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

June 2020 – Part 1

Beautiful
Bodies For The Bones
Die Trying featuring Shaun Morgan
Sweet Forgiveness
Art of Dying

These songs are from their “Demos and Rarities” lockdown release. I’ve been in and out of love with this band.

“Beautiful” is in the similar vein to their “Vices And Virtues” album in sound and theme. It’s the style I like.

“Bodies For The Bones” is super down tuned for heaviness. I don’t like this style. While the music sits super low which I’m not a fan of, the vocal melodies sit in the upper registry and drive the song.

“Die Trying” is one of my favourite cuts. This one features Shaun Morgan from Seether. Remember them. Seether came onto my radar almost 15 plus year ago when they did a song with Amy from Evanescence for “The Punisher” movie. A ballad called “Broken”.

“If it takes forever I would die trying”

The ethos of a lifer trying to make something from their life, to meet their definition of success and happiness.

And that’s the important element here, it’s your definition, that defines you. Don’t try to fit in to other people’s definitions.

“Sweet Forgiveness” has a haunting acoustic riff.

“Come take me out of here, I’m at the end of my rope, there’s nowhere to go”

There is always somewhere to go. Pick up the phone, talk to someone, catch up for a coffee and keep talking. There is always someone who wants to listen.

Darker Thoughts
Ghosts
Ending Days
Paradise Lost

This one-way street you’re on
You’ll never be fulfilled
And this one way street you’re on
Is gonna get you killed

That vocal melody. It’s haunting.

With inner peace gone, you pray
All those darker thoughts are coming back to stay
With inner peace gone you’ve paid
All those darker thoughts are coming back to stay

And then the violins kick in, over a grinding dirgey riff, while the “Godless are sworn to kill, Annihilation” is barked out.

Let’s chuck in an emotive pentatonic minor lead to finish it off.

On The Run Again
Chrome Division

The way this song starts off with the acoustic delta like blues riff, which morphs into a head banging distortion riff. It’s been played before, it’s been heard before, but I still like it.

Dual (featuring Matt Guillory)
Ultra City
Andy James

Instrumental music at its best.

In the 80’s, it got to a stage where the instrumental songs would be just a power chord and a million notes in the bar. Then another power chord and then another million notes. There was hardly any riffs and it became pretty bland. Because once you’ve heard one artist doing it from Shrapnel, you would have heard em all.

But these days, the instrumental players, write a song first, with awesome riffage and then decorate it with great melodic lead breaks.

Andy James is up there for me, with players like John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Lynch, John Sykes, Yngwie Malmsteen and Marty Friedman.

Leave It Alone
Signals Gone
Blacktop Mojo

This band deserves more attention. One of the best hard rock bands out there at the moment.

Far Enough Away
Trapt

They are doing Daughtry better than what Daughtry is doing right now. There is something special about an acoustic guitar, drums, bass and a good vocal melody, with some synth strings thrown in.

Death Diviner
Soilwork

The riff.

A cross between “Schism” from Tool and Soilwork’s signature groove.

Bjorn Strid takes the clean melodic highway on vocals and a classic Soilwork song is born.

That Chorus.

The riff again.

Press play and enjoy.

When All Is Said And Done
Aldo Nova

I didn’t expect this kind of cut from Aldo Nova.

And I like how artists can still surprise me.

This is bluesy, groovy and heavy. If you like the work that Glenn Hughes did with Black Country Communion, then you will like this.

Revelation
Riders Of The Light
Highway To Paradise
Lorelei
From A Whisper To A Scream
Final Hour
Gathering Of Kings

This band’s new take on an old sound is just to my liking. This is album number 2.

“Revelation” sets my mind time machine to 1984/85 and that beautiful melodic rock coming from an excellent band called Y&T.

And if you like tunes like that, then you’ll like this project, a gathering of Nordic musos who want to create.

All Of My Life
The Road
Highway
Between Good And Bad
When She Cries
Mike Tramp

I’ve always enjoyed Mike Tramp’s voice. With the last few solo releases, his lyrics are exceptional and they resonate on this album, “Second Time Around”.

He sold his heart and soul for rock and roll in “All Of My Life”.

He looked ahead on “The Road” that broke him, made him, turned his tears to smiles, brought him home again and the road he never wants to end.

He saw life come and go so fast on a “Highway” as he went for a ride and never looked back, finding love, finding heartache, finding highs and crashing lows.

Loving You Is A Dirty Job
Easy Come Easy Go
Intensity
Lost In The Dark
Back
Victims Of Desire
Built To Please
Passion

Passion covers most of the 80’s/early 90’s sounds and releases from bands.

Kiss. Its covered.

Keel. It’s covered.

Ratt. Its covered.

Steelheart. Its covered.

Skid Row. Its covered.

Hurricane. Its covered.

Winger. It’s covered.

2020
Vandenberg

The whole album is stellar.

It gives me this feeling of when I listened to Bad Company, Rainbow (Dio fronted), Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Deep Purple (Coverdale/Hughes version), Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (Dio fronted).

Each day is a different favourite.

“Ride Like The Wind” reminds of “Gates Of Babylon” from Rainbow. That’s my favourite today.

Yesterday, it was the Bad Company sounding “Hell and High Water”.

The day before it was the “Bad Boys” sounding “Light Up The Sky”.

Tomorrow it could be “Shout”, which reminds me of “Slow And Easy” on steroids, with a driving beat. Especially that section after the solo, when it’s just drums, and Romero is singing, “Get Up And Shout”. Even “I Love It Loud” comes to mind.

There is the “Fool For Your Loving” inspired “Shitstorm” with a David Coverdale like vocal that has been my go to track.

Or the Richie Blackmore inspired “Shadows Of The Night”.

“Let It Rain” reminds of Bonfire.

And my favourite track “Skyfall” closes the album.

And apart from the excellent riffage and song construction, the lead breaks are superb, song within song moments.

And the band is excellent.

Part 2 coming up.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Black Label Society – Extra

I used to call this band Black Wylde Society or Boozed Wylde Society or Boned Wylde Society or Brusied Wylde Society.


All because of this cover.

I love Zakk.

He can play, he solos and he writes killer riffs and songs.

He went from a scraggy pretty boy into a fierce Viking like warrior. He never pigeon holed himself, bringing his southern rock influences and piano, playing into the world of metal.

And the form of groove metal he plays with Black Label Society has influenced countless artists.

In this DVD, Robert Trujilo is on bass for the Detroit concert footage and Mike Inez is on bass for the Tokyo concert footage. Nick Catanese is on guitar and Craig Nunenmacher is on drums. Such a great band, it deserved to be captured on film.

The gig was that insane they ran out of alcohol at the bar.

And Zakk promotes it like a bikie gang, calling the Detroit Chapter to go insane and drink the place dry.

Well god damn it, they did.

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

Number 13 – Metallica Monday

Filmed at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia on March 1, 2013 on the Soundwave Tour (which is basically a travelling festival around Australia during the summer, but it doesn’t exist anymore due to increased demands from artists to be paid upfront as the promoter didn’t always pay, a dwindling turnout and a promoter that uses Twitter like Trump).

The thing with this show is that Metallica are not really touring on an album as “Death Magnetic” is 5 years old by now. So it’s like a best off. And after watching this show, it’s a best off, based on songs which work really well in the live arena.

Hit the Lights

It’s become their standard opener in the YouTube live recordings I’ve seen. It’s simplicity is its energy.

Master of Puppets

There is no denying the power of that intro riff.

And the tempo of the song is increased a few more beats per minute. To put it into context, a 7 plus minute song at its normal tempo is reduced to a 6 plus minute song because of the tempo increase.

And as is the norm, the crowd singalong in the slow harmony lead is Maiden-esque from “Rock In Rio”.

The Four Horsemen

As the feedback from “Master Of Puppets” keeps ringing out on James’s guitar, and after asking “if Melbourne is ready” (we pronounce it Mel-Burn while James pronounces it as its spelt, Mel-Bourne), James launches into the opening riff.

And I forgot to mention how Lars is the master of the facials.

And finally there is a pause after the triple knockout of the first three songs.

Harvester of Sorrow

Lars cops a lot of crap for his drumming, but the dude can play and his drum parts are uniquely his.

This song is heavy, and the drum patterns from Lars definitely add to it. Simplicity at its finest.

And I’ve always said that if this song wasn’t written, then “Enter Sandman” wouldn’t have been written to become the beast it became.

The slower tempo, the open string arpeggio riff which grooves and the intro drumming pattern all combine to become the embryo of what “Enter Sandman” is. Check out the version on YouTube from Moscow on the Black tour.

Then there is a two minute “Guitar Doodle” where Kirk plays a few riffs and a lead guitar spotlight, but to me these kind of things are best left in the warm up room.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

But the “Guitar Doodle” was a side piece, a sleight of hand, while they set up James with the acoustic guitar for “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”.

And Lars owns the ending with the harmony guitars as he nails the double bass drumming.

Leper Messiah

There is a section in this song during the intro, when the bass just plays and the guitars play a heavily palm muted E5 power chord, staccato like.

And the title came from the late Mr Cliff Burton (RIP).

To reiterate, I’ve always said to all of the people who dissed the “Black” album for “selling out” to refer to songs like “Leper Messiah”, “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “Escape”, “Jump In The Fire”, “Harvester of Sorrow”, “The Thing That Should Not Be” and “Trapped Under Ice”. They are all slower tempo songs, like the “Black” album songs.

My Friend of Misery

One of my favourite tracks on the “Black” album. My actual favourite is “Holier Than Thou”.

The bass riff is “iconic” and that slow breakdown section with that emotive lead is my favourite part of the song. It’s the norm now for the crowd to sing the harmony part but Melbourne (pronounced Mel-Burn) was the first to do it.

I gotta admit, this is the shit for an artist.

Hearing the Metallica family sing back their riffs and leads, is moving and emotional. If you don’t feel it, check for a pulse.

Sad But True

Its heavy and you can tell the band enjoys playing it.

Then a little “Bass Doodle” is another sleight of hand as the band gets ready for “Fade To Black”.

Fade to Black

For a song that generated so much controversy in the 80’s during that whole “kid commits suicide so let’s sue the heavy metal artist the kid likes” period, it’s become one of their biggest songs ever.

And that whole outro section is some of my favourite piece of music.

All Nightmare Long

I haven’t heard this song for almost a decade, and man, I’m asking myself “why”. It’s a good song. So many riffs in it and that Chorus is excellent.

Then I played “Death Magnetic” and I remembered why I stopped listening to it.

“The Loudness Wars”.

This is when bands compressed their mixes so much to get maximum volume in the master.

Ouch

One

I don’t think there will be a set list that will not have this song on it.

The clean tone intro with the leads, the “landmine” double kick section and that finger tapped outro along with the harmony guitars.

How can you not like it?

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The intro in this song is head banging stuff. A perfect song for the live arena and they played it a bit quicker.

Blackened

The backing tape of the backwards harmony guitars starts it off and it’s one of my favourite Metallica cuts and man, don’t they bring it.

It’s 7/4 staccato intro riff is thrash metal prog. Even in the Chorus it moves between 4/4 and 2/4. It leaves all other pretenders behind as it begins whipping the dance of the dead.

Then there is another “Guitar Doodle” which then sets up, “Nothing Else Matters”.

Nothing Else Matters

Even though Kirk plays the intro live, this is James’s song. It’s his spotlight moment and he takes the Dave Gilmour like lead with a guitar hero gusto.

And I remember when the “Black” album came out, I was reading some of the comments about this song from artists of the thrash genre and writers for magazines like Metal Mania.

Like it was a sell out or whatever.

Tell that to the 50,000 people in attendance who sang every word of it.

One thing about Metallica is that they never remained fixed.

There was always growth in their music.

If you want an example of a growth mindset in music then this band is it. IF you want an example of a fixed mindset in music then AC/DC is it.

There is no right or wrong. It all works.

Enter Sandman

So James lets his guitar feedback ring out, shows his Australian minted guitar picks to the camera which the audience sees on the big screen and they raise their voices in appreciation and “Enter Sandman” begins.

This song is a live powerhouse.

Creeping Death

The “Die By My Hand” chant evolved in the live arena.

This song was also mentioned in one of those “Satanic Panic” articles and documentaries I read in a newspaper written by clueless journalist or saw on TV like 60 minutes.

I remember a lawyer saying, “what kind of band tells their audience to “die” in a concert”.

It’s unbelievable shit to see and hear how desperate people became to blame someone.

Damage, Inc.

It’s not my favourite song but I love the title for its uniqueness.

Seek & Destroy

And the closer, sending the Metallica family on their way to seek and destroy.

You can take it literally or you can use it as growth, to seek new knowledge, gain new skills and destroy your old self as you create a new self, stronger and better.

Metallica, once again is doing something different and not fixed during this COVID break.

Breaking out the archives for free.

Most artists would release these as DVD releases. For a fee. But not Metallica. There is a reason why they are on top.

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

2000 – Part 2

Motley Crue – New Tattoo

Three Crue members plus Randy Castillo, who was a very competent drummer in his own right, but he’s not Tommy Lee nor would he have had the same input and pull as Tommy Lee would have had on the Crue music.

Actually, Lee himself decided to not participate in the song writing for the “Saints of Los Angeles” album. Then again, if you just heard the two songs he dropped recently, maybe that’s a good thing. But as an artist, you need to have different outlets to explore different creative sides.

This version of Motley Crue and this album acts as a music bridge between the eras.

After the excellent self-titled Corabi led album, they brought Vince back and pushed the industrial sonics on “Generation Swine”. This didn’t sit well with a lot of their existing fans, and it didn’t gain them any new fans either. So Nikki Sixx, forever the marketing guru, knew that a return to hard rock would be on the cards.

Musically, it’s okay.

The AC/DC influenced “Hell On High Heels” and “Punched In The Teeth By Love” are typical Motley, while the title track “New Tattoo” carries on the spirit of the 94 Corabi album. “Fake” has a heavy F#m groove which I dig and the punky “Porno Star” has some of the funniest lyrics from Sixx, about his credit card being in debt due to visiting too many dot cum websites.

But the year 2000 isn’t 1980 and some of these lyrical themes just didn’t resonate.

Pretty Maids – Carpe Diem

“Seize The Day and living their life” is what the Pretty Maids (aka founding members Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer) did with this release and their brand of Euro Hard Rock.

“Violent Tribe” is on steroids while “Tortured Spirit” shows you can be heavy and melodic. “Poisoned Pleasures” and “Until It Dies” shows what a great songwriter and guitarist Ken Hammer is.

And track number 5, “Clay”, for a ballad which doesn’t get cheesy is a great track.

And the last three tracks, “They’re All Alike”, “Time Awaits For No One” and “Invisible Chains” makes you press repeat.

Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage

I picked this one up in a bargain bin, 3 for $20 and I was surprised by how good it was. But I didn’t get any of their other music afterwards.

Maybe because guitarist Terry Balsamo left to join Evanescence.

I just did some reading on this album and was surprised to read how people called it a low-budget album (which it wasn’t, as Geffen financed it and had people like Adam Kasper who was doing Foo Fighter albums involved).

Basically if you are a fan of modern hard rock and alternative rock, then you will like this album.

Racer X – Technical Difficulties

Racer X is a band which was needed, so that all of its members could get a start and then go out and take over the world with different bands. You can call it an origin band. An origin story.

Paul Gilbert is now more famous for his Mr Big gig and his solo records and his instructional videos, plus his amazing list of guest appearances and tribute album appearances.

Drummer Scott Travis got the Judas Priest gig for the “Painkiller” album, then went to Fight with Rob Halford and he returned to Judas Priest for the “Jugulator” album in 1997 and has remained there since.

Vocalist Jeff Martin ended up as the drummer for Badlands for the “Voodoo Highway” album and since then he has done stints with Dokken and The Michael Schenker Group. Plus he had an excellent Judas Priest like band called “Surgical Steel” which appeared in a very underrated movie called “Thunder Alley” before “Racer X”. It definitely is a long way to that invisible line which symbolises the top.

Bassist Juan Alderete went into The Scream with guitarist Bruce Bouillet and after Corabi fled the coop for Motley Crue, he started working with others and ended up in “The Mars Volta”.

This album came out in 1999, however I am pretty sure it got a release in Australia in 2000, so it’s in the 2000’s for me.

And it’s their best album by far with the stand out track being the title track and Paul Gilberts guitar prowess.

Check it out and you will know what I mean.

Yngwie Malmsteen – War To End All Wars

The cover is a Frank Frazetta painting so Molly Hatchett came to mind immediately.

When you get tracks with titles like “Molto Arpeggiosa” and “Instrumental Institution”, you know what you are gonna get. Malmsteen and the rockets in his fingertips, tap dancing on the fretboard.

And in “Bad Reputation”, Malmsteen gives his self-defence counter argument in the lyrics.

So if you like overdone guitar leads at the expense of other instruments and cheesy lyrics by Malmsteen, with a crap production, then you will like this album.

And I remember looking at the CD booklet at my cousin Mega’s place, with 20 or so photos of Malmsteen in various self-love poses, thinking, this must be a new record of artist shots for an album.

But…

There are some good songs here, which are lost in the mush that “The Fury” created.

I would really like to hear songs like “Crucify” and “Bad Reputation” with a better production and mix like he had on “Odyssey” and “Marching Out”.

David Coverdale – Into The Light

What can an artist do after being in the game of making music for 26 plus years with Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Coverdale/Page?

What can an artist do in a musical climate dominated by Nu-Metal and Alternative Rock, which proved to be very hostile to the artists who had success in the 80’s, courtesy of MTV and their music videos?

When in doubt, you go back to the beginning, and to the blues.

If you want to read a review I agree with, check out the fantastic blog 2loud2oldmusic by clicking here.

So into the time machine I go and set course for 1985.

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

May 2020 – Part 3

December
Highway To Paradise
Gathering Of Kings

I really need to sink my ears into this album and learn more about the project because even though their brand of melodic rock is derivative, I like it.

On their debut album, it had a lot of guest vocalists, and because Bjorn Strid from Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra was involved, I was interested.

These tracks are from the follow up.

The Shift
10 Years

I’ve been a long time fan of 10 Years.

There form of groove rock, which in the beginning, had a nod to Tool but in a concise 4 minute package, got me interested.

And since then, they have kept on morphing into a unique rock band.

Darker Thoughts
Ghosts
Paradise Lost

I became a fan with the “Draconian Times” album and then they lost me with their Depeche Mode style album in the late 90’s.

Since the start of the 2010’s they have started to creep back in. “Darker Thoughts” is sombre, as it percolates with just an acoustic guitar, violins and cellos. Then it kicks in, and that riff from 2.18.

House On Fire
Asking Alexandria

This band did a covers EP once, and they had songs from artists I grew up with.

For example, on the “Life Gone Wild” EP from 2010, they covered “18 And Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” frim Skid Row.

Then in 2012 they dropped another EP called “Under The Influence: A Tribute To The Legends Of Hard Rock” which had, “Separate Ways” from Journey, “Kick Start My Heart” from Motley Crue, “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake and “Hysteria” from Def Leppard.

This track is from their new album and its different, bordering on the sounds of “Imagine Dragons” in the verses with a massive Chorus, which gets the foot tapping.

Check it out.

Uninvited
Earshot

“Earshot” is another band that found a niche combining the angst of bands like Korn with the progressiveness of Tool, into concise 4 to 5 minute rock songs. This was between 2004 and 2008. Then they disappeared, while similar bands like 10 Years and Chevelle kept on going.

“Uninvited” is a great return.

And I’m interested.

It has this epic, Middle Eastern/Arabic feel as it percolates and rumbles through, with a kicking guitar solo.

The following songs, I have already written about on some of the Release Day Friday playlist posts.

Make It Out Alive
Tell Me How You Really Feel
Trapt

The cover for “Make It Out Alive” is a skull with the American flag painted/engraved into the bone, wearing a gas mask all on a black background. It’s a great piece of art and the song portrays that angst.

Dark Necessities
Luca Stricagnoli

This dude can really play an acoustic guitar.

This is a cover of a RHCP song and what you get, is the guitars, the vocal lines, the bass lines and a percussive beat all played on the guitar.

He also has his own special designed acoustic guitar with three necks which allows him to play these songs live.

Watch his YouTube videos to see him in action.

And it was two of those YouTube videos that made me a fan.

“Thunderstruck” and “Fear Of The Dark”.

Watch em and be in awe.

There is so much talent in the world today, that deserves to be heard and seen, the same way guitarists in the 70’s and 80’s were heard and seen. And Luca Stricagnoli is one of those artists.

Prove Me Wrong
Dee Snider

After 40 years in the business, Dee Snider is still proving people wrong. His recent batch of releases, which takes a stab at modern pop rock with “We Are The Ones” and modern groove metal with “For The Love Of Metal” has returned him to the throne of the black sheep’s, the SMF’s.

And “Prove Me Wrong” has a foot stomping metal riff that could make it on a Metallica album with Dee at his metal best.

Atlas Falls
Shinedown

I am a fan of Shinedown.

Their last two albums moved away from the hard rock sounds that got me into em, but they have enough goodwill in my book, for me to remain a fan, plus they had enough tracks on the last two releases to keep me interested.

So when this track was released, a left over from the “Amaryllis” album released in 2012, I was hooked, because this is the Shinedown I like.

Skyfall
Vandenberg

This tune just smoulders, like those epic 70’s tracks from Rainbow and Deep Purple.

Yep, that’s the vibe I get, a Ritchie Blackmore vibe.

Invasion
Haken

The vocal delivery reminds me of Styx and the sounds in the first minute are like an 80s video game.

Musically, it ticks all the boxes for me.

And just like that, they are back in my life as I became one in 2016, then I was on the fence in 2018 and now I’m back.

Voices
Long Distance Calling

They have no singing, it’s all instrumental, but instrumental music built on a groove or a riff and they just keep building it with derivative versions of the same riff.

You need to listen to it, to understand what I mean.

Change For The Better
FM

I knew about FM from the 90’s but never heard anything from em. And in the 2010’s they started to come into my life.

And then they really came on my radar because of “Shot In The Dark”, the song which is known as an “Ozzy” song.

You see, Phil Soussan wrote that song while he was in a band called Wildlife with the Overland brothers (before FM was created). According to the Overland brothers, they helped develop a lot of the concepts and progressions and lyrical melodies, including the keys for “Shot In The Dark”. But they didn’t get the credit and even questioned what Ozzy Osbourne actually did to the song to get a credit.

So they re-recorded the version they had done with Soussan back in the Wildlife days as a bonus track to their 2016 EP.

Give it a listen on Spotify and or go on YouTube.

And as Wikipedia states, “this authorship issue has become a source of contention over the years, and in spite of its success, the song has rarely appeared on Ozzy Osbourne greatest hits compilations as a result.”

As for “Change For The Better”, it’s a mix of Journey and Toto when they used to rock a little bit.

Blackened 2020
Metallica

It was great to see James Hetfield again on the YouTube video of this.

And what a comeback song for him, with a pretty cool acoustic rewrite in the Ennio Morricone style for one of their most progressive and powerful tracks.

To me, the “Justice” album is an unbelievable record. I don’t care that the bass is missing and that the guitar sound has too many mids or the drums sound too compressed. Because a great song is a great song regardless and the “Justice” album has a lot of great songs.

And man, didn’t “One” really shake up MTV.

For a band that didn’t do any clips, they did two versions, one with the film footage and the other with just the band performing in the warehouse. Suddenly you had a million kids buying a double bass drum kit and off they went to practice the double kick “landmine” section.

But “Blackened” opened the album and it’s 7/4 time signature for the intro riff grabbed me by the throat instantly.

“Termination (termination)”

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

May 2020 – Part 2

Here we are with May Part 2.

The Black Serenade
Gunfire
Sign Of The Times
The End Of The Line
Bad Reputation
Wings Of The Storm
Into The Fire
Axel Rudi Pell

As soon as I saw the song titles and how un-original they sounded, I wasn’t really keen on this, but I’m glad I bit, because it’s a good metal album (metal being, the way I know metal) and Johnny Gioeli who has had vocal duties for over twenty years, delivers.

If you like good riffage plus lead breaks that sound like they came from the 70’s classic rockers and melodic vocals, then this album should be on your list.

“The Black Serenade” has the synth choirs happening while Axel Rudi Pell emotes and then burns for the minute and thirty seconds album lead track. “Gunfire” has the same venom of “Ace Of Spades” with a lead break that goes for almost two minutes, but never gets boring.

“Sign Of The Times” is epic, “The End Of The Line” is just one of those songs that could have come from a Rainbow album, about a “valley far away” and “Bad Reputation” has this major key vibe.

“Wings Of The Storm” is a blues tune, a metalized version of “Fool For Your Loving” and “Into The Fire” is epic, “Kashmir” like.

Cut Me Down
Ryders Creed

From the UK. That’s all I know. So I let the music do the talking and the song ended up in my playlist. They have an album out as well, which I will check it, as I’m interested to hear more.

Mysterious
DeVicious

From Germany.

This is why I like the recording industry and Spotify. Every artist can participate and somehow their music finds a way. From the artists mentioned, there are two German acts and an UK act.

All For Love
Joe Satriani

Satriani wrote a song once called “The Enigmatic” (it was called that because of the scale he was using was the Enigmatic scale) and that is how he has remained with me.

An enigma.

I’m on the train and I’m off the train.

“All For Love” is one of those slower tempo songs that will remain with me for a long time. So I’m back on the train.

Can’t Stop This Train
Hartmann

This song sounds a like those early 90’s songs that hit the charts, which focused on a blues like groove but still rocked hard. And the vocals remind me of David Coverdale so much on this one.

I also really like the lead break on this one, so I need to check out who the guitarist is.

Hollow Convictions
I Feel Alive Again
Prophets Of Treason
Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage live in that world between aggression and harmony, between screaming and melody. In purgatory. It’s a balance. “Hollow Convictions” is excellent musically and it connects the balance for me, with a melodic Chorus. “I Feel Alive Again” also achieves that balance, along with the aggressive “Prophets Of Treason”.

Eternity Now
Love Is Alive
New Event Horizon
Everything You Want It To Be
Big Sugar

I had never heard of “Big Sugar” at all. But thanks to the blogging community and Deke at “Thunder Bay” I now have.

“Eternity Now” sounds like it could come from a Rush album. “Love Is Alive” sounds like the best Don Henley song that Henley didn’t write. “New Event Horizon” sounds like a reggae/Latin song which could be appear on an Enrique album. “Everything You Want It To Be” sounds like a funk song, until that ELO like Chorus kicks in.

Basically if you like variation in your artist, then Big Sugar delivers it.

That’s it for Part 2. May Part 3 is coming up.

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Music

The Record Vault – Aerosmith Addition

I’m still unpacking a lot of stuff from my house move in 2010. I’m a slow unpacker, but a pretty good packer when it comes to moving out.

So there is a box with DVD’s in it and since I’ve covered some of the bands already in previous Record Vault posts, I had to do some extra additions, for completeness. There will be Anvil, Black Label Society And Sabbath additions to come.

I missed this “Live In Philadelphia” from Aerosmith. The notes on the DVD state, it was recorded live at “The Spectrum”, Philadelphia, PA, January 19th. 1990.

This is the “Pump” tour even though the cover states, “Live In Philadelphia – Permanent Vacation”.

The set list is a combination of the “PUMP” and “Permanent Vacation” albums and a select best of, from their 70’s output.

I got this DVD from a shop in Eastern Europe for $8AUD. The shop actually had a lot of DVD bootlegs and copies of actual CD’s, but not the real/legal CD’s. I even asked our tour guide to ask the shop owner if they had any more bootlegs from other bands, and his response was, “Whatever I want, he can get within 5 minutes via the internet and have it burned and ready in another 5 minutes for me to buy”.

I passed.

And the RIAA reckon stream ripping is a problem.

Also Eastern Europe has a culture of bootlegs. Microsoft set up offices in Serbia and Romania because the company saw that those countries had the most pirated versions of Microsoft Office in circulation, and because of this piracy, they found a very competent and young IT workforce available for cheap labour. Plus these countries have some pretty fast internet speeds.

Anyway, from doing a search on the internet, it was never an official release. There are various versions of this concert released with different covers. And how does it work out that the Japanese bootleg version, has an extra track in “Walk This Way” at Number 21. Even bootlegs get Japanese bonus tracks.

Then again, I can’t really complain, as Australian releases of official CD’s always had bonus tracks as well.

For a bootleg, it’s done well, with the cover and the graphics making it look legit. And the video quality is not as good, but then again it was recorded over 28 years ago from when I purchased it.

You win some and lose some.

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

May 2020 – Part 1

Dark Four Door
A Few More Hours At YYZ
Hell Or High Water
Billy Raffoul

Billy Raffoul came on my radar via the excellent blog, 2loud2oldmusic. Mr John Snow buys a lot of physical recorded product and an album by Billy Raffoul was one of his purchases. Check out the blog here.

So I called up the artist on Spotify and these three songs really stood out to me.

He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page (while a lot of the 80s bands do), but he has a song which has 34 plus million streams on Spotify and other songs all over 2 million plus streams (which a lot of the 80s bands I like don’t have).

In other words, the new artists don’t need an encyclopedic entry as their music is doing the promoting. Furthermore, the majority of music consumers these days don’t really care about this information. My son learnt the solo to “Comfortably Numb” and doesn’t even care to know who the guitarist is.

Until then I’m still looking for you in every dark four door
From Dark Four Door

I should have known, I should have tried to hold on
From Hell Or Highwater

An acoustic and a voice. You can’t get any more simpler than that.

Paper Sun – Live
Def Leppard

The intro is one of my favourite Def Leppard riffs and when I tell people who “liked Def Leppard in the 80’s” about this song, they don’t know of it, as it appeared on “Euphoria” released in 1999.

From the live recordings I have heard, Joe Elliot is pretty conservative with his voice, singing more in a bass baritone voice. It’s a smart move as there is no point in straining the voice each night when a lot of shows are coming his way.

Rodeo – Live
Pretty Maids

Pretty Maids is one hell of a rock band. And they deliver live as well.

“Somebody makes it and somebody don’t” because in the end, life is a rodeo, in which we need to perform publically each day in order to participate in society.

I even associated the rock and roll live show to a rodeo, as the trucks start to turn up to the venues, the road crew then gets the stage ready and the band turns up and performs publically.

I’ll Be Waiting
Believe In Us
Hell Or Highwater

I’ve been a fan of this band since their first EP release. For those that don’t know it’s a another outlet for the drummer from Atreyu (who also does the clean vocals for Atreyu) to showcase his songwriting and vocals.

And it’s all rock songs.

Canary Yellow
Haken

This one took a few listens to grow on me, and I’m glad I invested the time in it.

Haken has been an interesting journey for me. Their 2016 album “Affinity” made me a fan, but “Vector” in 2018 didn’t really cement it for me. The new album “Virus” is coming out in two weeks and suddenly I’m interested again.

Polar Bear
Alcatrazz

Joe Stump came out in the early 90’s and was labelled as an Yngwie clone.

When you have solo albums with the titles like “Guitar Dominance!” (1993), “Night of the Living Shred” (1994) and “Supersonic Shred Machine” (1996), he was an anomaly in the grunge musical landscape and the “no guitar solo nu-metal” movement.

And when I heard the latest song from Alcatrazz, I thought Yngwie Malmsteen re-joined with Graham Bonnet. Because all the guitar parts sound like Malmsteen. But then I read a bit more, and found out that the guitar player is Joe Stump.

And I’m thinking, what a brilliant move by Bonnet.

So if you like the first Alcatrazz album, then you will like this song.

Check it out.

Addison
Birds Of Tokyo

How could you leave me here, my friend?

Relationships either romantic or friendships or family, have an end. Sometimes nothing needs to be said, as life and society is enough to tear it all apart and once months and then years go by, it becomes harder to reconnect.

Birds Of Tokyo rule the charts in Australia with each release.

Ian Kenny from the excellent progressive Karnivool is on vocals, and it was sort of a side project for him, but I think these days, it’s his main project with Karnivool becoming a side project.

And on this album, he’s written the turmoil and angst of his marriage breakdown.

Rainbow In The Dark
A Conversation With Death
Khemmis

The Dio cover is down tuned, sludgy and the way its delivered, it would give Ghost a run. Then it picks up for a shred lead break.

Plus there is an original cut, which sounds like a conversation at the crossroads with death himself.

The New Pandora
Hands Of Time
Line And Sinker
We Don’t Need Them Here
Destination Unknown
Angel Of Dawn
The Unity

This album surprised me at how good it is. “The New Pandora” sounds like it came from Dream Theater’s “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” and “Hands Of Time” sounds like it came from a Pretty Maids album.

I had to do some reading on them. From Germany, the guys in the band are from various power metal acts and this is their third album. And this album has done enough to make me a fan.

The Way Back Home
Spoken

This band is down tuned and aggressive on the music side, and the clean tone vocals remind me of James Durbin. If you like melodic rock done a bit different from the Euro melodic rock doing the rounds at the moment, check out Spoken.

Give Me All Your Love -2020 Remix
Whitesnake

I suppose Whitesnake will always be in a playlist for me.

The End
Watch Me Drown
Blacktop Mojo

They came into my radar because I saw in some article how they won an opening spot on a Bon Jovi tour a few years back, so I thought I should check em out, plus their name sounded cool.

And I was greeted with a refreshing hard rock sound, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Plus they do a pretty awesome cover of “Dream On” from Aerosmith.

Alive And Kicking (Quarantine Sessions)
Nonpoint

I have always enjoyed the brand of rock that Nonpoint bring and this is a cool acoustic session for a song which is 15 years old.

“Alive and Kicking” was originally released in 2005 on their fourth album. And they have been around since 1997. 23 continuous years in the business.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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

Jeff Pilson Talks

Blabbermouth always has clickbait headlines that hook me in. If I was a fish, I would have been someone’s dinner a long time ago. This story is from April 2020, and I’ve had it sitting there to write a blog post on.

“If there’s one record for me with DOKKEN, it would be the ‘Tooth And Nail’ [1984] record, just because we were still very hungry.

It’s a pretty raw record, but there’s a lot of great writing on there. It’s not the best-sounding record we ever did, sonically. We kind of changed horses in the middle of the stream, so we had to do some damage control, sonically.

But there’s something about it that’s very real and it’s very hungry, like I said. There’s energy and angst in that record that we never quite matched again. So that’s probably the record I’m most proud of, but there’s [other] great ones.”
Jeff Pilson

Changing horses in the middle is another word for changing producers because one bailed (Tom Werman) due to the aggressive wrestling and punching between two band members. So others (Roy Thomas Baker and Michael Wagener) got brought in to finish off the recording as producer and mixer.

On “Tooth And Nail”, Pilson is a co-writer on all of the 10 tracks and he is the true unsung hero of this album, the glue between George Lynch and Don Dokken. And if you listen to the album, you will hear speed metal (“Tooth And Nail” and “Turn On The Action”, heavy metal (“Don’t Close Your Eyes”, “When Heaven Comes Down” and “Bullets To Spare”), hard rock (“Just Got Lucky” and “Heartless Heart”), ballads (“Alone Again”) and mixtures of all those styles in (“Into The Fire”).

“We did a record in 1999 called ‘Erase The Slate’ that I was actually very, very proud of, with Reb Beach on guitar. A fabulous record.

Then there was a DIO record that I did called ‘Strange Highways’ [1993] that I still think was just a hugely underrated record, because when it came out, people were expecting a more traditional DIO record, and I think over time, people have come to appreciate it more.

But that was such an inspired period, and working with Ronnie [James Dio] at that point was such a game changer for me. And the chemistry of that band and the writing chemistry that we had was so powerful and I still think ‘Strange Highways’ really holds up.”
Jeff Pilson

“Erase The Slate” is a perfect comeback album for Dokken after the terrible “Shadowlife” album they did with George Lynch. Reb Beach gave the band an injection it really needed and with all of the songs written by the four dudes in the band, my favourites are “Erase The Slate”, “Change The World”, “Maddest Hatter” and “Voice Of The Soul”.

Meanwhile George Lynch went from bad to even worse with his reboot of Lynch Mob into a nu-metal rap act. I purchased it, listened to it and never played it again.

“It’s a crazy world we live in and I’m leaving it today”
From Strange Highways

It sure is crazy. The protests happening in the U.S and now other parts of the world, all under the cloud of a pandemic show just how crazy and desperate it is. Time will tell how all of this plays out. Then again, history is always written by the winners, so…

“Strange Highways” released in 1993 from Dio is a heavy comeback album. I guess the time Dio spent with Black Sabbath and the “Dehumanizer” album brought out a more heavier approach. And Pilson again rises to the occasion with 9 co-writes on this album out of 11 tracks. But the surprise to me was Tracy G on guitars, who co-write the music on all of the 11 tracks. I had heard of his WWIII project from 1990 and seen the ads in the music mags, but never heard any music from it.

A soccer mate, “Nick The Stick”, was (and still is) a mad Dio fan, so he dubbed the CD on a cassette for me as I wasn’t sure I was back on the Dio train. I enjoyed “Lock Up The Wolves” (1990) and “Dehumanizer” (1992) so I don’t know why I wasn’t interested in a new Dio album. But I do know that my musical tastes were developing and looking for different ways and styles to learn and incorporate into hard rock.

The search for something different was linked to my journey as a practicing guitar player. It’s a big reason why “Images and Words” from Dream Theater (1992), “Undertow” from Tool (1993) and “Promised Land” from Queensryche (1994) resonated with me.

Do the crime, then write the law, there’s no wrong, you can change it
From Here’s To You

It sure seems that way. The people in power and their advisors keep breaking the laws and then after a few years they are in a position of power to write new laws. The GFC villains/architects all went on college speaking tours, while millions around the world lost their homes.

And the purpose of this post was to bring back some great albums that an artist holds up high. Plus it’s always cool to hear and read interviews from artists who talk about their previous works.

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

1977 – V1

All of these albums I got many years later. Actually all of my 70’s music came well into the 90’s

AC/DC – Let There Be Rock

I knew the songs before I even heard the album. There was no way you could escape AC/DC.

“Dog Eat Dog”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” were always on in car stereos and jukeboxes. The only tracks that were new to me, were “Go Down”, “Overdose” and “Crabsody In Blue” (which was substituted by “Problem Child” for the North American market.

And some of favourite AC/DC riffs are on this album, along with the lyrics, especially the social conscious themes of “Dog Eat Dog”. Plus for a blues based rock band, “Let There Be Rock” is an early precursors of speed metal.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell

In Australia, this album was still massive in the 80’s and it got even bigger in the 90’s when Meatloaf dropped Part 2. Like 25x Platinum like massive for Australia. And my favourite track (apart from the title track) is the ballad, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”.

It was also weird for me to read that another songwriter who is not part of the band solely wrote all the music.

I believe that the success of this album around the world is also down to the resilience that Steinman and Meat Loaf showed to get the album recorded, the band signed and eventually the album released.

Because the project started in 1972 and the songs got rejected because the label heads wanted to hear the typical “verse – chorus” arrangement, which as we know, Jim Steinman didn’t really abide by. Instead he relied more on the theatre/opera style of arrangements and the rest is history. In the US alone, the album is 14 x Platinum.

Queen – News Of The World

How do you follow up two successful albums with multi-tracked harmonies?

You go back to basics and rock out, which is exactly what Queen did with “News Of The World”.

There was no escaping “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” but my favourite track on this album is the John Deacon penned “Spread Your Wings”.

And a bonus mention for the Roger Taylor penned “Fight From The Inside”. Listen to it and you will hear how groovy and hard rock Queen could be. “American Woman” also comes to mind when I hear it. Slash said the guitar riff on this song is one of his favorites and it’s not even played by Brian May, but by drummer Roger Taylor, who also plays bass on the track.

Kansas – Point Of Know Return

I picked up the first five Kansas albums all in one swoop for less than $10. The covers got me interested and all I knew about the band was a few mentions by other artists in interviews from the progressive rock family.

That was it.

I had no idea about “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind”. And I played “Point Of Know Return” first because the cover was the best of all em and the song titles interested me.

So I dropped the needle and listened and read the credits and lyrics and became a fan.

Musically it’s a fusion of so many styles, blended in with the distorted sounds of hard rock and a band in top form.

Without Wikipedia or any form of internet to guide me, I had no idea how successful this band was or how their songs became radio staples in America. But it didn’t matter to me, because it these kind of discoveries when you go record hunting that remain.

Rush – A Farewell To Kings

After I was exposed to “Exit Stage Left” I was hooked and I started to seek out the Rush records I could find at the used record shops as CD’s in Australia, were still selling for $30. At one stage they got to $38. Seriously, the recording industry really over estimated their value.

This is album number 5 and the follow up to “2112” which was their make or break album. This fertile period of Rush would last to “Moving Pictures” in 1981 and then the synths would take over for about six years before they brought back the three piece sound.

And as a prog fan, I am always into songs which have sections, so “Cygnus X-1” was on my radar, but I was surprised by “Closer To The Heart” and that arpeggio guitar intro.

Foreigner – Foreigner

No one knew Mick Jones until this album dropped. No one knew the pipes on Lou Gramm until this album dropped.

Released in 1977, no one was sure if disco was ending or rock was starting.

And the album has some songs which are forgotten, but they rock as hard as anything I have heard.

A song like “Starrider” would work on any Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake album. Even on an Y&T or Scorpions album.

“The Damage Is Done” has this outro solo ending that reminds me of Santana or even “Winds Of Change” from Y&T. “At War With The World” could have come from a Rush album. There is so much variety on this album. It’s a shame that the first two cuts ruled everything.

Did I mention that “Cold As Ice” is also on this album?

Check out the debut.

That’s it for 1977 Part 1 and now we go back into the future for 2000 Part 2.

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