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

Spotify’s New Metal Tracks

I thought I would try out Spotify’s “New Metal Tracks” discovery feature as I was in the mood to sample something different as I was getting the shits with Spotify’s recommendations algorithm. I am a fan of the service but they still have a lot of work to do, especially around new releases from artists I follow. Maybe they don’t promote those artists, because they promote the acts that pay for it. Because there is a lot of shit/noise in their discovery features.

Anyway, lets start with a few selections;

DYNAZTY
Titanic Mass

I was blown away that this was their fourth album in six years. Another Swedish band that has made it to my favourites. The drum groove reminds me of “The Fire Still Burns” in the chorus. It’s fucking brilliant.

Then that harmony riff  kicks in before the solo section and its a cross between Iron Maiden and Helloween. Again fucking brilliant.

“Fire, flames, fury”

ARCHITECTS
Gone With The Wind

It’s like Killswitch Engage with keyboards. I dig.

Do you remember when you said to me, “My friend, hope is a prison.”?

RISING DARK
Plague

Very early Metallica meets Slayer with a bit of power metal. Brilliant. Vocally, the singer is a cross between Chuck Billy and Tom Araya.

Virus spreads, infects the nations
Only cure: extermination
Parasites wiped out of sight
Without mercy, only pride

Plague spreads
We disinfest

CULT OF LUNA
A Greater Call

I heard some music from them years back, however it just failed to stick. But not this time. The mood at the start of the song and how it just builds and builds for the full 8 minutes is pretty full on.

The piece d’resistance is those ethereal backing voices under the harshness of the death metal screams.

We leave. Upward, toward new dreams
A new hope. An odyssey
Underneath. The world left behind
Is dying as we escape gravity

IHSAHN
Disassembled

Musically Ihsahn is brilliant. Anything goes in his songs. Listen to this song. The riffs are prog like, arena like, hard rock like, metal like and the vocals are black metallish and arenarish and etheralish. So many different moods and grooves packaged in a 5 minute song.

A shattered soul presented
Like a disassembled gun
Assassins rushing up the stairs
All allies on the run

HELLYEAH
Human

As much as it pains me to say it, but losing Mudvayne guitarist Greg Tribbett (who formed Audiotopsy after leaving) was the best thing that happened to Hellyeah. They sound more focused and re-energised. And Chad’s lyrics are as always brilliant.

KATATONIA
Old Heart Falls

This is another band that I heard many years ago and no impression was made on me to revisit them again, but man, this song, I love it. It’s got this vibe and groove that is progressive, rock, metal and a Clint Eastwood Western all rolled into one.

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

My Own Top 40 List Based On iTunes Play Metrics

I made the upgrade from the iPhone 5 to the 6 and when I synced up the old phone to iTunes to back it up, I saw the top 30 songs that did the rounds over the last 12 months.

1. Lift Me Up
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 1481

What can I say, “The Ultimate Sin” influence just connected with me and I kept on coming back to the song over and over again.

2.Shepherd Of Fire
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 1319

Any song that can combine “Enter Sandman” and “Trust” from Metallica and Megadeth deserves attention.

3. West Ruth Ave
The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs
Released: 2012
Plays: 1271

What can I say, the Kiss “I Was Made For Lovin You” vibe connects and that Chorus melody is infectious.

4. A Day in My Life
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side of Heaven & the Righteous Side Of Hell, Vol. 2
Released: 2013
Plays: 1071

Five Finger Death Punch have two entries in my top 5. This one is a classic from Volume 2. The chorus is indelible.

5. Angel Of Mercy
Black Label Society
Catacombs Of The Black Vatican
Released: 2014
Plays: 1124

The monster that is Zakk Wylde returns with a classic. The song opens up for Zakk’s masterclass in soloing.

6. Be Somebody
Thousand Foot Krutch
The End Is Where We Begin
Released: 2012
Plays: 996

The song just flows that it sounds effortless. Brilliant.

7. Used To Be
Arrows To Athens
Kings And Thieves
Released: 2011
Plays: 743

Very surprised by the album when I came across it this year.

8. Mist
Protest The Hero
Volition
Released: 2013
Plays: 660

I thought this song would have been higher as i certainly feel like I have played it a 1000 times. Guess I’ll be a Newfoundlander.

9. Conquistador
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
Released: 2013
Plays: 557

The riff owes a lot to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song” and when Jared Leto/backing vocals sing, “we will, we will, we will rise again” you can just imagine Freddie Mercury singing “we will, we will rock you”.

10. Heritage
The Kindred
Life In Lucidity
Released: 2014
Plays: 419

Love the band formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague”. The message in this song sums up exactly how I feel about culture, we build on what came before.

11. Fly On The Wall
Thousand Foot Krutch
The End Is Where We Begin
Released: 2012
Plays: 403

Another song that just flows effortless from the fan funded “The End Is Where We Begin” album.

12. Fallen
Volbeat
Beyond Hell Above Heaven
Released: 2010
Plays: 387

Our Danish heroes deliver a rockabilly metal classic.

13. Draw The Line
Disciple
O’ God Save Us All
Released: 2012
Plays: 322

The lyrical content connects and the song is a great pop ditty from a band that borders on metal, rock and Christian gospel.

14. Tuesday’s Rain
Asphalt Ballet
Asphalt Ballet
Released: 1991
Plays: 223

A brilliant song that got lost in the seismic shift of 1991/92. You were either in or you were out. Asphalt Ballet was deemed to be out.

15. Strife
Trivium
Vengeance Falls
Released: 2013
Plays: 222

With a Judas Priest sing along intro, Trivium deliver with “Strife”. Go on Spotify and you will see that it is getting some serious traction.

16. Denial Waits
Ashes Divide
Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright
Released: 2008
Plays: 215

This song is unique and in a league of its own for production, craftsmanship and melodies. A classic that deserves more attention.

17. High Wire
Badlands
Badlands
Released: 1989
Plays: 210

If Jake E.Lee wants Red Dragon Cartel to reach a certain level of success and be ubiquitous than HE needs to write songs that are better than “High Wire”.

18. Hail To The King
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 209

What can I say, who doesn’t like a song that reminds them of AC/DC and “Thunderstruck”.

19. American Slang
The Gaslight Anthem
American Slang
Released: 2010
Plays: 200

The song that Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi wish they wrote.

20. Lick It Up
Kiss
Lick It Up
Released: 1983
Plays: 197

The song that saved Kiss’s career.

21. Rainbow in the Dark
Dio
Holy Diver
Released: 1983
Plays: 195

The Corey Taylor version from the Dio tribute album appears further down the list. An infectious song just tattoo’s itself on the skin and remains forever.

22. The Last Time
Badlands
Voodoo Highway
Released: 1991
Plays: 194

If Jake E.Lee wants Red Dragon Cartel to reach a certain level of success and be ubiquitous then HE needs to write songs that are better than “High Wire” and “The Last Time”.

23. Moth
Hellyeah
Blood For Blood
Released: 2014
Plays: 177

Clearly the best song on the new album.

24. Live In Love
Times Of Grace
The Hymn Of A Broken Man
Released: 2011
Plays: 167

This should be added to the set list of Killswitch Engage, it is that good.

25. Until It’s Gone
Linkin Park
The Hunting Party
Released: 2014
Plays: 167

It’s a return to the Linkin Park trademark sound.

26. Attack
Thirty Seconds to Mars
A Beautiful Lie
Released: 2005
Plays: 147

The song that got me into the band. A pure masterclass in electronics, industrial and fuzzed out rock.

27. End Of My Rope
Asphalt Ballet
Asphalt Ballet
Released: 1991
Plays: 139

From a band that deserved way more than what they got.

28. Hell Or Hallelujah
Kiss
Monster
Released: 2012
Plays: 135

The best song that Kiss or Paul Stanley has written since “Psycho Circus”. Mmm, “Live To Win” was also pretty good, however that was from Paul’s solo album of the same name.

29. Wolvish
The Kindred
Life In Lucidity
Released: 2014
Plays: 122

Progressive music the way it should be.

30. Watch You Bleed
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 121

Another chorus melody that is ubiquitous.

Other songs outside the Top 30 are as follows:

31. Rebellion
Linkin Park
The Hunting Party
Released: 2013
Plays: 103

It was like System Of A Down never went away. Having Daron Malakian on it doesn’t hurt at all.

32. Orestes
A Perfect Circle
Mer de Noms
Released: 2000
Plays: 103

This song was pivotal as my development as a songwriter. Much in the same way that Evergrey showed me that good music is still being created from a metal point of view, A Perfect Circle showed me the same from a progressive art rock point of view.

33. Wrong Side Of Heaven
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 93

The emotion grabs me. One of the best ballads that FFDP have created.

34. It’s Time
Imagine Dragons
Night Visions
Released: 2012
Plays: 84

The main vocal melody is the same as a melody for an instrumental song I wrote for my wedding. So it connected from the outset.

35. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute
Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension
Released: 2012
Plays: 83

What can I say, when the “Wasted Years” like intro starts off, I was hooked.

36. Line Of Fire
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Released: 2014
Plays: 79

The mighty Dutchman is back and he sure knows how to turn it up to eleven.

37. Out Of Reach
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Released: 2014
Plays: 73

An emotional roller coaster that straps you in and doesn’t let you go.

38. Rainbow In The Dark
Corey Taylor
Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life
Released: 2014
Plays: 73

Corey does a stellar job on the vocal.

39. When Truth Lies
Vanishing Point
Distant Is The Sun
Released: 2014
Plays: 69

One of the most consistent and best progressive metal bands to come out of Australia.

40. Coming Home
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 63

Synester Gates goes to town on this song. That whole minute plus lead break is beautiful.

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

Take These Ten Rockmandments

Anyone seen Mel Brook’s “History Of The World” movie and that scene of Moses descending down the mountain yelling, ” Lord, take these fifteen commandments” and then one block of stone drops and then he starts to yell “Lord, take these Ten, Ten Commandments.”

Classic cinema. So as on ode to that movie, I have been listening to some tunes on the iPod. Each of these songs has a lyrical line that should be a new commandment.

1. THOU SHALT LIVE AND NEVER LIVE JUST TO KILL TIME.

City Limits

The band is “I Am Giant” and it is from the album, “The Horrifying Truth” released in 2011, however the song goes back a few years more as it came out on an EP.

“These city limits keep on getting bigger
Just when you thought you had made it out”

Anyone had that feeling before. Just when you thought that you had made it, the city limits are suddenly greater than what you thought they would be. Like that small town boy and girl in “Dont Stop Believin” or like those tramps in “Born To Run”.

“Are we living or merely killing time”

A brilliant lyric line, one of the best. It’s that good, it is self explanatory.

2. THOU SHALT MAKE THEIR ENEMIES INTO FADED MEMORIES.

Dearly Departed

From the 2014 “Men Of Honor” album by Adrenaline Mob. I love the mob. Russell Allen and Mike Orlando really do justice to this project. This song connects on all levels because we have all known someone like the person they sing about.

“And now your my enemy, soon to be a memory”

No one likes to be around people who drag them down. Enemies hang around if you let them. The best response to an enemy is to make them a memory.

“We were the best of friends, thought it would never end
I curse the day when they said you were selling me out”

There is a pretty good chance that the people you hang with right now are not the ones that you grew up with or spent a lot of time with.

3. THOU SHALT NOT FIGHT SOLO. THERE IS A STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

Draw The Line

From the album, “O God Save Us All”. Disciple is like an enigma to me. They range from pop rock to heavy rock. This song connects on so many levels.

“Another crash, another fall
Another failure
Another choice i don’t want to remember
I been here too many times”

Who hasn’t been in a situation like this. Some more so than others. Me personally, I have been in a lot of situations like this. Choices I made that even know when I look back, i don’t want to remember.

“This is where I draw the line
This is where the old me dies
Light a match let it burn kiss it goodbye”

In a hospital room in 2010. That is where I drawed the line.

“Another battle I lost fighting solo”

It should be a commandment. Nothing is achieved in a vacuum. Ask for help and count on your loved ones.

4. THOU SHALT NOT WAKE ALONE. LOVE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. BE MERCIFUL.

Angel Of Mercy

The mighty Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. What can I say about this song that I havent said already. It is a masterpiece and that lead break gives me goosebumps.

“I woke alone today
For all the birds have flown”

“No Angel Of Mercy
Is gonna hear my call

It’s that vocal melody and the tone of the voice that makes it work. When you take into account the recent blood clot saga it just ups the emotional stakes a little bit more.

5. THOU SHALT NEVER CHANGE WHO THEY ARE. DON’T LET OTHERS DICTATE WHO YOU SHOULD BE AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

It’s Time

Imagine Dragons and their mega selling “Night Visions” album. I can’t say I am a fan of the whole album but this song just stuck with me. Maybe because the vocal melody in the Chorus is identical to an instrumental song I wrote back in 1998 called “Moonlight Tango” which I used as one of my wedding waltz songs.

I am just the same as i was
Now don’t you understand that
I am never-changing who I am

6. THOU SHALT NOT BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO THE WAY IT USED TO BE. TIME MOVES ON. CHANGE IS CONSTANT. EVOLUTION IS ALL ABOUT CHANGE. EMBRACE CHANGE AND MOVE FORWARD.

Used To Be

From the band “Arrows To Athens” and their 2007 album “Kings And Thieves”. It is a David Hodges project. Yes, the same David Hodges that co-wrote the majority of the “Fallen” album by Evanescence with Ben Moody and Amy Lee.

“Take a breath
Take a long look around
Before you step
Because the tide is coming
Swallowing the ground
And there is no way to tell
If we will drown tonight”

It’s almost biblical with references to a tide that is coming and the uncertainty that the tide brings.

“We cannot go back to the way it used to be”

The commandment right there.

7. THOU SHALT NOT FAIL EVEN THOUGH FAILURE EXISTS.

Moth

From the new 2014 Hellyeah album “Blood For Blood” produced by the great man Kevin Churko. It could have come from a Mudvayne album. It was one of the first pieces of music that vocalist Chad Gray gravitated too for lyrics. And he goes to town on it.

“Treated like an animal since the day I was born”

A person born with a silver spoon will never relate however millions upon millions of others will.

“Like a moth to a flame
My wings burn away”
“Failure is not an option
But the option exists”

What a fucking line! What more can be said.

8. CHERISH WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE ONCE IT IS GONE, IT IS GONE FOREVER. 

Until It’s Gone

From the new Linkin Park album “The Hunting Party”.

“You don’t know what you got (x3)
Until its gone”

Pause.

Then BANG. The song groove kicks in again. Linkin Park are masters of the heavy pop rock song and Chester Bennington has the voice for it. Without him, Linkin Park would be just another band trying to make it. Chester is the X FACTOR.

9. DO NOT DWELL ON THOSE THAT NO LONGER CARE

Denial Waits

From Ashes Divide only album released in 2008, “Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright.”

“If I saw you right now
I’m embarrassed to say
I’d take you back
And we could just pretend you never went away”

It’s pathetic how we continue to dwell on someone who no longer cares for us in the vain hope that maybe they’ll come around and realize what they’ve left behind.

10. THERE IS NOTHING TO LOSE WHEN YOU ARE DOWN TO A POCKET FULL OF CHANGE

End Of My Rope

From Asphalt Ballet and their excellent debut album released in 1991.

Well it’s a ruthless world with a painted face
Ain’t nothing’ gonna change but the time and place

That’s the “History Of The World” in a nutshell.

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

Hellyeah – Stand Or Walk Away

This song is so underrated. It’s got that Kashmir groove and even though the band is called Hellyeah, the song would not be out of place on a Mudvayne album.

Stand Or Walk Away is not one of those tracks you listen to passively. Your whole body becomes involved. The head nods, the foot starts to tap and your fingers start to lay down the beat. There is heaps of stuff happening in the track. There is a sense of classic rock familiarity that intrigues you and it is modern at the same time.

It’s dark yet uplifting and at position number nine it is best track from the 2010 album Stampede. With all the negative reviews around the overall album, it is very easy to miss a great song.

The Diary Of A Madman influenced acoustic intro kicks it off and then the Led Zeppelin Kashmir groove kicks in. Any song that is a derivative work of two classic songs that came before it, deserves attention.

I was told that life is beautiful
Well I’m not looking through those eyes
Wished upon a star and watch it fall away
Well that’s just one more thing that couldn’t be forever

Growing up I wasn’t told that life is beautiful. My father was quick to remind me that life is hard. He is an honest realistic man. He didn’t sugar coat things. So as I got older and I started to see what my father was taking about come to fruition it wasn’t much of a shock or a letdown to me as it was to some of my friends, who had parents that raised them with unrealistic ideals. There is a difference between providing realistic guidance and providing false guidance.

Don’t know if I should live or die
Should I stand or walk away

This is the reason why this song makes a connection with me. It is those two sentences. This world that we live in forces you to measure your worth in gold and status. It forces you to betray the honest ideals you grew up with to attain both. Then that moment comes were I needed to press the reset switch and start again.

I’m full of scars but I’m not made of stone
And my hearts exposed, my transparent life of terror

Our life is mistake riddled. That is the only way that we can really learn. You don’t appreciate the value of money until you hit rock bottom and have lost it all. You don’t appreciate the value of life, until you are laying in a hospital bed, broken and bruised.

Did I throw it away because of my ways?

If you are asking the question, then you know the answer to it.

The band Hellyeah is sort of like an enigma. Chad Gray is a great vocalist. His voice is unique and original. That is why the Mudvayne tag is hard to shake. Much in the same way that Device is seen as an extension of Disturbed due to David Draiman’s uniqueness, I am pretty sure that the fans see it same way between Mudvayne and Hellyeah. For me, it is all about the songs. If the songs are there to make a connection with me, then I am tuned in.

The Stampede album is nothing special. I only have this one song on my iPod from it. When I heard that Hellyeah was a goer, I thought to myself, geez, this band is going to have to live up to a lot of expectations, with the fusing of Mudvayne, Pantera and Nothingface. Those expectations to me is still the Achilles heel of the band.

It will be interesting to see what kind of magic, Kevin Churko brings to the next album. Kevin Churko to me is the definition of a rock star. He has the same traction as the musicians he works with. I can honestly say that I will purchase an album of music just because Kevin Churko produced it. I seriously believe that Churko will get a better crafted album from them.

One last thing, when the future generations write the history of metal guitarists, talented players like Greg Tribbet will be forgotten. But they shouldn’t be. Tribbet is a sum of his influences. He can be progressive (Mudvayne’s 2nd album is the piece d resistance in progressive riffage), he can be heavy, he can be the guitar hero and he can be soulful, bluesy and even countrish. He is very underrated and a great talent.

So since we are in the single music era, go and stream the crap out of this song. It will be worth your time.

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