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

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

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

Learning

Dee Snider once said “nothing lasts forever”. You are on top today and forgotten the next. The news cycle is so fast that no one even remembers what happened last week.

And I’m constantly in a state of learning. I like to read and learn new things. I like to acquire new skills. More so now than ever before.

I’ve always told everyone that Maiden made me want to learn, because of their songs. And I always got blank stares when I said that.

So I started to explain.

I read the Bible because of “Revelations” and “Number Of the Beast”.

I researched “Alexander The Great” because of the song. I read the poem of the Ancient Mariner because of them and the story of the “Phantom Of The Opera” and the mythology of the “Flight Of Icarus”.

I got an A when we studied Ancient Egypt because “Powerslave” made me interested in that era. I read up on the Battle Of Britain because of “Aces High”. I got to understand the Doomsday Clock and what it actually meant to forecast “Two Minutes To Midnight”.

“Mother Russia” got me reading up on the Tsars. “The Trooper” got me reading up on the “Crimean War” and “Where Eagles Dare” got me interested in World War II again, hence the reason why I kept getting A’s in history. Plus let’s not forget Churchill’s speech which is used to great effect in “Live After Death”. As I type this I’m hearing “we will never surrender” as the band launches into “Aces High”.

“Genghis Khan” was an unknown name back then so I had to check it out and I had to look up the meaning for “Purgatory”.

And the covers. I stared at em for long periods of time and tried to draw em myself. Another source of learning a new skill. Same deal with the logo.

That band was huge in getting me curious.

And I see that same sense of learning happening with my children today. From the TV shows and movies they’ve watched, they have built their own LEGO creations, wrote their own stories and filmed their own stop motion movies.

Be influenced and never stop learning.

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