A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Week (Last Few Months Actually) In Destroyer Of Harmony History – September 21 to October 31


4 Years Ago

FLYING

Patience. I’ve never confirmed it or looked it up, but i was told once it’s a French word meaning “to suffer”.

And the memories of being patient, flying 14 hours from Sydney to Doha and putting up with screaming little kids. Thankfully they were not mine.

And since the flights are so long, I caught up on movies like “War for The Planet Of The Apes”, “The Quiet Place” and “I, Tonya”. Then we wait 5 hours, board another plane from Doha to Berlin, I watched “American Animals” and “Hotel Artemis” and checked out the audio section. And pressed play on “Walk The Earth” from Europe, along with “Firepower” and “Turbo Lover” from Judas Priest.

During this period, the site became a Travel Blog, as I was doing regular updates of my European adventures in Berlin, More Berlin, Estonia, St Petersburg, More St Petersburg, The Norwegian Breakaway, Macedonia, More Macedonia and The Roma People.

After this holiday I was planning to take in more of the Balkans and the parts of Italy and Austria that surround the Adriatic Sea. This was all planned for 2020. We all know how that panned out.

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

It’s messed-up when humans experiment on other humans and mess with their lives.

Like when people of influence placed triplets from a single mother into three different families across different states. And in the name of science, they lied to the adopted families when they turned up to observe how the kids were progressing.

If you haven’t seen this documentary, watch it.

UPBRINGINGS

I grew up in a steel city and the plan was the same for everyone. Finish high school, get an apprenticeship at the local steel mill, become a tradesman and work until retirement with a nice little nest egg and a government funded pension.

Maybe that worked out okay once upon a time, but as Dylan said, “the times started changing”. The steel mill that used to employ 25,000 back in the mid-70s now employs less than 700. My Dad worked his whole life there, I haven’t worked not one day there. Then again. I was a misfit falling in and out of jobs.

STEVE VAI and OZZMOSIS

In 1994, Ozzy started jamming with Steve Vai. After writing for a certain period, Bob Daisley was called in. Once rehearsals started, it was pretty obvious that Vai’s style didn’t fit Ozzy’s style. But the Ozzy Camp didn’t fire Vai. They told him that the label was shelving the album.

With Vai gone, Daisley and Castronovo got a phone call a few days after to reconvene with Zakk Wylde on guitar. Daisley then got replaced by Geezer Butler.

Steve Vai’s involvement on the “Ozzmosis” album became limited to co-writing just one song “My Little Man”.

And while the song is credited to Ozzy and Vai, I always had my doubts if Ozzy wrote the lyrics.

So, if Ozzy didn’t write them, who did?

Well, the lyrics came from the great Lemmy Kilmister.

Yep, Lemmy wrote the lyrics about his son Paul. But Ozzy told everyone he wrote the lyrics about his son Jack.

All of the debates about intellectual property and how it’s valuable and how copyright protects the writer. It’s bullshit. The real writer is not even credited.

Copyright is a mess and the Copyright’s for Ozzy’s songs are even messier. Much like how Jake E. Lee and Bob Daisley got shafted for the “Bark At The Moon” album.

DYNAZTY

Dynazty came onto my radar in 2016. Actually I heard of em a few years before but avoided them because of the band name, thinking they would sound like Kiss, and why did they spell it with a ‘Z’.

They exist completely off the mainstream radar screen, doing their thing and building their catalogue of songs. And eventually, people will notice. But it takes time. I’m a fan and I don’t even know who the members are in the band.

How is that possible?

It’s so far removed from the label gatekeeper 80’s/90’s model. But in the new streaming era streams are more important than sales and people are listening. Music is a lifers game. You’re either in it for life or it’s just a passing hobby.

And Dynazty are in it for life.

LIVE AFTER DEATH

It’s the best live album out there and it was my first exposure to Iron Maiden. It’s also a pretty good reason why I didn’t feel the need to buy the first four albums until later on.

At the time I didn’t know it, but the tempo of the songs are just a bit quicker on the live album compared to the recorded versions and I’ve grown to know the songs at those tempos. If you don’t believe me, compare the two “Hallowed Be Thy Name” versions.

And I heard Bruce Dickinson sing the DiAnno era songs first, and because of this I can’t get into the DiAnno versions. But i do like them.

This album is also the reason why I purchased a ticket for each of the two Sydney shows on the “Somewhere Back In Time” tour of 2008.

Maiden did find gold again with the “Rock In Rio” release. Especially the DVD. And on this release, Bruce brought to life songs from the Blaze fronted era.

I also purchased the DVD for “Flight 666” which I rank as Maiden’s third best live album and a great memento for the two nights I watched em perform the same set.

COHEED AND CAMBRIA

“Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures” was the new album in 2018. Another concept album.

My first concept experience was “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche, then “The Crimson Idol” from WASP and then “Streets: A Rock Opera” from Savatage. But Coheed take “concept” to another level, with more or less each album except one being part of a concept story called “The Amory Wars”.

Here is my quick summary. There are far more detailed versions out there.

A scientist called Sirius Amory discovers an energy source called “The Keywork” is made up of souls who haven’t transcended. This happens on “The Afterman” album.

Many years later, a person called Wilhelm Ryan starts using the energy of the Keywork to murder and rule. Coheed and Cambria are humanoid robots created to destroy Ryan. Along with a person called Inferno, who also is a robot, they attack Ryan’s fortress and manage to destroy it. Ryan survives, however Coheed and Cambria think he’s dead. Thinking it’s over, their memory is wiped. This happens on “The Year Of The Black Rainbow”.

In “The Second Stage Turbine Blade” Coheed and Cambria get killed and their last surviving son, Claudio, is left to take up the charge. I’m still not sure how humanoid robots have children. But the recent Bladerunner movie also has this story arc.

Claudio finds out that he’s like the chosen one in “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth”.

In “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness” there is a character called “The Writer” that starts to mess up the story because he’s going through a relationship break up. It reminds me of the Matrix characters “The Keymaker” merged with “The Architect”.

In “No World For Tomorrow”, Claudio destroys the Keywork and releases the trapped souls. And the new album “Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures” takes place after this event.

OLI HERBET

“Overcome” made All That Remains (ATR) accessible to me, and I’ve been a fan since.

The first track “Before the Damned” started blasting out of my headphones. Musically it’s excellent. While the death metal vocals happen in the verses, the Chorus is Arena Rock.

At 2.04 we get this head banging metal breakdown and the solo begins at 2.09 over that same head banging breakdown riff. The solo is chromatic and diminished, in the same way Randy Rhoads shreds on “Diary of a Madman”. This concludes at 2.19. It sounds dissonant and atonal.

And the main man behind the guitar is Oli Herbert. A great guitar player, founding member of All That Remains and songwriter who passed away at 44.

Rest In Peace.

I’M READY

It’s a track that Oli Herbert (RIP) co-wrote for Dee Snider’s solo album “For The Love Of Metal”. The other writers are Charlie Bellmore, Nicholas Bellmore and Jamey Jasta.

Crank it.

LEARNING MUSIC IN REVERSE

When I hear a song I like, I seek out more songs from the same artist. And I repeat the cycle with different artists. It’s how I got into music. It happened to me in the 80s.

When I heard Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Kiss and Judas Priest, I didn’t think for a second that these bands would have had influences.

I never understood the debates over Kingdom Come in the 80’s until well into the 90’s when I started seeking out bands from the 70s and started to pay real attention to Led Zeppelin. Then I had that “ah ha” moment and I understood why Kingdom Come were labelled copycats.

I remember when I first heard Aerosmith and Whitesnake. It was in 1987 and I had no idea these bands had a long history dating back to the Seventies.

The beauty of music. I listen, I get moved by the listening and I start to explore.

THE ONE YOU LOVED IS GONE

What a solo from Slash! Actually, two solos. But it’s the middle one that hooks me. And yeah, it might sound like an Alter Bridge song, but that solo is 100% pure grade Slash.

UTOPIA RECORDS

It had the motto “The Home Of Heavy Metal”.

I’d never seen pictured vinyl before, well Utopia had them. I’d never seen 12-inch singles of metal bands before, well Utopia had them as well. And those yellow and black plastic bags with the logo and branding proved to be a badge of honor. It’s like we got patched into the club the same way bike gangs’ patch in their members.

The first location was in Martin Place from 1978 to 1980 and the second location in Martin Place was from 1980 to 1990. It was this second location that I first visited. From 1990 to 1995, they moved to Clarence Street, Sydney, not too far from the original shop. I waited in line for a Sepultura meet and greet because my cousin Mega was a fan of the band. He took in his battered snare skin for signing. Even Igor the Sepultura drummer, was impressed at the brutality of the snare skin.

Hours would be spent here, and some big decisions would be made as to what to buy between my cousin and me Then as soon as we got back to my cousins house, I would dub the records he purchased, and he would dub the records I purchased.

From 1995 to 2001, they moved to George Street, Sydney next to Hungry Jacks and then from 2001 to 2006 they moved across the road under the cinemas. The bigger Utopia got, the uniqueness culture it created for metal heads got lost.

The last time I walked into Utopia was at an address on Broadway in Sydney. They occupied this store between 2006 to 2010. But during this time, they did things differently by having live bands in store and battle of the band’s contests. They kept it going. They kept the name in the conversation. From 2010, they have been at their Kent Street address, and I haven’t been. But I have purchased items online. And I will return one day, because that’s what us Metal fans do.

PIRACY

Debates and arguments never cease when it comes to Piracy.

I became a fan of a lot of bands because of pirated material. Bands like Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, Shinedown, In Flames, Evergrey, Killswitch Engage, The Night Flight Orchestra and Corroded just to name a few. And I had no qualms paying ticket prices if these bands came to town.

High profile bands from the Eighties also had a renaissance in the 2000’s because of pirated material. Motley Crue, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Europe and Whitesnake come to mind immediately. Provided they still wanted to work together. Bands like Skid Row, Ratt, Warrant and Dokken unfortunately missed out because key members hated each other.

It’s a pretty simple business model. Have your music available worldwide for free and people will access it.

All of those bands mentioned above have played cities they’ve never played before and to crowds larger than before. They played these cities without selling any real recorded product in those cities. I can tell you that in Eastern Europe, I did not come across a legitimate music shop. The few shops I did come across (and I use that term loosely) sell rips of albums.

8 Years Ago

ADRIAN VANDENBERG COMPENDIUM

Adrian Vandenberg came to my attention from his tenure in Whitesnake (when he and Vivan Campbell) replaced John Sykes. However, Vandenberg was David Coverdale’s first choice for the lead guitar slot, however Vandenberg turned the gig down to focus on his own band and John Sykes was given the gig instead.

Click on the link in the tile to read my compendium of Adrian Vandenberg classic songs and riffs which covers his projects from 1983 to 2014.

Since then, he has released three Vandenberg’s MoonKings albums with the self-titled debut (2014), “MK II” (2017) and “Rugged and Unplugged” (2018). And then after he was allowed to use his name again as a band name, he released the excellent ‘2020″.

JOHN SYKES COMPENDIUM

Since I was on a Whitesnake journey, click on the link in the tile to read my John Sykes compendium which covers his career from “Tygers Of Pan Tang” all the way to his solo career in the 90’s. But while Adrian Vandenberg re-entered the recorded music market in 2014, John Sykes has been absent since 2001, with only a few YouTube videos appearing in the last 5 years.

HENDRIX AND THE MADNESS OF COPYRIGHT

The music of Jimi Hendirx should be in the Public Domain. When Hendrix wrote the songs, Copyright Law at the time was for a total of 56 years (which involved a 28-year term initially and provided the artist renewed the registration, they would get another 28 years). But laws passed in the 70’s retroactively placed these recordings under new laws which meant, 75 years after death. Basically, it will not enter the public domain for another 20 plus years.

Remember when a Jimi Hendrix Biopic called “Jimi: All Is By My Side” came out and it didn’t have any original music from Hendrix. Well, the Jimi Hendrix Estate denied all attempts to license the music unless they had control over the story line of the movie. The producers felt that this would not gel well with their vision so what the public got was a movie where the actor who plays Hendrix is performing cover songs of other bands.

HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

Evergrey is one of my favourite bands and you can read my biased review on “Hymns For The Broken”.

VOLBEAT AND RIAA CERTIFICATIONS

Volbeat in 2014 just kept getting RIAA Certifications.

It showed the music business that “Recognition Comes Much Later” for Heavy Metal bands. Volbeat entered the mainstream American market ten years after they formed. It also showed the Heavy Metal community that “Streaming Is Not The Enemy” as Volbeat’s streaming numbers are in the multi-millions for certain songs.

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN

Yngwie Malmsteen released four good albums in “Rising Force” (1984), “Marching Out” (1985), “Trilogy” (1986), “Odyssey” (1988) and two average albums in “Eclipse” (1990) and the big budget “Fire & Ice” (1992).

And here he was in 2014, shooting his mouth off with statements like “no new guitar players” and “no new good music”.

PAUL STANLEY

And Malmsteen was joined by Paul Stanley.

GUITAR HEROES

So I did a post on the new guitar heroes in response to Malmsteen’s comments.

AUSTRALIAN MUSIC AND THE RISE OF THE INDIES

Australian Music is ALWAYS a rich vibrant scene. And it is a scene that is underpinned by independent artists. Financially it is a miserable livelihood however the emotional experience is rewarding. And there is no escaping that Australian Independent artists are some of the hardest working artists around and also the lowest paid members of the Australian workforce. The sad thing is that the elite levels of Government have no idea about the independent artists. Any Government funding goes to the large Industry bodies who don’t really disperse the monies to the artists doing the rounds on the streets.

Independently minded musicians and label owners are the ones that are pushing boundaries in music because they want control over what’s being released, when it’s released, and how it’s released. And they are not afraid to use the major labels when it suits them, but ultimately they’re calling the shots.

For a musician it is an exciting time to be a part of the music scene. Especially if you are an indie.

JUNE 1993

It’s June 1993 and I am flicking through the new issue of Hot Metal Magazine, which at the time was Australia’s premier metal and rock magazine. On the cover there was the John Bush fronted Anthrax.

“The Sound Of White Noise” got 5 skulls in the magazine review, which equates to ‘KILLER’. A few months after its release the album was certified GOLD.

Then you have the bloodbath from the Eighties scene.

Jani Lane (RIP) and Warrant had split and both acts had their contracts reduced to demo deals. Imagine that. You had three albums that had moved 500,000 plus units each, and they ended up on the scrap-heap. Kik Tracee also split with vocalist Stephen Shareaux (bet he wished he tried harder for that Motley Crue vocalist spot) and both of them had been reduced to a demo deal.

Meanwhile Rowan Robertson from “The Lock Up The Wolves” Dio era inked a deal with Atlantic Records for his new band that had Oni Logan from Lynch Mob on vocals. We all know that this didn’t end up going anywhere.

While, Roberston’s former employer, Dio (RIP) was working with WWIII guitarist Tracy G after his “Dehumanizer” venture with Black Sabbath went sour. These sessions would go on to create the “Strange Highways” album while Jake E.Lee was working with WWIII singer (and I use that term loosely) Mandy Lion.

Reports coming through at that time spoke about the new Bruce Dickinson solo album being an “updated, toughened up Santana vibe with a heavy leaning towards Peter Gabriel type atmospherics and experimentation.” That album would become “Balls To Picasso” and apart from the song “Tears Of The Dragon” which sounds like an Iron Maiden song the rest of the album was a listen best avoided.

On the drug front we had David Lee Roth getting busted in New York after purchasing a $10 bag of weed. Seriously, for someone like his stature surely he could have done it more discreetly or gotten that $10 bag delivered to the studio. However, Roth is Roth and he decided that he should go out into the town and look for a dealer. On the other drug front, there was news that started coming out about Tim Kelly (RIP) from Slaughter who was alleged to have been involved in a major drug smuggling ring that was busted after a five-year investigation by the F.B.I.

Then we had the Motley Crue vs Vince Neil shenanigans.

The Vince Neil “Exposed” album got a good review in the magazine. I suppose it was inevitable that the solo album from Vince Neil would sound a lot like Motley Crue, even though NIkki Sixx insisted that Vince Neil had nothing to do with the creation of the songs in Motley Crue or the Motley sound. I think Nikki Sixx missed the memo that the actual voice plays a big part in the sound. Credit music business vet Phil Soussan for delivering a stellar performance in the song writing department that helped kick-start Vince’s solo career.

SEPTEMBER 1991

So I am flicking through an old issue of Guitar World that goes back to September 1991 and there is a D’Addario ad with the title “Young Guns II”. Read the post to find out what happened to these “Young Guns.”

METAL EVOLUTION – GLAM METAL EPISODE

I watched the Metal Evolution Glam Rock, Thrash and Grunge documentaries a few nights ago. When you play “The Trooper” as your intro riff to the series, how can you not like it.

If it wasn’t for “Sonic Temple” from The Cult and “Dr Feelgood” from Motley Crue there would be no such thing as the “Black” sound and the millions of metal bands that the Metallica album spawned.

Franke Banali the drummer from Quiet Riot cracked me up with his assessment of Edward Van Halen “the name sounds like a painter”.

It’s good to see Spencer Proffer get recognition for his idea of trying to find a band to record “Cum On Feel The Noize” from Slade. It was a game changer for Quiet Riot even though they resisted it.

Then you have the big heavy metal day on the 1983 U.S festival. It was a game changer for the LA scene and for metal in general.

John Kalonder was hilarious. When he spoke, I couldn’t stop laughing. He sounded like that baddy voice over dub in the movie “Kung Pow”.

And it was a time of excess. If Tawny Kitaen is to be believed, then the 1987 Whitesnake album cost over $2 million dollars to record and produce.

Dunn’s reporting of the “Guns N Roses Effect” on glam rock spot on. Glam Rock died because it got over saturated with inferior bands, along with Gunners showing up the movement with their nod to Seventies classic rock. When Grunge came along with its nod to 70’s bands and punk rock, it offered an alternative to the clichéd glam rock styles and lyrics.

“Bang you Head.”

And that’s a wrap for stories posted back in October, 4 Years and 8 Years ago. Next up are stories posted in November during the same period.

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

Notable Mentions 2021

All of this were close to being in the Top 10 list.

Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist

I’ve heard the name but never really listened.

And they started to come into my life circa 2018 with the “Holy Hell” album, which I liked some songs on, but when “For Those That Wish To Exist” came out in 2021, I was liking a lot more songs.

I was even half way through a review, before I got side tracked with other posts and never went back to finish.

It’s album number 9 which goes to show that artists will never know which album makes a person a fan. They just need to be in the game, a lifer, producing music.

If charts still matter these days, then this album did great business around the world, hitting the number 1 position in Australia and the UK, while achieving Top 10 positions in Austria, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the Billboard Hard Rock Charts.

While the band was known as a metalcore act when they started out, this album is not. It’s a stadium rock album with elements of all different kinds of metal thrown in and orchestral electronics.

Lord – Undercovers

An Aussie Metal band.

How can you knock back a covers album that has metal re-imaginings of songs like “To the Moon and Back” from Savage Garden, “Message In A Bottle” from The Police, “Playing to Win” from Little River Band/John Farnham. “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” from Cutting Crew, “The Sun Always Shines on TV” from A-ha, “On a Night Like This” from Kylie Minogue, “Break the Ice” from John Farnham, “Send Me an Angel” from Real Life and “Touch the Fire” from Icehouse.

And to top it off there are sizzling metal and rock covers of “Hard to Love” from Harem Scarem, “Reckless” from Judas Priest, “Wild Child” from W.A.S.P and “Runaway” from Bon Jovi.

Plus faithful renditions of “Judas be my Guide” from Iron Maiden, “Of Sins and Shadows” from Symphony X, “Shattered” by Pantera, “Someone’s Crying” and “I Want Out” from Helloween, “Creeping Death” by Metallica, “Silent Jealousy” from X Japan and “The Whisper” from Queensryche.

You can read my review here.

Chevelle – Niratias

Otherwise known as “Nothing Is Real And This Is A Simulation” and it’s one of their best albums in the last 10 years, a concept album that deals with interstellar travel, mistrust in leadership, loss and looking back at the past.

It’s more accessible then some of their previous works, with bigger Chorus’s.

Plus there is some great artwork from Boris Vallejo.

Iron Maiden – Senjetsu

It’s great to have Iron Maiden in our lives. The album is a bit bloated but then again, Maiden from the 2000’s onwards have done things their own way and catered to their own creative muses. Which I respect and still purchase.

You can read my review here.

The End Machine – Phase II

The End Machine is listed as a supergroup consisting of guitar player George Lynch, bass player Jeff Pilson, drummer Mick Brown and singer Robert Mason.

Frontiers basically wanted a Dokken sounding album and with 75% of the band being from Dokken plus a singer who worked with Lynch in Lynch Mob, the possibilities of a Dokken sounding album were high.

The self-titled debut came out in 2019 and in 2021, “Phase 2” came out. The difference here was that Mick Brown vacated his drumming gig due to his retirement and his younger brother, Steve Brown took the spot.

I also had a review partially written on this however other posts took my interest and I never went back to it.

But it did have comments like, “’this song reminds me of <insert Dokken song here>.

For example, “Dark Divide” is “The Hunter”. “Blood And Money” reminds me of “Tooth And Nail”. “Crack The Sky” has this “Stop Fighting Love” meets “It’s Not Love” vibe.

And to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because while Dokken is on hiatus for new music, The End Machine definitely fills the void and Mason’s pipes are in fine form, while Mr Don is struggling a bit.

So if you like classic Dokken, then do yourself a favour and press play on this.

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

Iron Maiden – Senjutsu

Somewhere back in time, an Iron Maiden album would be purchased, listened to and the cover/lyrics digested, day after day after day, until the next album.

And I kept doing it like this up to their Bruce II era albums “Brave New World” released in 2000 and its follow up “Dance Of Death” released in 2003, along with the “Rock In Rio” and “Death On The Road” live releases.

And then things started to change. “A Matter Of Life and Death” released in 2006 and “The Final Frontier” released in 2010 are like unknown albums even though I own em and have heard them more than a few times.

“The Book Of Souls” album released in 2015 is one that I listened to a lot more and I also watched em playing half the album on tour, so it’s more familiar.

Now in 2021, we have “Senjutsu”.

A lot of the reviews I have read mention how there are no Dave Murray contributions to this album, in the same way reviews mentioned how Kirk Hammett didn’t have a co-write on “Death Magnetic”. But James Hetfield summed it up when he said, “Hammett’s riffs just weren’t there at that point in time”. And if Murray was struggling to be creative or stuck in a rut, lucky for Maiden, they have other songwriters who can step up in Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson, Janick Gers and of course, Steve Harris.

Kevin “Caveman” Shirley is producing and mixing again.

And once upon a time, Iron Maiden artwork was just Derek Riggs. Now it’s a team of artists. There is a person leading the Art Designs, there are illustrators, calligraphists and translators.

But Eddie still remains. The constant throughout it all.

“Senjutsu”

It’s an Adrian Smith and Steve Harris composition, and you can immediately hear the Smith riffage, its almost Tool like.

How good is the melodic lead in the Chorus?

The section from 3.30 to 5.20 is pure Tool in the way Nicko McBrain sets the groove with Steve Harris. But the way the guitars decorate the section is more metal and hard rock and Bruce Dickinson’s melodies also stay within the hard rock and metal domain.

The minute outro returns to the Tool groove while the guitars lay down riffs which could come from the “Gates of Babylon”. After eight minutes and twenty seconds, the title track is down.

“Stratego”

A Janick Gers and Harris composition with a riff that reminds me of the “Fear Of The Dark” album and songs like “Judas Be My Guide” with a bit of the Iron Maiden gallop chucked in.

Listen to the section from 1.28, which I think is the Chorus and how the vocal melody and the guitar melody are the same.

“The Writing on the Wall”

A Smith and Dickinson composition.

I like the Steve Earle – “Copperhead Road”/Aerosmith – “Hangman Jury” like influence in the intro and main riff, Then again “Scars” from Smith/Kotzen also comes to mind.

But my favourite part of the song is the lead break from Adrian Smith between 4.26 and 5.08. Its emotive and it gets me playing air guitar.

It brings back the same feeling of the solo in “2 Minutes To Midnight”, the section between 3.26 and 4.06. You know the section I’m talking about, as they build back up into the main riff.

“Lost in a Lost World”

Steve Harris equals nine minutes and thirty one seconds on this one.

The acoustic intro with the vocal reminds me of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and their song “From The Beginning”, which Dokken also covered on their “Dysfunctional” album.

At the 2 minute mark it blasts out into the typical Maiden metal sound.

Listen to the section between 3.38 and 4.14 and tell me if it reminds you of “The Evil Than Men Do” musically.

And I like it, especially the “Revelations” section straight afterwards.

As the song flows, the “Revelations” riff becomes the backing riff for a bunch of harmony solo’s that remind me of “The X Factor” and “Dance Of Death” albums.

The last minute, Harris showcases how tasty bass arpeggios can be when done right, with Synths, a Celtic inspired guitar line and a haunting vocal.

“Days of Future Past”

A Smith and Dickinson composition and the shortest song on the album at 4 minutes. It’s also my least favourite.

“The Time Machine”

The disc 1 closer.

It’s a 7 minute Gers and Harris composition. The fingerpicked clean tone intro gives way to another Southern Rock inspired riff at the 1.10 mark. If anything, Jethro Tull comes to mind.

At 3.11, the galloping feel is back and a Celtic like harmony lead kicks in, something which Maiden have done before, but still enjoyable to hear over and over again.

But the piece d resistance is that change at the 4.30 mark, it’s still in 4/4 but it sounds progressive. Then it goes into an ascending riff for a guitar solo.

At 5.24, the Celtic like harmonies are back and Dickinson kicks in with his melodies.

At 6.20, the Celtic harmony is played in clean tone and I’m thinking of “The Clansman”.

“Darkest Hour”

A Smith and Dickinson composition which clocks in at 7.20 and it’s the disc 2 opener.

The intro has echoes of “Paschendale” and I like it. At the minute mark, the verses kick in.

As soon as the Chorus kicks in, I’m reminded of “Tears Of A Dragon” from Dickinson’s solo career and I’m ready to break my desk.

At 4 minutes, the intro is back in and the lead break starts.

Wow. Brilliant.

I don’t have my CD delivered yet, but I am presuming it’s Smith on the lead break as he is the most technical of the three guitarists and the flow of the solo sounds like a nice worked out Smith solo, a song within a song.

And as the Chorus kicks back in, different melodic guitar leads lay underneath the vocal melody, bringing the song to a close.

“Death of the Celts”

Harris equals ten minutes and twenty seconds.

Again, Harris showcases how musical the bass guitar can be as the whole intro is driven by the bass.

But the song is way too long, lacking a distinctive vocal section and it does get boring.

However I do like the solo section from 7.20 to 7.50. I think it’s Smith and then Gers kicks in.

“The Parchment”

Harris bookends the album with songs over 10 minutes. On this one, Harris equals 12:39.

The start of this song reminds me of “Sign Of The Cross”.

Guitar wise, there is a Ritchie Blackmore “Rainbow” influence.

And how good is that head banging verse riff?

The lead section that starts from 6.40 is familiar and I like it. It comes back in at the 9.28 mark.

The song speeds up for the last three minutes, as different shred lead breaks kick in. But by the end of it, it also could have used some editing.

“Hell on Earth”

The closer, in which Harris equals 11:19.

I think they should have done away with “Death Of The Celts” and “The Parchment” and gone straight into this for after “Darkest Hour”.

The intro is haunting, yet familiar, reminding me of “Alexander The Great” and “Seventh Son”.

At 2.16, the Maiden brand of rock and metal kicks in. The galloping riffs are there and a Celtic like harmony lead is also there.

At 2.49 to 3.08, there is a melodic lead which is a favourite.

The vocals kick in at 3.31.

The chorus (I think it’s a Chorus) comes in at 5 minutes.

Man, check out that section from 9.10 to 9.40. Those harmony guitars are perfect and sing-a-long like.

Then the song quietens down and returns to the haunting intro, reminding me again of “Alexander The Great” and “Seventh Son”.

And the album ends. Iron Maiden is like an old friend that returns for a visit now and then.

So welcome back old friend, let’s have a drink and catch up.

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The Writing On The Wall

It’s good to hear Iron Maiden music.

They are one of the rare bands from the 80’s who keep writing and recording new albums. Although the time spans between albums has become bigger over the last 15 years, it’s not because they are lazy, they are just on the road or in the air, touring and doing what they do.

And a pandemic put a halt to their touring plans in 2020. So when artists have time, they normally write and here we are in 2021, with new music.

They have been teasing this new music for about a fortnight, and a lot of internet sleuths started piecing together all the clues about “Belshazzar’s Feast” from a T-shirt that Bruce Dickinson was wearing in an interview he did on Sky News.

And like all things Maiden, I am sure we will get to know more about Belshazzar’s Feast, because that’s what Maiden does, they get people like me into researching and learning.

It’s written by Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson, with production by Kevin Shirley.

The country blues rock in the intro has me interested. It’s a new style into the Iron Maiden family.

The verse riff reminds me of “Stormbringer” from Deep Purple played with a bluesy swagger. Vocally Dickinson is still a powerhouse.

How good are those guitar harmonies after the first chorus?

The lead that comes at the 4.27 mark, I am pretty sure it’s Adrian Smith as it sounds like his style, is excellent.

I keep re-listening to this song just to keep hearing the lead break.

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1986 – Part 1.1: Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time

The first thing that grabs you is the Bladerunner style cover. Bruce Dickinson mentions the same in his book, “What Does This Button Do?”

Apart from buying the album, the fan is also buying a great piece of art by Derek Riggs, who took 3 months to come up with the painting.

During this 80s era, the UK government decided to tax the entertainment industry over 80% of what they earn so this meant that the band and other UK artists had to go into exile and were caught somewhere, far away from home for nine months of the year. So the album ended up being written and recorded in different places and in different studios.

When the sessions started, Bruce Dickinson wanted to do something different, which made everyone laugh. He wanted Maiden to lead instead of delivering just another Iron Maiden album.

But, the fans got “just another Maiden album”. And we loved it.

Steve Harris contributed “Caught Somewhere In Time”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner” and “Alexander The Great”. Adrian Smith contributed “Wasted Years”, “Sea Of Madness” and “Stranger In A Strange Land” while Dave Murray brought in “Déjà Vu”.

A chord is strummed, a synth chord rings out and a harmony lead is heard. This repeats for a few times and then a drum groove comes in. Subdued it percolates, changes key and at the fifty two second mark, it explodes.

“Caught Somewhere In Time” had really started. And that exploding intro comes back in the solo section at the 4.50 mark. As Harris once said, it’s about a nightmare trip through time due to a malfunction in the time machine.

The iconic open E pedal point riff starts off “Wasted Years”, Maiden’s contribution to the tales of touring and being on the road for a long time. It’s no surprise that this song was written straight after their biggest and longest tour for the “Powerslave” album which resulted in the “Live After Death” album.

The intro lead riff was rejected by Smith but Harris heard it and told him to work on it.

And the whole solo section is head banging, fists in the air, desk breaking material. Check out the way they build up the intro E pedal point riff into the solo section.

The solo section of “Sea Of Madness” is one of my favourite pieces of music on this album.

“Heaven Can Wait” is the story of a person who is struggling to transition to Heaven. The song just moves along, but when the whole “Take my hand, I’ll lead you to the promised land” section starts off, its pay attention time. Then those “woh oh oh” chants kick in and its desk breaking time. And how good is the clean tone guitar riff under the “woh-oh-oh”.

The guitar intro to “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner” is inspiring, There is a film with the same title and Harris once said in an interview something like, “you always have to run in life, move forward, and you do it alone.”

The way Bruce Dickinson carries the vocal melody for the Chorus is excellent, and then the harmony leads kick in while Nicko McBrain is doing double time on the drums.

Then at the 3.30 mark, a blues rock like lead kicks in with pentatonic bends before it morphs into a metal like solo. And the song ends the way it started, with a tonne of memorable harmony leads.

The open E bass shuffle of “Stranger In A Strange Land” gets me interested, but it’s the Adrian Smith riff that seals the deal.

And how good is the lead break.

While the title shares the same name as the Robert Heinlein book, Adrian Smith based it on a story he read about an old sailor John Torrington, a member of the mysterious 1845 Sir John Franklin expedition that attempted to find the Northwest Passage from America to Asia. More than a century later in 1984, he’s perfectly preserved body was found in the ice of the North Pole.

Check out “Déjà Vu” from the 30 second mark, when that harmony lead kicks in. It’s like “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner” part 2 and it morphs into a riff that reminds me of “Die With Your Boots On”.

How good is the pre chorus vocal melody when Dickinson starts to sing, “cause you know this happened before”?

And that harmony lead from the 2.50 mark. Brilliant.

There is blowing wind, a slow military march tempo and a clean guitar solo. That is how the album closer, “Alexander The Great” starts, and it percolates musically, until it explodes into the verses.

The lyrics are somewhat like a children’s encyclopaedia article however there is enough detail there line by line.

And that groove and feel change at the 4.50 mark is excellent, with more leads and more harmonies.

Not bad for just another album.

But.

For all its excellence, the tracks on “Somewhere In Time” (apart from “Wasted Years” and “Heaven Can Wait”) are really underplayed when it comes to the set lists.

P.S. This issue of Guitar Legends is one of my favorites with a heap of information. But that will be for another day.

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The Number Of The Beast

You know it’s going to be a good day when you see “The Number Of The Beast” trending on Twitter. Without even seeing why it’s trending, I went straight to Spotify and pressed play on the album.

I wished I logged the hours I spent staring at the cover and I wish I kept the drawing journal of the many attempts to draw it. I eventually got there after a few years.

The 70’s fast blues rock of “Invaders” kicks off the album. It didn’t blow me away, but the next song did.

I heard the live version of “Children of The Damned” first. I lived with it for a long time. It felt a bit quicker and I liked it.

But the studio version is my definitive version now. The vocal melody from Bruce Dickinson is haunting and chilling. Only he can make “Children of The Damned”, repeated four times, sound musical.

Then from 3 minutes, the harmony guitar comes in. Drop whatever you’re doing and start to play air guitar. And Dickinson again takes centre stage, as he takes a simple “who oh” vocal and he makes it sound so musical. You want to know from which song Metallica took the ending for “Fade To Black” from, then here it is.

“Prisoner” continues the fast blues rock from “Invaders”. The Pre Chorus riffs from Adrian Smith/Dave Murray and the vocal melody are wicked. Make sure you check out the bass playing from Steve Harris and the major key chorus is the embryo for “Wasted Years”. And how good is the whole solo section. Listen to Clive Burr on the drums here.

“22 Acacia Avenue” is one of my favourite tracks. So many different moods and feels.

How good is the “Friday On My Mind” inspired intro?

“15 quid is all she asks for” Dickinson tells us.

And then the song changes from the minute and thirty second mark. It gets more aggressive, more metal like. Then at the three minutes and fifty second mark it changes again. It gets slower while the solos happen. And it builds up again to a new mood, a new groove and some more leads. My favourite part of the song. Especially the last 40 seconds. The band is in their element here, jamming it out to a finale.

Then we get the spoken word intro to “The Number Of The Beast” and that immortal intro riff. At two minutes and thirty seconds, a classic 70’s like riff comes in before it goes into a lead break.

“Run To The Hills” is way overplayed. It’s in that category for me to not listen to again. But if it comes on, I don’t turn it off or skip it. From 2.34, the riff comes in and Bruce starts doing his yeah and ahhs. I guess it’s time to sing along, out of key.

“Gangland” is speed metal. Maybe even thrash metal. A bit of “Overkill” from Motorhead merged with some Thin Lizzy sped up.

And how good is that middle solo section?

“Hallowed By Thy Name” closes the album. For me, one of the best Maiden songs ever. The “Live After Death” is the definitive version, as it is a bit quicker.

“When the priest comes to read me my last rites”.

And with that, I close my eyes and let the music and melodies take me away.

Crank it and the reason why its trending, is because its 39 years old.

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Killers At 40

I saw a Twitter post about “Killers” turning 40, so I did what every Iron Maiden would have done or should have done. Call it up on a streaming service and press play, or find the CD/Vinyl/Cassette, put it in the tray/turntable/deck and press play.

While the album is 40 years old, I didn’t really hear it until the early 90’s. And I didn’t listen to it a lot, so if you asked me to name the order of tracks from start to finish, I would stuff it up.

“Killers” sits in that purgatory state for me, between the end of the DiAnno era and the start of the Dickinson era. Thinking about it, I became a fan of Maiden during the Dickinson era, so I heard Dickinson sing “Wrathchild” before I heard the original DiAnno version.

So how good is that bass riff to kick off “Wrathchild”?

While “Killers” doesn’t have my favourite Maiden songs, each song has a riff or a musical section that just hooks me in.

Steve Harris wrote the whole album except for the song “Killers” and he got a chance to try out his progressive way of song construction. Instead of sticking to the verse and chorus formula, he would have a verse and then music for the chorus. Or verse, verse, interlude solo section.

He experimented on this album and we got to hear better versions of those experiments with each subsequent release.

“Murders In The Rue Morgue” is a Thin Lizzy cut through and through, just a little bit faster. If you don’t believe me, listen to those verses.

“Genghis Khan” has this harmony section from about the 2 minute mark and while that harmony pattern is being played, another harmony lead starts over it, with just a few notes and bends.

“Innocent Exile” has two sections that hook me. The musical Chorus between the verses and that whole interlude/solo section. “Killers” has the intro with the David Lee Roth like wails and then it morphs into the verse riffs.

“Prodigal Son” always stands out for me, because it reminds me of “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll” from Ozzy Osbourne in the arpeggio intro. They both came out the same year.

The strumming part also reminds me of another song, but I just can’t remember it. And the solo, its brilliant, with its Clapton like bluesy lines.

The intro/verse riff in “Purgatory” is speed/thrash metal heaven. And how good is that harmony section when DiAnno sings “Take me away”?

Clive Burr never got his dues when it came to his drumming skills. The dude could play so many styles and merge them all into one song. He definitely set a standard for the Iron Maiden drum position which Nicko McBrain elevated.

Happy 40th Killers. \::/

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November 2020 – Part 4

Ellefson

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

Ellefson is a band, made up of David Ellefson on bass, Thom Hazaert on vocals, Andy Martongelli and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal  on guitars and Paolo Caridi on drums. They started doing a few B side covers for a new music release next year and they had so much fun doing it, they did a double albums worth.

Hazaert does the majority of singing with the guest singers contributing in harmonies and trade off verses while the band members do most of the music with the guests appearing.

The album blasts off with “Freewheel Burning” from Judas Priest. This track has Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys on vocals, ex-Machine Head/Sacred Reich drummer Dave McClain, and guitarists Gus G and Andy James.

Then “Tear it Loose” from Twisted Sister begins and this one features good ole, Eddie OJ Fingers followed by a Motorhead cut. Three songs in, Ellefson has combined three speed metal songs from different bands onto one album and made it sound original in the process. 

Other favourites are “Say What You Will” from Fastway, “Love Machine” from WASP and “Over The Mountain” from Ozzy.

Iron Maiden

How many live albums from Maiden do you own?

For me, it’s a lot, but two of em really stand out. They are “Live After Death” and “Rock In Rio”.

Releasing live albums on a consistent basis after each tour, means that a lot of songs keep re-appearing on the set list, especially on tours that are not album tours. So here we are in 2020 with “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.

Killer Be Killed

A super group of thrash/extreme/death metallers. Founded by The Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato and Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and ex-Sepultura front man Max Cavalera in early 2011. The line-up also features Mastodon bassist and co-vocalist Troy Sanders and Converge drummer Ben Koller. 

I didn’t mind the first album (released in 2014) musically, so I was interested to see what would happen next. And album number 2, “Reluctant Hero”, got me even more interested. The vocals are less abrasive and the chorus’s in my favourite songs work well. 

“Deconstructing Self Destruction” opens the album aggressively and melodically with a great little harmony solo. “Dream Gone Bad” continues the melody, with some punk and thrash thrown in for good measure. “Left Of Center” blasts out of the gate with a riff that reminds me of Judas Priest. 

“From A Crowded Wound” has a head banging riff and groove throughout the song and the album closes with the moody and smouldering title track, “Reluctant Hero”.

Phenomena

“Phenomena” was like a hard rock “The Alan Parsons Project” with songs written by a few key members and guest vocalists appearing on different songs.

Which brings us to “Still The Night”, a brand new compilation of all the tracks that feature Glenn Hughes on vocals. The 17 tracks here are pulled from the “Dream Runner” and “Psycho Fantasy” albums. If you like the voice of rock like I do, then this one is a must. Plus you get to hear Cozy Powell thundering on the drums, Neil Murray holding down the bass (with Glenn Hughes on some tracks), Richard Bailey on keys and Mel Galley doing the guitars.

Everything is remastered and it sounds huge. 

“Still The Night” which originally appeared on the Thrall Hughes album is still a massive favourite. “Surrender” with its melodic rock synth keys always gets me to pay attention. “Touch My Life” has a heavy metal riff in the verses that John Sykes would be proud.

The way Hughes sings the verses on “Phoenix Rising” still stops me in my tracks. “Who’s Watching You?” sounds like a Y&T cut from the “Meanstreak” album. “Kiss Of Fire” sounds like a cut from The Alan Parsons Project. “Higher” feels down tuned and heavy but Glenn Hughes voice makes it melodic. “Hell On Wings” reminds me of Thin Lizzy with the harmony leads and in the verses it reminds me of Y&T.

And everything is held together by the fantastic voice of Glenn Hughes.

Sole Syndicate

A hard rock band from <<insert drum roll>> …… “Sweden”.

Such a small country but a massive exporter of cultural content.

“Last Days Of Eden” is their second album, with their first “Garden Of Eden” being released in 2016.

“…and the Truth Will Set You Free” is traditional heavy metal in the verses (think Scorpions) and melodic in the chorus. Then it’s got a head banging breakdown section which modern metallers do. And the lead break is melodic.

“We All Fall Apart” has some Judas Priest in the mix. “Glory Days” has an strummed acoustic guitar and a David Coverdale vocal line with a nice acoustic guitar solo in the intro and in the middle.

“We Came to Rock” is unoriginal in its title, but it has a Vivian Campbell/Dio like riff and a Klaus Meine vocal melody which gets me interested. Did I mention the song has a nice guitar solo? 

“Have You Heard It All Before?” is a rocker. “Bring Us A Hero” starts of like a “Metallica” Black album cut. And that groove continues through the verses. “When Darkness Calls” sounds like its inspired by Europe. Definitely a band that’s on my radar.

Part 5 is coming up. 

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No Prayer For The Dying

30 years old.

How does it hold up as a Maiden album?

Would any of the songs on the album replace a song in the classic concert set list?

And why the two different covers when they remastered it a decade later?

I purchased it on day one on cassette.

How can you not purchase it after “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son”?

I had a tape deck that used to chew tapes up so I demanded my Dad let me use his pristine Toshiba cassette player.

He said “no”, because he believed that tapes with heavy metal music would somehow wreck his tape deck.

I went to Mum to smooth him over and that didn’t work, but I had a plan.

When he was at work, I would use his tape deck. But Dad was smart. He caught on.

He woke me up early when he was leaving for work and told me that it’s okay to use his tape deck because he had a feeling that I would use it while he’s at work as that’s exactly the same thing he would do.

I already heard the lead off single in “Holy Smoke” and the “flies round shit, bees around honey”.

So I pressed play.

And “Tailgunner” started.

How good is the bass playing on it?

That whole intro is built by Steve Harris and his four fingers.

“No Prayer For The Dying” is super underrated with the powerful ending around “God give me the answer to my life…”

“Public Enema Number One” has lyrics relevant to what’s happening today.

In the cities in the streets / there’s a tension you can feel / the breaking strain is fast approaching / Guns and riots.

The politicians gamble / and lie to save their skins / and the press get fed the scapegoats / Public enema number one

“Fates Warning” feels like it could have come from the “Somewhere In Time” album. Check out that harmony solo.

“Mother Russia” sounds like it came from the “7th Son” album but it felt unfinished.

“Bring Your Daughter” was a hit.

And all the other songs had some good sections.

I labeled the album, the worst of the Bruce Dickinson era at the time.

And then they released “Fear Of The Dark” and I kept that viewpoint.

Then Bruce left and Blaze came in.

Then Bruce came back and they released a shitload of albums from “Brave New World” to “The Book Of Souls”.

And I still have that view point even though I believe that “The Book Of Souls” could have used some John Kalodner editing.

But I enjoy listening “No Prayer”. I can’t explain it.

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The Book Of Souls

“The Book Of Souls” is 5 years old.

This album is special for me because it’s on “The Book Of Souls” tour that I took my whole family to watch the mighty Maiden.

My youngest was only 4. He kept singing “The Trooper” on the way ya up, the Chorus wooh part and he didn’t even stay awake long enough to hear it live.

Yep, he crashed out at a Maiden concert. My wife held him the whole time.

My other two kids were 10 and 9, and this album is there first Maiden album experience.

Nowadays they have their own playlists which incorporates all the Maiden albums. I think I did okay in fostering their love for metal music and Iron Maiden.

Once the album was done, Bruce was diagnosed with cancer and the album was delayed while Bruce got treated.

It wasn’t even mastered as the band wanted the raw mix.

And what an album to get stuck into.

Adrian was writing shorter songs like “Speed Of Light” and “Death Or Glory”.

“If Eternity Should Fail” is a great Maiden song once the dramatic 2 minutes is done with.

“The Red And The Black” has the chants like it’s a football match, a perfect tribute for the Maiden fan base by Steve Harris.

And management wanted a single album but Bruce had other ideas for the album with a piano he won at an auction and his two finger technique proving the catalyst for the longest Maiden song “Empire In The Clouds”.

Then the massive tour happened with the Aztec Culture and the classics.

And maybe it would have been the last album for the band, but CoVid has given em all time off.

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