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
“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.