Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – January 17 to January 23

2017 and 2013

I didn’t have any posts during this period 4 years ago and 8 years ago.

So here is a brief history.

2008 (13 Years Ago)

Gene Simmons got fired by Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice.

I don’t know why, but I saw this as funny.

2001 (20 Years Ago)

Jason Newsted asked his Metallica band mates to take a year off to work on side projects.

They said no and Newsted left.

Mike Portnoy tried the same with the Dream Theater guys in 2011 and the same result happened, with Portnoy leaving.

1991 (30 Years Ago)

AC/DC had to complete a show based on the recommendation of a Fire Marshall even after three fans got killed when they were crushed by the crowd at a show in Salt Lake City, Utah

1989 (32 Years Ago)

The embryo of the massive Black album begins, as Metallica drops an almost 8 minute music video, for “One”. This got em into the public eyes and minds.

1982 (39 Years Ago)

Ozzy becomes even more famous because he bit the head of a bat. Plus he gets rushed to hospital for rabies shots.

1974 (47 Years Ago)

One of my favorite bands is formed, by taking two bits of Free and a bit of Mott The Hoople and a bit of King Crimson to form Bad Company.

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Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Vanishing Point

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.

Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.

So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

Vanishing Point are from Melbourne, Australia.

“Dead Elysium” came out in 2020. Six years since they released the excellent “Distant Is The Sun” and during that period they had their setbacks in getting this album done, especially around vocalist Silvio Massaro and his throat infections and respiratory illnesses.

And before “Distant Is The Sun” there was “The Fourth Season” which came out in 2007.

The thing with Vanishing Point is that they write the music that makes them happy. With Silvio Massaro behind the mic and Chris Porcianko on guitars, they act as the mainstays and the main writers within the band, which actually came to my attention in 1997 with their debut album “In Thought”.

And while Massaro was on vocals for the debut, Porcianko wasn’t.

The guitars on the debut were handled by Andrew Whitehead and founder Tom Vucur. Porcianko joined the band after the debut album was done and never left. Vucur left during the writing of “Distant To The Sun”, which meant they had to restart the writing process again as they couldn’t use his riffs.

And in 2020, they dropped “Dead Elysium”.

Guitarist Chris Porcianko doesn’t get the recognition but he is an excellent song writer, and guitarist, creating intricate and syncopated riffs. And the dude can shred and be emotive as well.

The haunting piano kicks off “Dead Elysium” and then that syncopated riff comes in, which reminds me of “The Masterplan” and “A Touch Of Blessing” from Evergrey blended together.

And I was all in.

“Count Your Days” starts off with crunching guitars and an octave lead which gels with the symphonic elements.

Then the singing starts.

The day when I waved goodbye I remember it well

Those momentous days of saying goodbye to someone are engraved in our minds. One chapter ends and a new one begins, for better or worse. And it’s hard to say goodbye to something, because of fear. The fear of the unknown, the fear of other people’s opinions or the sadness that comes with saying goodbye.

Once the Chorus kicks in, it takes the track into AOR territory.

I took a look inside and I felt the great divide
In a world I fear that’s giving in to lies

The world was always giving in to lies. People believe what they read from the various newspapers and books. Reading critically is not easy, because it means you need to take another opposing view in mind, plus invest time to read widely. And people don’t want to take in a view that opposes their current beliefs.

And that melodic harmony lead break in the Outro.

How good is it?

The emotions it evokes, just makes me press repeat.

On YouTube, the video clip its shortened, so make sure you get the 6 minute plus version, so you can hear this lead break repeated endlessly before it fades out.

“Salvus” has this major key vibe in the intro, which hooks me in.

A few distorted chords, the orchestral synths and then a guitar lead.

Just before the minute mark, it all becomes quiet, just a vocal melody and some choir synths.

Staring at the edge
Reaching out to the world
Feels like I’m alone

The way this section comes in, I felt like I was alone, at the edge of the world. The movie “City Of Angels” comes to mind, how the character played by Nicholas Cage, stands at the beach, at sunrise, listening to some choral symphony being played in the atmosphere.

Then the drums and bass come in, no guitar as yet, because when they do come in again at the 1.38 mark for the pre-chorus, they are effective.

You don’t have to change the world
I will keep you safe

With all that is happening in the world, it’s hard to even feel safe.

Bring our dark to light

While the title track could have come from an Evergrey album, it’s tracks like “The Fall”, which provide the variation.

Just listen to the Chorus.

I should of seen the signs

Foresight is a wonderful thing but in real time we aren’t the best at seeing the subtle signs.

I can make believe or I can take the fall

How I would love to escape sometimes instead of facing reality.

Throughout my life I’ve been knocked on my arse so many times by people and by society in general, that once I’ve fallen the only way up, is to stand again.

Slowly.

Sometimes with broken bones.

I won’t give up, give in

It’s repeated in the outro, like a mantra, a new awakening and a new awareness.

And the guitar work from Porcianko is brilliant.

Check out Vanishing Point.

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2000 – Part 10

Kings X – Please Come Home Mr Bulbous

Creativity is all about experimenting and I like it when artists experiment. It alienates some and it might not even bring in anyone new, but as a fan of music, I enjoy it when artists try to grow out of the box that the record labels tried to fit them in.

I didn’t hear this album until 2012.

After feedback and noise, the opening track “Fish Bowl Man” finally kicks in with its groove orientated riff. It’s a product of its time, more alternative than the hard progressive groove rock the band is known for.

On the other hand, “Julia” could have come from a Bush album.

“She’s Gone Away” moves between clean tone arpeggios and syncopated palm muted riffs, with a Beatles vocal melody. That riff before the Chorus should have been repeated a lot more.

“When You’re Scared” has another Beatles like riff, from “She’s So Heavy” with another vocal melody inspired by the Liverpool legends. And it’s no surprise that a lot of artists during this time had Beatles like vocal melodies. I called it the “Oasis Phenomenon”.

Check out the lead break from Ty Tabor on this track. Emotive, bluesy and when he had to shred, he did.

“Charlie Sheen” has some great guitar moments in the opening arpeggio riff and the staccato clean tone verse riff.

Here is a review from Mike Ladano that I agree with (and if you are a Kings X fan, he has reviewed most of their stuff).

Babylon A.D – American Blitzkrieg

The first two Babylon A.D albums are great listens, especially the debut. Then the labels started dropping hard rock bands while they started chasing Alternative sounding bands and Babylon A.D was lost to me.

I saw that this album came out via the Metal Edge magazine, but I never really looked for it in Australian shops, nor did I have any interest at that point in time. It was about 2008 when I came across it via a torrent. I downloaded it and pressed play on my winamp player.

Musically, it sounded different, but it was still hard rock to me.

The title track kicks it off with a rap like vocal line which reminds me of the Beastie Boys and a certain song called “Fight For Your Right”.

Then it goes into the song “War”.

You know the one.

“War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, say it again.”

That one.

“Magic Mary” has a voodoo power and a Charlie Manson smile. It’s hard rock but its sounding dirtier and grungier. It doesn’t matter what sound effects producers put on the guitars, a rock riff is a rock riff.

“I Wanna Live” has a Tool “Sober” like riff as inspiration for the Verses with a Cheap Trick inspired Chorus. A brilliant combination and one of my favourites on the album. “One Million Miles” from their newer album has a similar intro and verse which is like the Chorus.

“Sinking In The Sand” is one of their best tracks. Its heavy and melodic and the way the verses roll along with just the bass and the vocal line, it reminds me of “Lost Behind The Wall” from Dokken.

“The Sky Is Falling” is a slower tempo song and I like it. Other songs start to become interchangeable with previous songs and the album closers with “Superstar” a perfect hard rocker about seeking your fifteen minutes of fame. Its riffs remind me of songs like “Creepshow” and “Mudkicker” from Skid Row.

Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed on Stage

Released on Geffen Records.

“13 Ways To Bleed On Stage” is the album in which their spider logo made its first appearance.

It was a bargain bin purchase in Australia even though it was a Gold selling album in the U.S, as I always saw this album in discount bins. I picked it up in a 3 for $10 bin, so I paid $3.33 for it.

And I became a fan.

I really liked the Staind/Bush vibe of the album.

Scooter Ward on vocals sounded a lot like em but I didn’t care.

“No One”, “End Of The World” and “Confession” stood out right away. Modern rock songs.

“It’s All Good” has a vocal melody in the verses which is catchy.

“Bleed” has an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

As the album closer it is my favourite.

On a side note, guitarist Terry Balsamo would depart after the 2003 follow up “Year Of The Spider” to fill the vacant guitarist spot left by Ben Moody in Evanescence.

Mudvayne – L.D. 50

The singer from a band I was in, who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit (mentioned in the 2000 – Part 9 post previously) also introduced me to Mudvayne.

I mentioned in the Kings X post that creativity is all about experimenting. Well, meet Mudvayne.

The press labelled em as “Slipknot Part 2” because they had painted faces. The press labelled em as Nu Metal as they released an album during the Nu Metal movement. But to compare Mudvayne to anything, you needed to listen to em.

They had progressive elements in their music and odd time signatures and because of these, another term came out of this debut which was “math rock”.

They had speed metal songs, jazz fusion breaks, and death metal vocals on some of the songs.

Pushing the boundaries of what is known as metal, that’s Mudvayne. To compare them to Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Creed, who became the faces of Nu Metal was wrong.

Bassist Ryan Martinie is unbelievable. His bass lines don’t just compliment, they add and enhance the song, as he mixes slap funk bass lines with metal, jazz, rock, chromatics and whatever other musical style he could find.

Guitarist Greg Tribbett is from the era of being influenced by Randy Rhoads.

Drummer Matt McDonough makes sense of all the chaos by keeping time, with tom rolls and a lot of double bass, and some excellent cymbal work.

Vocalist Chad Gray, who formed Hellyeah with Vinnie Paul and Tribbett, after is unique as well, moving between screaming, growling, gravel chainsaw like and melodic and leaving his $40K factory job to chase his dream of being a rock singer.

The album’s title is short for “Lethal Dosage 50”. It basically means the level of toxicity needed in a drug to kill half of the population.

“Dig” blasts out of the speakers with a funky bass riff, drums, power chords and gravel-throated vocals. Its telling the music business suits that they don’t care about their two cents input into their art. And it sets the trend of the album.

My favourite is “Death Blooms”. Musically its perfect and vocally the song moves between clean tone vocals and Gray’s talking vocal lines with a melodic Chorus which wouldn’t be out of place on a Tool or A Perfect Circle album.

Mob Rules – Temple of Two Suns

How could you not give a band a listen who carries a name from a pretty cool Black Sabbath album?

I pressed play, only to be confronted with sounds of Rainbow and Deep Purple on the opening track “Pilot Of Life”.

And I liked it.

It’s basically 80’s Hard Rock with some nice acoustic classical moments and in one song, some violin folk. It all sounds metal and for their second album, it’s a band still finding their feet.

There was enough here to get me interested to hear what would come next.

Tad Morose – Reflections

From Sweden, who play a sort of dark melodic progressive metal. Evergrey is a well-known band who plays this kind of dark prog.

“Reflections” is a compilation album from their first three albums, “Leaving The Past Behind” released in 1993, “Sender Of Thoughts” released in 1995 and “A Mended Rhyme” released in 1997.

The “Sender Of Thoughts” album is a favourite and I’ve been a fan since. So if you want to get a feel for the band, then this compilation is it.

See ya in 1985 for part 10.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – January 10 to January 16

4 Years Ago (2017)

I had no posts come out during this period 4 years ago. My usual routine at this time was a post at the start of the month and a post towards the end.

From new album releases, Swiss hard rock band Gotthard, released a very underrated album called “Silver”. Tracks like “Electrified” are as good as any well known hard rock songs.

8 Years ago (2013)

I also had no posts come out during this period. Celebrating the festivities or holidays or something like that. And the site was still young.

But I’ll go outside the designated years to highlight some other cool events.

29 Years Ago (1992)
Hard rock or glam rock or hair metal or whatever else the labels called it, had finally died.

“Nevermind” from Nirvana reached #1 in the U.S and the rest of the world followed soon after.

35 Years Ago (1986)

The Satanic Panic in the U.S was reaching fever pitch. Ozzy Osbourne was served with court papers by the parents of John McCollum, a teenager who shot himself while listening to Ozzy’s song “Suicide Solution.”

The parents claimed that their son was driven to suicide by Ozzy’s song and the subliminal messages contained within the song when its played backwards.

The court later throws the case out.

36 Years Ago (1985)

Queen, Iron Maiden and Whitesnake play the first “Rock In Rio” festival. Other hard rock acts included are Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC.

41 Years Ago – 1980

Rush released “Permanent Waves”.

“The Spirit of Radio” and “Freewill” become commercial successes. The new Rush would get even bigger and better with the next album “Moving Pictures”, which was my introduction to the band.

72 Years Ago (1949)

The 45-RPM, 7-inch record format is introduced by RCA.

This was a time when record labels used to innovate. This new format replaced the 78-RPM record for “singles” – one song on each side.

The format takes off in the early years of the rock era almost 15 years later.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – Jan 1 to Jan 9

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about the labels and the publishers meeting with newly elected President Trump on Copyright issues under the pretense of helping artists.

We all know that when these organizations meet with government officials it’s for their benefit only and maybe some small change to the artists to keep em quiet.

And based on how all of these investment houses are buying the rights to songs from artists, expect to see a new player in the meetings with government over copyright and its terms.

8 Years ago (2013)

The site was still young and new and I had a few posts in the month of January but none during this period.

But… I’ll cover a bit of history.

Jason Newsted flirted as a band called Newsted and released the underrated “Metal” EP. Interest was high, they played smaller venues and they sold out on the physical CDs for “Metal”.

The plan was for three EPs.

But that got canned and the same year they also released the album “Heavy Metal Music”.

The band was costing Newsted money. He was the investor for the tours and what not. And it was on a tour of Australia that Newsted ended the band for personal reasons.

And Black Veil Brides released the excellent album “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” which gave rise to their biggest song. “In The End” currently stands at 99.299 million streams on Spotify.

Check em out.

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2020 Summary

This is it, the final wrap up from the thousands of words written in 2020. Here are the stand out albums for each month.

January
Storm Force – Age Of Fear

February
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic

March
Harem Scarem – Change The World

April
Trivium – What The Dead Men Say

May
Vandenberg – 2020

June
Protest The Hero – Palimpsest

July
Bush – The Kingdom
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?

August
John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity

September
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium

October
Smith And Myers – Volume 1 and Volume 2

November
AC/DC – PWR UP

And here is a “best of” list of stand alone single releases.

January
Free Spirits Rising – “I Would Love To Rock The World”

February
Machine Head – “Circle The Drain”
Royal Bliss – “Feeling Whitney”

March
Collateral – “Mr Big Shot”

April
Free Spirits Rising – “Moon Of Forever”
Spoken – “Awaken Me”

May
Dee Snider – “Prove Me Wrong”
Shinedown – “Atlas Falls”

June
Free Spirits Rising – “Landing In Heaven”

July
Night Demon – “Vysteria”

August
Daughtry – “World On Fire”

September
Rise Against – “Broken Dreams Inc.”

October
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Impossible”

November
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Paper Moon”
Machine Head – “My Hands Are Empty”
Protest The Hero – “Protect The Land”

Enjoy.

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

Best Of November 2020

November had eight posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

For single song releases, System Of A Down released “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” as their response to Azerbaijan and Turkey’s bombing of an Armenian settlement inside Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Armenians call Artsakh.

The Night Flight Orchestra released their retro classic rock Christmas song in “Paper Moon”.

Machine Head released “My Hands Are Empty”.

And a lot of artists dropped new albums in November.

Stan Bush dropped “Dare To Dream”. If you like the 80s you will like this.

Black Stone Cherry took their modern day heavy blues rock and gave us “The Human Condition”.

Firekind is a three piece band from England and “What I Have Found Is Already Lost” is the album. They move between “genres”. There are classic rockers, modern rockers, pop songs, progressive rock songs, acoustic songs and so much more on this album.

Ellefson released “No Cover”, an excellent covers album, with a Def Leppard “On Through The Night” cover. And to make it even better, there is a blistering cover of “Wasted” by Def Leppard as well.

Iron Maiden released “Legacy Of The Beast”, celebrating 40 years of Maiden and recorded in Mexico City. We get some Blaze material (“Sign of the Cross” and “The Clansman”) and one DiAnno track (“Iron Maiden”) plus “For The Greater Good Of God” gets its first live release.

Sole Syndicate is a hard rock band from Sweden. “Last Days Of Eden” is their second album, and the traditional heavy metal like Rainbow, Scorpions and Judas Priest come to mind.

Fates Warning is one of the first progressive metal bands I got into. For a prog band to succeed there has to be a song. If there isn’t a song, then all of the flash and technical interludes over complex time changes mean nothing. Jim Matheos can craft a song and he doesn’t need to create complex interludes with millions of notes. Sometimes an atmospheric mood or groove is enough.

And for those Armored Saint fans, bassist Joey Vera has been doing work with Fates Warning since 2000 and he’s still rocking and progging away with em.

Chris Stapleton released a good blues/rock album in the style of John Fogerty and Steve Earle. The first three tracks are a triple combo knockout with “Starting Over”, “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice” (which sounds like it came from the same family tree of “Old Man Down The Road” by John Fogerty) and “Cold” which is basically a re-write of a Paolo Nutini song called “Iron Sky”.

And the album which reigned supreme for me in November is from AC/DC.

The mighty Acca Dacca return with one of the best album titles ever in “Power Up”. Their return was met with enough fandom, and it pushed their album into number 1 with decent sales.

“Realize” storms out of the gate with its “For Those About To Rock” intro before it starts cranking with its “Problem Child/Sin City” vibe.

And I’m all in.

“Shot In The Dark” is better than a walk in the park, with its instantly recognisable riff, which people state sounds like “Rock N Roll Train” and “Rock N Roll Train” sounds like other AC/DC songs, because Angus and Malcolm are brilliant at creating derivative versions of the same riff.

Tracks like “Through The Mists Of Time” is AC/DC bringing in something extra and the way the Chorus happens, well it’s just a little bit different. In Australia, a band called Choirboys did songs like this.

“Kick You When You’re Down” makes me pick up the guitar to learn that intro riff.

“Demon Fire” is fast blues. It sounds like Airbourne’s “Blood In The Water”. “Let There Be Rock” comes to mind and so does “Safe in New York City” and “Caught With Your Pants Down”.

Other favourites are “Money Shot” and “Code Red”.

Power up for what’s left of 2020 and rock on.

Check it out. If you haven’t already.

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Best Of October 2020

October had five posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

For single song releases, The Night Flight Orchestra did great with “Impossible” and “Reach Out”, released as a single. As soon as the rock, funk, disco feel of “Impossible” kicks in, I’m hooked.

The Night Flight Orchestra and Soilwork, go hand in hand. While TNFO is melodic AOR, Soilwork is melodic death metal. Both bands share the same creative forces in vocalist Bjorn Strid and guitarist David Andersson. So it’s no surprise that Soilwork also released a single.

“The Nothingness And The Devil” is the single from Soulwork and the main riff gets me interested to learn it.

Atreyu released “Save Us” as a stand alone song, which has a simple but heavy riff. And angry lyrics.

Ihsahn has come a long way from his black metal days with “Emperor”. His latest is “Pharos”, a five song EP. It has electronica, moody landscapes, atmospheric and distorted guitars.

Armored Saint surprised me with “Punching The Sky”. It’s what a metal album should sound like.

Teramaze released “I Wonder”, their seventh album of heavy rock anthems with progressive overtones.

Stardust is a melodic metal/rock act from Hungary. Their debut album is called “Highway To Heartbreak” on Frontiers. It quickly became a favorite because it reminds me of so many other artists. And each song has a killer guitar solo.

Atlas dropped “Parallel Love” and the song “Human Touch” made me fan.

Bon Jovi released 2020 and I reckon that “Blood In The Water” and “America Reckoning” will be around for a while.

But the album which reigned supreme for me in October is from Smith And Myers.

Brent Smith is one of the best rock singers going around. Shinedown is the main muse for Smith And Myers and in between, they get together and rock out acoustically.

It started off as a covers project based on fan requests for YouTube video releases and it has morphed into a full fledge original song project.

In 2020, we get “Volume 1” and “Volume 2”.

Check it out.

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Best Of September 2020

As we got into the final months the releases started flowing out like a busted water pipe. All of those held up releases from when lockdown began, started to come out.

So September had seven posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

For single song releases, Rise Against dropped “Broken Dreams, Inc.”.

They contributed the song to the “Dark Nights: Death Metal” Soundtrack, DC’s new Batman comic-book series. Another creative way to release songs with comic book culture.

The song deals with levelling the playing field for everyone to have a chance at achieving the American dream.

When we owe more than we’re worth
And they’re changing the locks on the doors

The banking industry got wealthy from selling debt.

How’s that for a career?

When the factories are automated
Broken dreams incorporated

Stryper released the Metal with “Even The Devil Believes”. Michael Sweet works hard, writing and recording new music via his many different projects but the project which is his bread and butter is Stryper.

It’s a return to their “Soldiers Under Command” sound from the 80’s and it showcases the influence of Judas Priest to their music.

Seether released “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”. The title translates from Latin to, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’.

Bad Juju from Melbourne, Australia released the excellent “You’re Not Alone” album.

Landfall from Brazil is a melodic rock band signed to Frontiers and this album was a big surprise. It brings back that feel-good 80’s vibe with the window down, driving 100km on the highway and the wind licking my face on my way to the city with hopes and dreams.

10 Years released “Violent Allies”, produced by Howard Benson.

Benson also produced the “Feeding The Wolves” album back in 2010. That album is a favourite of mine, but there is a portion of the fanbase that hates what Benson’s generic pop production did to 10 Years. But that’s the production I like.

And the album which reigned supreme for me in September is “Dead Elysium” from Vanishing Point.

I wrote about this album here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

In other words, check it out.

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Best Of August 2020

August had five posts on the new releases.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

For single song releases, “World On Fire” by Daughtry was released.

This time around Daughtry is angry and the melody is perfect over the aggressive guitar riffs.

Stressed out, head trauma, took a beating

Life is already difficult from our own doing and the trauma we inflict on ourselves with our thoughts and feelings When society gets a hold of us, we are even more beaten down, shaped and moulded.

But we find ways to survive, to move on.

“Jessie’s Girl 2” from Coheed And Cambria and feat Rick Springfield was also released as a stand alone single.

I’ve been a fan of the band from when I was given a CD rip of the “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” album in 2005 and a few months later I was consuming the brand new “Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV”.

Their song structures and the riffs got me interested. And the voice of Claude Sanchez got me to commit. That voice rocks out like Geddy Lee, but still sounds unique and different enough.

And the hair. Man that hair. It’s massive. 

And to top it off, there is the big SciFi saga about a mystical energy source known as “The Keywork”.

But the album which reigned supreme for me in August is “Terminal Velocity” from John Petrucci.

“Suspended Animation” came out in 2005. I purchased it from his website straight away and I’ve lived with this instrumental album for a long time.

Just recently it appeared on Spotify as well, which makes it easier for me, as I didn’t have to rely on my CD rip on Apple Music for listening.

On “Suspended Animation” he had enough hooks and catchy melodic passages that I could sink my fingers into and let’s not forget the brilliance of “Glasgow Kiss”, a tour de force in itself, especially that middle breakdown section, when he plays arpeggio chords over the open E and B strings and then that emotive lead.

And I have lived with “Suspended Animation” for a long time.

A long time.

Fifteen years later, “Terminal Velocity” is thrust upon us, in a world overtaken and overrun by a virus which spreads easily, kills and keeps mutating.

And fifteen years, it’s a long time in a songwriters life.

So many things change. You get older, you have different family dynamics and your music listening habits keep evolving or devolving or they end up in an echo chamber, listening to the same stuff you listened to when you were growing up.

And if you have a practice routine to keep up your chops, you will get technically better at playing your instrument. It’s that old saying, get better every day by a ¼ of a percent and over the course of 365 days your 91% better and over 15 years you are 1368% better.

Well, John Petrucci is so good technically that I feel like breaking my guitar trying to learn stuff from him.

Petrucci assembled the same band that he did G3 with around 2006, which is Mike Portnoy on drums and Dave LaRue on bass. It’s an awesome band and being a long time DT fan, it’s cool to hear MP drumming to JP riffs again.

“Temple Of Circadia” is my favourite, especially that clean tone section which kicks in before the 3 minute mark and the lead break which follows. Like “Glasgow Kiss” part 2.

“Happy Song” with the major key vibe is like the commercial song on the album, especially that Americana Rock vibe in the melodic lead. Petrucci said on Twitter that the main chorus melody is one of his favourites and I agree.

And just listen to the outro. Its finger breaking stuff and still melodic. This song has appeared live on his G3 tours and at his Guitar Universe camp.

“The Oddfather” sounds like a track that could have come from “Black Clouds And Silver Linings”. And one of the melodic tremolo leads sounds like a Muse lead, however Petrucci in his Twitter post said he was trying to mimic the sound of a fast alternate picked mandolin.

“Terminal Velocity” has that major key vibe in sections that remind me of this Arcade game called “Turbo Outrun”. It’s the first song he wrote for the album and it was an archived riff from a while go.

And that major key vibe is energetic and uplifting, while Petrucci uses the E Harmonic Minor mode for the main theme and melody to create a dark and mysterious type of sound, as per his Twitter post at the listening party.

“Out Of The Blue” is a blues fusion track. “Glass Eyed Zombies” brings the metal. It’s heavy, its groovy and MP is having a ball with it. There is this lead break section, like a verse, that sounds like those TV themes from Danny Elfman. And that outro again, melodic progressive metal with Petrucci nailing a brilliant lead to finish it off.

“The Way Things Fall” is like a Rush track in the intro, but then this melodic rock riff comes in and I’m all in. Once the melodic lead comes in, which acts like a verse, it’s perfect. You just need to listen to it.

“Gemini” is a song I have had for ages as a bootleg. I don’t even know when it was recorded or where it was recorded. But this song has been around for a long time and its very Dream Theater like from the Portnoy era. There are sections in this song that have appeared in DT songs and LTE songs, albeit with some variations.

“Snake In My Boot” was going to be called “The Stomp” and if you’ve heard “The Stroke” from Mr Squier you will know why it has a similar title, but the first impression I got from this was a Queen like vibe.

And on Spotify, he is getting some great numbers because people are listening to the album over and over and over again. And that’s a good thing.

Check it out.

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