Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Live Scenes From New York

Released in 2001.

They play the whole concept album in its entirety (with some improvisation) and cast extras join the band to do the voiceovers of the characters.

They are very precise in their playing, but they also leave room for jamming and improvisation, which is something a lot of acts don’t do. Go watch a Metallica or Iron Maiden concert and you don’t get a lot of improvisation during the songs. The songs are more or less played the same way they are recorded. But if you watch Dream Theater, you will get a lot of jamming.

Some of Petrucci’s best solo moments are from live recordings. Like the solo on “Hollow Years” from the “Live In Budokan” release. He takes the normal solo with a bit of improvisation and then they extend it, to go into a hard rock “guitar hero” solo for about two minutes as part of the song. If you like guitar playing at its finest, then you will need to check this moment out.

On this album, his improvised solo on “Through Her Eyes” is exceptional.

James LaBrie cops a lot of hate for his vocals.

One thing about live performances and when I say live, I mean live, (not a live album sold as a live album with the instruments and vocals recut in a studio) is that it is really difficult to be consistent vocally.

A vocalist will always be pitchy live due to the volumes and how the noise of the other instruments and the crowd bleed into the ear pieces, making it hard to hear if they are hitting the right pitch all the time.

There are a few “what the” moments here.

One that comes it mind is when Mike Portnoy screams out “who wants to cum” at the climax of some love making samples which segues into the solo section of “Home”.

“The Dance Of Eternity” is seen as the definitive Dream Theater instrumental. It has all the trademarks of what makes Dream Theater unique and that whole “swinging 20’s show tunes” section from 2.30 minutes shows growth and diversity. Hearing it back today, it amazes me how effortlessly they just fused different eras and genres.

A highlight for me is the ballad “The Spirit Carries On”. The solo on the recording was a “Guitar Hero” moment and Petrucci delivers a masterclass here.

“Finally Free” is more or less a forgotten track when it comes to Dream Theater lore, but musically it is one of their best. Most of it is in 4/4 timing and very easy to digest. Plus it has an ending where Portnoy unleashes some unique and technical fills in the studio recording. Hearing him do that live and also improvising a little bit, without missing the beat is what live music is all about. And at 9.30, they go into a familiar section that wasn’t part of the studio recording, but is part of the live show at this point in time. Again, this is what live music is all about.

After the “Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory” album is played, they begin the other songs.

And is starts with “Metropolis – Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper”. The audience knows it and they cheer it. The guitars from Petrucci sound so much more heavier than the studio recording of a decade before. Rudess was not even part of the band then, but the keyboard parts sound like they are his. The Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir” first verse is still my favourite part of the song.

They go into “The Mirror” and I am a fan of how Petrucci employs the 7 string here, more Tool like in its rhythms. “Just Let Me Breathe” is my least favourite from the “Falling Into Infinity” album so I don’t really care for it here. “Acid Rain” from The Liquid Tension Experiment appears. This is from the side project that Portnoy put together after the “Falling Into Infinity” album, which involved, Petrucci, Rudess and Tony Levin on bass. From this side project, Rudess ended up joining Dream Theater.

While Petrucci and Portnoy did “LTE”, bassist John Myung did Platypus with ex Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian and guitarist Ty Tabor of King’s X (who also sang lead vocals) and drummer Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs/Winger fame.

Singer James Labrie also did Mullmuzzler. The record company would not allow LaBrie to use his own name, so he created the name of MullMuzzler and defined it as: “to gag or silence an individual’s thought before it can be expressed in any manner”. Joining Labrie in this project was future Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini, guitarist Mike Keneally who did time with Frank Zappa, Dweezil Zappa and Steve Vai. Bryan Beller was on bass and his background includes Dweezil Zappa. Matt Guillory played the keys and wrote a lot of the songs with Labrie.

“Caught In A New Millennium”, “Another Day” and a 6 minute Jordan Rudess keyboard solo (which the show didn’t really need) closes out disc 2. “Another Day” is such a good song and it should have been a massive hit. They probably should have shopped the song around to other artists to redo. For the live version, they even bring out a saxophone player.

Disc 3 is like the encore of the show.

It begins with “Erotomania”, “Voices” and “The Silent Man”. This trilogy of songs is known as the “A Mind Beside Itself” a three-part song cycle first released on their 1994 album “Awake”. When the separate songs are combined, the Trilogy clocks in at 22 minutes.

“Erotomania” is an instrumental. There is a section in the song which was originally written for “Pull Me Under” but removed before recording took place. So it got added to this instrumental. It’s a guitar hero moment with a lot of string skipping and fast alternate picking. Petrucci has no issue doing this live. Another masterclass.

The lead break in “Voices” is so bluesy in origin and of course Petrucci spices it up with some fast alternate picked runs between soulful bends.

“The Silent Man” starts off a bit different and I like it. If you want to hear Dream Theater Unplugged then press play on this. The solo section is extended and the whole band is in. It moves between ragtime and country leads.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is why I go to the live show.

“Learning To Live” which clocks in at 14 minutes is next. It’s my favourite track from the “Images And Words” album. The song originally is about 11 minutes long, so they improvise for an additional 3 minutes. There is a reggae like section in the solo section that is added. And the outro is extended. You should actually press play on this outro. Myung lays down the groove on the bass and the rest of the band builds on that, decorating it to a crescendo.

Their encore so far, is at 36 minutes.

They close the show with “A Change Of Seasons”, which at that point in time was their longest song at 24 minutes. Bringing the total encore to 60 minutes. A lot of metal and rock bands just do a 90 minute show (80 minutes and a 10 minute encore), or a 120 minute show (100 minutes and a 20 minute encore). Dream Theater delivered a 180 minute show.

In a case of Nostradamus clairvoyance, the original album cover had the Dream Theater logo over a burning New York skyline with the World Trade Towers on fire. It was all printed and packaged for its release date of September 11, 2001.

You can guess how that went down.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 1 to August 14

4 Years Ago (2018)

Dee Snider

Dee Snider released “For The Love Of Metal” and it’s basically metal music the way I knew it. Which is very different to how metal music is known these days with hard-core growls and scream vocals added to the mix. I even remember when AC/DC was found in the Heavy Metal section of the record shop, whereas now if you do find a record shop, AC/DC is in the rock section. Even Bon Jovi was classed as “heavy metal” once upon a time. It was a broad classification, that’s for sure.

Dee’s message of the outcasts standing together against oppression and censorship and authority resonated big time with me in the 80’s. I didn’t care about the look. I never got into a band because they looked cool. The music is always the entry point.

The area I grew up in had a lot of migration from Europe. And the residents didn’t like it. Nor did they like the different languages the new migrants spoke. But somehow, we found ways to get along in suburbia. But in the schools’ it was a different story. There was no “cool” teacher like there is nowadays.

Actually, all of the teachers I had were oppressive and they hated rock music. It’s probably why songs like “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”, “Bad Boys (Of Rock N Roll”, “Come Out And Play” and “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” resonate.

When Twisted disbanded in 87, Dee wasn’t in the news a lot, except for a few little paragraphs here and there in a magazine about his upcoming Desperado project. Then that project got killed by record label bosses, then Widowmaker got up and running, however Grunge came and suddenly it felt like the biggest voice in my life was missing during the “golden commercial years” of metal and rock music.

But Dee is a lifer. He battled tooth and nail to make it, so there was no way he was going to lay dormant. And like it was written in some holy book, Dee came back, more diverse than ever. He became a movie maker, a radio show host, a solo artist, an author and when TS reformed, he led them up front all the way to the last show.

And his solo music probably doesn’t have the same public acceptance as the Twisted music, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important or influential. As I’ve said before, a million sales of an album doesn’t mean you have 1 million fans. You just have a million people who purchased the album. Some would have liked it and played it over and over again, some would have heard it once and never played it again.

With hundreds of releases coming out each day, compared to the 50 odd each month in 1984, each artist is fighting against the same tide. Fans can spread the word and make the new release rise above the waters.

In saying all that, “For The Love Of Metal” deserves to be in the public conversation and credit Jamey Jasta in challenging Dee to make this record, as well as produce it with Nick Bellmore and write music/lyrics for it.

For the love of metal, check out my review here.

Candlebox – Sometimes

The 90’s didn’t feel that far away, but man the Candlebox debut album dropped in 1993, which makes it 29 years old. The truth is, Candlebox is so good on the debut album, I decided to give other 90’s bands a listen.

The “Purple Rain” sounding “Far Behind” is the star of the debut album. Then you had “Don’t You” and “Change” that rock as hard as any 80’s band and I used to cover “You” in bands I played in. I love the B minor key for songs and to be honest, a lot of punters thought it was an original.

And “Cover Me”, is hidden all the way at the back end of the album at number 10. Brilliant track and a great solo section.

I didn’t get the “Lucy” album until a few years after its release. And something was missing. You know the whole saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and you just write music that suits your tastes when you start out. Then your music breaks through into the mainstream and suddenly you feel like you need to write hits. I’m not sure if this was on their minds, but something definitely was. Because it was different. Maybe I just moved on. Who knows.

Anyway, “Happy Pills” came out and like “Lucy” I didn’t lay out money on it for a few years after it was released. Actually, by the time I got it, the band was already broken up. I was listening to the album, while I was working, not really paying attention, like it was background music and then “Sometimes” came on.

I stopped and listened. And just like that, Candlebox was back in my headspace.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

Nothing…… No posts. Zero. Zilch.

The European trip I was on, was for a total of 10 weeks all up. The way I see it is easy. The distance from Australia to Europe is massive. So if I am going to pack up my family and go, it needed to be worth it.

To get to any part of Europe from Sydney, will take about 22 hours of flying, plus waiting times at stop overs. For this trip we used Austrian Air, so the path was Sydney to Bangkok (with 8 hour wait at Bangkok), Bangkok to Vienna (with a 4 hour wait at Vienna) and from Vienna you can go to any part of Europe.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1996 – Part 5.7: Sepultura – Roots

Sepultura means grave in Portuguese. It all came to Max Cavalera when he was translating the lyrics from the song “Dancing On Your Grave” by Motorhead. It doesn’t matter where you look, Lemmy’s influence is everywhere.

I met the brothers, Max and Igor Cavalera at a Utopia Record Store Signing in Sydney. My cousin Mega is a huge fan. Mega turned up with his bashed in snare skin which the guys gladly signed and Mega also gave me a poster which they signed for me and I then gave the poster back to Mega.

Sepultura built up to this moment with their three previous releases in “Beneath The Remains” released in 1989, “Arise” released in 1991 and “Chaos A.D” released in 1993.

“Roots” is their sixth studio album released at the start of 1996. It’s also their biggest. The line-up is the classic line up as I know it. Max Cavalera is on lead vocals and he plays a 4 and 6-string guitar. Andreas Kisser is on lead guitar. Paulo Jr. is on bass guitar and Igor Cavalera is on drums and all things percussion related.

Produced by Ross Robinson, so don’t expect to hear any guitar leads as Robinson has openly stated how much he hates guitar leads.

Roots Bloody Roots

The groove metal riff is so much fun to play. There is this dissonance section in the middle which is chaotic and unsettling before the groove riff kicks in.

It carries the message to believe in yourself, be proud of your heritage and be proud of where you come from.

Attitude

There is a syncopated riff in the intro which is cool. The rest is run of the mill, Pantera like groove riffs.

The lyrics to “Attitude” were co-written by Dana Wells, Max Cavalera’s stepson, whose death (in part) led to the events which caused Max to leave the band.

Cut-Throat

“Cut Throat” is about Epic Records who gave the band no love during their previous album “Chaos A.D.” The last words in the song are “Enslavement, Pathetic, Ignorant, Corporations”.

Ratamahatta

It features David Silveria on drums and Carlinhos Brown on vocals, percussion and a lot of other unique native Brazilian instruments.

The song is a celebration of life in Brazil’s favela slums, which tells the stories of people like Coffin Joe and Lampiao, the leader of an early 1900s outlaw gang from north Brazil, whose head was put on public display after he was captured.

Breed Apart

Written by Andreas Kisser and Max Cavalera, it starts off with a military like snare which morphs into a Tool like breakdown before Tool was known to do these kind of breakdowns.

I have no idea what Max is singing, but I don’t really care as the music gets me interested to pick up the guitar.

Straighthate

There is no way you can’t listen to the start and say that doesn’t sound like Tool on the “Aenima” album, which came after.

I also hear a lot of the Nu-Metal like riffs from acts like Slipknot, Spineshank and Mudvayne on this album. Then again Korn was doing something similar as well.

Spit

The riff has a hard rock like swagger, something that bands like Buckcherry and Orgy would do in a few years’ time.

Lookaway

It features guest appearances by Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis, then-Korn drummer David Silveria, House of Pain/Limp Bizkit turntablist DJ Lethal, and Faith No More/Mr. Bungle vocalist Mike Patton. The track alone could appear on a Korn or Mr Bungle album. It’s chaotic.

Dusted

Written solely by Andreas Kisser, it’s more of that Korn and Deftones vibe.

Born Stubborn

It’s got this industrial like vibe. Like all the songs, I have no idea what Max is singing.

It features an Xavante Tribe chant which also appears on the song “Itsari”.

Jasco

An instrumental by Andreas Kisser which feels like a tribute to someone.

Itsári

An instrumental with the Xavante Tribe chants and an acoustic guitar riff that reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s “III” album.

Ambush

I like the intro on this. It reminds me of stuff that Machine Head would do. It’s “a tribute to murdered South American rain-forest activist Chico Mendes”.

Endangered Species

It addresses environmental destruction. Musically it is brutal.

Dictatorshit

It’s about the 1964 Brazilian coup d’état. It’s fast, punk like and angry.

I would say that “People = Shit” from Slipknot is similar.

Canyon Jam

A hidden track on the album. It’s a 14 minute native drum instrumental.

The album was massive in Australia, reaching number 3 on our ARIA charts and a Gold certification to go. In Austria it reached number and a Gold certification. Gold certifications followed in Canada, France, Netherlands, the U.K and the U.S.

On top of that it charted in the Top 10 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

The small subtle change from fast speed metal to groove nu-metal worked. It is the bands biggest album and the last studio album to feature founding member, main songwriter and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera. The offers rolled in for Max to do something on his own. Soulfly would be the answer.

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

1996 – Part 5.6: Yngwie Malmsteen – Inspiration

After battling to make a name for himself on the small Polydor label, Yngwie Malmsteen finally got the big label deal in 1992 with the release of “Fire And Ice” on Elektra. While the album did great business in the Japanese and Eastern/Northern Europe market, it failed in the U.S.

The million plus dollar advance from the label was classed as “unable to be recouped” and he was dropped from Elektra.

One door closes another one opens. A Japanese company called Pony Canyon signed Malmsteen. “The Seventh Sign” came out in 1994, achieving a Platinum certification in Japan, followed by “Magnum Opus” in 1995 which received a Gold Certification in Japan.

“Inspiration” is the ninth studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 14 October 1996.

Malmsteen was back to releasing an album a year, in order to remain relevant and in the public conversation during the hostile 90s. If he didn’t do that, obscurity was not too far away. Artists these days whinge about Spotify and how they believe that the service is making them release constant product. It’s not the service, it’s the market. The market demands constant product. It always did.

Yngwie Malmsteen on guitars/bass and Anders Johansson on drums play on every track. The rest is a cast of artists like Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner, Marcel Jacob and various keyboard players.

Carry On Wayward Son

Written by Kerry Livgren.

It shows the reach Kansas had, so that a kid from Sweden would consider the band as an influence.

Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here and his Talisman buddy, Marcel Jacob is on bass. David Rosenthal is on keyboards. During this same period, Malmsteen also appeared on a Talisman release. A sort of, “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” type of agreement.

Malmsteen makes the song sound like an over-indulgent Malmsteen song with his over the top soloing on any part of the song that doesn’t have vocals.

Pictures of Home

It wouldn’t be an influence album for Malmsteen if there was no Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen’s poses and looks are straight from “The Look Of Blackmore”. This is the first of four Blackmore songs. Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here, who also sang on Malmsteen’s most successful album “Odyssey”. Mats Olausson is on the keys.

The lead breaks are Malmsteen lead breaks full of legato runs and of course, sweep picking. A lot of sweep picking.

Gates of Babylon

From Rainbow and Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here. His voice and tone is perfect for the song. David Rosenthal plays the keys here.

The song would not be out of place on a Malmsteen album. The riffs are already what Malmsteen plays and as soon as he throws in his sweep picking and fast classical legato lines, it’s basically a Malmsteen song.

Manic Depression

From Jimi Hendrix and like his idol, Malmsteen is on lead vocals. I suppose for all the shredding, Malmsteen doesn’t get credit for being a pretty crazy blues player. Vocally, he doesn’t have the swagger of Hendrix.

In the Dead of Night

From the band U.K., the song is written by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. Mark Boals is on lead vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. And for those who don’t know John Wetton, he’s appeared in King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash and Asia.

But the reason why this track is here is due to Allan Holdsworth being the guitarist. Holdsworth was an unknown name to me until Eddie Van Halen started mentioning him in his interviews in the mid 80’s, which led me to seek out his solo recordings.

Ty Tabor also mentioned in an interview (which can be found on the Wikipedia entry of the U.K album) that the self-titled U.K album is in his “5 Essential Guitar Albums” list, stating that he “had never heard anybody think about playing guitar the way that Holdsworth plays on that record.”

Holdsworth never got mainstream attention. Producers and label heads called his music “without direction”, however to guitarists he was like a god.

You can hear the melodic rock side of Malmsteen here with a bit of progressiveness and how songs like “You Don’t Remember” and “Judas” with the keys and guitars playing great riffs that complement each other.

The solo break groove is excellent, however Malmsteen this time is just too much on the speed, and it just doesn’t fit the groove.

Press play on this track first.

Mistreated

From the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple.

This is the third Blackmore track to appear on this.

Would Malmsteen have covered this, knowing that Coverdale wrote the main riff?

Regardless, the song is perfect for soloing and Malmsteen uses that opportunity to do just that. But if I had to pick a cover version, it is the Whitesnake version with Reb Beach soloing. That solo just hits all the right notes.

Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here with Mats Olausson on keyboards.

On this version, press play to hear the solo that comes in at the 4.20 minute mark. Malmsteen harmonises, its bluesy like “Still Got The Blues” and I like it.

Also stick around for the ending. It’s excellent. Soto really shines here, as he adds in backing vocals that sound like Gospel vocals and while they are happening he is ad libbing his main vocal while Malmsteen is throwing every lick he knows to the Master Tape.

The Sails of Charon

Another guitar player that influenced Malmsteen heavily was Uli Jon Roth, so it’s no surprise that his most classical sounding metal song with the Scorpions is covered.

Mark Boals is on lead vocals here and does a great job on the vocals, however Malmsteen just solo’s way too much here.

Demon’s Eye

Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. I like how Malmsteen included bluesy Deep Purple here and still added his classical licks with bluesy Chuck Berry’isms.

Anthem

From Rush and Mark Boals sizzles on lead vocals here.

The pace of this song screams energy and I like it. And goddamn it sounds so heavy.

Child in Time

Mark Boals does an excellent job on lead vocals again with David Rosenthal on the keys.

The keys actually take the lead here (i.e. they basically sound like Malmsteen is playing them), carrying the intro and verses. Malmsteen cranks in right when the ohh’s start.

Overall there are six main guitarists that serve as inspiration to Malmsteen. Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Uli Jon Roth. Alex Lifeson, Kerry Livgren and Alan Holdsworth. Pretty cool inspirations if you ask me.

While the massive North American market still had its back turned to Malmsteen along with the U.K and parts of Western Europe, the Japanese, Scandinavian Countries and Eastern Europe markets kept sustaining him.

If you want to hear two songs from this album, press play on “In The Dead Of Night” and “Mistreated”.

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

1996 – Part 5.4: Accept – Predator

Accept in the 90’s didn’t exist for me. It wasn’t until 2008/09 that I started to re-listen to Accept and check out their 90’s output.

But the big problem with anything to do with the 90’s was confusion. The 90’s just kept striking out 80’s bands because they felt lost and didn’t know how to fit in. Gone was the label support and the people left around just didn’t know what to do.

If you don’t believe me, press play on Dio’s “Angry Machines” or Dokken’s “Shadowlife” or “Generation Swine” by Motley Crue. Confused. Yep, so was Ronnie and Don and Nikki/Tommy.

And as a fan of hard rock and heavy metal music, I was even more confused why these popular 80s bands couldn’t keep on releasing great albums in the 90’s.

On this album, Accept is mainly staying true to their roots. They have incorporated some 90’s groove and sounds and a little bit of 70’s Scorpions, however their sound is still AC/DC meets Judas Priest.

I read some of the reviews of this album recently and man, people don’t like it. I can hear why people would hate this album as there are musical elements on this album that can be classed as “what the” moments. But this album shows a band trying to survive in a hostile musical climate towards them. And it didn’t matter to me what new musical element they brought in, as it still sounds like Accept and it still sounds like Metal.

So “Predator” is studio album 11, released in 1996. It was produced by Michael Wagener and it is their last recording with singer Udo Dirkschneider.

Joining Udo here is the great Wolf Hoffmann on guitars, Peter Baltes on bass and drums are played by Michael Cartellone, fresh from his Damn Yankees gig.

Hard Attack

This is Accept doing AC/DC and I like it. A lot.

Crossroads

A head banging riff like “Balls To The Wall” underpins this song.

Baltes and Udo do lead vocals on this and the vocals of Baltes just don’t work for me here.

There is also this country like open sting lick played between the Chorus and Verse which I like.

Making Me Scream

This song has a 90’s alternative metal groove as the rhythm, however the exotic lead over it makes it classic Accept.

You could almost say it’s like the embryo of “Black Label Society”. The heaviness also reminds me of the self-titled Motley Crue album.

Diggin’ in the Dirt

Remember that song “Three Little Pigs”, well it reminds me of that. It has a similar vibe.

Lay It Down

The music on this song is excellent.

Baltes does the lead vocals here and he does a great job.

The Chorus is a rocker and anthemic.

There is no way that Zakk Wylde can say he never heard this song, because it so Black Label Society and that band was a few years away, however Zakk had created his embryonic incarnation with “Pride And Glory”.

If this song doesn’t make you bang your head, check for a pulse.

It Ain’t Over Yet

Baltes does the lead vocals again on this sleazy rocker.

Predator

I’m not a fan of this song at all.

Crucified

Its speed metal, old school and I love it. Just press play to hear the wah riff between 1.08 and 1.12. It’s only four seconds but its excellent.

And the lead break is classic Hoffmann. Press play on that as well.

Take Out the Crime

The love for AC/DC is back here.

Don’t Give a Damn

And you get to hear AC/DC again. And I like it.

Run Through the Night

The intro riff reminds me of “Aint Talking Bout Love” from Van Halen. Press play to hear how a derivative riff is created.

Primitive

The drums sound like they belong on a Gloria Estefan or Janet Jackson album. The song “Black Cat” comes to mind. Baltes does the lead vocals here, but the song is a skip for me. A terrible way to end the album.

“Predator” was the last Accept album for 14-years. Udo would never return.

But I feel they are bigger now than they’ve ever been. “Blood Of The Nations” came first in 2010 and each release afterwards has built on their return.

Mark Tornillo on vocals is excellent and a perfect song writing partner for Wolf Hoffmann. That’s not to say that others didn’t contribute. Bassist Peter Baltes was also a song writing partner while he was in the band and new bassist Martin Motnik contributes along with long time lyricist Deaffy, otherwise known as Gaby Hoffmann.

While hated, do yourself a favour and check out songs like “Hard Attack”, “Crossroads”, “Lay it Down” and “Crucified”. From there you can make up your own mind.

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

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Once In A Livetime

“Once in a LIVEtime” was released in 1998.

This would start a trend with Dream Theater that after each studio album, a live album would follow from the tour. Kevin Shirley was on hand to produce and record it. But Shirley was stressed as he only had two days to mix and fix it. In the book “Lifting Shadows” by Rich Wilson, Shirley mentioned that on this live album there were a lot of fixes.

The show was recorded at the Bataclan Theater in Paris however the tour began September 1997 in Brazil. And before it even started, they had to get new management. Remember the manager who won the battle to remain manager, well he left. He wasn’t feeling it anymore. The management team that came in proved so much worse. The band was lost and needed direction. These new guys didn’t provide it, but they had no problem spending money. And when the band fired them the managers sued em.

Furthermore, Petrucci and Portnoy were at loggerheads. Portnoy still had a chip on his shoulder over Petrucci choosing to go with Shirley’s ideas and the disagreements they had over which manager would get the gig. During the tour, Portnoy even fired Petrucci’s guitar tech, which didn’t go down well with Petrucci.

Portnoy also announced to the band that he is quitting once the tour is finished. So in retrospect this live album could have been the last official release.

The album cover, one of two designed by Storm Thorgerson for the band, shows an overhead view of the ancient Roman theatre in Orange, France set into a head of a monk. Like “Falling into Infinity” it does not feature the band’s word mark due to Storm’s demand who sees logos as ugly.

This would also be the last album to feature Derek Sherinian on keyboards as his short tenure in the band would come to an end.

A Change of Seasons I: The Crimson Sunrise

So from a concert perspective, they split “A Change Of Seasons” into its separate parts and scattered them throughout the concert.

The acoustic intro gets the crowd singing along, ala Maiden like. Trust the Europeans (and the South Americans) to give a concert a football (soccer) like atmosphere. As soon as the band kicks in, its heavy and precise.

A Change of Seasons II: Innocence

They move into part 2 effortlessly. LaBrie is strained but does a great job. He’s a professional. Sometimes singers have 10 from 10 performances and some days they have 7 from 10. It’s still a good performance.

Puppies on Acid

Is basically “The Mirror” and a bit of “Lie” from the “Awake” album combined to serve as a segue into “Just Let Me Breathe”. Strange choice.

Just Let Me Breathe

From the “Falling To Infinity” album.

The song is great musically. I’m not a super fan of the vocal melodies, but I do like how they had the balls to try melodies like that.

Voices

One of my favourite tracks from the “Awake” album.

Press play to hear the intro, the way the Chorus crashes in musically and the excellent Petrucci solo. If anything, Petrucci’s playing live is even better than the studio recordings. He’s so precise, yet he still creates room for some improvisation. And that my friends is the meaning of a great musician.

LaBrie unfortunately is difficult to listen to, especially the high notes.

Take The Time

The first track from their biggest album so far, “Images and Words”.

Check out the funky first verses. You will feel like you are in the 70’s. It’s the beauty of the band, to be so diverse musically.

The ending contains the solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” and the main riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick”. This is the kind of improvisation I like.

Derek Sherinian Piano Solo

I hate individual solo spotlights without any backing music to it.

For the purists, the brief solo does contain portions of “Platt Opus” which would be released on the debut Platypus album, (a progressive rock supergroup to which Sherinian and John Myung were members of, and they released their first album a year after this album).

However Sherinian tries to make his solo spotlight tie in with “Lines In The Sand”.

Lines In The Sand

From the “Falling into Infinity” album.

This song works live and LaBrie doesn’t need to strain his voice here as this song is more in the lower registers.

Petrucci again delivers a killer a guitar solo. All the emotion he committed to tape is here, live. The bends, the vibrato and the fast legato lines. Even Labrie at the end, mentioned, “John Petrucci on guitar people”.

The solo segues into my favourite part of the song. A groove is established and LaBrie is in his Pete Gabriel element here. Petrucci decorates like Alex Lifeson on the guitar. Then at 9.36, Petrucci starts to build it up, taking parts of the intro, and adding a lot of grease and blues. Then his Lifeson decorating with power chords and ringing open strings is back. Portnoy gets busier and the band cranks into the main riff of the song.

Scarred

From the “Awake” album.

Ballsy move to play another epic track straight after an epic track, but then again, Dream Theater didn’t get to this stage, playing by the rules.

A Change of Seasons IV: The Darkest of Winters

And this is a perfect example of not playing by the rules. When they go into the instrumental section of “A Change Of Seasons”

Ytse Jam

And after 3 minutes of “The Darkest Of Winters”, they go into their instrumental masterpiece from “When Dream and Day Unite”, the “Majesty” spelt backwards “Ytse Jam”. And as soon as the intro riff kicks in, the crowd is chanting along with them.

This kind of set list is preaching to the converted.

Mike Portnoy Drum Solo

A 5 minute drum solo and the last 2 minutes is the ending of “Ytse Jam”.

But it’s a next for me.

Trial of Tears

From the “Falling into Infinity” album. The first two minutes has Petrucci playing “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”, with Portnoy channelling Neal Peart from Rush.

Hollow Years

From the “Falling Into Infinity” album.

The “Live At Budokan” version is the definitive version for me. The flamenco Al DiMeola like noodling at the start which is present on the “Budokan” version is here as well, just a bit more embryonic. And the solo sticks to script here, it doesn’t have the long shred solo from “Budokan”.

LaBrie doesn’t need to strain much here, and vocally he’s bringing it.

Take Away My Pain

From the “Falling into Infinity” album. I didn’t think it would end up in a set list as it’s not one of the stronger songs from the album.

Caught in a Web

From the “Awake” album. The tempo is sped up just a little bit and it works perfectly. You can feel the energy hit you from the speakers.

Lie

From the “Awake” album. Like “Caught In A Web” before it, the tempo is sped up a little bit and its perfect for the song. It sounds more energetic and powerful.

Peruvian Skies

From the “Falling into Infinity” album and the band definitely shows which songs influenced the song as they go into portions of “Have a Cigar” from Pink Floyd and “Enter Sandman” from Metallica. Press play to hear it.

John Petrucci Guitar Solo

An 8 minute guitar solo which contains a portion of a song that would become “Paradigm Shift” from a side project called “Liquid Tension Experiment”, which Portnoy and Petrucci would form after this period with future Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and bassist Tony Levin.

The ending of the album begins with “Pull Me Under”, “Metropolis” and “Learning To Live”. My three favourite songs from “Images And Words”. And they finish it off how they started, with the final chapter of “A Change Of Seasons”.

For a live album, it is the least favourite live album in the “Dream Theater” catalogue. I don’t go back to it much, however as the title states, it’s a capture of a time, a period. So enjoy it for what it is, a band on the verge of breaking up but keeping it all together for their love of music.

And a DVD release came out as well. But that review is for another day.

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

1996 – Part 5.3: Michael Schenker Group – Written In The Sand

Every label head said Schenker was finished, washed up.

It’s 1991 and a supergroup called Contraband drop their debut album. And it keeps on dropping because it is so bad. The nice advance payment that Schenker got to be involved in the project didn’t do much to enhance or move forward his career. In fact his manager and ex-partner took most of it.

But he stays alive, because he’s a lifer. When you have been in the game for this long, the only thing you know how to do is play. And play he did. He jumped on board the unplugged bandwagon and released an album. He called up Robin McAuley and released another McAuley Schenker studio album.

Then he re-unites with Phil Mogg and they start writing. The songs got the labels interested and the “Walk On Water” album from UFO, released in 1995 surprised everyone. Suddenly Schenker was back on the agenda and he’s getting money thrown at him again. He had a lot of bad people in his life at this point in time, from managers and partners, so it was always going to happen that MSG would return.

I didn’t think it would be that quick. Because a year after “Walk On Water”, “Written In The Sand” is released, the eighth full-length studio album that falls under the MSG brand.

The only thing consistent with all of these MSG albums is the name and Michael Schenker himself. The other members are in a constant flux. For this album, Schenker is joined by Leif Sundin on vocals, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass. All the music is by Michael Schenker and all lyrics by Leif Sundin.

Ron Nevison is doing all the Producing, Engineering and Mixing.

It’s not on Spotify which irks me, but YouTube has it.

Brave New World

It’s got groove, swing and lot of rock and roll. And the first thing that grabs my attention are the vocals from Leif Sundin. His voice is very melodic, fluid and unique. I would say he’s up there as one of the best singers in MSG.

The lead breaks are impressive, with Schenker even soloing over a harmony solo which acts as a rhythm guitar.

Cry No More

Press play to hear the intro. Its heavy and a lot of acts who went alternative to survive weren’t doing riffs like this during this period. The song could have been on a Deep Purple album and it wouldn’t be out pf place.

I Believe

It’s a ballad that turns into a rocker. It’s not original, yet it is an easy listen.

Back to Life

No one was writing riffs like this in 1996. Its old school and I like it. Barry Sparks is massive on the bass here as well.

Written in the Sand

This track is essential MSG. It has a sleazy bluesy riff and a lot of melody. And Schenker delivers a tasty guitar-solo in the middle and for the outro.

Essenz

It wouldn’t be an MSG album without an instrumental. This one has an “Eruption” vibe before moving into a fast blues. Think of “Hot For Teacher” when it picks up.

Love Never Dies

Imagine “Finish What Ya Started” merging with the melodic rock genre. Well this is the outcome. Another close favourite with a killer Schenker lead break.

I Will Be There

Press play to hear the verse riff. Schenker makes it sound technical, yet it rocks so fluidly.

Take Me Through the Night

Its classic heavy metal while the singing is happening and the solo section is barroom blues brawling.

It wouldn’t be out of place on any metal album from the early 80’s.

Down the Drain

The album closer showcases how Schenker decorates in a creative way. You cannot ignore how good it is.

While Schenker’s North American career had stalled, he was still a big draw in Japan and certain European markets. And just like that, the whole “Contraband” affair was forgotten. That is if you heard the album. Which wasn’t easy to do.

Crank it.

Standard
Music, Stupidity

1996 – Part 5.2: Manowar – Louder Than Hell

If the style of the artwork looks familiar, it should. Its Ken Kelly doing the cover. If you have “Destroyer” and “Love Gun” from Kiss, “Rising” by Rainbow, “Space Invader” by Ace and other albums by Manowar like “Fighting The World” and “The Triumph Of Steel”, then you would have been exposed to Ken Kelly.

Should be called “Duller Than Hell” and Motley Crue also want their title back. Or they should have used their war cry “Death To False Metal” as the album title as the songs themselves are too derivative of earlier Manowar and could be classed as false.

It’s their eighth album, released on October 1, 1996. After the expiration of their contract with Atlantic, the band did a big money move to Geffen Records and this is their first offering. For an album on Geffen Records, the production is lifeless. Stale. Which is strange as the album was anticipated. And it was a running joke, if the album would ever get released as they approached four years from the previous studio album. Back then four years was a long time. These days bands go decades without releasing anything new.

Formed in 1980, Joey DeMaio on bass, keyboards is still the head honcho and main songwriter. Eric Adams is still the vocalist. It is the first album to feature guitarist Karl Logan, as well as the return of drummer Scott Columbus.

Dee Snider once posted on Twitter, if people should listen to an artist if they did a crime that doesn’t sit well with you.

Guitarist Karl Logan was arrested in 2019 for child pornography offenses. I questioned myself if I should review this album or not review it. I decided to review it, since all the songs are written by kingpin DeMaio.

My opinion of the album still hasn’t changed.

It’s a parody of their former albums, like “Fighting The World”. The guitar playing is boring.

While former guitarist Ross The Boss played riffs, the new guy plays chords. They might as well have gotten Richie Sambora to play chords. He would have done a more livelier job. And maybe introduced a talk box into their sound.

I was always a Ross The Boss fan anyway and was pretty bummed when he was asked to leave the band he formed with Joey DeMaio by DeMaio himself circa 1988. At first, Ross the Boss was replaced by David Shankle, who left in ’94 after playing on “The Triumph of Steel”. I didn’t want to even listen to the album, but my cousin is a massive fan and he kept playing their new albums for me to check out.

Return of the Warlord

It’s very Judas Priest like. Think “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and “Heading Out The Highway”. Each song has a dedication in the CD liner notes, and this one is dedicated to Mary Hooton for all the years and all the tears.

Lyrically, its dumb and simple. While the musical climate in the 90’s started to get more introspective and introverted, Manowar was the opposite. They stayed big, bombast, epic and aloof.

Check-out lines like, “I got no money or big house just got life, I don’t like to save it’s more fun to spend, If you like metal you’re my friend, And that bike out in the yard well that’s my wife”.

Yep, I know the 90’s were hard on 80’s metal, yet Manowar survived writing stuff like this.

Brothers of Metal Pt. 1

It’s from 1986, so they must have had writers block. The lyrical themes of “Fighting for metal, that is real, brothers of metal standing together with hands in the air” was a running joke in 1996. The song is dedicated to Jeff Bova.

More lyrical Shakespeare with “Our hearts are filled with metal and masters we have none, and we will die for metal, metal heals, my son

The Gods Made Heavy Metal

Judas Priest again comes to mind, circa “Screaming For Vengeance” era. With lyrics that will either make you take up the fight for Heavy Metal or laugh at the parody of Heavy Metal.

We are treated to biblical lines like “the gods made heavy metal and they saw that is was good, they said to play it louder than Hell, we promised that we would”.

It’s dedicated to a person called Rainer Haensel, for always being ready for anything crazy and for never letting the band down.

Courage

Another song that was demoed in 1986, it’s a piano ballad in a major key. Very Queen like and on this album it is in memory of Anthony John Columbus III.

But it’s a skip for me.

Number 1

One more song that was demoed in 1986 which is dedicated to Tom Miller for believing in the band no matter how crazy it seemed.

And Sylvester Stallone should of used lines like these in a “Rocky” or “Creed” movie. “Today is the day all the training through, we have come for the number one not the number two, let the contest begin play hard fight to win, immortality victory and fame”.

Outlaw

More of the same like the previous songs, the song is for the Manowar fans around the world who stand, shout, live and breathe MANOWAR METAL. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Manowar Metal” becomes a new genre in the years to come.

King

It’s another piano major key ballad for the first 90 seconds before it kicks in to more of the same. “Fighting The World” comes to mind here.

It’s dedicated to John Kalodner, their friend, brother and King. And they do him proud, with the lyrics, “Fight for the crown, fight for the ring, We’re fighting the world, we fight for the king”.

And if you grew up in the 80s you would have seen John

Today Is a Good Day to Die

A 9 minute instrumental that could belong in a Clint Eastwood Western.

They pull no punches in the CD notes when they say this song is dedicated to all the losers in the world who have tried to put Manowar and the Manowar fans down. As the Indians fought and died for their way of life, so shall Manowar. Great Spirit, they only wish to live long enough to urinate on the graves of their enemies.

The Power

Probably the best song on the album as it’s pace is frantic. And the Power is dedicated to artist Ken Kelly.

Manowar’s style is 80bpm chugging along rhythms. Most of their music is the key of Em. They celebrate heavy metal the way we knew it in the early 80’s, before it splintered into so many different categories. They make no apologies for it either. They do it their way, they have their core audience who are devoted to them and sustain them.

“Back In Black” from AC/DC is simple and it keeps you interested. “Louder Than Hell” is simple but it doesn’t keep me interested. Not like the earlier albums from Manowar.

Eric Adams on vocals is underrated and never spoken about when it comes to great vocalists. But they should talk about him a bit more. If you talk about Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, then Eric Adams should be in the same conversation. This album doesn’t do him justice, but check out the 80’s material.

Check it out if you want to hear a band carrying on the flag of 80’s Heavy Metal in the wastelands of Grunge, Alternative and Industrial.

Standard
Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 18 to July 25

2018 (4 Years Ago)

ANEW REVOLUTION

Whatever happened to Anew Revolution?

I was a fan back in the day and I still enjoy cranking their tunes. They released two official albums that I am aware off, in “Rise” (2008) and “iMerica” in 2010. There was an “Unplugged EP” in 2012 and a Kickstarter project that release new songs to the backers only in 2014.

I hope Anew Revolution make more music. They have fans. We probably won’t make the band millions, but we will listen.

Check out my review of “Rise” here?

WITHHOLDING MUSIC FROM STREAMING

Once upon a time, it used to cost a lot of money to record. Very few acts, got signed and even less acts got a chance to record and get distributed. Getting inside the record label machine was hard, however if an act could penetrate, they could have a long career even if they never had a hit on the charts.

The label did have good intentions to keep you in the business and the label would promote you. All at your cost of course. But the truth is, it was harder to keep a record deal than to get a record deal. Especially if you didn’t sell. And even more so, once MTV came out and you didn’t sell.

Kiss benefited from this business model. They relied on the label putting some money upfront for the recording of the album, for the film clips and for tour support.

Then Napster came, then torrents, the iTunes store and streaming and Gene and Paul just kept on shouting it loud to everyone about how there is no music business, while they toured non-stop and made money from the music business.

In the process they recorded two albums during this period.

Yep, two albums. “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. But for all of the complaining about streaming they did, the Kiss catalogue was on Spotify Australia. Then half of it was off. Then it was back on after a few weeks off. Madness.

I’m against bands withholding their music from a service that people legitimately pay for.

It’s all about consumption. Funds are tight, but Google and Spotify is not the problem. The artists are getting squeezed by the consumer. The consumer either listens or doesn’t want to listen to your music.

For any artist thinking of withholding their music from a streaming service, don’t do it. Don’t hold back progress. Because if you look at the past, you will see people who said the internet would kill the incentive to make music. Wrong, there’s so much more music than ever before. People said streaming would kill the business. Wrong, revenues are up and streaming is seen as it’s saviour.

Think forward, not backwards.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA

What can I say, there is something about TNFO and the music they create that hits a nostalgic spot for me. And I’m digging it.

Album number 4, “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” is full of massive sing-along choruses and derivative versions of some of the best pop songs ever written.

For example, if you like Deep Purple, Supertramp and Rainbow, then you will like the opening track “This Time”.

And that’s how the album flows. A road trip down memory lane, done in a new way.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

I was preparing for my European holidays.

A day before our flight, the news doing the rounds was the MH17 disaster. Then our flight got changed to an earlier time. But no one told us until the last minute.

And I had questions.

Because the new schedule would give us an 8 hour stopover in Bangkok instead of the normal 2 hour stop over.

And holidaying is meant to be relaxing and easy.

Thanks for reading folks, that’s another wrap of DOHistory.

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

Australian Method Series: Lord – Set In Stone

2005.

A band called Dungeon is opening for Megadeth in Sydney. I knew of the name, but never heard any of their music. The band name just didn’t do it for me. It was my mistake. I listened with my eyes instead of my ears. Well that was to change.

After the gig, Dungeon was definitely on my radar and I did purchase a few of their albums. And as soon as I got into them, they called it quits.

Sort of.

You see, Lord was originally started as a side project for Dungeon guitarist/vocalist Tim Grose, which was meant as something different from his main band sound. Lord’s first album was released in 2003 and it wasn’t so different from Dungeon. After Dungeon disbanded in 2005, Lord just became a continuation of Dungeon’s sound with new members. You could even purchase Dungeon albums at shows Lord did.

“Set in Stone” is the third album released in September 2009 by the band’s own label Dominus in conjunction with Riot! Entertainment. The album was recorded in my home town of Wollongong, Australia. A small foot note in history, is that a band I was in at the time opened up for Lord when they played Wollongong touring on this album.

The band is Tim Grose (also known as Lord Tim) on vocals and guitars, Tim Yatras on drums, Mark Furtner on guitars and Andrew Dowling on bass.

Spectres of the Ascendant

48 seconds of sound effects to introduce “Redemption”.

Redemption

Written by Tim Grose and drummer Tim Yatras, who would depart the band after the album was completed.

Its face melting speed metal.

100 Reasons

Another Grose and Yatras track.

It’s hard rock, with a major key Arena melodic rock Chorus.

Eternal Storm

Co-guitarist Mark Furtner gets a co-write with Grose and Yatras.

Fast, Malmsteen like from the “Marching Out” album. The solo is very Vinnie Moore like, running through different scalar patterns.

Set in Stone

Another track written by Grose and Yatras.

My favourite song on the album. The intro riff is a brilliant mix of Classic NWOBHM and American metal. Judas Priest and Maiden come to mind, with vocals bordering between a cross between Dickinson and Tate at their classic metal best.

There is this “wo-oh-oh” chant after the solo. I can imagine thousands of people chanting it at a gig.

Someone Else’s Dream

Written by the band.

An 80’s sounding synth and a syncopated guitar line set the foundations. At stages it feels like it’s a song from the Gothenburg metal scene, but the Chorus is huge and melodic.

Forever

It’s almost Maiden like with a lot of musical influences from the “Fear of The Dark” album.

I play air guitar to the harmony guitars.

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and Andrew Dowling.

The lyrical theme is pretty clear. Boy falls in love, gets rejected and goes all Michael Douglas “Falling Down” on the girl and the world.

The guitar playing in the lead break is brilliant.

Beyond the Light

Written by the band.

Judas Priest and UFO “Lights Out” era comes to mind, vocally and musically. It’s a great song to sing along to.

The End of Days

Written by Grose and Yatras.

It’s like a thrash metal song, with the vocals being a cross between Rob Halford and Tom Araya (in the verses).

Staying true to its title it ends with a nuclear bomb going off.

Be My Guest

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and ex Dungeon bassist Brendan McDonald.

This is like “Stars” on guitar with a lot of guest solos.

It’s an instrumental track featuring guest solos from Craig Goldy of Dio, Glen Drover from Eidolon, Olof Mörck of Dragonland, Yoshiyasu Maruyama of the Japanese thrash band Argument Soul, Angra’s Felipe Andreoli, the former Enter Twilight member Richie Hausberger, Chris Porcianko from Vanishing Point, Chris Brooks and former Dungeon members Stu Marshall and Justin Sayers.

New Horizons

Written by Grose and Yatras. It’s your typical power ballads.

Pete Lesperance from Harem Scarem plays a solo on this.

On a Night Like This

A Kylie Minogue cover as the bonus track.

The fact that the band would attempt such a cover shows the versatility of the members.

Reviews for Australian artists are difficult to do as I want to highlight influences of their sound without making them sound like copyists, and if people from other continents want to check them out, my aim is to give them a reference point as well.

If you haven’t dabbled in the power metal genre, then let Lord be your entry point.

It’s easy really.

Just press play on the melodic rock tracks first like “100 Reasons” and “Beyond The Light”.

If you like em, then press play on the classic metal track, “Set In Stone”.

If you like that, press play on the more ambitious tracks like “The End Of Days” and “Forever”.

Then you are at the fast speed metal with “Redemption” and “Eternal Storm”.

Enjoy.

Standard