOF

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