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

The Record Vault: Disturbed – Believe

Album number 2, released in September 2002. David Draiman is on vocals, Dan Donegan is on guitar and keyboards, Steve “Fuzz” Kmak is on bass and Mike Wengren is on drums. It’s also the last album to feature original “Fuzz” before he was booted from the band in 2003.

It’s also produced by Johnny K and the band members. And the mix from Andy Wallace is excellent.

The lyrical focus is different this time around. While “The Sickness” dealt with violence, “Believe” is more of a spiritual album.

Prayer

As soon as the opening staccato riff for “Prayer” starts off, in syncopation with the kick drum, I was hooked.

One thing that was clear to me when I played it, was the anthemic melodic rock Chorus in which Draiman soars, and this vocal style would appear across all of the songs on the album.

Liberate

It could have come from the first album as the verses follow the staccato singing with the catchcry of “liberate your mind, motherfucker you’re so narrow minded, narrow minded”.

The Pre-Chorus has Draiman doing fast spoken vocals on one track and on another he’s doing middle eastern ohhhs and ahhhs.

But the Chorus. Anthemic.

Wengren on the drums deserves special mention here. Its percussive and frantic.

Awaken

It’s a heavy rock song with a foot stomping groove and as Wikipedia tells me, it deals with America’s never-ending obsession with “wallpaper music”. I didn’t get that impression from the lyrics but…

The vocal style from “The Sickness” is prevalent here as he spits out the words like a machine gun.

Check out the outro riffing and how the bass drum is in unison with it.

Believe

Another staccato style riff in the vein of “Prayer”.

The Chorus. Brilliant.

All your belief cannot absolve your sin

Check out Donegan’s multi-layered guitar parts after the second Chorus.

At 2.36 it goes into a Tool/Deftones style groove. Instead of head banging, you sway.

Remember

One of the best Disturbed songs. The opening riff grooves and man its heavy.

And vocally, David Draiman really announces himself here as a force to be reckoned with.

The Chorus you don’t get to hear until half way through as the song goes, Verse, Pre, Verse, Pre and then the Chorus. But when it comes in, it explodes out of the speakers and totally worth the wait.

Wikipedia tells me that “Remember” delves into the cutthroat nature of the music industry as well as Draiman’s resistance to indulgent partying. But I don’t get that view by looking at the lyrics.

Check out the multi-layered guitar parts in the last Chorus.

Intoxication

It’s more of the same style from the debut album, with the vocal line and guitar line and bass drum pattern all syncopated in unison.

The Chorus is massive and it rhymes vilify with sanctify and I like it.

Rise

The intro riff is metal at its best.

There is another riff in the song which I always called the Chorus riff, but I think it’s played just after the Chorus.

Mistress

The riffs are cool to jam on.

At 2.09, a change of groove comes in, with slightly distorted arpeggios. It percolates before it crashes back in to the main riff.

Breathe

The intro/verse riff is a great riff to jam to. And checkout the bass riff which compliments it.

At 2.56, this Tool “Schism” like groove kicks in and I’m jamming it.

Bound

A flanged/phased wah riff kicks off the song, before the effects are taken off and its good old distortion cranking through.

You can call this a relationship song.

At 2.33, the song goes into a few grooves which they use for an interlude. No solos are allowed on Johnny K produced albums.

Devour

Great riffs in this song, especially the riff just before the anthemic Chorus.

At 2.35, a simple riff kicks in which they build back up into the Chorus.

Darkness

And for the fans who said Disturbed sold out with their cover of “The Sound Of Silence” must have forgotten about this song, which is just acoustic guitar, piano and strings. And one of their best.

In Australia and Canada, it went Platinum. In the U.S it went 2x Platinum. In New Zealand and the U.K it went Gold.

Crank it and believe.

I guess the word “motherfucker” was too much for the censors, so they felt the need to sticker it.
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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1986 – Part 2.1: Yngwie Malmsteen – Trilogy

A guitarist in a band I was in, worshipped Yngwie. And he sort of pissed me off, strutting around like he was elite, making fun of all others who didn’t like Yngwie and because of him, I hated Yngwie to start off. I wouldn’t give in and say anything positive about Yngwie to him.

It wasn’t until I left the band, that I gave Yngwie some time. And when I heard the albums “Marching Out” and “Trilogy” I was hooked. Good music is good music and good riffs are good riffs.

And “Trilogy” is full of good riffs and good leads and I still class “Marching Out” as one of “the” metal albums of the 80’s.

It would become a normal thing for each Yngwie release, but I was pretty bummed when the singer from the “Marching Out” record, Jeff Scott Soto was out, replaced by Mark Boals. Then I was bummed when Boals was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner and bummed again when Turner was replaced by an unknown Swede called Goran Edman.

I guess the singer problem is solved now, as Yngwie can’t really fire himself.

Malmsteen gets a lot of praise here, but let’s not forget Boals on vocals, a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillian.

“You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”

A great opener.

The riff is simple and the keys give it a melodic rock tone.

For me the piece d resistance is the G# diminished arpeggio lead between the verse and the chorus. Its so fun to play and it connects the two sections.

And the lead break is one of Yngwie’s best. He shreds but it’s perfect for the song as he doesn’t overplay, full of melody, scalar runs and sweeps.

At 3.20, just after the solo, it goes into a slow breakdown and it builds up again into the Chorus.

And while the chorus melody keeps going, Malmsteen is wailing away in the background.

“Liar”

It’s a very Euro sounding riff. Early Europe had songs like this.

It’s more like Uli Jon Roth Scorpions merged with Blackmore’s “Speed King” and “Highway Star”.

In the verses and chorus, Malmsteen jams on a pedal point, embellishing it with scalar runs on the 4th or 8th bar of the riff, while the keys and bass outline a chord progression.

“Queen In Love”

The intro riff immediately got me to grab my guitar and attempt to learn it. It’s a great head banging riff in Em to jam to.

The sweep-picked diminished arpeggios before the main solo are excellent and fun (also frustrating) to learn. And the main solo is also one of his best.

“Crying”

An instrumental.

There is an acoustic guitar which outlines a sad rhythm, guitar track, while another acoustic guitar plays a classical like lead over it.

Eventually it morphs into an electric lead break but it wasn’t needed.

“Fury”

Who would have known that Malmsteen would utter these words many years later while intoxicated on an airplane?

This isn’t a favourite but it is fun to jam to.

“Fire”

The intro is great to play. It feels like it came from the fingers of EVH as its got this major key vibe, sort of like “Dance The Night Away” but don’t think the songs sound alike, they don’t.

Actually the way it moves from A to E, G to D and F to C, the hand placements are more “All Right Now” than anything else.

“Magic Mirror”

The intro.

Its head banging stuff. Malmsteen nailed the combo of metal riffs and keyboard embellishments in this song.

“Everyone is searching for the meaning of our life”.

We still are searching.

“Dark Ages”

Sweden’s Melodic Death Metallers would be proud of this.

Its doomy, heavy and ready to sink wooden ships, in a time when darkness ruled.

“Trilogy Suite Op:5”

I didn’t get why it needed to have Suite Op:5 added.

An instrumental.

While the first part is all shred like and fast classical arpeggios, it’s the middle section which hooked me.

From the 3 minute mark.

You need to hear that movement. Its classical music at its best and Malmsteen showcases his acoustic guitar skills.

Then when the distortion kicks in, it goes into a Uli Jon Roth style of groove, which is the foundation for more shred and a keyboard solo.

Finally, my Metallica and Slayer loving friends, couldn’t get past the album credits which state; “Produced and Conducted by Yngwie Malmsteen”.

Yes that one world, “conducted” was enough to make people not listen to Malmsteen. But if you want to hear some great melodic metal, very Rainbow like, then crank it.

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

November 2020 – Part 2

Whitesnake

“Love Songs MMXX” is part two of this special best off collection. We already had the “Rock Songs MMXX” come out a few months before and sometime next year, “Blues Songs MMXX” will come out.

Its songs that deal with the theme of “love”, so some of the songs could be rock songs or ballads or blues songs. David Coverdale is one of the most broken hearted singers out there and “love” is a big muse in his song writing.

But the real purpose of these remixes is to promote a sort of best off on Coverdale’s recorded output from 1997 onwards with a few songs from the massive Geffen albums, “1987” and “Slip Of The Tongue”, chucked in. So if you are a casual Whitesnake fan, there is a pretty good chance you don’t have those albums 97 onwards and these sets are perfect. But if you are a super Whitesnake fan, there is a high chance you already have these albums and these Rock, Love and Blues albums are unnecessary.

Opening track “Love Will Set You Free” and “Easier Said Than Done” are from 2011’s “Forevermore” with Aldrich and Beach on guitar. We then go back to 1989 with “The Deeper The Love” and “Now You’re Gone” from “Slip Of The Tongue” with Steve Vai playing all guitars on the Vandenberg and Coverdale penned cut.

“All I Want, All I Need” and “Summer Rain” are from “Good To Be Bad” released in 2008. This tracks are with Aldrich and Beach playing some nice guitar lines. “Too Many Tears”, “Can’t Go On” and “Your Previous Love” are from the “Restless Heart” album released in 1997 and Adrian Vandenberg finally gets his turn to record with Coverdale.

The collection also includes the previously unreleased songs “With All of My Heart”, “Yours for the Asking”, and “Let’s Talk It Over” , originally recorded for David Coverdale’s 2000 album “Into the Light”. Also from “Into The Light” are “Don’t You Cry”

Reb Beach

I’m a fan of his work with Winger first. The first three “Winger” albums are masterclasses in hard rock and heavy rock, with Reb decorating each song with enough licks and fills and riffs to enhance the song. He never overplayed, even when he was shredding or dive bombing.

Then I lost him for a while but he resurfaced with Dokken and the superb “Erase The Slate” album. A reunion with Winger happened and a spot with Whitesnake opened up. And on the last Whitesnake album, “Flesh and Blood”, Reb became a song writing partner to David Coverdale. So here we are, in 2020 with an instrumental album.

“Infinito 1122” is a cross between metal, rock and flamenco.

“The Way Home” has this jazzy Steely Dan feel with Reb working his way through the Mixolydian scale.

“Cutting Loose” feels like an amalgamation of Winger cuts and I like it and album closer “Sea Of Tranquillity” is another favorite.

Alter Bridge

They had show’s planned this year to promote “Walk The Sky” but Covid-19 put a stop to that and in order to keep the album alive, they updated it and re-released it in “Walk The Sky 2.0”.

It feels good to hear it again in 2020 like a new release.

You get the standard “Walk The Sky” album released in 2019 and a seven song EP with one new track and live tracks from the new album recorded at the start of 2020.

The new song, “Last Rites” was written during the original “Walk the Sky” recording sessions but it wasn’t fully finished as it didn’t fit the vibe of the album. Once lockdown happened, it provided a good opportunity to revisit it. And so should you.

Eternal Idol

On Frontiers. “Renaissance” is their second album and musically its metal with the synths bringing the symphonic element.

“Black Star” musically is brilliant and the Chorus is AOR. But, those verses don’t do the song justice moving between singing and operatic.

“Dark Eclipse” sounds like a cross between hard rock, Duran Duran’s “Come Undone”, The Cure and the bass riff from “No More Tears”.

Then there are songs which have some good sections, like the symphonic intro to “Without Fear” which has me armoured up and ready for combat.

Lords Of Black

From Spain and also on the Frontiers label. The album is called “Alchemy Of Souls, Pt. 1”.

Vocalist Ronnie Romero is really good. His style is a combination of various 70’s and 80’s singers like David Coverdale, Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet. And if you’ve heard the recent Vandenberg album, you would have heard Romero.

Guitarist Tony Hernando is virtually unknown but man, this dude can write riffs and he can shred when its required and he can be emotive and melodic when its needed. Check out his guitar work on “Alchemy Of Souls”, “Brightest Star” and “Closer To Your Fall”.

“Dying To Live Again” has this intro which reminds me of “Back In The Village”. Then from the 30 second mark it moves into melodic metal territory. “Brightest Star” and “Closer To Your Fall” live in melodic metal territory.

Other songs like “Deliverance Lost”, “Sacrifice” and “Into The Black” live in the Malmsteen territory of “Trilogy”, “Marching Out” and “Odyssey” with Romero bringing out his JSS and JLT influences.

“Tides of Blood” sounds like a Blue Murder cut. Just think of the track “Cry For Love”.

“Alchemy Of Souls” is my favourite. It starts off with a flamenco style guitar riff. This takes up 1.40 of the 10 minute song. Then it’s a heavy rock, hard rock, there is a piano section at the 4.40 minute mark and so many other movements that I didn’t feel bored at all.

Wildness

From Sweden and on the AOR Heaven label.

The album cover looks like the 80’s “Wraith” movie cover. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it, just for the hard rock soundtrack and for Charlie Sheen coming back from the dead to avenge his death.

So this album is called “Ultimate Demise”.

“Call Of The Wild” is a short battle charged instrumental before “Die Young” explodes out of the speakers. Stick around for the lead breaks. They are worthy. “Nowhere Land” kicks off with a melodic rock lead which is common in the melodic rock bands from Sweden. The verse riffs are “Looks That Kill” worthy.

“Cold Words” has a massive chorus. And I like how the guitar riffs and synth riffs are locked in. And did I mention that the song has an outro lead break which is worthy?

“Renegades Of Love” has a lot of John Sykes/Jake E. Lee styles in the riffs and the synths remind me of Night Ranger. One of my favourites.

“Falling Into Pieces” sounds like a Scorpions track from the “Animal Magnetism” album with a bit of “7800 Fahrenheit” Jovi chucked in.

“Burning It Down” has a riff to melt the Sunset Strip. A combination of EVH, Warren DeMartini, Robin Crosby and Mick Mars with a bit of Bratta, Sambora and Beach chucked in. “My Hideaway” is back to that Euro-Melodic Rock vibe that so many bands from Sweden do. “Denial” is a derivative version of “Burning It Down”. “Borderline” feels like it came from a H.E.A.T album with a killer lead break. And the album closes with the title track, a piano Celtic influenced tune.

Part 3 coming up.

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

The Record Vault – Bullet For My Valentine – Venom Edition

I didn’t know I had the CD until I opened up a box and there it was. Still in its wrapping along with a lot of other CD’s in their wrapping. I had a phase when I started streaming, where I just purchased a lot of CD’s online and just put them away in a box as I was streaming the album on Spotify. Based on what was in this box, there will need to be a “Record Vault” revision of some of the other artists as well.

Anyway, this post is about “Venom” released in 2015.

But I need to go back to the “Fever” album released in 2010, because that album started the hard rock and heavy metal phase of BFMV and it’s my favourite album. They followed “Fever” with “Temper, Temper” released in 2013, which went further in a hard rock direction. Like they had a live cover of “Whole Lotta Rosie” from AC/DC as a bonus track. But then again, they also had a Robert Tepper cover, “No Easy Way Out” on the thrash metal “Scream, Aim, Fire” album released in 2008.

But in 2015, they combined elements of all their releases into a very good album called “Venom”.

It was in my top 10 for 2015.

It had the speed metal, from the first two albums, it had the heavy metal and hard rock from the two albums just before “Venom”, plus it had a touch of growth with some modern influences and the digital delay U2 influence heard in the title track “Venom”.

I’ve said it before, BFMV is a melodic rock and hard rock band with thrash and metal influences, however fans of hard rock and melodic rock have not given this band a chance because of the screaming aspect or the classification with a different style because of record label marketing. Like metalcore.

And for a band with metal, hard rock and thrash roots who came out 2005, BFMV have massive numbers when it comes to streaming and YouTube views.

Massive.

And they tour relentlessly. I’ve seen em live and the band delivers.

“No Way Out” is relentless. A thrash-a-thon.

Looking out standing over the edge
Too numb to feel alive

Even though this song was written in 2015, the words are still relevant.

Will life return to normal once COVID-19 is all over?

Will people still gather in larger groups?

A scientist on TV said, there might not be a cure or a vaccine for COVID-19, but a treatment, like how they do with HIV. Its numbing.

Tell me why I feel like there’s no way out

The Chorus deals with the mental struggles of thinking there is no way out and we hate waiting for time to pass and we hate following rules but sometimes following rules is what we need to do.

This negativity
Is dominating and smothering me
I just can’t breathe

I can’t help but over analyse events, thinking that some of the people I deal with have other motives, saying one thing to my face and saying something else behind my back.

The negativity is not productive and its torturous. This was heaps prominent when I was younger and as I got older, my care factor for these kinds of analysis went to ZERO. Other things are more important than putting thoughts in my head which don’t exist.

The guitar solo while brief is quality. And it ends with the same thrash-a-thon that it began with.

“You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)” from Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) starts off with a call to arms which is familiar to people who grew up in the 80’s.

“We will not take this anymore, These words will never be ignored, You want a battle? Here’s a war”

And the band blasts in with some pretty cool riffage.

The message based on the first three lines, is the same between Twisted Sister’s war cry of “we’re not gonna take it”, to Bullet For My Valentine’s “we will not take this anymore”.

But the subject matter is a bit different if you look at the film clips.

While in the 80’s, the enemy for Dee Snider and Co. was the disciplinary parent while the BFMV music video the enemy is the abusive parent and the violence in the family, until the victims get their revenge. And the Genus lyrical annotations state the song is about bullying.

Don’t suffer in your silence
Know you are never alone

Vocalist and guitarist, Matt Tuck, said that he suffered a lot of bullying at school because he was the heavy metal kid with long hair that didn’t fit in and how it took him a lot of time to finally stand up for himself. I find it strange that this kind of

From about the 2.50 minute mark there is this bridge like section which I like and then when the outro chorus kicks in with an open string melodic lick under it, its head banging stuff.

“Army Of Noise” could have come from an 80’s album.

Lights out, fist raised
Adrenaline rushing infecting our veins
Now feel the heat as the temperature spikes
Bodies are thrashing the fire ignites

Metallica’s “Kill Em All” album has this vibe with “Seek And Destroy”, “Metal Militia”, “Whiplash” and basically every other song except “The Four Horsemen” and “Jump In The Fire”. The first two songs on the “Ram It Down” album from Judas Priest have this vibe.

So here we are
Weapons in arms
Army of noise has come to destroy
We will not fall

How things change. Hard Rock music went from “noise” to “acceptable” to “mainstream”. And it got heavier and it was till acceptable.

What is classified as noise these days?

“Worthless” is a typical “FU”.

You can keep all your apologies
Those words are worthless to me
And I don’t wanna hear that you’re sorry
Your words mean nothing to me

Take that.

And all the songs are underpinned by great riffage, excellent shredding and drumming.

There was an additional 3D style cover but the photo below doesn’t do the V and the snake justice.

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Music, Unsung Heroes

Seriously When Did The Machine Head vs Children of Bodom War Start?

I just finished reading the latest blog post from Robb Flynn. Seriously I don’t know what the hell is wrong with a lot of people. I showed everyone in my circle of friends the previous blog post about “Children of Bodom” and everyone laughed their fucken arses off. The same deal happened with the Avenged Sevenfold post from last year.

I cannot understand how people don’t see the funny things in life. Seriously any person that has lived and experienced life, had children, seen births and deaths will appreciate that there are more important things in life.

But that is how life is today. The rock and metal communities are so fragmented it’s not even funny. People that I associate with cannot understand how I can go and watch a Bon Jovi concert and then go and watch a Coheed and Cambria concert and then go watch a Dream Theater concert and then go watch a Trivium concert and so on. But that’s how it was when I was growing up. We liked music. While labels and media outlets liked to give it tags like glam rock, hard rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, power metal, melodic metal, AOR, blah blah rock and something something metal. In the end the fans saw it all as rock music. And it worked.

There was no elitism in metal. There was no “I don’t like that band because they are not heavy enough”. Music was music and going to the show was exactly that, going to the show. It was an event. It was an experience. Somewhere along the line it all changed.

For the record I like Machine Head and I like Children Of Bodom. Machine Head is higher up on the list. I own all of the Machine Head albums and I only own a few Children Of Bodom releases. As far as I am concerned there styles are so far apart that each band satisfies a certain section of my musical brain.

To be honest, if you’re trying to be everybody’s friend, chances are you’re not making a difference. Everyone’s afraid to lose friends. Everyone’s afraid to stand out. Everyone’s afraid of criticism. That is why the world has been taken over by the nerds. The nerds are the outcasts of the day, the bullied ones. But once upon a time it wasn’t like that.

Dare to be unpopular. That is when true popularity begins.

Robb Flynn speaks a truth that he knows and people freak out. Seriously how funny are they both. Laiho refers to the Children of Bodom as “cob” and Flynn calls the rabid Machine Head fans “Headcases”.  All I could do was laugh. I love the world. It’s comedy gold.

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