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

August 2020 – Part 4

Use My Voice – Evanescence

Amy Lee is a musician I would want around for a long time. The sound of her voice (which can be mournful, aggressive, rageful and happy) always gets me interested and the messages in the songs are genuine.

Relationships are difficult and they become even more difficult when one side tries to force their personality onto the other, speaking for them and even questioning them in a negative way in front of others.

Use your voice people, don’t suppress it. Its special and unique to you. This applies to everything in life and not just to relationships. Because no one is entitled to speak for you except you.

Space – Biffy Clyro

This band is hit and miss for me. They have me interested, then they lose me and then they get me again.

And this song has me back again about having a space in your heart for the special someone who is in and out of your life.

Maybe It’s Time – Sixx AM with guests

I liked this song when it appeared on their 2016 album “Prayers For The Blessed”.

It’s been redone now with a lot of guest vocalists to raise awareness of addiction and recovery.

“When I was young, I was dumb”

Indestructible. 

Getting old was never in my thoughts. 

Jumping out of moving cars, getting drunk and generally mucking around, sometimes dangerously, was bred out of pure boredom.

And not of all of us got out alive. People committed suicide and others got addicted to drugs, living a hard life right now with shakes and aliens in the fridge. 

“Maybe it’s time to deal with the pieces in my life”

There has to be a reawakening, a turning point. Some people believe they need to help you see it, but I believe you need to get to that point yourself.

For me, it was lying in a hospital bed with my foot broken and my face bruised and bleeding because I was drunk and jumped out of a moving car. I just had surgery to insert screws and a long road to recovery.

Cruel Hands Of Time – Tygers Of Pan Tang

It’s a crazy world we live in when “Tygers Of Pan Tang” are putting out some of their best music. Guitarist Robb Weir is the only original member left from the 80s.

The riffage on this song is straight from the Sunset strip and I’m pretty sure it’s from the fingers of Michael Crystal who has been in the band since 2013 and vocalist Jacopo Meille has some nice pipes, so the melodies are infectious.

Talk To Me – Apocalyptica with Lzzy Hale

These dudes from Finland have been on my radar since they covered Metallica songs on the cellos. And they have done everything, from the covers, the instrumental originals and the vocal originals.

This time they have Lzzy Hale, the best rock voice.

Satellites – Andy James

That chorus lead melody that kicks in at about the minute mark is emotive and the harmonies just add a nice complexity to it.

One of the best instrumental guitarists right now.

World On Fire – Daughtry

It’s so good to have Daughtry knocking on the door of hard rock again. He’s angry and the addictive melody is perfect over the aggressive guitar riffs.

Stressed out, head trauma, took a beating

Life is already difficult from our own doing and the trauma we inflict on ourselves with our thoughts and feelings So when society gets a hold of us, we are even more beaten down, shaped and moulded.

But we find ways to survive, to move on.

The final part to August 2020 is coming up.

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The Record Vault – Cerebus


It was a random purchase at a record fair in the 90’s. The bin had a large sign that said 7 records for $10.

How could I refuse that offer?

The dystopian landscape cover painting got my attention, as its reminded me of various movies.

I dropped the needle and I was pleasantly surprised.

I was hearing early Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and Riot.

The raw production and the treble biased mix had me thinking of those Metallica albums. Which means that the bass player is hardly heard, which is a shame as Eric Burgess is the main songwriter in the band.

Cerebus is an American act. There is also a deathcore band with the same name that came out in the 2000’s who have nothing to do with this 80’s version.

They released a Demo in 1985, a full length album “Too Late To Pray” in 1986 on a label called New Renaissance Records, an EP in 1987 called “Like a Banshee On The Loose” on a local North Carolina label, another demo in 1988, another EP in 1991 called “Regression Progression” on a local label and a best of album in 2019 called “From Beyond The Vault Door” on a label called “Heaven And Hell”.

And their label “New Renaissance Records” was created by Ann Boleyn after her band Hellion had a record in the British Music Charts, but was unable to find an American deal. So Boleyn sold her car and musical instruments to fund the initial pressings of compilation albums and eventually full releases by bands. King Kobra (the band founded by Carmine Appice and Mark Free) was an act that was on the label as well.

So the label signed the band to an 2 album deal, but the label offered no tour support. Cerebus played an extensive US tour on their own budget but going to Europe proved impossible as they didn’t have the means, which is a shame, as the majority of their sales were in Germany and Western Europe. After the U.S run of shows, the band and label parted ways.

The band kept writing and releasing, but in a market dominated by gatekeepers, they needed a label and a distributor. Which didn’t come as easy as they thought.

And as the EP releases kept coming, the band kept tweaking their sound, moving from their Iron Maiden/Saxon style to a more Deep Purple, Whitesnake and UFO sound.

Running Out Of Time

Its speed metal and those harmony leads from Andy Huffine and Chris Pennell (RIP) in the solo section sound like they came from a Saxon album.

The vocal lines from Scott Board are like the chainsaw vocals of James Hetfield from the first two Metallica albums, with the Rob Halford banshee wail.

And the double bass drumming from Joby Barker just keeps pummelling along.

Taking Your Chances

A different style of cut, in the hard rock vein with a melodic rock style chorus.

Distant Eyes

Acoustic arpeggios kick it off with a guitar solo before it explodes into a UFO style cut merging “Lights Out” and “Too Hot To Handle”.

Too Late To Pray

It also starts off with acoustic guitar arpeggios, before it moves into a military style drum beat. Then the harmony guitars kick in, but it’s all part of a long intro, before the main song kicks in with a head banging riff.

And the vocal line is ball tearing.

Rock The House Down

It has the “One Riff To Rule Em All”, which a lot of people would know as “Two Minutes To Midnight” but it goes back all the way to the 70’s.

Catch Me If You Can

Sounds like “Running Out Of Time”.

Talk Is Cheap

It sounds like “Running Out Of Time”, but with no singing, and bass solos which you can actually hear.

Longing For Home

It has these “I Still Love You” arpeggios in the intro which I like.

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The Pirate Vault #11

The Mix Tape

I did this mix tape as an album of songs I like from different artists, as I wanted to get the feel of those songs into my song writing.

Kiss – I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)

It’s a perfect album opener with a fast palm muted and aggressive riff. It’s a Paul Stanley and Desmond Child composition, appearing on the “Animalize” album released in 1984.

Y&T – Temptation

For track 2, it was always the most accessible tune, so here is a pop rock tune, with big harmonies.

Y&T worked hard on A&M Records and built a career. Then the big labels came calling and Geffen Records got the signature for a lot of money. And Y&T also got a label rep, who told them what songs should be worked on and what songs shouldn’t.

This one is written by Al Pitrelli and Bruno Ravel during the early Danger Danger days, with Phil Kennemore adding some lyrics and it appeared on their 1987 album “Contagious”, which Geffen earmarked to sell a lot to cover the costs of the Whitesnake 87 album.

Kansas – One Man, One Heart

The Kansas tracks on this mix tape are from the Steve Morse era of Kansas between 1986 and 1988. Steve Morse was involved in the “Power” album released in 1986 and “In The Spirit Of Things” released in 1988.

These two tracks are from the “In The Spirit Of Things” album and even though I’m a Steve Morse fan, he wasn’t involved in writing em.

This one is written by Mark Spiro and Dan Huff (the same Dan Huff from Giant) and what you get is a melodic rock song, worthy of a place on the imaginary album.

Kansas – Stand Beside Me

This one is written by Mark Jordan and Bruce Gaitsch and it’s like the ballad track.

Hericane Alice – I Walk Alone

This band was good and this track is a stompy 12/8 bluesy romp, perfect to close off Side 1 of the imaginary album.

Kiss – Love Gun

You open up Side 2 with another aggressive album opener. Can’t go wrong with a Kiss cut.

Sammy Hagar – Remember The Heroes

This is a very underrated song from the mighty Sammy Hagar. It appeared on the “Three Lock Box” album, released in 1982 and Jonathan Cain (who was having an unbelievable run of high profile songs with Journey and other artists) is a co-writer with Sammy Hagar.

Kansas – Silhouettes In Disguise

It’s from the “Power” album released in 86. This track is written by Steve Morse and Steve Walsh. And it’s the fast past riff that hooks me.

Kansas – Three Pretenders

This cut is also from the “Power” album. This track is written by Billy Greer, Steve Morse and Steve Walsh. The way the guitar and synth chords work in the intro hooks me in and the vocal line from Steve Walsh is perfect.

Bad English – Possession

And it closes with a melodic rock AOR song.

Side B

And here is another take of an imaginary album.

Blue Murder – We All Fall Down

Another fast and aggressive opener to kick off the album about Louie who lost his daughter behind the tracks, as the sweet brown sugar took her.

John Sykes pulled out his Phil Lynott experiences vocally and lyrically.

David Coverdale – The Last Note Of Freedom

Hans Zimmer wrote the music and Billy Idol wrote the lyrics. I’ve read that David Coverdale has been credited as well, but I am pretty sure he wasn’t credited on the original Days Of Thunder soundtrack.

It’s a melodic rock gem, bordering between, pop and rock.

George Lynch – We Don’t Own This World

The Nelson twins sing on this track, and man, they deliver.

It’s actually written by Pilson and Lynch, so it’s definitely got their Dokken vibe, but the Nelson twins are the difference. It’s a melodic rock hit with an intro riff that reminds me of “Women From Tokyo” from Deep Purple.

Dream Theater – Lifting Shadows Of A Dream

Its Dream Theater bringing their U2 and Marillion influences to their form of progressive hard rock, and it works so good to close Side 1.

Vince Neil – The Edge

The side 2 opener is fast, a bit progressive in its structure as it moves between Spanish/Flamenco guitar riffs to metal Uli Jon Roth style of riffs. Steve Stevens played some of this best riffs with Vince Neil.

Stryper – Calling For You

After an aggressive opener, you always need a little melody. And Stryper is at their melodic best on this song.

Tesla – Cry

From the excellent “Bust A Nut” album released in 1994.

And for those who said that grunge killed hard rock artists, well it didn’t kill Tesla.

In a volatile market, made hostile by the record labels who dumped hard rock bands and then had their puppets in the press lambast the style, Tesla, stood tall and worked hard touring on this album and even got a certification in the process.

And then the labels tried to kill em off.

Megadeth – Tornado Of Souls

This is a fast rocker and the solo from Friedman is a “wow” moment.

Aerosmith – Living On The Edge

The simple riff in D, that just keeps repeating is addictive and the vocal melody from Tyler captures you.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell II – Back Into Hell

The longest song titles in the world brought the mighty Loaf back into our lives.

And even though he released 4 or 5 albums after “Bat Out Of Hell”, all of those albums ceased to exist and it was like his career was “Bat Out Of Hell” 1 and 2.

The Jimi Hendrix Story / Def Leppard – Pyromania

A friend of mine had a Jimi Hendrix compilation and I recorded it over a few different tapes. I can’t even remember what was on this side before I taped Hendrix over it.

And of course, “Pyromania” on side 2, a perfect Walkman companion. This Def Lep album is the perfect bridge between the 70’s British Rock and Glam artists merged with the NWOBHM and the LA Sunset Strip.

I also added “King Of Fools” from Twisted Sister, “Sleepin In The Fire” from WASP and “Love Gun” from Kiss to the end of it. I think you get the drift that I really liked “Love Gun”.

I even wrote a song called “Love Gin” and “Cold Gun”. I know, merging two Kiss song titles is pretty desperate.

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Release Day Friday

The Release Day Friday Spotify playlist offered a lot of goodies this time around.

It kicks off with Dee Snider and his new song, “Prove Me Wrong”.

In my book, Dee Snider is a huge part of my youth growing up. I followed him in Twisted Sister, waited for Desperado to release their album, then that album got canned and the band was dropped from Elektra. He then hooked up with Al Pitrelli for the Widowmaker albums, and I waited for those albums, thinking they would never come out. Finally the two albums dropped, the hard rock influenced “Blood And Bullets” and the grungier sounding, “Stand By For Pain”.

And this song is basically about how he has proven people wrong his whole life. He just kept going and going and trying to make it. He made it in music, he made it in radio, he made movies, he was key in getting Headbangers Ball up and going, and he spoke out against censorship while everyone else kept quiet.

I came, I saw, I rocked
I left it all upon the stage
For almost fifty years
Now it’s time to turn the page

It’s a long time to be in the business and in the 80’s he was only on top for a few short years. And the record labels like Neglektra did their best to kill his career afterwards.

I’ve been abused and used
Been over, under, sideways, down
But still my head’s unbowed
Was there ever any doubt?

If you want a definition of grit and perseverance, look no further than Dee Snider. There is a cool lyrical reference to his Desperado album on Elektra called “Bloodied But Unbowed”, where they spent a long time writing, then recording, then a week before the release, the album is pulled and Dee is dropped, but Elektra is holding on to the master tapes because they don’t want Dee to take em to another label and have a hit album. So Dee has the option to just walk away from his songs or buy some of his masters back.

How they tried, but couldn’t prove me wrong

You want to knock off the monster chip on Dee’s shoulder, go right ahead and prove him wrong.

The best revenge is none
Just be happy and live well
Knowing for your enemies
There is a special place in hell
No one could hold me back
Those who tried, I laid to waste

Truth in these words. The best revenge is to be happy and live well. That’s it.

They had every chance to prove me wrong

And they’ve all failed.

“Atlas Falls” from Shinedown was a surprise drop and it’s a nod to their sound up to 2012 which I like. It doesn’t have the “Imagine Dragons” pop sounds from the last two albums.

So I did some reading and found that “Atlas Fall” is an unreleased track from their 2012 album “Amaryllis”. And it just hit Spotify today, but has been out since 23 March 2020 as a digital download to raise funds for Direct Relief (who provides medical supplies to people in need).

Don’t give up now, there’s already so much at stake
If Atlas falls, I’ll rise up and carry us all the way

We need to support each other more these days than ever. If the world we know, crashes down around us, we need to find a way to survive.

“Skyfall” from Vandenberg really got my attention. I repeat, really got my attention.

Adrian has gone back to his roots. This song is epic 70’s style as the riffs ooze grandeur. A five plus minute song. If you like how Europe went back to their roots in “War Of Kings” then you will enjoy this album. If you like Rainbow, then you will like this song. Plus if you like Adrian Vandenberg’s style, which I do, it’s a no-brainer.

When the sky falls down
Fields are burning all around
I’ll be right beside you

Haken dropped another song “Invasion” and their form of groove/riff driven progressive rock gets me interested and so does the atmospheric groove instrumental music of Long Distance Calling and their song “Voices”.

Reach dropped “The Law”. Metallica dropped an acoustic “Blackened 2020”, which James plays with a nod to the style of Ennio Morricone. There is FM and a song called “Change For The Better”.

The melodic rock “Gathering Of Kings” project keeps ticking all the boxes for catchy choruses with “Highway To Paradise”. Scorpions released “Sign Of Hope” which didn’t really give me hope, but they have a lot of goodwill in my book, so it’s okay. “Ghosts” from Paradise Lost also appeared on the playlist, telling me (subliminally) to check out their new album.

Trapt also released “Tell Me How You Really Feel” which is more in the vein of pop than the alt-rock they have been known for, however I’m still interested to see what the full album

P.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between Helix the rock band and Helix (the dance act).
P.S.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between RSO (Richie Sambora Orianthi) and RSO (some dance act).
P.S.S.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between Jasta (American metal singer) and an Eastern European act called Jasta.

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Hexes

“Hexes” is from the Tesseract album called “Polaris” released in 2015.

For those who don’t know, Tesseract are an U.K. act, who play a form of progressive rock. If you like genre titles, then they started off as a djent band which then morphed into a math rock style with atmospheric rock elements.

“Hexes” according to a quick search on the internet, means to cast a spell on/put a curse on.

And in this instance, our own decisions and past histories are the hexes we put on our lives.

It’s a progressive, atmospheric tune.

At its core, is a digital delay riff, which just keeps on building into an explosive syncopated progressive riff.

But let’s not forget the vocal melody and that haunting soft piano which just rumbles under the surface.

And that half time section from about 3.22 to the end.

It isn’t a secret this mind’s shrouded in history
It isn’t a secret this mind spirals in disarray
It isn’t a secret this mind shatters in mystery
It isn’t a secret I find terror in memory

Our thoughts are a secret. Unless we talk about em. But we don’t. Because we feel exposed and we don’t like to be exposed.

So we keep thinking and building more thoughts. Which we store away like memories. Fantasy clashes with reality and the mind is confused as to what is real.

History hexes us
I breathe again
History hexes us
I live again

Whatever happened in our past, it doesn’t mean our future is fixed. Each day is a new chance to breathe and live again.

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Providence

“That’s (thrash metal) what developed my style as a child, and that’s what I grew up listening to. It’s funny that my newest music is showing my oldest techniques, but one of the reasons I wanted to do this solo band is there’s a huge side of my playing that I never got to put out there. It’s something that the other guys [in Alter Bridge] weren’t really into; they’re more classic and hard-rock guys and were never into speed metal, so I wanted to do a band that I could put my biggest influences on my playing into.”
Mark Tremonti

“Providence” is from the “Cauterize” album by Tremonti released in 2015.

It’s one of my favourite songs because of that riff that comes in at 2.25. Then it gets doubled, then the rest of the band comes in, then a cool vocal line comes in and then the shred begins..

For those that don’t know, Mark Tremonti became known to us via Creed, then Alter Bridge and in between Alter Bridge albums, he did Tremonti albums, while Alter Bridge vocalist, Myles Kennedy did albums and tours with Slash plus a solo album for good measure. If you want an example of hard working musicians and what it takes to survive in the current music industry, then look no further.

And another thing that Tremonti has become known for post Creed is his shredding skills. There wasn’t much of it in Creed, a little lick here and there. And I was like telling people, this dude can shred. He just needs the outlet.

Then he would do the interviews in Guitar World and Guitar (which was formerly known as Guitar for the Practicing Musician) and he would talk about his influences like Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rusty Cooley and how he likes thrash music and bands like Slayer, Celtic Frost and King Diamond.

“I consider these records to be the building blocks as far as my being a rock and metal guitarist,” he says. “They’re all classics, but they’ve really been important influences for me as I came up as a player.”

Mark Tremonti at Classic Rock

He lists “AC/DC – Back in Black” released in 1980 and he mentions how Angus Young has got such feel and that this album is wrapped around monster riffs and memorable solos.

“Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV” released in 1971 is next, and other than “Kashmir” not being on it, it’s a perfect album. And from a guitar playing point of view, it has riffs, it has folk open string tunings, it has classical fingerstyle picking and underpinning it all, is Jimmy Page’s swagger in how he plays and John Bonham’s behind the beat drumming.

“Boston – Boston” released in 1976 is part of everyone’s DNA. Every song on the album was more or less played on radio. This is the template for mainstream rock and roll music and underpinning it all is Tom Scholz’s quest for the perfect guitar tone, hence why guitar synthesizers became a big thing in the 80’s. Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere In Time” use em and so does “Turbo” from Judas Priest.

“Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction” released in 1987. As Tremonti states, “from top to bottom, it’s one of the most solid rock records ever made”. It didn’t change the game straight away but it prolonged the LA Sunset Strip for a few more years.

Finally “Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath” released in 1970 as nobody had this sound in the 70’s except for Tony Iommi.

And Tremonti sums it up by stating, “a lot of the metal that followed, like black metal, was directly influenced by Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi‘s riffs are and his guitar tone are so scary and gloomy. If anybody ever asks, ‘What does heavy sound like?’, this is the answer.”

“Shield what you love and hope it’s enough and pray that your providence comes”….

From “Providence”

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March 2020 – Part 3

Here is the final post of March 2020 releases that have interested me in some way. Here is the playlist.

Higher Ground – Reach
It was their song “Live Or Die” from a few years ago which got me interested in the band as it was a cross between all the good things I like from Muse and melodic rock.

“Higher Ground” has more of that pop vibe, a fusion of jazz/reggae in the verses and Swedish rock choruses inspired by classical music.

The First Time – Khymera
The intro just hooks me in. I’ve heard similar songs with these kind of melodic intros and still to this day I stay riveted and interested.

“You’ve got me running for the first time” is the hook and in the second verse, “the price of love is misery”.

What The Dead Men Say – Trivium
I’m really digging the first two single drops from Trivium.

“What the dead men say is just between us” is the hook here, and the music just goes for the throat at full throttle with some wicked shredding along the way.

Shadows of The Night – Vandenberg
Adrian Vandenberg knows how to write some killer songs and the dude can play, referencing some classic heavy metal riffs on this one. Plus he’s finally allowed to use his surname again, so gone is the Moonkings and its just Vandenberg again.

Verdict: I like.

Wings Of the Storm – Axel Rudi Pell
Here is another dude who can play.

The world we are in gets weirder every day

Damn right it does. Who would have thought that we would be in lock down. So many businesses that I thought were resilient are closing doors. Looks like nothing is left in reserves for a rainy day.

And we are working from home, the kids are doing school from home and we leave the house for essentials only.

Fly eagle fly
Far away on the wings of the storm

It’s easier said and done these days.

Shadowman – One Desire

This is a good song, the full 6 minutes of it.

One Desire came into my radar a few years ago and I saved a few songs and now they have a new album about to drop and I’m digging what I am hearing so far.

“A shadow in the window hiding”

It’s descriptive but hey who hasn’t seen a shadow when we’ve walked past a window which reflects back to us our surroundings.

Broken – FM
FM came into my life because of Phil Soussan. Soussan was in band called Wildlife with Steve Overland and Chris Overland who would go and form FM a few years later.

Soussan wrote “Shot In The Dark” with the Overland brothers who wrote the original lyrics and they demoed a version of the song. And Ozzy was gifted a hit that he somehow magically co-wrote and no credit was given to the Overland brothers.

And This is one good song.

Let’s not pretend there’s nothing to mend

Been reading how relationships are turning sour due to the COVID-19 lockdown. I guess people didn’t really want to be with each other

Devil You Know – Electric Mob
The bluesy groove is old and it’s been used by thousands of other songs. Electric Mob amp it up, modern it up and they get my attention with it.

I’m interested. What comes next.

Outlaws and Outsiders – Cory Marks
There are a few guest musicians here. Travis Tritt, Ivan Moody and Mick Mars all appear.

The riffs between “Devil You Know” mentioned above and this one are very similar, with a Nickelback/Shinedown style chorus.

I’m interested. What comes next.

Actually, I just listened to “Hangman Jury” from Aerosmith and the riffs are similar.

In The Blood – Dizzy Miss Lizzy
I’m really digging the groove on this song.

There is this bridge like section from about 2.54 to 3.07 which they bring back as a solo from about 3.40 to 4.05 which really gets the foot tapping and the head moving. And to top it off, they finish the song with it.

And I always like a song which makes me want to pick up the guitar to learn it and this song ticks all the boxes.

IWSYA – Voices
Footsteps – Voices
Unknown – Voices

Heavy Metal Overlord did a review of this album and it got me interested to check these guys out. Thank you HMO.

The acoustic riff in “IWSYA” is melancholic and the melodic vocals add to it. From about 2.55 it gets these scattered reverbed black metal like screams, but the song sounds like a progressive song that bands like Haken and Tesseract are known for.

“Footsteps” is the closer and a two note arpeggio riff rings throughout in the intro as the drums play a math metal like tom roll.

It kicks in after that and the song rolls forward with an unbelievable three note violin lead riff which starts to become prominent from the middle of the song and it keeps on repeating to the end.

“Unknown” has an intro which gets me interested.

I think it’s the bass that does it for me on this song. It drives the groove, while the drummer and the guitarist decorate, if that makes sense.

Mother (Album) – In This Moment
I am a fan of the “The Dream” and “A Star Crossed Wasteland” albums and that style of hard rock with melodic vocals. But those musicians on those recordings have moved on except for Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth and the new band kept morphing their sound, into the atmospheric, tribal beat driven style they have now. And I wasn’t expecting much from this album, but I was blown away.

“Fly Like An Eagle” is a Steve Miller cover and its done in a way which is unique to “In This Moment”. The drums establish the tribal war cry and the song keeps building. “Legacy” has a vocal melody that could have come from either “The Dream” or “A Star Crossed Wasteland”. And the way the song rolls, with its Def Leppard/Journey style of guitar decorating works for me.

“We Will Rock You” is another cover, and again done in a way which is unique to In This Moment with guest vocals from Taylor Momsen and Lzzy Hale. “Mother” is powerful, as soon as the anguished “Mother” chant starts. “Holy Man” has this section which reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and I like it.

“Lay Me Down” sounds like it came from “The Hu” with an infectious chorus and a “Lay Me Down” gospel chant which I like. “Into Dust” is the third cover on the from alternative rock act Mazzy Star and like all of the covers on the album, it is done in a way which captures the tribal roots style drumming and atmospheric build of what In This Moment is like now.

When “In This Moment” signed with Atlantic, I thought their career would be over because labels are always willing to play the short-term game. Labels are willing to cut more corners, to make money now than in the future. But it looks like “In This Moment” is given freedom to do what they want, to build their career even further. There’s plenty of room to win if someone takes a longer view than the others.

And that’s a wrap for March.

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March 2020 – Part 2

And now for the releases that came into my life in March. By the way here is the overall playlist.

Future World (Live) – Pretty Maids
Pretty Maids have been making music for 35 plus years. Although they might not have the same superstar status as other acts from the 80’s, 35 plus years In the business is no small feat. The fire still burns to create and release new music and recently they have been mining their vaults for live recordings.

And “Future World” was written back in the late 80’s about listening to the fools who brought the human race to fall.

And in the era of COVID-19, we will come out of this much different to what we were before we went in. A new generation will be created and a new wonderland will come. A future world.

Signs (Live At Abbey Road Studios) – Tesla
Tied To The Tracks (Live At Abbey Road Studios) – Tesla

Do we need another Tesla acoustic album?

For me, anything from Tesla gets my attention.

If it’s good, it will get my attention for a lot longer.

“Signs” was a hit for the band, and “Tied To The Tracks” is a brilliant cut to bring out in an acoustic format and to show your audience that you are still writing great songs. In case you weren’t aware, this track is on their “Shock” album.

Signs and rules do restrict our freedoms. While it may not seem like a big thing these days, once upon a time, long haired people couldn’t apply for a job and not everyone could enter restaurants/eateries in the same way we can today.

The original song was written in the late 60’s and it was released as a B side by the group “Five Man Electrical Band”, but became bigger than all of their songs.

Fake News – Shakra
Thousand Kings – Shakra
Turn The Light On – Shakra
New Tomorrow – Shakra

These songs are from Shakra’s new album “Mad World”. 25 plus years in the business for these Swiss veterans.

“Fake News” has a riff which brings back the swagger of “Appetite For Destruction”. It’s funny how as a term used by legitimate news sources to describe the fake news of news outlets pushing the political agenda of their owner has been turned around to be used by people and organisations to describe every news source which is critical of them.

“Turn The Light On” has this Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane” vibe.

All Eyes On You – Smash Into Pieces
This could have appeared on the new Ozzy album. It’s a pop rock / pop metal gem with lyrics about a mercenary.

Killer for hire, soldier of fortune
Gotta walk thru fire for what’s important

Again – Earshot
This is from 2004 and Earshot has come back into my life again this month. This band merged the grooves of Chevelle and Tool and the melodies of Staind into awesome modern rock songs ranging between 3 to 5 minutes in length.

As I ponder my
Thoughts and fears in life
I stand tempted to throw it all away

2004 seems so distant in 2020 and with all the problems happening.

Why would you want to throw your life away when the world is trying its best to take it from you?

Mr Big Shot – Collateral
Promiseland – Collateral

This band from the UK came from out of nowhere via a Spotify playlist.

Vocally the singer sounds like a cross between Sebastian Bach and Mike Matijevic from Steelheart. Musically, it sounds like Dan Huff’s Giant with an 80’s vibe.

All Over But The Cryin’ – The Georgia Satellites
Deke over at Thunder Bay posted a review of “The Georgia Satellites” barroom brawl, debut album from the mid 80’s.

“Keep Your Hands To Yourself” from the debut album in 1986, is the song which got them noticed and it’s a great song title. And the way the song is structured and performed, it has the crossover appeal into country/southern rock, which it did perfectly. Of course it was no surprise that in the 90’s, quite a few country artists rocked it up like these guys.

But my favourite song is from their third album, “In the Land Of Salvation And Sin” released in 1989. It’s like a cross between Tom Petty and something that Lynyrd Skynyrd would write. It sounds fresh today even though it is over 30 years old.

The War We Made – Red
I’ve liked Red since I heard their first album “End Of Silence” in 2006.

Hear a voice when the light is gone
Never know whose side it’s on
Think you’re gonna see someone
But you are the only one

I see this songs message as the war was made by the one person and the two voices within that one person.

The Reckoning – Silvera
This song has a wicked intro. And I have no idea who is in the band or their origins.

Desperado (Radio Edit) – Soilwork
Bjorn Strid is one hell of a vocalist, moving from his death metal voice to soaring melodicism.

The first person to do this was Rob Halford. He moved between baritone and falsetto. King Diamond took it to another operatic level. Then everything in the 90’s went to rap, melodic or guttural. There was no crossover. And then everything started merging again.

Lost (feat Sully Erna) – Stitched Up Heart
Sully Erna pops up everywhere as a guest vocalist.

It’s how this song came onto my radar. I am a Godsmack fan.

The thing with these kinds of song is that once Evanescene nailed it with “Bring Me To Life”, every band with a female singer started to try to recreate the formula. And 17 years later, people are still trying to recreate that same magic.

And “Lost” has a massive chorus.

Habit – Adelitas Way
This band is good. They’ve now put some serious years on the board and their growth as artists in evident in their song writing. This song has so many pop like elements, yet it still rocks hard.

I can’t help myself, I got a habit.

It’s a wicked line. So simple and yet so effective.

Yep, habits are hard to break. Some habits I don’t want to break even though the moral police and health police tell me to do so.

It’s got this lick in the intro and in the solo which lingers after the song is finished.

The Sweet Escape – Poets of The Fall

I really like Poets Of The Fall. The Alexander Theatre sessions is basically them playing some of their favourite songs in an acoustic setting. And the melancholy of those songs, comes through even more in this kind of set up.

Under a canopy of stars
Where thought and truth divorce
In that latticework of dreams we are shameless

Seriously, how good and descriptive are these lyrics.

There is no attempt to rhyme or to find words to rhyme, just a story to be told about making a sweet escape.

By The Blues – Conception

Now Conception came into my life in the 90’s with their album “In Your Multitude”. It had this concise form of song writing that took all of the best elements of progressive bands into 4 to 5 minute length songs.

And then they disappeared. I couldn’t find anything on em, although the internet many years later did highlight that they did a few more albums and then broke up or went on hiatus.

But in the last few years they have reformed and it’s good to have them back in my life. If you like metal and rock with a dose of Euro feel, then Conception is the band to check out.

Part 3 coming up.

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

March 2020 – Part 1

So my March listening started off with tracks from January and February that I liked. I have written about these tracks already.

Here is the March playlist.

Circle The Drain – Machine Head
I like the melodic metal side of Robb Flynn. And he crushes on this song, as it moves between melodicism, nu metal and groove metal.

Feeling Whitney – Royal Bliss
The original Post Malone version is pretty good as well, a cross between “Dust In The Wind” style fingerpicking and modern rock.

Royal Bliss turn it into a modern pop rock song. And that also works.

Naked City – Jorn
Running Up That Hill – Jorn
Lonely Nights – Jorn

What does Kiss, Kate Bush and Bryan Adams have in common?

Bubbles – Framing Hanley
“I hear the nervousness in every word that is said” and in these pandemic times, I hear it and I see it loud and clear as our leaders make panic policies and suspend the sitting of parliament. I guess the bubble has burst and what comes next no one knows.

We are in uncharted waters here.

Come Clean – H.E.A.T
Dangerous Ground – H.E.A.T

Melodic Rock at its best. The Chorus in “Come Clean” is super catchy, with a R nought of 2.

Under The Graveyard – Ozzy Osbourne
At this point in time, it’s on the playlist.

Will it be in 10 years’ time?

Maybe. And on the COVID-19 news front, writer, guitarist and producer of this album, Andrew Watt has been diagnosed as having it.

Let’s hope for a speedy recovery as other musicians have already died, from an ex-Riot member, Fountains Of Wayne bassist and a country songwriter/guitarist.

Catastrophist – Trivium
I have been a Trivium fan for 13 years now.

It’s funny how fast time goes and it’s funny how many haters this band gets as well, because the old school metal fans don’t like the screaming, the old school death metal fans think it’s too fake and they just can’t win. But they can play their instruments, and they can play it well.

Singer Matt Heafy even put in time with former Emperor guitarist and vocalist, Ihsahn, learning the art of Black Metal and progressive songwriting. Not a lot of artists can lay claim to that.

F8/Inside Out – Five Finger Death Punch
These two songs work brilliantly together.

“I stand alone, I guess I knew it all along” and it feels more like that these days than ever before. We look at our leaders and our heroes from music and entertainment to give us some insights, but in the end, the decisions made are ours to make alone. And our heroes are as clueless as us.

Because Of You – Storm Force
This song just refuses to go away from my life. The music, the verse lyrics and that chorus. All so familiar and i like it.

“The world is yours today always something going down”. For me 2020 has seen; devastating bush fires which brought forth air quality issues, then came the rains and the floods. And now, we are at the start of the biggest threat in my lifetime, COVID-19. So we look to our families, our partners, our children and our friends for inspiration and reflection.

Dear Agony – Breaking Benjamin
The mood of this song gets me. This song gives me hope, even though it’s a depressing song itself.

“Dear Agony, just let go of me, suffer slowly, is this the way it’s gotta be”.

No it didn’t have to be this way. Fighting for life is more important than anything else in the world.

Aeromantic (Album) – The Night Flight Orchestra
Let’s just say that this album would most probably appear in all of my monthly reviews, because it is so damn good.

Songs like “Aeromantic” and “Taurus” pick up the energy. My favourites are the closer “Dead of Winter” and “Transmissions” with that violin solo.

Change The World (Album) – Harem Scarem
Have I mentioned that Pete Lesperance is one hell of a guitar player?

Part 2 for March coming up.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Metal Journey

I grew up in a time when AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden were classified as metal acts. Black Sabbath was seen as a bit more extreme and darker. Venom even more so. But as the years went on, the way people viewed metal music had changed.

Suddenly it’s faster or groovier or math like or whatever else you like and depending on the act, you wouldn’t be able to understand a word they are saying, without referring to the lyrics. So on occasions I cannot resonate with all the acts today classed as metal.

But one thing I do know is that music labelled as “metal” is made for loyalists.

You hook in a fan, they would be along for the ride, dedicating their lives because they believe. And hearing a song just once, is never enough. To become a fan of an artist, it meant you had to invest time and be prepared to take the journey.

Recently the Evergrey album became a journey, exploring the depths of darkness, depression and hope. Every 13 years, the Tool Comet comes past Earth and a new album drops and when it does, that in itself is a journey. Rival Sons took me on a journey deep into the Delta and Volbeat showed there is still life in streets of the 60s.

Take us on a journey and we are fans for life.

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