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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 19 to July 25

4 Years Ago (2017)

All death is tragic.

David Z, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington passed away. Ivan Moody was in a dark place at the time.

So many people make money from artists, and some make way more than the artists. The vicious cycles that artists are on from labels and management is borderline negligence.

The show must go on but there is no show when there is no artist.

The Jungle Giants is a band that plays a form of pop rock with dance/techno elements. I’m not a huge fan but in 2017 they were an unsigned artists that racked up over 50 million streams on Spotify. Those stats are impressive and a lot more than artists who actually have label deals.

It’s hard work controlling your own destiny. But you have the freedom to decide what path to take.

And Album number 4 just came out.

When is inspiration/influence just that and when is inspiration/influence copying? 

It is possible to borrow without “stealing”. When ideas appear in ones mind, quite often they are unconsciously inspired by a piece of music the artist has heard.

And it’s perfectly okay and very common to take an existing idea and turn it into something new. 

According to manager Barry McKay, Steve Harris stole an idea. I don’t know how you can steal an idea, but hey it happens.

Legal streaming music at the time was hurting.

Streaming companies need to license music from the legacy players for a substantial fee and then pay royalties to these organizations when the songs are listened/viewed.

And these organizations like the labels and publishers keep the bulk of these payments and pay cents to the artists they represent. 

Then they remain silent when Spotify gets sued for having music on their service.

But.

It was these organizations that approved Spotify to license their catalogues.

And I compared music streaming to Netflix who at that time had no problem growing its subscriber base and making profits, however it produces its own content, which earned it over 90 Emmy nominations.

And it’s monthly fees are identical to music subscription services, even though it costs a lot more to create a TV show or a movie than a song/album.

So how is Netflix profiting and Spotify losing?

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Australia.

Corporations and Unions run this country. The Courts have been compromised by money. The mainstream media is all about half-truths and likes. No one reports with any substance or an opinion anymore as they had served whoever paid them the most.

Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show in the world, with Australia leading the way.

Why?

Unless we pay $300 plus for a PAY TV subscription, we couldn’t watch it.

Nine years later nothing much has changed. We’re still a mess. We can’t get our population vaccinated and we have a leader who just looks for the photo opportunity and has best friends who run QANON sites.

I’m an Amazon Prime Video subscriber and due to a deal they have with another PAY TV provider in this country, I couldn’t watch Bosch S7 on Amazon.

So I downloaded it.

Imagine that. I’m a paying legal subscriber and I couldn’t watch a show that the service created on their platform.

Why did guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Alex Skolnick, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert rise above all the other shredders of the era that came on the scene between 1984 and 1994?

Guitarists like Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe and Vinnie Moore are all great guitarists, however they are still relatively unknowns outside of their guitar instrumental niche market.

Someone like Vinnie Moore played with Alice Cooper and is holding down the fort with UFO. He’s been there since 2003, 18 years. Michael Schenker only did 11, his first stint between 1973 and 78 was only 5 years.

But a lot of people still don’t Moore.

Jon Bon Jovi seemed to be pissing off his fans.

Perseverance is a massive skill. Especially when it comes to life as a musician in an internet era with information overload each day.

And success happens when you contemplate giving up.

Dream Theater almost called it a day, between 1988 and 1991, when months rolled by and no suitable singer appeared.

Quiet Riot during the Randy Rhoads years, couldn’t get a U.S deal. After Randy left to join Ozzy, Kevin Dubrow persevered under his own surname, only to resurrect the Quiet Riot brand after the death of Randy Rhoads and turn it into a Number 1 act.

George Lynch auditioned for Ozzy’s band on two occasions, losing out to Randy Rhoads once and then to Jake E. Lee. One of his earlier bands “The Boyz” had a showcase gig organised for Gene Simmons to attend. Van Halen opened the show and the rest is history. Gene even said to Lynch, to consider changing his name as he will never make it.

Ronnie James Dio spent 18 years paying his dues before finding success with Rainbow in 1976.

How many musicians starting out today, would put in 18 years of service to music?

Don’t chase trends because what is here today will be gone tomorrow.

The Record Labels aren’t worth much if they don’t have acts. And Artists really don’t need a label deal anymore.

Of course it’s more difficult going your own way, however that is the future. If you are successful you will get label interest and a deal that suits you, because without an artist, there is no profit from music for the labels.

But.

The major labels want radio hits so they find artists that are easy to sell and easily expendable.

The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy was one of the funniest movies I had seen that year.

I provided my thoughts on the Metallica “Death Magnetic” DVD which included footage on the making of the album. It came with the Coffin Edition of the album.

James Hetfield still rules. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. Bob Rock once said that the problem with “St Anger” was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for “Death Magnetic”.

And they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the “Six Feet Down Under” EP’s part 1 and 2.

When that died down, they orchestrated the “Big 4” shows and the “Orion” festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.

Then they celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. When that died down they released the “Beyond Magnetic” EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut. Then they released “Quebec Magnetic” and at that point in time they were doing the “Through The Never”movie.

So did anyone remember the debacle of “Lulu”?

It was old news, history. It’s like it never existed.

What a difference two years make?

“The House of Gold and Bones” by Stone Sour was becoming a favorite so I posted my review here and a review of a song “The Uncanny Valley” here.

At the time I was reading about how artists deserve to be paid for their creations because they put their blood, sweat and tears into those works.

Once upon a time, artists created music and that Record Labels looked to profit from this relationship with the artists. It didn’t always happen as making money in any occupation is a tough business.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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The Record Vault: Dio – Sacred Heart

“Sacred Heart” is album number three.

By know Vivian Campbell was an unhappy camper. From his point of view he was promised a larger piece of the pie and that wasn’t forthcoming. Plus he had an issue with the publishing. So it’s no surprise that this is the last album to include Vivian Campbell, who Dio fired midway through the tour, replacing him with Craig Goldy.

Released on August 13, 1985, almost a year after “The Last In Line”, it wasn’t just competing against all the other new releases from other artists, it was competing against the previous two Dio albums. It wasn’t a smart decision from Warner Bros.

The band for the album is the classic line up, known as Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass, Claude Schnell on keyboards and Vinny Appice on drums.

The King Of Rock And Roll

How can you not like this song, fake crowd noise or not?

Campbell’s riffs are excellent to play, Dio’s melodies rock, Bain rumbles and Vinny Appice powers all over this.

Bad boy always on the cover gettin’ the story told

It could have been about anyone in the rock business. By 1985, a lot of bad boys graced the cover of magazines.

He’s got the midnight madness / he’s got a soul
’cause he’s the king of rock and roll / king of rock and roll

I used to keep my own book of rhymes before I realised that a rhyming dictionary existed. Well, Dio albums and most hard rock and metal albums provided plenty of source material.

Sacred Heart

The riff sounds epic on this and the keys from Schnell enhance it. But its Vinny Appice on the drums that turns this song into a powerhouse. The mix is perfect and I’m drawn to the groove of the drums.

Plus the lead break from Campbell is different from his earlier albums, better phrasing.

Oh running into nowhere turning like a wheel and a year becomes a day

Truth right there. Without a plan, the days just slip away.

Whenever you dream you’re holding the key it opens the door to let you be free yeah

Infinite possibilities when you let your imagination run wild. Why do you think mindfulness and meditation is so massive?

Another Lie

Its more blues rock but Campbell decorates a simple blues groove with pedal points and diads and suddenly it sounds like heavy metal.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Children

Does anything else think that “Shot In The Dark” from Ozzy sounds like this?

Anyway, it’s a melodic rock anthem with a killer Campbell lead break.

Rock ‘N’ Roll children alone again
Rock ‘N’ Roll children without a friend but they got rock’n’roll

Damn right.

As much as rock and roll lyrics are about parties, most fans of the music spent a lot of time alone with it, and the music was a form of escapism.

Hungry For Heaven

The solo break from Campbell on this is excellent.

So just hold on
You can make it happen for you
Reach for the stars and you will fly

It’s the same message as in other songs. You are responsible for your success, so what are you waiting for.

Like The Beat Of A Heart

It’s an inferior re-write of “One Night In The City” but still a good listen, especially the outro riff and groove.

There’s a beast that lives inside you and it’s screaming to get out

Just Another Day

Its “King Of Rock And Roll” part 2, and I like it. The riffs are excellent, while Bain and Appice hammer out an energetic foundation.

The guitar arpeggios after the solo.

Fallen Angels

The blues rock riffs on this just don’t get the credit they deserve.

Remember that the evil will rule / it’s waiting outside / bringing’ pain / for you fallen angels

Shoot Shoot

An AC/DC style cut.

Yes you know the feeling all alone your back to the wall
And all the doorways are starting to close in front of you

It’s more of the same that we are responsible for our own journey and that it all starts with us.

The high points on the album are definitely “Sacred Heart”, “King Of Rock And Roll”, “Rock N Roll Children” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

But like all Dio albums there is a little bit of everything in the other songs.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 12 to July 18

4 Years Ago (2017)

When I was growing up there’s like a half a dozen or 10 big giant great bands that are super groups you know. Now it’s like there are thousands of bands. Picking through everything is hard. It’s stressful trying to find all the right music you know.
George Lynch

It’s a good time for an artist to get their product out and streaming has moved distribution further away from the labels. And it pissed em off because their power came from controlling the distribution. Then the millions started coming in from streaming and suddenly their powerful again. And all they did was moan and complain.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was writing about my fandom of Tesseract, who just released the excellent “Altered State”.

And it reminded me of an Australian band called Karnivool.

Tesseract also liked Karnivool as they had a few of the Karnivool songs in the Spotify playlists they created to promote the album.

Trivium was also doing the usual PR interviews about their new upcoming album called “Vengeance Falls”, produced by David Draiman from Disturbed.

And from the interviews, the theme was, “Bigger Melodies, Bigger Hooks, Bigger Riffs.”

And in 2021, I can say that the album proved just that, giving us the concert favorite “Strife” with its Judas Priest “Sentinel” Intro.

And the lyrics from Dave Mustaine seemed prophetic to me during this period.

I was questioning why artists would spend a lot of time putting together 12 tracks just to sell them as a packages for $10. It’s an old business model. In 2021, that business model is 55 plus years old.

I can’t recall a lot of companies doing the exact same thing they did 55 years ago and surviving.

But it looks like the album won’t go away anytime soon.

When Zoltan Bathory was putting together a new band in 2004, his vision was to bring metal back to the masses.

And I think he’s done that. Every FFDP album has a certification. It’s because of the songs, which Bathory said, a song needs to be there for anything else to be added.

And I think my final douche post was written and I was asking the question if having Portnoy in your band is a good thing or a bad thing due to the many projects.

As James Hetfield once said that he is anti-side projects because it dilutes the quality of the main product.

And in the end it is quality that the people want.

I was trying to be a sociologist with the post, “The Old Rock Star Is Dead, It’s Time To Create A New Rock Star”,

You don’t want to be an artist that becomes who others want them to be. It’s okay to not be liked by everybody.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Two Fires

“I’d been caught between two fires for a long time. One was the inferno that I had built with my success and addictions. The other was the fire that burned for my family”

It’s how Chapter 33 called “out of control like a bushfire” started from the “Working Class Man” book.

“Two Fires” is his fourth studio album released in 1990 and his first United States release for Atlantic Records.

This was the last proper attempt to break Barnes to the U.S market, as previous label partnerships with Elektra and Geffen for the earlier records fell apart due to various reasons.

It was also the first step away from the AOR sounding “Freight Train Heart”. Most of the song writing credits this time are shared by the band and unknown writers instead of Desmond Child, Jonathan Cain and Diane Warren.

“Lay Down Your Guns”

The album gave Barnesy a chance to work with some great players like Brian Setzer from The Stray Cats who plays guitar on this.

A sinister crime noir “Peter Gunn” style riff kicks it off. The song is written by Jimmy Barnes and Rick Nowels.

Nowels was still in his early days of becoming a huge songwriter. His credits now include Adele, Lana Del Rey and many more. Just go to his Wikipedia page.

Lay down your guns and surrender

“Let’s Make It Last All Night”

Very Foreigner sounding, the Chorus is massive as you would expect from a song written by Barnes, Diane Warren and Desmond Child.

It was also a hit in Australia and it’s a staple of his live show.

Let’s make it last all night
This could be the last time I make love to you

“Little Darling”

A Barnes composition with Setzer on guitar again bringing some rockabilly to a soul rock tune.

Well I get to your house
Like the rest of the band
But somehow these things don’t always turn out as planned
You called me a cab and yeah I walked out that door

Barnesy talks about this event in his book. he thought he messed up his chance with his future wife.

“Love Is Enough”

It’s got a feel like “Every Breath You Take” in the verses, just more rockier.

“Hardline”

It’s a hard rock track and one of the best on the album.

Well it’s late at night something just ain’t right
I can tell by the look in your eye
You don’t say two words
You got a stare that burns
It’s gonna be a long long night

“One of a Kind”

Another rocker with hard rock lyrics.

Tight skirts, like a flirt
She don’t stop till it starts to hurt
She’s sweet, what a treat
Got to get her into my back seat

Mmmm. Flirt with skirt with hurt and sweet with treat and backseat. Overused terms but I would not have it any other way.

“Sister Mercy”

Cause a woman’s got the power
To take control of me
Well she can wrap me round her finger
And make a damn fool of me

The blues songs from the 1930s had lyrics like this. That’s how much staying power the blues medium had.

“When Your Love is Gone”

A great ballad. The sound is dated as it uses a lot of 80s sounding midis.

Well, I missed all the signs, never read between lines

And the Barnesy kids make an appearance in the outro.

“Between Two Fires”

A track written by Barnes and Holly Knight.

As you would expect, it’s anthemic and melodic rock.

The Intro and verses riff remind me of “Rocking In The Free World”. And the Chorus soars.

Caught between two fires
Losing control since I first met you

“Fade to Black”

This is a great rock song. Forgotten behind the hits.

When day fades to black
I won’t look back, of that I’m certain

When you just want to escape the rat race for the night.

I wanna get of this one way street
Don’t want to be among the faceless

“Hold On”

It sounds like a track from “Out Of This World” by Europe. With a bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.

Like most albums of the time, the labels held the power, so they made artists write and write and write.

Barnes wrote over 30 tracks for the album with a lot of em still unreleased and some as B-sides to the singles.

And the fans rallied behind him once again, sending the album to number 1 on two separate occasions and making it 6x Platinum.

And that elusive break through into the US market still remained elusive.

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The Writing On The Wall

It’s good to hear Iron Maiden music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How good are those guitar harmonies after the first chorus?

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

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

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1986 – Part 2.5: Tesla – Mechanical Resonance

In the early 80s, Frank Hannon and Brian Wheat took a band name from a Y&T album and started playing UFO, Scorpions and Def Leppard covers. Jeff Keith, Troy Luccketta and Tommy Skeoch joined after and the band became known as City Kidd.

A three month residency at a U.S Army base would give them the opportunity to write songs and then play them live. Most of the songs written for the debut and some of the songs for “The Great Radio Controversy” were written during this period.

Jack Russell from “Great White” became a fan and he got Tom Zutaut to check em out, who then promised em a recording contract, but they had to wait until the end of 85, as he was moving from Elektra to Geffen.

They got a Q Prime deal but couldn’t get a producer to work with them. Rick Rubin, Max Norman and Bruce Fairbairn rejected them. Zutaut brought in Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero but their background was dance music and they did some time mixing rock albums. Hardly an ideal choice and they also tried to get out of the gig.

Mid 86, City Kidd changed their name to Tesla and “Mechanical Resonance” was released on November 24, 1986, by Geffen Records.

It’s on Spotify, but they took off “The Great Radio Controversy”. Why they removed it, I guess we’ll never know.

“EZ Come EZ Go”

The funky groove to kick it off hides the rocker the song really is.

The verses are very Def Leppard like (first two albums Lep), in the sense of dynamics (soft and loud), the pulse like bass/bass drum and vocal melodies. But the Chorus rocks hard, like AC/DC and Aerosmith hard.

Then the lead breaks show a guitar hero aspect to the band.

In essence, if this was the first song you heard and it didn’t move ya, then you need to check yourself for a pulse.

There comes a time when you’ve got to let things go as fast as they come
Wait and see what tomorrow may bring you, get it all while you can

I know it sounds clichéd today, but to a kid growing up, it was eye opening.

Like a new creed, a new truth.

“Cumin’ Atcha Live”

Written by Hannon, Keith and Wheat. If feels like a band jamming in the style of Van Halen. Even one of the riffs you hear in the first 30 seconds comes from a Van Halen song. The whole solo section feels like an improv jam.

My favourite part is between the 3.18 to 3.53 mark in the leads.

“Gettin’ Better”

Written by Hannon and Keith. One of my favourites.

As soon as I heard the arpeggio intro I was racking my brain as to what song it reminds me of. The D to A to Bm chord progression reminds me of “Goodbye To Romance”. Tesla would use this chord progression again in the “Love Song” intro. Mark Tremonti was a fan, so it was no surprise to hear it in “One Last Breath”.

And when the distorted chords kick in, again I am reminded about something familiar. Maybe “Highway To Hell”.

I’m a hard workin’ man, doin’ all that I can, tryin’ to make ends meet
Just a-makin’ my way through the jungle today, it’s gettin’ the best of me

But it’s only gettin’ better, and a change is gonna come my way

My Dad worked two jobs to survive in Australia. My mum never worked as she was tasked with raising the family and keeping the house running. And I’m thinking did it get better for him. He believes so, but my Mum doesn’t. And for me, both my wife and I are working jobs so we can survive in this country and go on some holidays. We don’t know anything different.

“2 Late 4 Love”

Written by the band again, the embryo to “Hang Tough” is right here in the Intro.

I can’t believe this fucked up world in which we’re livin’ in
Still I do the best that I can
Always got me on the lookout for a getaway
Runnin’ hard, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll man

Work to live and don’t live to work. The world will always disappoint you, so just do your best to get bye.

“Rock Me to the Top”

It’s a Keith and Skeoch composition. One of my favourites. It just rocks and rolls its way through my brain. A totally different style.

Rock me, rock me (rock), rock me to the top, to the top, baby

How can you not sing-along to it?

“We’re No Good Together”

Written by Hannon, Keith and Luccketta and I’m a fan of its slow bluesy feel. Very Bad Company’sih and Led Zeppelin’ish. Aerosmith wrote a similar track on “Pump” called “What It Takes”.

And it picks up for the lead break and outro, like “Free Bird”, only shorter.

“Modern Day Cowboy”

It kicks off side 2. A Hannon, Keith and Skeoch composition.

When the verse arpeggios kick in, it’s like the “Kashmir” riff, as each note moves up chromatically.

Also check out the lead breaks on this.

Foreign lands
With their terrorist demands
Only cause the good to hurt

Like so many others we have grown up with terror in our lives. Some experience it closely and it’s on the news when it happens and the innocent are always the ones to suffer.

The U.S.A., the U.S.S.R. with their six-guns to the side
I see the message written on the wall. Too much anger deep inside

This was a thing once upon a time. Communism versus democracy. It looks like the scars never really went away because it’s still a thing. And people thought that once the Berlin Wall fell down, democracy would rule. But the older ones from Eastern Europe like my grandfather, they knew that a new dictatorship, probably worse than the one before, was just a few years away from resurfacing.

Bang bang, I shoot ’em up
Bang bang, blow you away
It’s a showdown in the no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day

It’s a showdown!

“Changes”

Another band composition. One of my favorite Tesla songs ever, as it moves from an emotive piano intro into a vibrato style riff.

Changes, time’s makin’ changes in my life
Rearrangin’, can’t seem to stop the hands of time
I remember, I was so young, I was much too young to see
Now I’m older, growing older, and I see things differently

A commitment to self-development and self-learning makes me question a lot of things that I once held as truth. But it all takes time. As time moves forwards, so do the changes. We don’t have three channels anymore. We don’t have dial up internet.

“Little Suzi”

A Ph.D. cover, written by Jim Diamond and Tony Hymas.

The “Albatross” intro was written by Hannon. The original version of the song had synths and was electronic, but Tesla made it an acoustic country rock style cut. In other words they made it awesome.

“Love Me”

It’s day and I’m feelin’ high, what’s the chances for you and I

What kind of high was Jeff Keith on?

Written by Hannon, Keith and Wheat, I can hear UFO and Bad Company in this. I reckon CC DeVille was also listening closely as I can hear “Nothing But A Good Time” in this.

Also check out the lead break, just for the soul and blues rock licks.

“Cover Queen”

A Hannon and Keith composition.

The “Blackout” from Scorpions inspired intro gets me interested. The verses swagger like Aerosmith. And in the last minute of the song it’s pure EVH style jamming.

“Before My Eyes”

It’s a darker cut, almost Dio like, written by Hannon, Keith, Luccketta and Skeoch composition.

If you like Van Halen and Aerosmith, there is enough here to keep you interested. If you like 70’s British acts like Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Free, UFO, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, there is enough here to keep you interested.

If you like the Sunset Strip sounds of Motley Crue, RATT, WASP, Quiet Riot and Ratt, there is enough to keep you interested. If you like acts like Y&T, Triumph, Sammy Hagar and Montrose, those sounds are also here. And if you like the sounds of European acts like Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Judas Priest, then they are also present.

Tesla basically rocks.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again

It came out in 2008.

It’s not on Spotify but YouTube has various videos of the album and it is the last Dokken album I purchased.

By the time “Broken Bones” came out, I was a streamer. But I’ve always had that album, along with “Return To The East” and “The Lost Tapes” in my “saved for later” shopping cart, waiting until the price is right.

This album is also the last to feature bassist Barry Sparks and drummer Mick Brown.

Like previous records, Don Dokken had to organize various labels for a worldwide release.
Rhino for the North America market, Frontiers for Europe and King for Japan.

Production is handled by Don Dokken and Tim David-Kelly.

Standing On The Outside

A riff from “It’s Not Love” kicks off the album and I’m tapping my foot along with it.

The verses are better than the Chorus.

And the lead break from Levin is excellent.

Give Me A Reason

It starts off with clean tone arpeggios that remind me of “Walk Away”. But that was hiding the rocker to come.

Musically the song is excellent, while the melodies are stuck in the lower bass/baritone range and sound a bit monotonous.

Heart To Stone

A feel from “Into The Fire” kicks it off before it moves into a “Stop Fighting Love” vibe. It’s basically Dokken sounding like Dokken.

Jon Levin doesn’t get the respect he deserves He’s the longest serving guitarist in the band and he’s become a great co-writer with Don. Plus he respects the past.

How I Miss Your Smile

A simple repeating two chord arpeggio Intro kicks off the song and Don’s heartbreak lyrics take over.

It’s a run of the mill power ballad, but the lead break from Levin makes it worthy. He’s emotive and bluesy.

Oasis

A classic metal riff kicks off the song, straight from the grooves of the “Tooth And Nail” album.

The guitar solo reminds me of “Alone Again” and I like it.

But it suffers from a lack of dynamics vocally.

Point Of No Return

My favorite track.

The Intro reminds me of “Seven Nation Army” but once the song picks up it’s got a “Paris Is Burning” vibe.

Mick Brown and Barry Sparks lay down an energetic tempo.

Jon Levin has done a great job continuing the Dokken guitar brand in the 2000’s and he continues to shine on this track, showing his Lynch and Schenker/Jab influences.

Don Dokken is gravelly in his vocals and I like it as it works for this song.

The Chorus is anthemic and check out the lead break. It’s guitar hero worthy.

I Remember

Another ballad which could have come from Klaus Meine.

Judgement Day

Another favourite.

Levin is inspired by old Dokken.

It feels like “Cry Of The Gypsy” merged with “Lost Behind A Wall” and I like it.

And Don’s lower range singing works perfectly on this while Levin shines all over this track.

It Means

This is good and I like it when artists merge their old way with new influences from modern rock artists.

Release Me

Musically it’s modern rock, like a bit of Tool and a bit of Chevelle.

But it’s the lead break from Levin that captures my attention.

This Fire

An energetic rocker and the riffs are excellent.

Sunset Superstar

The bonus track on the Japanese edition. A speed metal cut like “Tooth And Nail”. It should have been on the album and Don’s gravelly vocals work.

If you like the 80s version of Dokken, you will like this. It’s the best album of the Jon Levin era.

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

Arrows In Words From The Sky

This October, Machine “Fucking” Head will make 30 years!

In the early 90s, Robb Flynn decided to quit the band he was in, to start Machine “Fucking” Head, so he could call the shots and not have to answer to anyone.

Throughout the years he’s had different versions of the band with “The Blackening” line up being the most favored and then the “Burn My Eyes” line up.

Over the last three years, Robb’s motto is simple. If he has a song, or two, he’s going to get it recorded and released. And he’s still calling the shots.

Jared MacEachern on bass is still there, a dedicated right hand man.

In 2019, “Do Or Die” was released.

In February 2020, “Circle The Drain” came out.

In June 2020, the “Civil Unrest” single, featuring the tracks “Bulletproof” and the Jesse Leach collaboration “Stop The Bleeding” came out.

In November 2020, the stand alone “My Hands Are Empty” was released, a collaboration between Robb Flynn and Logan Mader from the “Burn My Eyes” version of the band.

And on 11 June 2021, the 3-Song digital single, “Arrows In Words From The Sky” dropped.

In total 8 songs have been released. They could represent an album that came out today, but we all got to spend time with these songs when they came out and make em special at that particular point in time.

On his blog, Robb said that, “these three songs represent Machine Head better than anything I could ever try to explain here.

The way these songs grew and took shape over time, tells us our future is more exciting than even we would like to admit.

Being able to corral all the chaos, pain, confusion, and yes, hope, into music has never made me feel more alive. These songs will hopefully do the same for you, after all, that’s who they were written for.

Arrows In Words From The Sky

As soon as the droning open string tones and natural harmonics kick in, I was hooked.

It sounds sad and when the vocal melody comes in, it’s mournful. But all of this is the calm before the storm.

Centuries of pain, under a paper sword
Arrows in words from the sky

When the distorted section with the vocal melody “breaking down (I am reborn)” kicks in, it’s desk breaking stuff. It hits a raw nerve and unleashes a lot of emotions.

Listen to the lead break.

It’s guitar hero stuff from Robb Flynn. His lead work is so underrated.

Check it out.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 7 to June 13

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about streaming services and how all of those little streams add up.

Remember when Taylor Swift and Neil Young removed their music from Spotify. The narrative was very strong about poor artists vs big bad faceless tech giving the masses inferior sound quality and not paying enough. Then their music returned to Spotify and there was crickets.

In the end streaming is king. The sales charts had to amend their formula to include streaming and suddenly an artist can controlling the whole Top 10. And artists from the past have now returned to the Charts.

The old certification awards now include streaming in their formula and guess what, artists are getting platinum awards on streams alone. That’s right, no sales. Just listens. What a brilliant concept.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” is the saying. We can paraphrase it to “Good artists try to sound original by hiding their influences”, while “great artists let their influences show”. It’s how the language of music is learned. We imitate our influences.

If you don’t believe me, what is the first thing a person does when they are learning an instrument?

They start by learning songs created by other artists.

Inspiration is not theft. Theft is taking something and the person who has it, does not have it to use anymore,

So I showed a few examples of artists being inspired.

8 Years Ago (2013)

A new release called “Evolution” from an Australian band called “Burnside” had my attention.

I just checked Spotify and they released an EP called “Rise Pt.1” in 2016, which I haven’t heard yet and a post on Twitter from 2018 had them writing new music, which still hasn’t seen a release.

The lyrics from Brent Smith (Shinedown) had me inspired so I wrote about em. At the time was doing these kind of appreciation series called “What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics?”

The title was inspired by the verses from “Peace Sells” from Megadeth.

And I was coming across so much good music at this point in time, like Burnside, Tesseract, The Night FlightOrchestra, Polution and Vaudeville. I was thinking what could these bands do differently to get their brand and music out there.

Well in the case of TesseracT and The Night Flight Orchestra, they kept writing and releasing frequently and for TNFO it certainly helped that the band members had other successful projects.

Anyway I put my thoughts out there in a post called “The New Artist Lesson”.

“13” from Black Sabbath was out. The problem that I have with it, is that it tries too hard to recreate the first four Black Sabbath albums.

Which isn’t a bad thing if that’s how you defined your career. Like AC/DC.

But Sabbath was more progressive minded and pushed boundaries. For an act that was considered “extreme” in the 70s, they played it really “safe”.

However, one thing I do like is that they have stayed away from the Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Solo – Chorus structure.

Which led me to write a post called “Risk Management”. The message of the post was basically this;

If you are not on the bleeding edge of society, you are just part of the fabric of society. You want to be a rock star, you cant do it working a nine to five job. You cant do it if you are beholden to your employer. You cant do it if you are beholden to the family.

The only way you can do it is if you throw all thoughts of risk management out the window.

Prime Circle from South Africa had my attention as I had just heard the 2012 album, “Evidence” and I felt the need to write about them.

And they are still pretty active, releasing studio and live albums.

Check em out as their brand of modern rock is anthemic and infectious.

That’s another wrap of DoH history.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 24 to May 30

4 Years Ago (2017)

There are a lot of stories of how the recording industry has been transformed since Napster and most of those stories centered around the losses of income to the record labels. They blamed the technology as its never the fault of the record labels.

Then came iTunes and the purchase of mp3’s became legal, putting money into the labels balance sheets. But the labels still complained.

Then YouTube appeared, then streaming came on the scene in Pandora, Grooveshark, Deezer and Spotify and the conversation shifted to the pennies paid per listen. The labels blamed the technology for the low payments because it’s never the labels fault.

In the end if you are signed to a label, creating music which is being listened too and are not getting paid, your issue is with your employer, the record label.

But it’s never the record labels fault.

“We sound like cocaine” said Bjorn Strid, the singer from The Night Flight Orchestra.

If you read this blog, you will know of my appreciation for The Night Flight Orchestra.

It all started in 2012 with the excellent debut. “Internal Affairs” and it continued in 2015, with “Skyline Whispers” and in 2017, we have “Amber Galactic”, which you can read my review here.

Artist Don Brautigam passed away and I wrote about him here and here.

If you’ve seen the Metallica “Master Of Puppets” or the Motley Crue “Dr Feelgood” covers, then you’ve seen his work.

The album cover is a forgotten art form, but man, it’s an important one. Once upon a time, the look of an album cover would be the deciding vote if a person outlaid their money.

It carried the brand of the band.

It was the first thing that spoke to the music buyer. And as time has gone on, the artists who created some of the iconic covers are never mentioned.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was listening to Vaudeville. They merge the styles from Muse, Deftones and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.
And if you want an entry point into the band, check out the song “Restless Souls”.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Their first album “Dismantle The Sky” came out in 2009. The next album “Vendetta” came out in 2012, and this is the album with “Restless Souls”. In March 2013, they released an EP called “House of The Rising Sun”.

And after I wrote this post they released “Masquerade Part 1” in 2014 and “Masquerade Part 2” in 2015.

Which I didn’t know about. So I have some listening to do.

Daft Punk entered the charts this week in 2013 at Number 1, moving 339,000 copies of their “Random Access Memories”.

And streaming/digital was king as 65% of Daft Punk’s sales came from digital sources. And I was thinking, why couldn’t metal and rock artists get these kind of numbers.

And Victory Records were in the news again about shitting on artists.

It first began in August 2006, when Hawthorne Heights filed a lawsuit against Victory Records, accusing the label of creative accounting practices, unpaid royalties and for damaging the band’s reputation and relationship with their fans.

In 2011, A Day To Remember also filed a suit against Victory Records for unpaid royalties.

And in 2013, Streetlight Manifesto is telling their fans to not purchase the album from any physical and online retailers and to only purchase merchandise from the band’s website because of their dispute with Victory.

After this post, in 2017, another band called “Darkest Hour” said that they never received a penny from their Victory contract.

And to slap the artists in the face even more, it sold for more than $30 million in 2019 and the artists didn’t get a cent from the sale.

TesseracT is one band that really got my attention and you can read my review of their excellent “Altered State” album here.

Dream Theater announced a “Live At Luna Park” DVD/CD release in February 2013 for a May 2013 release. May was almost at its end and no news had been forthcoming.

Well the release finally came out in November/December of that year.

And people were getting arrested and locked away for copyright offenses. Their jail terms for non violent crimes were longer than violent crimes.

And Police Departments were not doing any investigation of their own. They simple took the evidence of the movie studios and record labels as being true and correct.

Draw The Line” from Disciple was doing the rounds.

This is where I draw the line
This is where the old me dies
Light a match, let it burn, kiss it goodbye
Give it up, what I was, this is where I draw the line

I always like to write posts that highlight how certain songs are inspired by other songs. You can read my post called “The Kashmir Effect”.

And I started a new series called “Classic Album Closing Songs”, thinking it will be a monthly post. And I’ve only done one.

Which actually covered a few albums.

Like “Diary Of A Madman” (1981), “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (1982), “Who We Are” (2011), “S.M.F” (1984), “Shogun” (2008), “Aerials” (2001) and “The Count Of Tuscany” (2009)

And “What About Now” disappeared from the charts and the sales.

Bon Jovi (the band) spent over 5 months recording and writing this album, a few more months promoting it, only to have it do a run of 10 weeks before it disappeared.

From Bon Jovi I went to Megadeth and the lyrics of Dave Mustaine.

And my iPod shuffle was on fire with its selection so I wrote about “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)”, “California Morning”, “Crazy Train”, “Caught In The Middle”, “Caustic Are The Ties That Bind” and “Cardiff”.

Well that’s another wrap for another week.

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