“Blue For You” is studio album number 9 for Status Quo released in March 1976. Coming into this album, they had built up a pretty solid fan base in the U.K, Australia, Netherlands, France, Spain and New Zealand.
And they never properly broke through into the U.S market on the backs of sales, but with the streaming numbers they are getting these days, you could say that the band has broken into U.S market.
How many bands get a chance to record 9 albums?
And guess what, their biggest songs, would come on subsequent albums?
Status Quo for this album is John Coghlan on drums, Alan Lancaster on bass/guitar and vocals, Rick Parfitt on guitar/keyboards and vocals and Francis Rossi on guitar and vocals.
Is There A Better Way
Is there a better song that merges pub rock, rock and roll and a bit of street attitude then this?
Press play and let Status Quo mesmerize you with this.
Mad About The Boy
A 12 bar blues boogie tune.
Ring Of A Change
Thousands of bands played like this in 1976. Some had success doing it and others didn’t. Status Quo had very good vocalists behind this with pop like sensibilities who also rocked hard.
Blue For You
The title track. It’s got that 60’s rhythm and blues feel.
I’m a fan of the more energetic songs like this one.
Written by guitarist Rick Parfitt, “Rain” also became the first single from the album, reaching No. 7 in the UK charts after its release in February 1976.
Its B-side was the non-album track “You Lost the Love”, written by Francis Rossi and Bob Young.
The riffs in this song can be heard in the NWOBHM which came after. When ELO decided they wanted to rock, they sounded like this. They would use this kind of riff to greater commercial success later on with “Whatever You Want”. AC/DC also made a name for themselves jamming on chord vamps like this.
It has this “Radar Love” blues rock vamp happening. The only thing you could do is tap your foot and rock on.
That’s A Fact
I love the groove on this. It’s almost funky, but not. It also reminds me of “American Woman”.
Ease Your Mind
It’s a bit of Beatles, it’s a bit of rock and roll and a bit of soul. And a like it.
It’s like a progressive rock song without the time changes as the song goes through moods between atmospheric dream like folk rock to a full blown pub rocker.
And the album ends here.
But in 2005, they re-issued the album with some bonus tracks.
You Lost The Love
Dreamy pop rock written by guitarist Francis Rossi and Bob Young.
Wild Side Of Life
It sounds like a Beatles cut. And I like it.
It’s a cover song made famous by country singer “Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys” (now that is a band name) and written by Arlie Carter and William Warren.
It was originally released in 1952, and while it wasn’t on the original album for Status Quo, they did release it as a single in December 1976.
A perfect Christmas gift for those hardcore Status Quo fans. Its B-side was a new composition called, “All Through the Night”. The single reached No. 9.
Remember when artists used to do this. Release albums and singles more frequently. This was the strategy up to about 1985.
The rise of MTV in the 80’s and the “Blockbuster Release” strategy of spending a lot of dollars to get an album that each song could be a potential single (think “Thriller”, “Born In The USA”, “Brothers In Arms”, “The Joshua Tree” just to name a few) changed this model, because everything was about maximising the promotion of each release so the act could get multi-platinum sales.
There were a few surprises like “Back In Black” from AC/DC, “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” from Def Leppard, and “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi. They were just albums put together and they sold even higher than the “Blockbuster” albums.
And a bit of trivia, bassist Alan Lancaster had to come back home to Australia, so the bass duties on “Wild Side Of Life” are done by Roger Glover from Deep Purple.
All Through The Night
It’s got this heartland vibe written by guitarist Francis Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster. I dig the major key riff which is played under the chorus hook.
If you are keen to check out some 70’s hard rock and blues with smooth vocals, press play on this.
Status Quo are a British rock band formed in 1962 and originally called “The Scorpions”.
I am stretching the Australian link because founder and bassist Alan Lancaster, moved to Sydney after meeting his Australian wife.
After Status Quo, Lancaster played with leading Australian bands, The Bombers and The Party Boys.
A long time ago, I read a review on an old Yahoo run site, that classed Evergrey as “Doom metal” and “Dark Metal”. There is no doubt that Evergrey has built a career on writing songs that deal with sorrow, depression and a whole range of dark emotions. I have read reviews that state the band should lighten the fuck up.
But hey, no one said that life is pretty.
Evergrey’s 2011 album “Glorious Collision” is their 8th album. Like the albums before it, and like the albums that came after, it is a powerful and emotional journey through the human experience.
The press release had something like, the album’s sound is characterized by heavy guitars, soaring vocals, and intricate melodies that create a wall of sound that’s both intense and immersive.
But the reviews weren’t that kind. The usual websites who give every artist glowing reviews kept the reviews glowing, but when you get down to the more elitist blog sites, the reviews weren’t that kind.
The power metallers didn’t like, as they saw the band selling out and moving more into a commercial classic rock setting. The progressive websites kept saying they are not progressive anymore, just bland modern metal.
But, music is a connection between the artist and the fan. And Evergrey, courtesy of founder/vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund have fostered that connection with each album.
Production duties for “Glorious Collision” are also handled by Tom Englund.
But. Remember. Life isn’t pretty.
In May, 2010, before the album recording/writing even started, drummer Jonas Ekdahl, guitarist Henrik Danhage and bassist Jari Kainulainen left Evergrey. The press release said it was by mutual decision due to problems with the band members interacting with each other. The best outcome was to call it quits as to not ruin the friendship they all have with each other. Ekdahl and Danhage also went on to play with DeathDestruction, a Metal Hardcore band formed by Ekdahl and vocalist Jimmie Strimell from Dead By April.
For this album, founder Tom Englund is on vocals and guitar and Rikard Zander is on keyboards. Joining them is Marcus Jidell on guitar, Johan Niemann on bass and Hannes Van Dahl on drums. Female vocals are provided by Carina Englund (Tom’s wife at the time) and their daughter Salina Englund does guest vocals on “I’m Drowning Alone”.
Leave It Behind Us
In the twilight of the line-up changes and the turmoil of what was left of the band, Englund and Zander didn’t even know if they were going to continue. From 5 members only two remained. Then they wrote “Leave It Behind Us”.
All things that were known now are changing
It sums up what Englund felt back then and it also represents the melancholy of the album. The music is written by Tom Englund and Rickard Zander with Englund writing the lyrics as well.
The music is written by Englund and Marcus Jidell with lyrics written by Englund. It’s a classic rock track with a modern metal sound. And I like it.
And if weakness is a virtue And an act of strength a pride Then I am king and misery’s my empire
It’s a song about being let down, because the “you” in the song, is the one who said they will be there. But their nowhere to be seen.
It’s another Englund and Zander composition.
The album’s standout track which features a powerful vocal performance from Englund and an uplifting chorus that resonates. The song encourages you to stay true to yourself in the face of adversity.
It’s also the first single and it was certified gold in the band’s home country for sales in excess of 10,000 copies. I know it’s not a lot when you live in the North American market, but for a small market like Sweden, it’s plenty. This is also the band’s first certification in Sweden as well the first certification for their label at the time, Steamhammer/SPV in Sweden.
I always thought that I would know That when things were broken it would show Somehow I thought I always knew The difference between the lie and truth
Blindsided by change. It’s never easy to deal with, especially when you are the one being blindsided.
It’s obvious Englund is writing about a relationship. And the way the lyrics are written, most people might think it’s about a romantic relationship, but in the end it could be about any kind of relationship, romantic, parental or friendship.
Like the opening track, this hard hitter has music written by Zander and Englund with Englund writing the lyrics.
Everything is built from change All the things we recreate Fallen – lost – forsaken faith The unspoken made us frozen
It’s a powerful opening verse.
It’s bleak, and it shows how not talking about matters when you need to, leads you to being frozen many years later, when a separation happens.
Restoring the Loss
Written solely by Englund. Despite the heavy subject matter, there’s also a sense of hope and resilience that runs through. The song explores the power of forgiveness and redemption.
Don’t ask me to stretch any longer These arms are strained beyond what they can take Don’t ask me for strength cause it’s gone And I’ve reached my end restoring the loss to faith
We’ve all been there. As a species we don’t know how to say NO to people. So we end up worn out, used and unable to meet any commitments.
To Fit the Mold
This song connected straight away.
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Englund and Jidell. The song lyrically explores themes of conformity, loss, pain, and isolation.
We’re scared we’ll end up to nothing And we change to fit the mold We are… We’re accidents forced to happen
It’s a brilliant chorus. You really don’t know how strong family and social ties are in your life, until you get older. The conformity that these two institutions want to happen, is at another level.
I know from my point of view, I had to set some boundaries when it came to dealing with family, because it didn’t matter what I did, people were never satisfied.
Out of Reach
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.
So what now my friend Where do you go from here When will the dark days end And all the clouds clear
Falling out of reach You can’t prevent it You can’t cause All wounds won’t heal
One thing I know in life, is that change is constant. The biggest argument I have ever had is with people close to me, like family or friends. It’s always the case. They felt that my actions disappointed them, and I felt the same way towards them. When partners get involved, it makes it even more complicated.
When I think of the word “wounds” in the song title, I think of the hurt that is felt after words have been said. Because the mind, remembers everything.
The Phantom Letters
We get a trilogy of cuts written solely by Englund, with “The Phantom Letters”, “The Disease…” and “It Comes From Within”.
I like the melancholy and moody atmosphere this song creates.
All the words that I leave offer reasons Holds the keys to the doors that I’ve locked And I knew they would never be opened Cause the ashes fall from heaven
If you are into self-development books, this is the chapter that says to keep a journal and to write down each day, what you are grateful for, what you have accomplished and what you could do better. It’s also there to write down your fears, concerns and words you want to say to others but due to how you are brought up, you are unable to.
It’s a journey through the ups and downs of life, exploring themes of loss, pain, and isolation.
Been loyal to the blind Had friends that were not mine I failed to see the disease before it created distance
Englund is not finished about the departure of the previous members. The album highlights his emotions at this point in time.
It Comes from Within
And I’m lying here So tired so torn Threat comes from within
It’s taking me over It’s making me weak Brought my doubts to the surface It’s leaving me helpless with no air to breathe
We are our own worst enemies. Our minds can trick us into doing everything or nothing.
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.
It’s a very depressing song but there is a little bit of hope in the Chorus. Here are the lyrics, you decide.
I’ve read your words I understand it’s said it’s done I walk away in fear of what you said that I’ve become Can’t change your words now they are stains made to stay
Free are those who walk away from setting suns And free are those who laughed at chains that held them bound Free are those who conquers in vain but won’t stop to run Battered and down they pick up their pieces to rise as one
Free are souls who wander alone in the shade of sun And free are those who’s forgotten by all but still warm inside Free are they with no intention to fold never bend for the cold Just to find someone too
I’ve read your words I understand it’s said it’s done I walk away in fear of what you said that we’ve become Can’t change our words now Can’t make them undone I’ll walk away I’ll walk away Just walk away
I’m Drowning Alone
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund. The child choir is haunting here as they are singing the “release me from darkness” part.
Release me from darkness Release me from all that chains me here I’m drowning in silence And I’m drowning alone
I hate to ask but I wouldn’t if I didn’t need it Not stronger on my own I’m weaker just so much weaker And I know I never asked But I need you to help me
It’s okay to ask for help. So don’t be afraid and do ask for help.
…And the Distance
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.
I always presumed that since “The Disease” had three full stops at the end of it, and “The Distance” had three full stops at the start of it, that these two songs originally made ONE song called, “The Disease And The Distance”.
You’re keeping your distance, you’re pushing me away You’ve never let me say the words I want to say Our time here has withered Our circumstances changed
The themes of keeping silent to keep the peace run throughout the album. And the last song demonstrates that keeping the peace doesn’t lead to a happy future. It just delays the inevitable war that is about to come in a few years, maybe even a decade.
In its first week or release the album sold 900 copies in the United States. Hardly ground-breaking, but Everygrey always had a cult-like following. I actually purchased my version from the U.S Amazon Store. So I am not sure if my purchase counts as a U.S sale or an Australian sale.
The album was a new dawn, a new era. But that new dawn didn’t last.
The break with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage was civil enough to begin with, so when things started to break down with guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes Van Dahl, the former members were soon back in the fold. I also think the commercial failure of their side project DeathDestruction also helped speed this reunion up.
But their side project was also halted when vocalist Jimmie Strimell left to focus on Dead By April, as they appeared on the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest and got a second breakthrough in Sweden.
In relation to the Evergrey change, it happened when writing for the follow-up album started. Via Facebook posts, the band first confirmed that drummer Hannes Van Dahl would be leaving the band to join Sabaton as a full-time, and then due to “problems working together” guitarist Marcus Jidell would also be leaving. Van Dahl, is still with Sabaton, appearing on their last four albums. Marcus Jidell has been busy. He has Avatarium, who are actively releasing new product, plus The Doomsday Kingdom, and between 2015 and 2018, he played guitars in Soen.
As a fan, there is not a weak track on the album.
Overall, “Glorious Collision” is a triumph for Evergrey but more so a triumph for Tom Englund, who kept the identity and brand of Evergrey running, when he felt like he had nothing left to offer. His ability to combine heavy, atmospheric music with deep, introspective lyrics is truly impressive, and this album is a testament to his talent and dedication. If you’re a fan of heavy metal and rock or just appreciate well-crafted music with emotional depth, this album is definitely worth a listen.
This is one of my favourite live releases from the 2000 era. Dream Theater is touring on the back of their most metal album ever in “Train Of Thought”.
“Live at Budokan” was recorded at the Nippon Budokan Hall on April 26, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan and released on October 2004. It’s the same venue as “At Budokan” from Cheap Trick, however the audio for the Cheap Trick album was from the Osaka show, as the audio from the Budokan show was unusable.
Due to time constraints for the set, the songs “The Great Debate”, “Under a Glass Moon” and “Caught in a Web”, which included an extended drum solo, were removed from the set list at the last minute.
As I Am
It makes sense to kick off the show with the opening track “As I Am” from the “Train Of Thought” album with its ominous Black Sabbath like intro making way for a Metallica like riff. Of course, any influence from the past is done in the Dream Theater way with some fills and different endings on the 4th bar.
This Dying Soul
It also makes sense to feedback into the thrash metal like “This Dying Soul”.
The song actually moves through quite a few musical and vocal styles. It reminds me of “Beyond This Life” which also comes next. While James LaBrie cops a lot of flak, he is a very diverse and unique singer who can cover a lot of different vocal styles.
Scene Four: Beyond This Life
They take a long song and extend it to 20 minutes in length. For a band that is very technical and very precise, they really like to be loose and just jam. Sometimes I wish they didn’t, but hey, if I wanted to hear the songs as per the album, then I would just press play on the album. This is another song that moves through a lot of styles musically and vocally.
This is why the live album is a favourite.
The song is extended. But, it’s not just extended for the sake of it.
The intro has John Petrucci on acoustic guitar doing some flamenco/classical like leads over the verse chords that Jordan Rudess plays on the keys. The actual song (like the studio cut) version starts at 1.20.
At 5.30, there is an approx. 2 minute guitar solo which John Petrucci shreds on. And you know how in concerts the guitar solo spotlight is just that, the guitarist and no one else. Well, here Petrucci uses the songs solo chordal structure and the whole band for his spotlight.
It’s basically them extending the songs solo section. Something like how The Black Crowes do. And it is excellent.
If you are a guitar player you need to hear this. If you are not a guitar player you still need to hear this. This is why I go to the live show. To hear artists communicating musically on stage. Even James LaBrie thinks this is a highlight, as he screams in the microphone at 6.21, Mr John Petrucci and the crowd roars their approval. At 6.40 it’s over and they are back into the song’s pre-chorus.
War Inside My Head / The Test That Stumped Them All
These two songs are back to back in the “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” song and they always should be played back to back. They are thrash groove Metal done in Dream Theaters way.
I get the same goose bumps when I hear the live version as I do for the studio version.
It wouldn’t be a Dream Theater show if it didn’t have an instrumental song created purely for the live show.
In this case and on this tour, they take sections from their instrumentals and the instrumental sections from lyrical songs and create some new jams with it and they must have had a proviso that said it had to be at least 12 minutes long.
It’s broken down like this.
I. The Dance of Eternity II. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper’ III. I. Erotomania IV. The Dance of Eternity V. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper’ VI. The Darkest of Winters VII. When the Water Breaks (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover) VIII. The Darkest of Winters IX. Ytse Jam X. The Dance of Eternity XI. Paradigm Shift (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover) XII. Universal Mind (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover) XIII. The Dance of Eternity XIV. Hell’s Kitchen
As a fan of those musical sections, it didn’t feel long nor boring. Plus you get some “Liquid Tension Experiment” sections, which I am also a fan of.
And they finish it off with my favourite section from “Hell’s Kitchen”.
Trial Of Tears
The keyboard ringing out segues into “Trial of Tears”. Another massive cut at almost 14 minutes long.
But it never gets boring, bringing back memories of 70’s progressive rock with a hook that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (the “it’s raining” part).
This song rocks.
I can get over how hard rock sounding the song really is. Its technical but still rooted in hard rock. Maybe because the keyboard parts are written by Derek Sherinian originally.
The style of Allan Holdsworth and what EVH was trying to do with “Van Halen III” comes to mind here musically.
It’s a skip for me. Not all live shows are killer.
Only A Matter Of Time
A track from the long forgotten debut album. This track had embryonic elements of songs like “Learning To Live”, “A Change Of Seasons” and “Metropolis” that would come after.
It’s almost like a lullaby. Very Pink Floyd like with the shimmering clean tone guitar and samples of children voices playing. It’s another song within the massive “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” song. Petrucci’s lead break is full of hope and wonder.
They continue with the major key vibes and go into “Solitary Shell” from the “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” album. This one is very Peter Gabriel like.
Stream Of Consciousness
Another instrumental from their recent album. LaBrie gets a chance to rest while the remainder of the band jam for another 12 minutes. And the song goes through so many different movements, you cannot get bored listening to it.
Press play to hear the section between 4 and 5 minutes. James LaBrie. What a vocal performance. Brilliant.
Pull Me Under
When I saw this album title for the first time ever, I just presumed it was a song about getting jerked off. Man, was I wrong. Never judge a song by its title.
As soon as the acoustic guitar lines start, the crowd is at its loudest and it’s all systems go.
In The Name Of God
Press play to hear the bone crunching riffs and the jazz fusion like lead section which has Petrucci wailing away at supersonic speeds.
And it’s not an easy song vocally with a lot of highs, but LaBrie does it well.
I have the DVD and the CD of this release. The DVD was also certified Platinum in January, 2005.
“Rock In Rio” on the back of the “Brave New World” vs “Rock In Rio” on the back of the “Senjutsu” album.
I wonder how many of the old Maiden fans went back and played “Senjutsu” over and over again.
Most of the songs on the new album I don’t really know how they go by looking at the title. It didn’t happen before. As soon as a person mentioned a Maiden song from their 80’s output, I knew the riff and the vocal melody.
Is it because of time?
I saw some research recently over at The Conversation website, which talks about how we stop exploring new music as we get older. While i don’t jump right in for new artists, I do know still like to see what my favorite artists are up to.
Did I have more time to listen to music before than now?
Bruce will always be a legend and Iron Maiden music is a massive part of my youth soundtrack growing up.
Getting old affects everybody, and Bruce is also struggling. It seems he doesn’t have the throat muscle to pronounce the words properly. Playing the songs a little bit faster in a live setting doesn’t help either. Plus the dude battled throat cancer and won.
Then I caught some Bon Jovi footage after I heard an NSTS Podcast from Brent Jensen, which spoke about JBJ’s voice on the recent 2021 and 2022 tour. Fans on Facebook commented after viewing a video somebody shared, that they want their money back from the show, and they weren’t even there.
The songs are down tuned, which is normal as a band ages. The backing vocals are triggered and pre-recorded, so it looks like they are singing, which they are, however when they sing, the louder pre-recorded vocals are heard more. This is also normal in this day, especially when rock acts age.
But the down tuning of these songs, takes the life away from them. Instead of that big key change to a Gm in “Livin’ On A Prayer” and getting those ball crunching woooh, we’re halfway there, who-oh livin’ on a prayer” you get a very low baritone like vocal (if there is one at all) as Jovi is a master at getting the crowd to fill the gaps.
Like Bruce, JBJ will always be a legend and Bon Jovi music formed a soundtrack of my youth, between 1984 and 1994. I’m not a huge fan of “These Days” but got back on board with “Crush” and left forever after “What About Now”.
I also wanted to see and hear how Motley Crue looked and sounded with John 5 live. It’s like he’s been part of the band forever. He just fits the picture and I mean no disrespect to Mick Mars, who will always be a legend as well, for the music that Motley Crue did in the 80’s also formed a massive part of my youth soundtrack. But I still think their best album is the Motley Corabi album. Which they ignore because Vince didn’t sing on it.
Then again, you don’t go to a Crue show to hear Vince sing. It’s an experience.
John Field designed the cover after the label sent out a job order to different artists. They only had the title of the album to work with.
This is the thing.
Bands in the 70’s experimented. They experimented with song structures and most importantly with sounds. As the technology got better and the studio techniques got better, the sounds just happened to get better.
And sometimes artists would get it right and at other times they would get it wrong.
I had a quest in the 90’s.
To listen to as many progressive bands and artists from the 70’s I could find. In my favour was the price crash of vinyl. For those who don’t know, most people were selling or giving away their vinyl collections as they made the transition to CD’s. Suddenly the second hand record shop had more people visiting it than the actual “record store” which sold overpriced CD’s.
Then in the late 90’s, peer to peer sharing would become a thing which would lead to even more discoveries.
I would see the band name in lists of progressive artists to check out from the 70’s in various magazines I was purchasing.
“Moonmadness” is studio album number 4 released in March 1976 on Decca and Gama Records and is their last album recorded by the group’s original line-up of Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Ferguson, and Andy Ward.
The band broke through with the previous all instrumental album called “The Snow Goose” and for “Moonmadness” they decided to incorporate vocals.
A 2 minute instrumental that does nothing.
Song Within A Song
I heard Kansas first and this song feels like a Kansas song in the intro, before it goes into a Pink Floyd “Us And Them” kind of feel.
At 3.15, it goes into a musical interlude. It’s slow, it’s got time changes and yet it is hummable. Who said that to be progressive you need to be technically excellent and be able to play time changes at break neck speeds?
And you don’t get a Camel record to listen to memorable vocal melodies. Its music first and vocals are a distant last.
It sounds like a TV intro theme.
Spirit Of The Water
The intro has this “Moonlight Sonata” feel and I like it.
The song just percolates and it feels haunted especially the piano melody.
Keyboardist Peter Bardens who also wrote this, shines. Press play to hear it.
King Crimson comes to mind. A repeating guitar line, is echoed before the excellent main riff comes in.
And that main riff is excellent.
Press play to hear this song.
On Spotify, the release is an expanded edition which has the single edit for “Another Night”, which is all about the riff and it is an excellent edit. There is also the piano demo for “Spirit Of The Water” which is even more haunted and impressive.
In other words, press play to hear these two tracks,
You see, large legacy artists today are releasing these kind of albums as part of their anniversary editions. Whitesnake comes to mind with their excellent box sets. But Dream Theater, well, they were doing it as part of their Official Bootleg series.
Released in 2003 on Ytse Jam Records, what you hear on this double CD “Making Of Scenes From A Memory” are alternate takes, partial jam sections that are a bit different, random noises and improvisations, plus alternate mixes.
Some of the stuff on CD1 is not that interesting. For die-hard fans like me, it’s okay to listen once and then it goes to the collection.
But there is also some great stuff here.
“Regression” is an alternate vocal take. The guitar progression that JP wrote became the central theme tying the album together. It appears in “Through My Words”, “Finally Free” and is the foundation for the excellent, “The Spirit Carries On”.
“Through Her Eyes” has James LaBrie trying a few different vocal melodies but the piece d’resistance is the sax solo on the outro which was left off the final mix.
The booklet notes from Portnoy mentions the following for “Through Her Eyes”;
“Originally we wrote 2 different versions of this song.
The working title was “Titanic” so there was the “Short Titanic” (this arrangement that ended up making the final CD) and the “Long Titanic” (which was more of a traditional rock arrangement, with drums and some additional chord progressions).
Because of time restraints, the “Long Titanic” is not included on this CD, but it can be found on the closing credits of “Metropolis 2000 – Scenes From New York” DVD.
John Petrucci’s vocal demo guide for ‘The Spirit Carries On’, is warts and all auto-tune free and pretty funny to listen to.
And then we come to CD2, which are the original mixes for the album.
This was the first album that had John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy producing. David Bottrill was hired to mix the album because of his work with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Tool. It was a weird mix, because Dream Theater in sound is more heavy metal and hard rock with progressive elements. The bands that Bottrill worked with are not hard rock and heavy metal. They have unique soundscapes special to them.
Bottrill mixed the album in 10 days with the band members giving him “expert advice” to make the drums louder, more guitars, more keys, higher vocals and higher bass.
While the mixing process was happening, the band members were giving it their tick of approval, however after the mixes were complete and sitting with the mixes for a few days, the band expressed concerns at the sonic intensity of the mixed songs. It was a bitter pill to swallow as they all had large inputs into how it should be mixed.
Petrucci reached out to Kevin Shirley. Shirley had some time to do a few mixes, so they gave him three tracks to start off with in “Home”, “The Spirit Carries On” and “Through Her Eyes”. Shirley did the mixes (on his own, without any band input) and sent them back. The band compared the mixes to the three songs mixed by Bottrill and they were happy with the sonics this time around.
All was not lost as some of Dave Bottrill mixes survived to the final cut in “Regression”, “The Dance Of Eternity”, “One Last Time” and “Finally Free”.
The weird part is you have this low profile official bootleg release, where the fans get the original mix for the album, when nowadays these kind of tracks are the “in thing” for anniversary editions or special remixed editions.
And so far, this release has not been re-released as part of the “Lost Not Forgotten” series via Inside Out Music.
“Transcendence” is the seventeenth studio album by Devin Townsend and it is the seventh and final album in the Devin Townsend Project series. It was released on September 9, 2016, via HevyDevy Records.
Think about that for a second. 17 albums.
It got a lot of awesome write ups and I think Loudwire gave it the Number 1 spot on albums released in 2016. I only listened to two songs from it as they came up on playlists (in “Stormbending” and “Failure”) and never really went back to listen to the full album during that year. I don’t know why I didn’t check it out fully, as “Failure” was and still is a great head banging track.
I don’t know how to describe the album.
I grew up on the sounds of the 80’s. The only thing that resembles the 80’s here is the distortion guitars and some shredding guitar lines. Sometime in the early 2000’s, extreme metal bands started to add atmospheric synths to their sounds, and they slowed their tempos so they have groove. It has some of that.
Then there was a genre called Math Metal which morphed to Djent and its now known as progressive metal. Well it has a bit of that. Operatic themes are present as well.
In the end, Devin Townsend is pushing the bar on creativity and originality, using the various digital audio workstation tools and plug-ins to achieve uniqueness. The future will probably look back at this album and hold it in high regard like the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven. Maybe he will bring about world peace like the Wyld Stallions did in Bill And Ted.
A groove metal riff (almost nu-metal like in feel) underpins the song while the synth keys give it a very Euro vibe. At the 1.30 mark it goes into this classical like section.
At 2.15 minutes, it’s like a fire ritual, with a spaced out, very heavily reverb’d “Hallelujah” chant happening over a chaotic wall of noise. It sounds ethereal, dissonant yet melodic and hypnotic. And you can’t really make out the lyrics, (which ain’t much) as they are heavily loaded with effects.
And it ends like mindfulness music.
I also didn’t know it at the time that this was an updated or reimagined version of the same song which appeared on Townsend’s solo record, “Infinity” from 1998. And suddenly the nu-metal feel makes sense.
Devin Townsend can play some serious guitar and the dude can sing and growl with the best of em. In other words, he is one talented mf.
This song was perfect back in 2016 and it still is now.
You need to listen to the section that kicks in 1.46. Did anyone say “guitar hero”? Well you have it with Devin Townsend. The lead break that comes after that reminds me of A Perfect Circle. Actually the whole cinematic like vibe is reminiscent of the debut APC album. Then again, we wear our influences on our sleeves.
At about 3.28, it goes into this major key like vibe. It sounds hopeful and it goes with the lyrical line of “All we’re offering is a change to be loved”. And they continue this vibe before it fades into a cacophony of noises which segue into “Failure”.
The way this song starts off. It’s so heavy yet it lifts you up.
And they continue that groove (which reminds me of Tool), adding extra guitars, synths, harmonies and what not.
All I could be is press repeat over and over again to hear it.
And while the music is perfection, Devin Townsend reminds everyone what a great rock singer he is. He’s all clean tone, using his natural baritone voice, with high falsettos and when the Chorus kicks in, it’s like a sermon, with some high deity singing to the masses.
At 2.21, a lead break starts. He’s melodic, keeping within key, then he goes all dissonant and chromatic but at 3.11 he goes modal, keeping within the key and I am hooked. Just listen to it.
If you weren’t converted to Devin Townsend by know, this song could be the key.
And at 6.82 million Spotify streams it’s virtually forgotten.
It’s got a major key strummed riff to start it off. Its pop music and yet it still sounds heavy.
And when he sings “let it go” in the Chorus, a certain Disney song comes to mind.
It reminds me of Pink Floyd and “Goodbye Blue Sky” in feel.
Then at 1.20, it goes into a quirky “Higher” chant and then a Tool like groove kicks in, but the vocals are far removed from Maynard.
At 3.25, I like the whole movement and Townsend’s “craft your life” vocal line which then segues into a progressive interlude and an extreme metal passage. Add to that some groove metal over different time changes, operatic vocals and you would think the song is done.
But it’s not.
At the 6 minute mark, it goes into this doom grind riff. It’s so heavy, it will sink ships.
And I am thinking, how did this song which started out so beautiful, descend into chaos and violence musically. That’s the best way to sum up Devin Townsend.
I have read in reviews that this is a metal ballad. To me it is a metal song. There’s nothing ballad about it. I also love the Chorus hook of “I can see you in the stars tonight, lost in love and light”
And that change at 2.15. Press play to hear it.
It feels like a U2 track with orchestras and a wall of guitars.
Offer Your Light
It’s metal like, with a frantic tempo and a dance like synth pattern. And I like it, especially the angelic voice of Anneke van Giersbergen.
From The Heart
An 8 minute pre-closer. It feels cinematic and grand like when the hero saves the day and the darkness gives way to light.
The closing track is a cover from Ween, a psychedelic rock band who released this song in 2003. It’s done in Townsend’s unique way and you wouldn’t know it was a cover.
If there is a complaint, there are times when I feel that Townsend’s vocals are buried under the walls of guitar noise and operatic sound experimentations.
Overall, the album still sounds as fresh and as crazy as it did back then. The styles and moods are so schizophrenic that it will never date or be dated to a certain movement or sound like “The Sunset Strip” or “Seattle”.
And I can’t believe I found 1000 plus words to describe it.
I listened to 33,090 minutes of music on Spotify last year. It equates to 90 minutes a day and it doesn’t include any vinyl or CDs played on my stereo system.
This involves listening to 1214 different artists.
I say it ever year.
Once upon a time the maximum records I would have purchased in a year was between 20 to 30 different artists, when I had my own money and before that when my parents were funding me, it was 8 to 12 different artists and most of em came in November for my birthday and December for Christmas.
And those artists would hold my attention for a lot longer because that was all I had to listen to.
But when you have the entire history of recorded music at your fingertips (almost), it’s pretty easy to flick between so many different artists.
And to be creative with playlists (aka old mixtapes) from so many different artists.
Like an old school playlists incorporating 80s and 90s songs (above) or a more current 2010s and above playlist (below).
Or you can combine the entire history of an artist into a playlist. Like Glen Hughes. 27 hours worth of music. There are a few more releases to add.
The same with Dio, but this time I tried to sequence the playlist like an album.
Then again Dio’s career is so wide, I was able to sequence a lot of different albums.
When Airbourne came out almost a decade later, most Australians would have said, “we have seen this movie before, and it’s called The Poor.”
But let’s go back a little bit.
Formed in 1986 in Darwin, Northern Territory. The original line up would go through some changes before they end up with the members who would play on the recorded product.
In 1992, there was “The Poor Boys” who released the EP, “Rude, Crude & Tattooed” on Sony/Columbia Records. It was produced by The Angels’ members Rick Brewster and Bob Spencer. It got the band onto Radio and Music Television. It sounded more like “The Angels”, “Kings Of The Sun”, “Rose Tattoo” and “The Screaming Jets” than “AC/DC”. Then again, all of those bands have roots to AC/DC.
It also got them touring.
In 1993, another EP called “Underfed” came out, which again, got them on the road. This was produced by Brent Eccles (also a member of The Angels). They followed this release by backing United States acts, “Alice in Chains” and “Suicidal Tendencies”, on the Australian leg of their combined tour. It’s always cool to have an act that rocks like AC/DC.
‘The Poor Boys:” then became “The Poor” to avoid confusion with a US group.
And then came “Who Cares” in 1994. A balls to the wall, sleazy rawk and roll album straight from the pubs and clubs of Australia. It was a middle finger salute to Seattle and Grunge and flannel shirts.
Produced by Paul Northfield, the band is made up of Skenie on lead vocals, original founder Julian Grynglas on guitar, Matt Whitby on bass and the nephew of the Young brothers James Young on drums.
They supported AC/DC on the “Ballbreaker” tour and that is when I got a chance to see them live.
If you like your AC/DC and D.A.D then you will like this and the innuendo in the Chorus hook, “come on baby, take your poison, you want it, I got it”. The only thing missing is “pulling the trigger of their love gun”.
This could have come from Baby Animals and I like it. It also appeared as the opening track on their “Underfed” EP from a year before.
Man Of War
A Jimmy Page like acoustic fingerpicked intro kicks it off.
A serious attempt telling the “man of war to stop the bleeding”. I guess things haven’t changed. War is a constant in our lives.
At 1.23 the song kicks into overdrive.
Tell Someone Who Cares
Oh, that riff in the intro, it could sink ships at its heaviness. It then drops out and lets the bass rumble when the verses kick in.
Press play to hear it.
And the Chorus is basic, a tribute to those AC/DC Choruses.
More Wine Waiter Please
What a title?
Full of decadence and debauchery. The riff to introduce it is heavy and rolling. Once the drumming kicks in, it reminds me of “Deuce”.
If you like your hard sleazy rock, then press play on this. It’s a must on playlists.
Ain’t On The Chain
I know Accept liked AC/DC and on this, The Poor channel Accept’s take on AC/DC with a nod to Udo. Then again, you could say that they are channelling the Bon Scott era of AC/DC. But that is for the vocals. Musically, it has a lot of LA Sunset Strip style of rhythm playing.
This song also appeared on the “Underfed” EP from 1993.
You can never get enough of acts showing their love for AC/DC. Think “Sin City” here.
Hair Of The Dog
I like the heaviness.
About going into a bar the other night and getting into a fight.
She’s a liar, a little two faced bitch.
Enough said, just press play.
It’s a thrash-a-roll.
Only The Night
“Hit the road jack, ain’t gonna come back no more” comes to mind in the intro and then it goes into “Hot For Teacher”.
If you want to hear the decadent love child of AC/DC and Van Halen then press play on this.
As a bit of trivia this song goes back to the debut 4 song EP, “Rude, Crude and Tattooed” from 1992.
After the release they toured the U.S supporting, Scorpions before hitting Europe and Japan.
When they believed that the touring cycle was done for the album, they got a call in early 1996 to open for AC/DC on their Ballbreaker international tour.
And they weren’t done. They also got the Kiss support slot and in 1998 they also got the Van Halen support slot.
And we finally got some new music from then, a single called “Simple Livin'”, which was to be the first single from the follow-up to “Who Cares”. There was no identity crisis here for The Poor. While other acts tried to fit into the post Grunge, neo-industrial environment, The Poor channelled their love of Thin Lizzy and AC/DC to create “Simple Livin’” and its B-side “Love Isn’t On Again”.
But the new album never came and they disbanded in 2000 into two separate heavy rock projects called “Lump” and “Blackseed”.
Only to reform in April 2008 to play on an Australia tour with W.A.S.P.
Then a new album called “Round 1” came out in 2009 and “Round 2” in 2010 by Australian label “Riot!”.
And finally The Poor are in full swing with the soon to be released fourth album (first in thirteen years), “High Price Deed” on 2 February 2023.
The pre-release singles “Payback’s a Bitch”, “Cry Out”, “Let Me Go” and “Take the World” have impressed so far.
The band at this stage is Daniel Cox on guitar who joined in 2019, Anthony “Skenie” Skene is still on vocals and rhythm guitar, Matt Whitby is still on bass guitar and Gavin Hansen on drums, having replaced James Young in 1997.