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


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 shepherd led, we blindly followed
Into the world of no tomorrow

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

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

With hands held high, we can rule the world

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

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

I’m just a creature of a broken past
We’re all looking for a second chance

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

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

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

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

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

Seduced by fame
A moth into the flame

All for publicity
Destruction going viral

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.

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

Haken – Affinity

It’s a new game.

Every artist should be aiming at getting their music on a playlist like Spotify’s Discover Weekly Playlist. It’s a playlist that artists and their record label can’t buy in too. YET. Maybe in the future, a spot in the playlist could be cemented for a fee. But not right now.

For those that don’t know, the Discover Weekly Playlist recommends songs and artists to me based on what others have listened to that I’ve listened to as well. This is where discovery happens and to be discovered, an artist needs to be everywhere, especially on a streaming service.

“The Endless Knot” from Haken came into my Spotify Discovery playlist a few weeks ago and it got me interested in Haken.

A week later I am listening to their new album “Affinity” and enjoying every minute of it.

It’s all about moods for me and Haken have caught me in my prog mood.

Throughout the history of prog, bands fell into a few categories, pre-determined by King Crimson, Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd and ELP.

Dream Theater successfully and commercially merged hard rock and metal with Rush, U2, Pink Floyd and Yes influences. And from that union, you had bands that followed the DT route.

Fates Warning started off as a metal band that got technical and progressive as they matured. Their style would morph even more in the Nineties and two thousands. And you had bands that followed that route.

Meanwhile, Tool would take the King Crimson and Pink Floyd route. And you had many bands that followed that route.

Then you had math rock and math metal bands and the many bands that followed that route.

And it was rare for bands to intertwine the different styles.

Eventually Porcupine Tree came out in the Nineties and had a sound that merged a lot of the above different styles. Then they went into a more pop direction via “Trains” and “Lazarus”. Great songs by the way.

However it was Fates Warning very underrated “Disconnect” album released in 2000 that combined all the various styles into one cohesive package and “Affinity” is another album that combines so many different elements of the prog genre into a cohesive and enjoyable package.

I was actually shocked when I found out “Affinity” is the fourth studio album.

See how hard it is to be heard above the noise and if it wasn’t for the Discover Playlist, I still wouldn’t know about the band.

So what I know about them is from Wikipedia. Formed in 2007 by To-Mera guitarist/keyboardist Richard Henshall and the name “Haken” was derived under the influence of alcohol or weed while in high school. I do remember listening to some music from To-Mera due to an ad in the PROG magazine from Classic Rock but I can’t remember any tracks.

In digging for information I was blown away by the work effort of Richard Henshall. Check it out below.

2008: Haken – Enter the 5th Dimension (demo)
2009: To-Mera – Earthbound (EP)
2010: Haken – Aquarius
2011: Haken – Visions
2011: Opinaut – Oxygen (EP)
2012: To-Mera – Exile
2013: Haken – The Mountain
2014: Haken – Restoration (EP)
2016: Haken – Affinity

Compared to the global superstars of the MTV era, he is a still an unknown entity, but even though he might not have the dollar riches, he does have the musical riches. And he is still making music. Looks like he missed the memo from Gene Simmons to pack up his guitars and become a technologist or go work in the financial sector.


It sounds like Karnivool. Nothing new, but a great listen.

I observe a world jarring in turmoil
A million people waging war at the hands of a god

It’s human history since the dawn of time. How many wars in the name of a god?

I’ll do things you can’t conceive
There’ll be no strings on me

Free will is an illusion. We believe we have it, but there are so many strings and chains attached to it, we actually have nothing.


It comes in at 9 minutes long. Guitarist, Charlie Griffiths sent the band the initial version. He was inspired by listening to the music of Toto, Vince DiCola (Rocky music director) and Van Halen. It’s got heaps of 80’s electronica sounds, heaps of Vince DiCola montages and heaps of Dream Theater bits. Some seem ripped off. It’s totally unoriginal and yet it sounds original. Overall, it’s a pretty good song and it’s the one that sticks out the most and my favourite of the lot.

I stand map in hand
Direction misaligned
I play my role
With the cast of a die

The person in the song has a map but they cannot make sense of where to go. It’s because their steps are controlled by unseen puppet masters, faceless people who corrupt and infiltrate every facet of government and our lives.

My first step
Was undertaken aimlessly
Yet I arrive
As if I’m meant to be

How many of us walk away from a job that pays well to follow a dream from our youths?

The answer is not many. And our lives are determined by wages coming in just to pay loans, credit cards and other bills. Like the lyric states, we arrive to the place of servitude like it was meant to be.

Did I decide
Or did the road choose me?

As mentioned above, 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.

“The Architect”

Almost 16 minutes long.

Message on a screen before me
Caught a glimpse of the ending to our story
‘I’m sorry I haven’t called you recently’

Are the lyrics talking about a break up via a text message?

Me thinks so. That’s communication in the modern world.

You turned your back on affinity
Now it’s turned to toxicity

The promise of being together forever has turned toxic.

Delete all obsolete memories
Shores of tranquillity
My monastery

All of those memories that a person needs to forget when a relationship goes sour. The longer the relationship the harder it is.

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

Omnipresent means to be present everywhere, like a god, the universe or some other divine being that watches and controls all. The endless knot is an ancient symbol that shows lines interweaving with each other, and although all existence is bound by time and change, it all still rests within the Divine and Eternal lines of the symbol.

So the lyrics are stating that “The Architect” of our thoughts is an omnipresent chameleon that watches and dictates our ideas and lives.

“The Endless Knot”

The shepherd led, we blindly followed
Into the world of no tomorrow

We grow up believing that people have good intentions. However, life and society is more complicated. And the shepherds we follow have all been corrupted by money and greed.

Break me down to pieces
And strip me of my freedom

It’s like when you get a mortgage. Your freedom is stripped. Until you pay that mortgage off, you have none of it. And with each pay cheque, the system just breaks us down a little bit at a time.

We need a story to believe in
We need a hero to prevail

That’s why TV shows are ruling the entertainment industry. The story develops over 10 to 15, 1 hour episodes instead of a 2 hour movie.

Give “Affinity” a listen. I still am. It still keeps me interested. Eventually I will dig in to the earlier stuff. But not right now. “Affinity” has my attention.

I feel like it’s the 80’s, where you buy the album and listen to it over and over again. Then you save up some cash and purchase an earlier album. But that could take months or years in some cases.