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

Circle The Drain

The song started its life 13 plus months ago. It had a hook about “Treading Water” initially and that was probably going to be the title.

Robb Flynn then mentioned how the song title came about. He had a friend, who returned from Afghanistan only to have his relationship fall apart. His girlfriend messed around on him while he was gone, then she got paranoid about him messing around on her and drove him crazy. The title came from the words Robb’s friend said to him, “they were just circling the drain”.

Circling the drain means to be very near death and have little time to live. It is also used to describe a project or relationship that is on the brink of failure.

Robb also lost two long term band members who decided to leave Machine Head.

I don’t know if it was a relationship gone bad or if it was just time to move on, as nothing lasts ever, even the cold November Rain.

But when relationships do go bad, either romantic or band breakups, the people’s lives change forever. Suddenly, people/friends take sides, and you are not being invited to the events you used to go to and you are exposed to it all via social media and societies quest to showcase how great their lives are on it.

So artists channel this pain and anger and aggression into their music and their words.

Treading water, were just numbing the pain
Spinning round as we circle the drain

You know how it’s going to end, but you are too scared to move on and break ties. So we go around in circles, walking on egg shells and taking care to not hurt each other’s feelings, while our real feelings left the building a long time ago.

Excuses don’t mean anything when tears run down our eyes

No one said break ups are easy. And totems of the relationship are left behind everywhere, like a song or a movie that you don’t like anymore, because it brings back memories of that person.

And if it’s not tears running down the eyes, its blood. For all of our advancements in science and technology, we still can’t control our lizard brain, that small section of the brain that controls everything once it’s activated. It’s dangerous and on occasions deadly.

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

The Sentinel

I forgot about this song in the 90’s and the 2000’s. It’s like it didn’t exist. Then I purchased the deluxe edition of “Unto The Locust” by Machine Head, and it was a bonus track. And I immediately ripped the CD and copied the song/album to my iPhone and added it to my playlists. The song was back in my life after a long hiatus.

And that is how our relationship with music works. We fall in and out of love with the songs.

Due to blowing away all of the mp3 tracks I had on my iPhone when I switched to streaming, I lost my mp3 rip of the Machine Head version. And it is not on Machine Head’s Spotify account, which irks me, but a Rock Covers album list.

And “The Sentinel” is my favourite track on the “Defenders Of The Faith” album. I could listen to it over and over again.

It’s music made for the sound system and not the earbuds/headphones, however in this day and age, the headphones will do.

A power chord crashes in.

As it buzzes out for a bar, a single note melodic riff is played.

Then another power chord is played, and another single note melodic riff. It repeats, until it gets into the speed metal riff of the verses.

And Halford sets the scene along deserted avenues with figures primed and ready for a quick surprise.

Then we are into the Chorus.

Sworn to avenge
Condemn to hell
Tempt not the blade
All fear the sentinel

It’s an arena rock chorus but it’s lyrical message is so far removed from the pop charts and the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Cum On Feel The Noize” type of messages. “The Sentinel” is like an avenger for the down trodden and forgotten, or just a no bullshit bounty hunter.

The guitar solo has tapping, pentatonic lines, arpeggio pull off licks, natural minor scalar runs and a whole damn of legato.

And there is silence at the end of the solo, as they move into a melancholic and subdued verse, slowly building it up as the vicar stands expressionless, unmoved by his victory.

And how good are the riffs underneath the Chorus vocal melody.

Sworn to avenge.

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My Spotify Top Artist For 2018 is … Machine Head

Don’t let the bastards grind you down is the catch-cry from Machine Head this year. It pissed some people off and inspire others.

Apart from dropping a new album at the start of the year, Machine Head’s back catalogue features heavily in my life.

And Robb Flynn’s vocals are an acquired taste as he merges aggressive throat breaking barks to soaring melodic passages. It’s a voice built from his lifestyle. No one else can mimic it.

Thanks for the music and even though 2018 ends a bit uncertain for the band with two members leaving, I am sure Robb Flynn will go on and deliver a stellar Machine Head album.

The world is watching. New drummers and guitarists are waiting to join. It’s up to you.

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

2018 – Legends Will Rise – Part 1

It’s time to start the year in review.

Here is the playlist for all the songs.

I have over 150 songs saved, and I’ve broken my comments on each song over a few posts.

When Legends Rise
Godsmack

It’s the title track. Generic nu-Metal in the music, but those vocal melodies from Sully Erna are addictive.

Legs are tired
These hands are broken
Alone I tried
With words unspoken
A silent cry
My breath is frozen
With blinded eyes
I fear myself

It’s the mindset that makes it happen. If the mind believes it’s possible, you will find a way to make it possible, even when your body screams stop.

It’s burning down
It’s burning high
When ashes fall
Legends rise

When your backs against the wall, when you have that last play, that last punch, that last kick, that last run left to do, the ones who succeed are the ones who have failed before.

I played it to my kids and they immediately connected with the lyrics.

Eye Of The Storm
Godsmack

In the eye of the storm I make my stand
But I’m not waiting for the walls to close in
I just brace myself for the winds to change their ways

Great analogy about the chaos of life we face everyday.

Forever And A Day
Gathering of Kings

The song is written by Victor Olsson. Actually all of the songs are written by Victor on this album and there is hardly a mention of him in the news, sort of like how Alessandro Delvecchio is the silent partner in Frontiers project.

This project is like a Steely Dan project in Swedish Melodic Rock circles with musicians from The Night Flight Orchestra, Spiritual Beggars, Treat, Eclipse, Corroded, Saffire and Pretty Maids all involved.

What can I say I’m a sucker for tunes like this.

Through
Remember Me
Gioeli Castronovo

Another Frontiers Records project of getting certain people together to deliver a melodic rock album written by Alessandro Delvecchio.

And how cool does the “Heavens On Fire” vocal melody sound over different chords on “Through”.

Sorry
Stryper

One thing about Stryper is they are still in the game, releasing albums and each one has a classic song or two on them with some killer guitar playing.

Like the lead break on this song.

Check it out.

Monolith
Thirty Seconds To Mars

It’s only a minute and thirty seven seconds instrumental, but it’s enough. It couldnt be any longer as it sets a feel and emotion of something big to come.

Great Wide Open
Thirty Seconds To Mars

Into the great wide open
Across a land of blood and dreams

I remember when Dad and my older brother got our first family car, which was a shitty Mitsubishi L300 Van. It just felt like all the borders and city limits evaporated and suddenly we were traveling into the great wide open.

Live Like A Dream
Thirty Seconds To Mars

Live like a dream
Broken but free

Life is tough. It tries to break us, make us obey and it tries to make us fit a mold made by someone else.

Burn
W.E.T

Get ready to be sent back to the mid 80s in another Frontiers Melodic Rock Project.

Calm Before The Storm
Light The Torch

Howard Jones delivers a stellar vocal performance that deals with addiction.

The nights are getting colder
The days are growing long
And you do not know what you’re fighting for
Come back to where you started
Come back where you belong
And I won’t be your calm before the storm

How good is the Chorus vocal melody?

This Is War
Audrevolution
Blackout

Audrey Horne

From Norway.

I’m fuel to the fire
Flame rising higher
This is war
We we’ll never be silent
Or divided
This is war

When I turn to the news pages on the web, there is so much abuse of power.

Bankers are abusing their position, getting rich by selling debt. Politicians are abusing their positions to cater for corporations instead of the people who voted them in. People in power abusing their positions for sexual gratitude and if the victim doesn’t comply, they railroad their career.

So what can the rest of us do?

Do we just stand divided, so focused on our ones and zeroes in our bank accounts or do we get together and make change.

It’s up to us.

Welcome to the Audrevolution
666 our own constitution

I sing the 6-6-6 with drink-drink-drink.

A Love Unreal
Black Label Society

My review of this song is here and that guitar solo.

Luminary
Juno

Tesseract

Progressive rock has come a long way from its 70s explosion. To me a song can be in 4/4 and still be progressive. TesseracT sit someone in between with their off beat polyrhythms, atmospheric guitars or jarring guitars with melodic vocals.

Are you alone, locked inside
That prison in your head?
You walk through the crowd
Lost in the sound
Invisible to every passing eye

It’s a symptom of the times. We are connected socially by digital means but when in public, we put our headphones on, keep to ourselves and get lost in the crowd, with our thoughts to keep us company.

Walls Come Down
Pink Cream 69

A German act.

You never tried to soften your words
Twisted your terms, took us for fools
And all you know is what you’ve been told

Upbringing, family and the social class you keep as you grow are all pivotal in how you understand the world.

If there is a racist in your circle, you will have racist views. If their is a climate change denier in the group, you will have denial views as well.

And when you come across people with views that differ, how do you respond. Do you yell back with your own views?

The Peace
WASP

Blackie can sure write a kick arse ballad. You can read my review here.

Behind A Mask
Machine Head

Another song which I have covered in a separate blog post.

Right Left Wrong
Strange Days

Three Days Grace

So here I go
Left right left
Right left wrong
I don’t know where I’m going
But I just keep moving on
Moving on

So true. Wandering aimlessly without a thought. You know you need to get away but to where.

Raise a glass to the end of it all
Who’s to blame when it’s everyone’s fault?
And we celebrate our way through dangerous times
Strange days are comin’ for us
Say goodbye to the way that it was
And we celebrate our way through dangerous times

The times in a nutshell. We are comfortable and oblivious to all the shit we allow people in positions of power get away with. To raise our voice, to demonstrate, means to be uncomfortable and the majority just want comfort.

No Surrender
Judas Priest

The riff hooks me and then the chorus lyrics seal the deal.

Chasing a dream as I go higher
Playing it mean, my heart’s on fire
Living my life, ain’t no pretender
Ready to fight with no surrender

Yeah it all rhymes and it’s simple and it’s dumb and i fucking dig it.

Next Few Steps
Surrender The Crown

From Germany.

I know for a fact that duty always bounds to love

Duty means a responsibility or a task of action that one is required to perform as part of ones job.

So when Love gets in the way, get ready for duty.

Transition
CrashCarBurn

From South Africa and they’ve been rocking since 2006. They came into my listening headspace back in 2014 because of piracy.

And since then I’ve been a fan on Spotify. This is from the new album “Headlights” and no one even knows about it.

Love Can Only Heal
Myles Kennedy

The feel of this song and the outro is what hooks me.

Nevermind the pain
‘Cause love can only heal
If only you could trade the dark for light it might reveal
That there’s a place inside
Don’t be afraid to feel
‘Cause love can only heal

Sometimes love is not enough especially when you don’t have it around you.

Blues Won’t Leave Me Alone
RSO

Orianthi kills it on this track. Her vocal line delivery is outstanding and her leads on the track is what legends are made off.

On Spotify it’s totally forgotten at 35K streams and on YouTube it’s sitting at 217K views. Still anemic for the quality in this song.

Creatures
Monsters

Shinedown

As they chase the charts with songs that don’t sound like Shinedown, let’s hope they don’t forget why they made the charts in the first place, by playing kick ass rock.

These two songs are how I like Shinedown to sound.

The Void
Chronos
Prey

Parkway Drive

From Australia.

This is the album that connected with me and it’s album number 6 from them.

Musically the riffs are there, bone crushing when they need to be and melodic when they need to be.

No Masters
Bad Wolves

This is a great song with lyrics that connect.

Back on that chain gang, strumming along
Hammering nails so I can sing my song
The devil done this to me
I drive the spikes down, profound
Building the cages that all broke us down
Boy get back down on your knees

As Sebastian Bach from Skid Row belted out, “how can I be king of the world if I’m a slave to the grind”.

So why are we spending our time building someone else’s dream instead of ours?

So take these chains from me
We’ll break these bastards
There’s no masters here

Sounds great on paper but reality is so much different. As much as we said we’re not gonna take it, we did take it and became slaves in the process.

A thousand boots down on the ground
Beating a drum under a marching sound
You better fucking believe
They’re screaming left right, left right
Fist in the air you better pick a side
Against the plutocracy

Plutocracy means government by the wealthy. And god damn it, it’s true. If the politicians are not wealthy, their faceless sponsors are.

Because even though politicians are voted in by the people, they refuse to serve the people, while the bend over for the corporation and their lobbyists.

Stay tuned for the other parts to come..

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

This Shall Also Pass

And the sun will rise
Dawn will break through the blackest night
Distant in its glow
This shall pass be still and know

I think Phill Demmel wrote the lyric.

It was inevitable that something had to give. People do grow apart. Yes that’s true and the songs that people want to write and play also changes. That’s also true. But in this social media world, artists also don’t want to piss people off. So a lot of artists choose to live with a filter in public. Not Robb Flynn.

So Phil Demmel and Dave McClain leaving Machine Head was just a matter of time. All the best, thanks for the great tunes and two unbelievable albums in “The Blackening” and “Unto The Locust”.

But the show must go on. Robb Flynn needs to continue and fly the Machine Head flag high. Maybe he won’t. I hope he does.

Because when members leave and the band name continues, those people who were in the band previously would still need to get paid, especially if you play the songs they were involved in writing. So lawyers get involved and band agreements get messy and Robb Flynn would think, why the fuck am I working my arse off, city by city, to pay people who are not in the band anymore.

Remember when the Osbourne’s sued Tony Iommi because he continued to release albums under the Black Sabbath name which Sharon claimed Ozzy helped to build up as part of the original line up, so he must be entitled to a cut even though his solo career was running riot over Sabbath’s.

And Machine Head have made some changes to their line up, probably not as much as Megadeth but still a decent turnover. Then again Mustaine parted ways with Effelson, got sued by Effelson and then brought him back. Maybe Adam Duce would come back.

And new bassist Jared MacEachern has done nothing wrong to be fired. Then again, Jared is a guitarist and could fill the vacant guitar spot if Duce returns.

But I’ve always seen Machine Head as Robb Flynn. As long as he’s there, it’s Machine Head, the same way James Hetfield is Metallica and the same way Dave Mustaine is Megadeth and Tom Englund is Evergrey.

Those guys can replace the band members around them and it will still sound like the band. But bands are also about friendships and the hangs. So members stay in bands for those friendships, even when they feel they shouldn’t.

A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet

Everybody goes throw changes as Bowie said. Machine Head is changing. Robb Flynn embraced the social side and is connecting with his fans. The loyal ones. Who are there through thick and thin.

And there are fans who are swingers. They move in and out based on the new music. And then there are fans who like a certain line up or just a certain album.

This is who we are
This is what I am
We have nowhere else to go
UNITED we will stand

The lyric in capitals is actually divided but it always should have been united in my eyes.

Into glory we will ride.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Speaking Up

It’s hard to speak up today. The status quo is not kind and because we are connected 24/7, people like to work overtime for free in order to be part of the status quo. So when artists write lyrics that reflect society and our politics back at us, people get upset. When I think about the past, people who made real change persisted even when others tried their best to silence them.

Artists once formed the chorus of dissent to social ills and corruption. Once upon a time artists didn’t have millions, so they kept logging the hours, paying their dues to make enough money to live. It’s probably a reason why we got so many songs that still stand the test of time today.

Artists told the record label heads what to do, not the other way around. Of course, in the 80’s MTV made a lot of people global superstars and suddenly artists who had recording contracts and songs which connected, had funds in their bank accounts, however the record label bosses became more powerful that they now told the artists what to do.

Machine Head’s new album is causing division amongst their American fan base. Europe, Asia and Australia really don’t really care about their Anti-Trump stance, however America is divided over it. There is no doubt that fans of MH in the U.S come from different sides of the political debate. It’s expected. No one can agree on everything. If people did, everyone would wear the same outfit, the same colour and so forth. The world would be pretty bland if people all agreed. Wouldn’t it.

It never would occur to me to stop listening to an artist because of a stance they have on an issue. To me, music transcends all of those boundaries. Yeah, some artists have lyrics I don’t agree with, but man, it doesn’t take away my respect for them for having a stance on those issues.

And you know what, if an artist is anti – Wall Street or big finance in general (like the 1%), it’s okay. But these organisations are symptoms of Government granted monopolies, or Government oversight on certain law breaches or Government lack of action due to politicians being in the pocket of these corporations. So the issue always starts and end with the Government. If you don’t believe me, just look at the laws the US tried to pass recently.

Anyone remember SOPA, PIPA or TPA (yes I know it’s back on the table). All of these laws were written by politicians who had massive donations from corporations and corporation lobbyists. They all sat in the same room and wrote laws to benefit their organisations. The public were not allowed to inspect draft texts. This was more prevalent for the TPA piece of legislation. What we knew about the laws came from leaked drafts. Even other politicians who got elected into office, and who stood opposed to corporations couldn’t even see draft texts of these laws.

Imagine that. A legally elected politician who has no affiliation with a corporation was not privy to see a bill that his Government wanted to pass. And this happens all the time regardless of who is in power. It’s been happening since the mid 40’s. And it needs to stop.

Artists are not the enemy. They are mirrors, reflecting the world back to us. What we choose to do with the reflection is a different story.

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

Catharsis

I have no issues with lyrics of any kind whether they are political, about social classes, racism, war or just having a good time. I also have no issue with artists I like taking a stance and commenting on what they see is the state of the world. Opinions are important whether you agree or disagree with them.

Robb Flynn is an artist. First and foremost, as an artist, he has a duty of care to himself first. The art he creates needs to satisfy him first. If it doesn’t, what is the point. What is the point of creating art if you write factory art. On occasions, the art an artist writes for themselves ends up going global and on other occasions it doesn’t.

So it’s no surprise that on “Catharsis”, Robb Flynn is giving his take on the world. It’s not pretty, but no one said the six o’clock news is pretty. And there is no denying the power of the message in the songs, regardless of what political party you support.

Volatile
“It’s an angry, brutal song. We’ve had long intros on the last five or six albums, so it was time to start with something direct and violent.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Musically, this is a classic MH song.

Sick of the white folks privileged and vain
Protesting the culture that isn’t the same

Sometime in the past, our leaders started to serve the corporations. Those lobby dollars became too great to refuse. Many years later, those corporations leaders are now leaders of nations. They bought their way in. It’s real and it’s happening. We need a reset, an anti-corruption watchdog for politicians, who can assess if these politicians serve the people or the corporations. Then again, give this body enough power and it will become corrupted like the rest. It’s a vicious power vacuum.

Dead, dead and bloated
These times are volatile
There’s no room left for you

The bed of music under the chorus is brilliant. And there is truth in these lines. Our times are so volatile there is no room for nothing else. We seem to move from conflict to conflict. Terrorist attack to terrorist attack. Mass shooting to another one. And it just keeps on going.

Sick of the racists, sick of this shit
Sick of them telling me its immigrants

I am sure that people know that Apple, Google and Amazon are all founded by immigrants. Spotify is an immigrant product from Sweden.  Marc Randolph, one of the Netflix co-founders is a son of an immigrant. Immigrants don’t come to a country to bomb the hell out of it. They come for a better life. And with all races there are people who do things which puts a stain on the name of the race. Based on our leaders reasoning, when a person from their own race commits sickening child offences, do we assume that all people from that race are the same sickos.

Sick of the phonies on my phone screen
Sick of the NRA trying to scare me

The amount of mass shootings that happen in the U.S is a worry. When nothing is done about it, its a bigger worry. However, if the mass shootings happened to be linked to a terror organisation, there will be changes to legislation straight away, which will give Governments more spying power and further reduce its peoples’ privacy and liberties.

Break it, smash it, burn it to the ground

It’s been our evolution. Humans will be known for building, smashing and burning. And those lines work in the slower groove.  When I first heard the song, I thought Robb was singing, break it, smash it, bullet through the crowd.

And man, when they get to the lead break, it’s pretty full on.

Catharsis
“This is a special song. The lyrics say it all: ‘The only thing keeping me sane, the music in my veins / If these words are my fists, this is my catharsis.’ That crystallised everything we were trying to say.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

The transition from “Volatile” into “Catharsis” works. It isn’t your usual crushing Machine Head song. It has atmospheric keyboard samples in the forms of strings and piano to kick it off and when the guitars come in with the open string riff, you know you’re in MH territory. And the structure of the song is experimental and I dig that.

I could never be another brick in the wall
You’ll remember me
As you break all our spirits down and push us to the ground
Call me a fool with a gasoline can
Burn it f down, start it over and over again

The powerful all want us to have jobs, so we can take out loans. Once we take out loans, we are in a cycle of repayments. Basically we are just bricks in the wall. When we crumble or die, another person replaces us. It’s a vicious cycle. But, people can make change if they are not so easily swayed over money. Hell most bands lose members over money arguments.

The only thing keeping me sane
The music in my veins
And if these words are my fists
Can you feel my catharsis?

It’s a primal scream. To me, music is king. We went to the shows to commune with the band and to make our lives complete. Today, going to the show is seen as  “a look where I am, look what I am doing” promotion job on social media. Hell, I was at a Metallica show with people who turned up so they could say they went to a Metallica show, but they don’t own any of their music and really don’t listen to em.

Music once upon a time was as important as water and electricity. My Dad told me, the first thing he did when he got his house was to set up the stereo. And I’ve kept the same motto.

And how can you not start to get ready to lose your mind when the military style snare pattern at 3.39 starts. It’s a perfect example of how you do bridges and interludes.

The lead work after two songs is stellar. And really after hearing the first 2 songs how can anyone be unhappy with the album…

Beyond the Pale
“It’s a straight-ahead Machine Head song, about embracing being outsiders and misfits. ‘I found my heroes / The freaks and zeros!’ That sums it up.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

I am skin and bones, broken stones,
See the scars that I show.
I live outside the bounds, in the unknown.

It’s a cool opening lyric line.

And yeah, the main riff sounds similar to Strapping Young Lad’s “Love” which Devin Townsend has said he’s flattered and the Chorus of “Love” was influenced by “City Of Love” from Yes and the cycle continues. Take what came before, tweak it and release it. And you know my views around riffs, progress is derivative.

And if people like SYL “Love” then there is no reason why they shouldn’t like “Beyond the Pale”. The mosh pit will go off when the chorus kicks in.

Beyond the pale,
I found salvation, emancipation.
Beyond the pale,
I found my heroes: the freaks and zeroes.

Metal music is about embracing the ones spurned by the mainstream and the popular. Then metal became popular and everything changed. Suddenly, popular metal bands were not cool, because of their popularity and metal started its fragmentation into different record label genres.

I’ll break down every wall, fight and claw.
Take their punches, stand tall,
My middle finger raised, so fuck em all

It’s a revolution. Musicians have been saying the same message since the 70’s. Why is it any different today?

And the two duelling leads works. And really after hearing the first 3 songs how can anyone be unhappy with the album…

California Bleeding
“This is a dumb song full of ignorant s, ha ha! It’s about my love/hate relationship with California. It’s a balls-out, rockin’ song, I think.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

The intro hooks me, the Chorus is cool and when the intro comes up again at 2.25, I was hooked.

And the lyrics are a blast.

I’m not the billionaire class, from San Lorenzo with the trailer trash

Take that all you social media users who portray a perfect life.

Sail me down the river, temper like a trigger
Take a shot of vodka, blow out my liver
California’s bleeding me

Angels and Demons live in California. Our quest to have a good time also carries it’s risks.

Highway 5 down to 99, I’m getting head near the Fresno sign

Brilliant.

Triple Beam
“I’m just gonna say, ‘This is a nu metal song’ ha ha! It came together super-quick. You’re basically hearing the first time that we ever played that song and the first time I ever sung it.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Yeah, this song could have been a left over from “Supercharger” and should have been left off this album. But If I’m being honest, if this song was released back in 99, I probably would be cranking it based on the main riff, because in 1999, these kinds of riffs sounded heavy and original but now the whole thing seems recycled.

Kaleidoscope
“Again, it’s about the power of music. I’m not a religious guy, but music is as close as I get. The line, ‘Songs fill what religion won’t’ says it all.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

This hole in my soul
Songs fill what religion won’t
No hope, I can’t cope
Music plays in kaleidoscope
And if I’m lost
I don’t want to be found
Haunted by sound

The Chorus is a stand out and when the second verse starts off with the lyrics, “Open up the floor and start a pit, this shit is building up inside of me”, you know there will be circle pits.

Catatonic ignorance, the cronies run the show
Preying on our differences, divide and conquer the low

And it’s been that way for centuries. Will it ever change?

Bastards
“Bastards is a straight-up folk song. I would relate it to Springsteen and Tom Petty, but it’s still Machine Head. It’s probably the most important song on here.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

I liked it when Robb Flynn released his acoustic YouTube take months before the album and I like it now. It’s different for MH but it works and those tapped arpeggio lines under the simple D, A, Bm, G chords ties it all together.

The vocal melody in the chorus, when Robb is singing, “Stand your ground, Don’t let the bastards grind you down, Be bold, Be strange, Don’t let their fears make you afraid”, how can you not like it?

It’s an anthem and no different to the messages from the 80’s. The difference between then and now is that we smoked in the boys room, felt the noise and sang together, we’re not going to take it. Now we are older and in a different fight for our lives and futures. Those baby boomers born after WW2 infiltrated our government in the 80’s and became its leaders in the mid 90’s. And this generation does not care about the past or the future. All they care about is now. And we cannot let these bastards drag us down. Because they will crash and burn. Everyone does. It just takes time and it starts with us.

Screaming At The Sun
“This is one of the first songs we wrote for the album. It’s pretty straight-ahead, but we went into some very weird places after writing this one.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

I really dig the riff on this one, the middle eastern feel, even the Arabic sounding vocal melody.

And that section at 2.38 works.

They see you blinded us, reminded us of all that’s ugly

Life is not perfect. We get blindsided by events or people. Sometimes the improbable becomes the probable. How we respond is what defines us.

Behind A Mask
“It’s all clean vocals. It’s all acoustic. It’s essentially unplugged. We’ve explored a lot of melody and harmonies on this record.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Now this song is not what I expect from MH, but I like how they did it. It’s like Staind merged with Days Of The New and to me, it’s a pretty cool combination.

The Chorus is mad on this one, how the vocals are orchestrated. How can you not like it?

The old man sits alone staring at the screen
And contemplates these failures, done to his family
Cause depression’s bottles come along and filled his whiskey glass
With every sip put to his lips, erases all the past
So he tells another little lie and tells another tale
In hopes to spare the family and hide his private hell
But the more the words come out of him, like little cuts and scabs
Tearing at the tender hearts who gaze upon a mask

The verse is powerful. How we deal with our past skeletons later on in life is crucial. For some people, everything is perfect and they did nothing wrong. For others, they realise their mistakes, their ways and they try to make amends.

Heavy Lies The Crown
“It’s an epic and it’s about Louis XI, the Spider King of France. I’m a history buff and it’s just a great story. He’d weave these elaborate webs of deceit!”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

It’s like a movie soundtrack. And when that riff kicks in, it’s yeaahhhhhhhhhhh time.

I slink along the boulevards and listen to the streets
The avenues and gutters give me truth to speak

And it’s in the streets revolutions start. It’s in the streets wars are won and lost.

Psychotic
“This one’s gnarly. It’s ugly and pissed off. I guess we could try to write more hits for the radio, but that’s just not how I write, you know?”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Yeah, the song is ugly alright. The intro is cool and so is the music in the chorus and that 12/8 section which is like a bridge is also cool. I would love to hear these sections fleshed out in future songs.

Grind You Down
“The phrase ‘stand your ground’ from Bastards appears in a few songs, including this one. Another classic MH rager.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Man why did MH have to put that melodic chorus in this song.  And why did that have to put that speed metal section from about 2 minutes in this song.

Razorblade Smile
“This one turned into a tribute to Lemmy. I just started writing lyrics and all this crazy, debauched st just came out. It’s totally Motörhead.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Something about this songs feels so familiar, I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s a more rocking version of “Clenching The Fists Of Dissent” or maybe it’s the “Painkiller” start. When that double kick comes in after the intro riff, how awesome is it.

And that riff from about 1.45, I could be screaming “Die”, like in Creeping Death. Love it…

I got a razor blade smile and a cocaine tongue
I got a boner for miles, I’m slinging loads for fun
Carry a whiskey brown suitcase loaded with hash
I’m eatin’ pussy by a dumpster, beard stinking like snatch

The funniest lines I’ve seen in lyrics for a while. Brilliant.

Eulogy
“It’s a pretty dark end to the record, but the lyrics to Bastards pop up again. Late on, I realised that the songs have the same chords. That was kinda weird.”
Robb Flynn in Metal Hammer

Should have been dropped from the album.

So if I put my John Kalodner hat on and I had to bring the album down to 10 songs…..

Side One

Volatile
Catharsis
Beyond The Pale
California Bleeding
Kaleidoscope

Side Two

Hope Begets Hope
Bastards
Razorblade Smile
Behind The Sun
Heavy Lies The Crown

Standard