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

Top 10 – 2021: Part 3

Times Of Grace – Songs Of Loss and Separation

10 years is a long time between albums.

The debut album “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” came out in 2011.

Have I mentioned that Adam Dutkiewicz is a great riff meister?

All different musical roads lead to here. A combination of country, blues, metal and rock.

For those looking about positive messages, this isn’t the album for you. It’s melancholy lyrics and metal like riffage is music to make you crash your car. You can feel the sadness, a pain at the world, society and the various demons within the mind.

It’s gloom and doom, but inspirational as well.

The album title is indicative of the theme. And having gone through loss recently this album is becoming my companion, riding shotgun with me.

So I press repeat.

Free Spirits Rising

An Australian artist who releases a song every 6 weeks or something like that and plays all the instruments.

Its raw sounding hard rock but the music is melodic and catchy even though the vocals can be hit and miss.

Check out songs like “Outside The Lines”, “It’s OK”, “My Destiny” and “It Starts With Me”.

Soen – Imperial

It’s the kind of metal I like.

Soen is a Swedish progressive metal supergroup consisting of various extreme metal musicians. Their debut album “Cognitive” came out in 2012.

It was like hearing Tool and I was all in.

“Tellurian” came out in 2014 but their rise really started with “Lykaia” in 2017 and “Lotus” in 2019. And in 2021, we have “Imperial”.

And this one is more metal and hard rock with some progressive grooves and textures.

Lumerian

How good is the Intro riff?

And the Chorus, so melodic and haunting.

In the middle, the band introduces its main dynamic, which is heard throughout the album, in which they quieten down the song and rebuild it.

Deceiver

It’s almost Disturbed like from the “Believe” album in the Intro.

Monarch

That Intro riff. So heavy and intricate.

The only thing left to do is to listen to it again.

Durbin – The Beast Awakens

James Durbin’s covers of Judas Priest on American Idol got me interested. The YouTube videos got some traction here in Australia.

His debut album released in 2011, “Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster” rocked hard and I was a fan. “Celebrate” in 2014, lost me as it went way to poppy.

Then he hooked up (surprisingly) with Quiet Riot and he made me a fan again with the very underrated and forgotten “Road Rage” album released in 2018. “Space Cowboys” came out a year later but shit was going down in the Quiet Riot camp, as Durbin left the band before the album was released and drummer Frankie Banali was fighting for his life but we didn’t know it at that point in time.

And here we are with Durbin.

Durbin possesses a great vocal range and his prowess on the guitar is evident on this album. As a songwriter, all songs are written by Durbin.

If this is his first entry into the realms of Metal, then I will eagerly await his next.

Check it out.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – December 12 to December 18

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was busy writing my EOY lists during this week.

8 Years Ago (2013)

CITY LIMITS

From “I Am Giant”, released in 2010.

It has this bass intro that reminds me of the song “Comedown” from Bush and the drum beat makes me think of “When The Levee Breaks” from Led Zeppelin. If you want an introduction into the band, then this is the song to start with.

“Are we living?
Or merely killing time?

BOOM.

Then the distorted guitars crash, mimicking the bass riff.

Check it out

BON JOVI – LIVE IN AUSTRALIA

The Buick stage design was a great concept.

It was fitting that they opened up with “That’s What the Water Made Me”, the best song from the “What About Now” album.

And they then went back to 1986 with two classics “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Raise Your Hands” from the “Slippery When Wet” album.

And the 50,000 plus crowd enjoyed every note as the band went through their catalogue of songs.

JOVI’S GREATEST HITS PACKAGE

The story of the Bon Jovi “Greatest Hits” album goes back to 2007. At that time, Jon was very interested in developing the country rock sound that he experimented with on the unexpected hit single, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which was featured on the 2005 album, “Have A Nice Day”.

The label, Universal Music wasn’t interested in allowing Jon to follow his muse, and instead wanted a “Greatest Hits” package from the band.

In the end, Universal couldn’t stop Jon from going ahead with the album; however the label believed that they would lose a lot of money on it.

So the label made Jon promise that once the country rock album bombs, Jon will deliver a “Greatest Hits” album.

But the“Lost Highway” album and world tour was successful.

After the “Lost Highway” tour, Jon and Richie got together and started writing five songs for the promised “Greatest Hits” package that was to come next.

Then the global financial crisis happened, and according to Richie Sambora, he and Jon just continued writing more than the required amount of songs needed for the “Greatest Hits” package.

Another argument was put forward to the label to release a new album, which in turn would postpone the “Greatest Hits” release again.

From the songs written, most of them would end up on “The Circle” album, with five songs left over for the “Greatest Hits” package.

The “Greatest Hits” was finally released in October 2010, while the band was still touring on “The Circle” album and it gave the band further momentum to hit the road again in 2011.

And I wrote 7000 plus words about the “Greatest Hits” package and the story behind it.

BLOWSIGHT

If you want to read about a Swedish band called Blowsight, then read on.

STILL OF THE NIGHT

It is a well-known fact that Led Zeppelin has borrowed (or stolen depending on how people view this) bits and pieces from other artists however Zeppelin’s influence and reach is vast and if there was no Led Zeppelin, a lot of bands that we love and like today would have not have existed in the form that we know them.

One such band is Whitesnake.

For a lot of people, their first hearing of Whitesnake was in 1987 and a song called “Still of the Night”.

The song is written by lead singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes.

The Led Zeppelin influence is unmistakable.
The vocal delivery over the F#5 power chord in the intro reminds me of Robert Plant from “Black Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock” from Elvis Presley.

When the riff kicks in straight after, the ears are treated to a combination riff based on “Black Dog” and “Immigrant Song”.

Even though it is derivative, it is hard to burn out on the song because it doesn’t sound like anything else.

AVATAR

It’s hard to believe that “Black Waltz” was Avatar’s fourth release. Another band from Sweden and the famous Gothenburg melodic death metal scene.

I was interested to check this band out after the guys from Five Finger Death Punch mentioned in an interview that Avatar’s new album is doing the rounds while they are on tour and that it is influencing them in the riff department.

Avatar has just so many elements in their music.

Industrial rhythms (like Rammstein) – check
Old Time Rock N Roll boogie – check
Swedish melodic death metal scene (like In Flames) – check
Hyperactive metal (like System of A Down) – check
Modern Metal elements (like Disturbed) – check
Technical Metal elements (like Meshuggah, Sikth) – check
Melodic, arena sized choruses – check
And that is what I got from listening to Black Waltz. A bizarre, melodic, psychotic freakshow.

Check em out.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

Top 10 – 2021: Part 2

And we continue the journey of 2021 releases.

Daughtry – Dearly Beloved

In 2012 Chris Daughtry had a decision to make after “Break The Spell”.

Should he stay with the same sound?

Should he change the sound completely?

Should he stay with the same sound but experiment with a few songs by bringing in different sounds?

“Baptized” came out in in November 2013 on RCA Records and it was an electro synth pop sounding album, a significant departure from the hard rock sound on their first three albums.

Like the previous albums, RCA farmed Chris Daughtry out to work with different writers. But while the writers previously had some rock pedigree, the writers on “Baptized” album specialized in other styles.

There is a song called “Long Live Rock N Roll” and it doesn’t even rock, as it’s more in the vein of “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”, an acoustic folk song which tells a story of growing up with a certain type of music.

Then came a “Greatest Hits” album in 2016 with two new songs called “Torches” and “Go Down.

“Torches” is actually a good bridge between the old sound and the “Baptized” sound,

The song “Go Down” has your typical catchy Daughtry vocal melody but it’s instrument sounds are routed in synth pop and electronica. Think of the band “Garbage”.

“Cage To Rattle” came out in 2018. 10 songs that total 38 minutes. RCA again was spending a lot of money for Chris Daughtry to write with so many outside writers in the quest to find hits.

But the record executives failed to understand is that Daughtry’s audience is predominantly made up of rockers. And there is a saying, when you’re chasing hits it don’t mean the hits would come.

Then Daughtry and RCA parted ways.

And Daughtry was back, louder and meaner.

“Dearly Beloved” is a return to form which shows the world that Daughtry still knows how to rock!!

Machine Head – Arrows In Words From The Sky

In October, Machine “Fucking” Head made 30 years! It’s a long time in the business. Music is a lifers game.

In the early 90s, Robb Flynn decided to quit the band he was in, to start Machine “Fucking” Head, so he could call the shots and not have to answer to anyone.

Throughout the years he’s had different versions of the band with “The Blackening” line up being the most favored and then the “Burn My Eyes” line up.

Over the last three years, Robb’s motto is simple. If he has a song, or two, he’s going to get it recorded and released.

In 2019, “Do Or Die” was released.

In February 2020, “Circle The Drain” came out.

In June 2020, the “Civil Unrest” single, featuring the tracks “Bulletproof” and the Jesse Leach collaboration “Stop The Bleeding” came out.

In November 2020, the stand alone “My Hands Are Empty” was released.

And on 11 June 2021, the 3-Song digital single, “Arrows In Words From The Sky” dropped.

In total 8 songs have been released. They could represent an album that came out today, but we all got to spend time with these songs when they came out and make em special at that particular point in time.

Centuries of pain, under a paper sword
Arrows in words from the sky

Check it out.

Joel Hoekstras 13 – Running Games

I am a Russell Allen fan. I knew of Allen long before I heard of Joel Hoekstra. Allen has a voice which can suit power symphonic bands, metal bands, melodic rock bands, hard rock bands, nu-metal bands and blues rock bands.

And I’m also a Jeff Watson fan, so I wasn’t too thrilled with any Night Ranger version without Watson. Then again Watson hasn’t done much being away from the band and I still want to hear new Night Ranger music.

So I still listened to Night Ranger and Hoekstra impressed but I felt he was restrained within that band as Blades and Keagy are the alphas.

And with Whitesnake, Coverdale has two great guitarists to write tunes with but they need to comply with what Coverdale desires.

Which means that Hoekstra 13 is the true Joel Hoekstra.

“Running Games” is album number 2 for his Frontiers label contract.

The band for the album is a supergroup are Russell Allen on vocals, Tony Franklin on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards with Jeff Scott Soto doing backing vocals. Yep, you read that right, the great JSS is doing backing vocals.

Overall Hoekstra’s songwriting is top level and the performances from the guys are excellent.

Check it out.

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

Top 10 – 2021: Part 1

2021 Top Ten

I suppose it’s that time to start providing some EOY lists.

I’ll start with what I see as my favourite ten albums, EP’s or Singles released for the year. And then there will be another posts on my Spotify listening habits for the year.

So here it goes.

Here is Part 1, which features my go to artists with 2021 releases and it’s not an numerical order.

The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic II

“80’s Miami Vice Pop”.

Two of my favourite Kiss albums are “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” because they brought in other styles of music into the Kiss rock sound and somehow Kiss still made it sound like hard rock.

So I wasn’t surprised to hear that “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” are also the favourite albums for the guys in TNFO and how they see the song “Easy As It Seems” as the blueprint for a TNFO song.

And how can you knock back a song called “How Long” which has been described as “90s Deep Purple on cocaine”.

So if you grew up in the 80’s listening to hard rock and melodic rock, then you need to listen to this.

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the main writer, the vocalist and also one of the guitarists.

Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while the second pre-release single “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.

“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive while “You From You” has this Michael Schenker ballad like vibe in the intro.

Check it out.

Dee Snider – Leave A Scar

Dee Snider has a voice for heavy metal.

A simple dare from Jamey Jasta, brought forth “For The Love Of Metal” and it caught a lot of people by surprise.

“Leave A Scar” carries forth the metal torch.

With tracks like “I Gotta Rock (Again)” the intro riff from Bellmore is excellent and the drum groove smashes you awake.

Be a lifer til I’m done

But “Silent Battles” is my favorite track on the album.

The guitar riff to kick off the song reminds me of all the good things I like about the 80’s. I’m hearing George Lynch, EVH, a bit of Vito Bratta and Nuno Bettencourt.

Don’t leave your mark, leave a scar

There aren’t a lot of artists in their mid-60’s producing quality music like this. Dee Snider is doing it and he’s making it look very easy.

The Bellmore brothers are underrated talents as songwriters and instrumetalists, on the guitar and drums.

Check em out.

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

The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers

Mark 2 was back.

It made perfect business sense to have one of the premier bands of the early 70’s come back in the 80s MTV era.

“Perfect Strangers” is album number 11, released in 29 October 1984 and it became the most successful album from the ‘Mark II’ line-up.

Like nomads, they all arrived from different directions. Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover arrived from Rainbow, Ian Gillan from Black Sabbath and his solo band, Jon Lord from Whitesnake and Ian Paice from Whitesnake and Gary Moore’s backing band.

But problems existed from the outset. Business problems.

Gillan and Glover wanted the credits to be of the collective. Blackmore didn’t. As the main writer, he didn’t want to share any song writing credits with people who didn’t write anything. After years in the business, Blackmore knew how valuable the publishing is.

It wasn’t until Blackmore left the group in 1993 that the issue was finally resolved within Deep Purple.

I missed this in 1984 because I was into the whole Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot and Judas Priest phenomenon. These guys were just old dudes. Just look at the “mo” on Jon Lord. It’s classic 70’s.

All songs are written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover except where noted.

Knocking at Your Back Door

By now Blackmore had the experience of Rainbow and the commercial success that came with that, so when this song exploded out of the gate you get the best of Blackmore’s influences from Deep Purple and Rainbow.

If you don’t believe me, listen to the Verses, which is very similar to other Deep Purple verses like the one on “Smoke On The Water” and then the Chorus riff which has that Rainbow melodic rock feel, circa Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner.

And Ian Gillan has a smile on his face as he feels it coming while he’s knocking at someone’s back door, while probably cool for Motley Crue or Ratt, this is Deep Purple we are talking about.

But stick around for the outro solo.

Under the Gun

It was the first track I heard via a double compilation LP called “Headbangers Heaven”.

The intro riff grabs my attention right away, making me think of Rainbow and I like the way it all works with the Jon Lord’s keys.

But Ian Gillan is in form here, as it’s not an easy riff to sing over which then gets me thinking of his Gillan project.

Nobody’s Home

It’s a blues rock number and the only song listed as written by all Deep Purple members.

It’s like the band never left and continued to make albums after “Who Do We Think We Are?”

And if it sounds familiar, it should. “Lay Down, Stay Down” comes to mind.

Mean Streak

But press play to hear the Chorus Riff as Blackmore shows he can compete with the LA bands and do it better by taking “Schools Out” from Alice Cooper and making it sound a bit modern.

In the verses I am reminded of “Black Night” and in the solo break, the riff behind it like “Roadhouse Blues” from The Doors.

And I like it.

Perfect Strangers

The side 2 opener.

It’s a classic and one of their best songs.

How good is the “Kashmir” style groove when it kicks in at the 2.30 minute mark?

Whatever Jimmy Page could do, Blackmore could do as well, at a time when Page was not as prolific as he used to be.

A Gypsy’s Kiss

It could have come from “Rising” but “Highway Star” also comes to mind. Gillan’s bluesy delivery suits.

Check out the unison keyboard and guitar riff/melodies. It brings back memories of the work that Lord and Blackmore did on “Burn”.

And Ian Paice behind the kit. He is relentless.

Wasted Sunsets

Remember in the 70’s when these kind of slow blues rock ballads sounded progressive and epic and then in the 80’s they morphed into clichéd power ballads.

While this song isn’t a 70s classic, Blackmore is in his element here with his emotive soloing.

Hungry Daze

That exotic Eastern European melody hooks me. It could have come from the Balkans, maybe Hungary or even Russia.

Not Responsible

I don’t have this on the album, but how good is that intro. It reminds of “A Light In The Black”. It’s an extra track on the cassette and CD release. And Spotify has it.

Son of Alerik

At 10 minutes, this Blackmore penned instrumental is for the diehards.

The song appeared on the 1999 CD issue as a bonus track and it also appeared in an edited form on the 7″ B-side of the “Perfect Strangers” single, or in full on the 12″ “Perfect Strangers” single and the European version of the compilation “Knocking at Your Back Door: The Best of Deep Purple in the 80’s”.

The thing is, if a band reforms these days, or in the last 30 years, it would have been quite a media show, but their comeback in 1984, didn’t cause a ripple in the news outlets who had jumped on board the LA Sunset Strip Train or the San Francisco NWOBHM Thrash Scene.

But their comeback was met with success in the European markets which loved em back in the 70’s. The U.K, Switzerland, West Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, Austria, Finland and Holland jumped back on board the Deep Purple train.

Japan never left em. Australia and New Zealand also provided em with a certification.

And The Boss was the only artist on the touring circuit that out grossed out em.

Crank it.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – December 5 to December 11

4 Years Ago (2017)

1983

The final blog post of my devotion to the year known as 1983 involved an eclectic bunch of artists.

Like “Modern Love” from David Bowie,
“One Of The Few” from Pink Floyd, “Sirens” from Savatage and “Cuts Like a Knife” from Bryan Adams.

“Alpha” from Asia which sold a lot but it was still seen as a failure by the record label because it didn’t match the sales of the debut album a year before.

“Head First” from Uriah Heep, another 70’s act that had to re-establish itself in the 80’s MTV world. So it was no surprise the band delivered a very pop sounding 15th album.

“Nemesis” from Axe was also on the list. Remember “Rock ‘N’ Roll Party In The Streets”. It’s from Axe’s 1982 album “Offering”. The name “Axe” didn’t really market the band to its full potential.

Axe was touring with Mötley Crüe in 1984 when their guitarist was killed in a vehicle accident. Another member was badly injured and the band broke up after the accident.

Michael Bolton was a rocker first and a balladeer later. He was in a hard rock band called Blackjack with Bruce Kulick between 79/80, so it was no surprise to see Bruce Kulick on lead guitar when Bolton went solo on his self-titled debut. Even Bruce’s bro, Bob Kulick makes an appearance. Another favourite guitarist of mine, Al Pitrelli replaced Kulick for the tour which was cancelled after four shows.

U2 and the “War” album was on the list along with Divinyls and the “Desperate” album. The song “Boys In Town” was all over the TV and the radio in Australia.

Eurythmics had me hooked with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, “Here Comes The Rain Again” and “Who’s That Girl”.

Being the long haired lout I was, I hated the way Spandau Ballet looked, but man they could write a good pop tune that worked well in a rock context. “Pleasure”, “Gold” and “True” are such songs. Great to re-interpret on guitar for a rock setting and it was interesting learning sax solos for lead guitar.

Elton John along with Bernie Taupin wrote pop songs that worked well as rock songs. “Kiss The Bride” and “I’m Still Standing” are two such songs I covered in various bands I was in.

Jim Steinman moved from Meatloaf to Bonnie Tyler. Big production, big songs and a lot of piano lines ripped off from classical music. But the best song on the album is “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” a cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

“90125” from Yes was album number 11 and the band was a very different beast from its Seventies incarnation.

SAYING ONE THING AT A TIME

If an artist is creating songs and making those songs difficult to get, the audience would surely move on to something else.

If a person talks for 70 minutes we will hear nothing. If an artist releases 70 minutes of music, we will remember some of it and forget the rest.

Most of my favorite albums lasted between 30 to 40 minutes in total.

All new music is competing with the history of music, plus TV shows with movie budgets, plus blockbuster movies, plus technologies and social media, plus AI created news stories and the history of print.

Maybe music is better when it is released frequently and when an artist tries to say one thing at a time, instead of 10 different things at once.

8 Years Ago (2013)

SALES

Spotify came into the market with the idea that they need to compete with free. And compete they did. The service even started to break artists to the masses, something that the record labels couldn’t do or were clueless to do.

But the mass media still focuses on the sales in the first week and the chart position. This is so old school and not a great measuring tool of reach or success, especially for new acts starting out.

But we get headlines like this.

Loudwire: Dream Theater’s new DVD ‘Live At Luna Park’ recently entered at No 1 on the Soundscan music DVD chart.

Loudwire: Volume 2 of Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven; lands at No. 2 on Billboard 200.

Blabbermouth: “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” sold 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart.

DOES A BAND HAVE CUSTOMERS OR FANS?

“Our audience are fans first and customers second. We really try not to annoy them.”
The above quote is from Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich Director of New Media, Media Rights & IT.

So how can a band turn fans into satisfied customers that keep on coming back, again and again?

DREAM THEATER

My favorite tracks from the DT album are still…
“The Bigger Picture” and “Illumination Theory”.

MEGADETH

Megadeth was in the news sections of the metal and rock websites a fair bit back then.

Regardless of what people think about Dave Mustaine or Megadeth, they can never take away the historical fact that Megadeth were early web pioneers.

Does anyone remember their old “Megadeth, Arizona” site that was launched in 1994 and then re-designed and re-launched for the “Cryptic Writings” release two years later?

Apart from the normal pieces of information, it was also a place for fans to check in, hang out and interact with the band along with other fans. Something that social media has built on and improved.

2013

Well the year was almost over and it was time to look back at the albums that connected and hit the mark for 2013 for me.

  1. Protest The Hero – Volition
  2. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King
  3. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1
  4. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent
  5. TesserAcT – Altered State
  6. Trivium – Vengeance Falls
  7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension
  8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2
  9. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies
  10. Alter Bridge – Fortress

Notable Mentions

Audrey Horne – Youngblood
Mutiny Within – Synchronicity
Hearts And Hands – My Own Machine
Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost
Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut
Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band

Final Notable Mentions

Due to my kids overdosing on the music I placed on their iPods certain classic rock albums have come back into my life.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Kiss – Lick It Up
Kiss – Asylum
Kiss – Destroyer
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
Europe – The Final Countdown

CRY FOR FREEDOM

White Lion had the balls to tackle the subject of apartheid.

The Eighties mainstream Metal and rock had degenerated into a state of generic and clichéd derivative lyrical themes and subjects involving sex, partying and drugs.

When bands branched away from that, it was very hit and miss.

White Lion fell into that crowd of misses as the label “Atlantic” would still push them as pop metal or pop rock.

The tours and marketing had White Lion sandwiched amongst bands like Motley Crue, Skid Row, Kiss, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Blue Murder and Badlands.

RANDY RHOADS

Randy Rhoads is a huge influence.

My first introduction to Randy Rhoads was the “Tribute” album and the tablature book that came with it formed my bible for a long time.

He was just unique.

Rhoads formed Quiet Riot when he was 16 years old however as good as Randy Rhoads was, the band couldn’t get a record deal in the U.S and they ended up releasing two albums (QR I and QR II) in Japan. Of course this incarnation of Quiet Riot was a totally different line up that sang “Cum On Feel The Noize” which in turn brought metal to the mainstream.

Most people know his musical legacy from the two landmark albums he made with Ozzy Osbourne.

The post covers my Top 10 songs from Randy Rhoads.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

Standard
Influenced, Music, My Stories

1996 – Part 4.4: Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill

Pantera was popular in Australia. Once they broke into our market, they stayed until they remained as a band.

“The Great Southern Trendkill” came out in May, 1996. It went to number 2 on our ARIA charts and it reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

It’s listed as their eighth album, however for the Phil Anselmo, Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul version of Pantera its album number 5 as their first album begins with “Power Metal” but it’s number four from their major label debut “Cowboys From Hell”. And that’s when the Pantera I know really started.

Terry Date and Vinnie Paul are producing, recording and mixing the album.

Coming in to the album, even a band like Pantera was on the outer. The marketing machines of the labels had put their dollars in Grunge and Industrial Metal acts like NIN and Ministry.

Internally, the Abbott brothers were not too impressed when Anselmo took time out to do the “Down” project and then do a 13 date tour with the group. And to top it off, Anselmo moved out of Texas and back home to New Orleans so his vocals were done on his own.

Anyway to the music.

The Great Southern Trendkill

It’s like Death Metal.

I like the riffs and the guitar solo, but the song doesn’t really resonate with me.

War Nerve

It’s very Black Sabbath like, doom sludge metal.

Drag the Waters

The main riff is bone crunching.

10’s

Iommi would be proud of this riff. Actually Zakk Wylde in Black Label Society would be proud of this riff. Vocally, Anselmo is strong here.

But press play on this to hear the acoustic arpeggio passages and Dimebag’s unbelievable solo over em.

13 Steps to Nowhere

It’s weird to explain this song. It’s experimental, a mixture of blues like grooves with a lot of distortion and Sabbath like doom breakdowns.

Suicide Note Pt. I

Synths and backwards effects and then the acoustic guitar kicks in. It’s almost Led Zeppelin like, with a bit of Southern Rock and I like it.

Suicide Note Pt. II

And then what happened. It’s death metal like, with blast beats and fast riffing, with some heavy metal like riffs chucked in here and there.

Living Through Me (Hells’ Wrath)

The riffs on this are “fists in the air, head banging” riffs.

Vocally I’m not a huge fan and halfway through it goes into a weird spoken interlude with weird industrial like effects.

Then a cathartic scream from Anselmo and the head banging riffs are back in.

Floods

The clean tone intro with the acoustic guitar under it, grabs my attention immediately. It’s almost Alice In Chains like, even though the band was critical of the Grunge movement.

Then again, Pantera songs like “Cemetery Gates” and “This Love” come to mind.

The whole “Die” section is heavy and demented but there is no denying the power of Dimebag and his bro Vinnie. These dudes nail every syncopated beat and lick down.

It’s been written extensively that the solo on this song is Dimebag’s best. And it is. If you need to press play on a track, then make this the one.

It’s composed of all these little guitar solo ideas he used for his live guitar spot, while Brown and Paul are simple in their foundations, letting Dimebag fill up the space with his leads.

The Underground in America

Musically, I like it. Vocally I hate it.

(Reprise) Sandblasted Skin

Dimebag brings the riffs again.

In the end it was certified Platinum in the U.S and it charted well in a lot of other countries.

And while the relationships were strained during the recording, things got even more estranged when Brown decided to leave the tour bus he was sharing with the Abbott brothers to share a tour bus with Anselmo. Brown described it as a way to feel comfortable, because Dimebag would be up early and start cranking the guitar, which upset Brown who wanted to sleep.

During the tour, Anselmo overdosed on heroin and was legally dead for four to five minutes. According to Anselmo, he started using heroin for relief of his chronic back pain. Mick Mars has a degenerative spine issue and never turned to heroin, but then again, he did turn to alcohol and lots of it.

For the record, I hate the hardcore death metal vocals that Anselmo resorted to. His clean tone voice is one of the best. He could move between James Hetfield and Tom Araya style vocals to Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson siren wails. It’s why I became a fan of the “Cowboys From Hell” album.

And I don’t know the exact specifics of what happened with Anselmo and the white power salute he gave at a gig he did about 5/6 years ago. Robb Flynn from Machine Head called him out on it. Which led to a lot of issues for Robb Flynn, receiving death threats and venue owners who supported Anselmo refused to book Machine Head.

One more album would come from Pantera and that would be the end. The air is thin at the top of the mountain, which means that you are not meant to hang around at the summit for long. Anselmo would put the band on hold because he wanted to deal with the back pain and then went on to record and tour with his side projects with the band officially finished in 2003.

Dimebag recently had a 17th Anniversary from when he was tragically shot dead at a gig on Dec 8, 2004. And it’s been three and bit years since Vinnie Paul died from heart disease.

While Anselmo wanted to reconnect, Vinnie Paul didn’t. And that’s how it ended.

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

1996 – Part 4.3: In Flames – The Jester Race

In Flames was founded in 1990 by Jesper Stromblad as a side project from his then-current death metal band, Ceremonial Oath as he wanted to write more melodic songs.

Three years later, he quit Ceremonial Oath due to the overused “musical differences” reason and began focusing on In Flames.

By 1995, Stromblad grew tired of using session musicians to record an album or to do live shows, and the first version of the band was assembled.

“The Jester Race” released in February 1996, is the second studio album. The album is considered a classic album of the melodic death metal genre, along with At the Gates “Slaughter of the Soul” and Dark Tranquillity’s “The Gallery”, exhibiting the dual guitar leads, growled vocals and acoustic sections typical of the genre.

The band for the album is Anders Friden on vocals, Jesper Stromblad on Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and Keyboards, Glenn Ljungstrom on Lead Guitar, Johan Larsson on bass and Bjorn Gelotte on Drums and Additional guitars. Yep, a drummer who also plays guitar, and this is a common thing in Sweden to have musicians who can play multiple instruments in a component manner as they promote the Arts sector in schools.

It’s produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (who also plays additional keyboards) along with the band members.

Moonshield

The Medieval sounding acoustic guitars to start the song sets the tone of a journey to come. After about a minute the distorted guitars crash in.

Musically speaking, it is similar in melody and structure to bands such as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. However, the death metal influence lies within the vocals.

The Jester’s Dance

It’s an instrumental.

Full of different moods like “The Call Of Ktulu” and a bass groove that could have come from the fingers of Eddie Jackson from Queensryche.

There is even a section that reminds me of “Wasting Love”.

So if you want to press play on a song without vocals, press play on this or on the other instrumental “Wayfaerer”.

Artifacts of the Black Rain

I like the twin harmony melodic riffs on this.

Graveland

It’s fast very “Ride The Lightning” like.

Lord Hypnos

How good is the intro on this?

It’s some of the best metal music written in the 90’s, reminding me of 80’s Judas Priest and Queensryche.

And the subject matter this time around are Greek Gods.

Listen to the musical section between 1.33 and 2.43.

Dead Eternity

It’s very Iron Maiden like when it starts off, before it moves into a power metal like riff with blast beats. Something which Parkway Drive uses a lot of.

Its spoken word intro is haunting; about death, and how once you die you never have to worry about dying again, as you are stuck in a purgatory known as dead eternity.

The Jester Race

The intro is like a “Top 10 Hard Rock riff with a bullet” like. And throughout the song, its littered with melodic riffs and harmonies.

December Flower

Fast, angry with a lot of tremolo riffing and blast beats.

Check out the guitar leads between Verses and the guitar lead itself is “guitar hero” worthy.

Wayfaerer

An instrumental.

Very Judas Priest and Helloween like.

And then at the 1.50 mark, there is this Van Halen “Dance The Night Away” vibe with a bit of Joe Satriani “Crushing Day” and “Lords Of Karma” chucked in.

Dead God in Me

The closer.

It’s almost thrash metal like, with disturbing lyrics about a recollection of a molestation that took place.

The album took some criticisms from being too melodic in its riffs and harmonies from Melodeath purists, but that’s why I listened to it.

For me, that melodic element was the selling point.

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

The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Stormbringer

“Stormbringer” came out about 9 months after “Burn”. In the space of a year, Deep Purple were busy writing and recording frequently.

What a novel idea.

Try and tell that to a lot of acts, who want to record an album every three to five years. And the usual argument of ‘no money from recordings’ doesn’t work, because even back in the 70’s, the acts were getting ripped off on the sales part. So they had to tour to make coin. Then again it was normal in the 70’s to release an album a year. It was expected.

The album cover also has a story, about a tornado in a U.S town during the 1920s which was photographed and added to the Copyright free archives, which allowed the image to be used.

And the same photograph was used for Miles Davis’ album “Bitches Brew” in 1970.

And Siouxsie and the Banshees’ album “Tinderbox” in 1986.

MK3 Deep Purple is Ritchie Blackmore on Guitars, David Coverdale on Vocals (except “Holy Man”), Glenn Hughes on Bass and Vocals (except “Soldier of Fortune”), Jon Lord on Organ and Keys and Ian Paice on Drums.

Its Produced by Deep Purple and Martin Birch again.

Stormbringer

Another thunderous opener written by Blackmore and Coverdale.

If there wasn’t a Heavy Metal movement before, well there was one now. By 1974, each major rock act like Led Zeppelin, Free, Bad Company and Black Sabbath had a heavy song or two on each album that young blue collared youths would take and run with to create even heavier tracks.

I like the exotic flavouring in the solo. It’s not fast, but goddamn, it sounds progressive.

Love Don’t Mean A Thing

Written by Blackmore, Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.

This is the whole funk blues soul jam that Glenn Hughes brings. In saying that, the riffs here work so well within the Deep Purple sound.

Holy Man

The Bad Company/Free brand of hard rock had caught on and suddenly Deep Purple was doing a cut that wouldn’t be out of place on the first two Bad Company albums or Free albums.

If the intro sounds familiar, it should, as it’s a common progression used throughtout the 70s, but it went missing a bit in the 80s and came back in the 90s.

I recall Motley Crue using it for “Misunderstood”.

And Blackmore was not the main writer anymore as this song was written by Coverdale, Hughes and Lord.

Hold On

The funk blues rock in the verses grooves and the Chorus is like Soul Rock Music. Blackmore again is missing from the song writing credits, with Coverdale, Hughes, Lord and Paice listed as the writers.

Coverdale and Hughes share vocal duties here and Blackmore brings out his rockabilly Chuck Berry licks which gives way to a Jon Lord solo.

Lady Double Dealer

It’s that fast blues rock that Deep Purple was known for and something that David Coverdale would do a fair bit with the early versions of Whitesnake.

There is a cool Blackmore solo as well.

You Can’t Do It Right

Play that funky blues music white boys.

High Ball Shooter

I like the Intro as it always reminds me of another song which I can’t thing off right now.

The Gypsy

The riffs on this are metal like, but the way Blackmore delivers em, it’s almost progressive like, with a fusion of blues, southern rock and metal like grooves.

Soldier Of Fortune

A great acoustic ballad to end the album, something which David Coverdale would recreate with “Sailing Ships”.

The long jam sessions from the past had disappeared. Replaced with a more structured song arrangement. It’s a bridge between this album and their next album.

Blackmore obviously didn’t like this new direction and left after the tour. And he wasn’t one to keep his thoughts to himself, so he publicly declared his dislike for the funky direction the band was taking and made it clear that was the reason why he left.

But Scandinavian Melodic Rock and Metal was being born with the MK3 albums as they did big business in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Austria and Germany also liked this era, along with the UK, France and the U.S.

Check it out.

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

1996 – Part 4.2: Slayer – Undisputed Attitude

“Undisputed Attitude” is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on May 28, 1996.

The album consists almost entirely of covers of punk rock and hardcore punk songs. It also includes two tracks written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 1984 and 1985 for a side project called Pap Smear and its closing track, “Gemini”, is the only original track.

The album was largely the brainchild of guitarist Kerry King, who stated that the songs chosen were from highly influential bands who “made Slayer what it is”.

The album was initially to feature material from classic heavy metal artists such as Judas Priest, UFO and Deep Purple. However, after several rehearsals “things didn’t pan out” according to King, so the band instead elected to cover punk songs. Then again, maybe Tom Araya’s rough bark just didn’t suit the Judas Priest, UFO and Deep Purple style of songs.

The band for this album is Tom Araya on Bass and Vocals, Kerry King on Guitars, Jeff Hanneman (RIP) on Guitars and Paul Bostaph on Drums. The way Araya sounds vocally on this is how James Hetfield would sound on “St Anger” in six to seven years’ time.

The album is produced by Dave Sardy with Rick Rubin listed as an Executive Producer, whatever an Exec Producer means.

“Disintegration/Free Money”

The original artist is Verbal Abuse and its 1.41 of fast and aggressive metal punk.

“Verbal Abuse/Leeches”

And its followed up by another Verbal Abuse cover, which clocks in at 1.58. While its fast and aggressive punk, there is a small breakdown section which slows things down a little.

“Abolish Government/Superficial Love”

A T.S.O.L. cover and it’s a full 1:48 in length.

Three songs in and it’s like listening to one song.

“Can’t Stand You”

Written by Jeff Hanneman and listed as a Pap Smear cover which clocks in at 1:27. And Tom Araya doesn’t take a breath as he spits out the verses.

“DDAMM (Drunk Drivers Against Mad Mothers)”

Another track written by Jeff Hanneman and listed as a Pap Smear cover which clocks in at the super long length of 1:01.

“Guilty of Being White”

A cover from Minor Threat and it clocks in at another super long time of 1:07.

When the album was released in 1996, there was no controversy over the song or any possible message of white supremacy.

But the internet and social networks are different beasts and people take a moral high ground.

The other controversy was changing the lyrics in the songs ending from “guilty of being white” to “guilty of being right”.

This little changed didn’t go down well with Minor Threat front man Ian MacKaye, who found this change “offensive”.

“I Hate You”

Verbal Abuse makes another appearance on this album with a song that goes into the 2 minute range. This one is more punk like, with a rock tempo and Sex Pistols “Anarchy” style attitude.

“Filler/I Don’t Want to Hear It”

And Minor Threat makes another appearance with a super-fast punk hardcore song.

“Spiritual Law”

A cover from D.I. and its pushing at being the longest song on the album at 3 minutes long. Press play to hear the intro which is very Metal like, otherwise the rest is stock standard fast beats, vocals that cover the microphone in spit and fast alternate picked punk metal riffs.

But at 1.20 a Sabbath like doom groove comes in, before it picks back up into the fast punk metal at the 2.10 mark.

“Mr. Freeze”

A cover from Dr Know. Its 2.24 in length and at times when the song goes into its rock riffs I feel like I am listening to Beatsie Boys, “Fight For Your Rights”.

“Violent Pacification”

A cover from D.R.I. at 2:38 in length.

All I can say about this song is chaos until the 46 second mark, when the drums start a rock style groove and the tempo of the song goes down a notch for the band to rock out. And Tom Araya is barking out “Violent Pacification” over and over and over again.

“Richard Hung Himself”

A cover from D.I. and this song takes the title for the longest song of the cover songs at 3:22.

And for a song with a grisly title it’s actually a catchy rock song.

“I’m Gonna Be Your God” (“I Wanna Be Your Dog”)

A song from The Stooges, clocking in over the 3 minute mark and it received a makeover and some slightly modified lyrics and a faster tempo.

It’s by far my favorite cover and it leads in perfectly to the original track.

“Gemini”

Written by Kerry King and Tom Araya, and it is the longest song on the album at 4.53.

The song begins as a sludge/doom number reminding me of “Season In The Abyss”, before becoming a more typical Slayer song.

But being added to the end, doesn’t do this song proper justice. It’s one of their best tracks written in the 90’s.

And Tom Araya is evil reincarnated with his melodic but sinister vocal melody.

In the end, this is a 33-minute-long release and Slayer wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not a classic album but the song “Gemini” makes up for it.

Standard