Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 1 to March 7

4 Years Ago (2017)

This period is always busy for me, with getting the football season up and running in Australia, so as a volunteer to my local club, there’s no time for blogging.

“All The Right Reasons” from Nickelback is certified Diamond for sales of over 10 million copies in the United States. Not bad for a Canadian band who started out as a Metallica copy cat in the garage.

8 Years Ago (2013)

Like 2017, this period is always busy for me, with getting the football season up and running in Australia, so as a volunteer to my local club, there’s no time for blogging.

Also in 2013 an important case happened in a Czech court.

Lamb Of God singer Randy Blythe was charged with manslaughter, stemming from a 2010 gig in Prague in which a fan went onto his stage to stage dive and Blythe pushed him off, which is the norm at these kind of concerts.

In this instance, the fan sustained head injuries during the fall, however he still finished watching the concert, but after the concert he didn’t feel well, fell into a coma and died. When LoG toured Prague again, Blythe was arrested and held in jail.

This happened in June 2012.

After spending more than 8 months in jail Blythe was acquitted of manslaughter and returned home to the U.S.

And here is some other music history.

2003 (18 Years Ago)

Who didn’t hear the “Fallen” album from Evanescence (which came out during this period)?

2002 (19 Years Ago)

“The Osbournes” premiered on MTV which showcased a very high or intoxicated Ozzy trying to work out how to use a remote control and his family at home. In the process it became the most-viewed series on MTV.

1999 (22 Years Ago)

It pisses me off when labels do this to artists, because without the artists the labels would have nothing. In this instance, (and according to Wikipedia) Trauma Entertainment filed a $40 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the band Bush for their failure to deliver a new album.

1994 (27 Years Ago)

Lemmy wrote some of his best lyrics on “I Don’t Want to Change the World” which appeared on “No More Tears”. And it got Ozzy Osbourne a Best Metal Performance with Vocal.

1991 (30 Years Ago)

“The Doors” biopic from Oliver Stone is released, with Val Kilmer playing the role of Jim Morrison. I watched the movie and I felt like it was the real people, compiled of intimate footage found.

I need to rewatch it and see if it’s stood the test of time.

1986 (35 Years Ago)

Some people call it their greatest album. For me, it’s always “Ride The Lightning”. But during this period, “Master Of Puppets” from Metallica was released.

1984 (37 Years Ago)

“This Is Spinal Tap” is released, one of the best movies I have seen. Well at the time, I thought it was a movie, I must have missed the part at the end that said it was fictional and all that.

1974 (47 Years Ago)

Rush (with no Neil Peart) release their debut album, a blues rock influenced album with some progressive overtones. “Working Man” become the anthem.

1973 (48 Years Ago)

“Dark Side Of The Moon” from Pink Floyd is released. It didn’t set the world on fire initially, but word of mouth kept promoting it and its biggest sales happened between 1977 and 1988.

And that’s it for this week.

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

Australian Method Series – Baby Animals

Well, the Australian Summer is over as we move into Autumn. The first day of Autumn was a 33 degree Celsius scorcher and the good folk that is Thunder Bay decided to pack up and leave our shores, taking with em the Australia variant. But the series focusing on Australian artists will not stop. It will continue each week as the Australian Method Series.

The debut Baby Animals album was everywhere in Australia.

Being added to The Angels live show in 1990, when The Angels were the hottest band in Australia, helped build the momentum needed for when the album dropped.

Released in September 1991, the album debuted at number six on the ARIA Album Charts and spent six weeks at number one, eventually going eight times platinum and becoming the highest-selling debut Australian rock album of all time (until the release of Jet’s album, “Get Born” 12 years later).

I saw em live at the Revesby Workers Club on the tour. An up and coming band called Judge Mercy was opening for them, who unfortunately disappeared when the labels started dropping metal and rock acts in a years’ time.

In relation to the live show, the Baby Animals rocked. Drummer Frank Celenza was huge and along with bassist Eddie Parise, they laid a solid foundation for Dave Leslie on guitar and Suze DeMarchi on guitar to shine. Then you had a the bluesy, soulful tones of DeMarchi on vocals.

The album was produced by task master Mike Chapman and engineered by Kevin Shirley, so you know its gonna sound massive.

And my favourite track is “Working For The Enemy”, that whole break down section, lead break and build up is excellent. My second favourite is the metal like “Waste Of Time” with its energetic double kick intro and heavy blues boogie rock riffs.

“One Too Many” is “Rock N Roll Noise Pollution” in spirit and influence, while “Aint Gonna Get” is AC/DC on steroids and highway speed tempos with a Chorus that reminds me of “I Love Rock And Roll”.

And I haven’t even gotten into the singles yet.

How good is the intro to “One Word”?

But DeMarchi didn’t like the song after it was finished and asked the label to keep it off the album. The song went through a transformation, from a country-ish rock feel in the demo (which can be heard on the 25th Anniversary Edition) to the melodic rock beast it became, as Chapman kept asking them to work on it.

Guitarist Dave Leslie is underrated, paying his dues in a Cold Chisel covers band called Swingshift, playing Australian pub rock classics on a nightly basis and he knew what worked with audiences. His chicken finger picked intro to “One Word” is guitar hero worthy.

“Rush You” is the opener as the power chord crashes down and the cymbals ring before it goes into a double time beat and some series riffage and how cool is that “Back in Black” walking chromatic riff just before the verse.

“Early Warning” begins with the drums while a slide guitar plays a rock riff and the music then stops while DeMarchi sings, “Too Young To Know and Too Old To Listen”.

The band kicks in again. Then the verses come and it’s like a Jimi Hendrix song, before it moves into the power of the Chorus.

“Painless” has this funk blues boogie which I like.

If you haven’t heard it, today is a great day for it.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – Jan 1 to Jan 9

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about the labels and the publishers meeting with newly elected President Trump on Copyright issues under the pretense of helping artists.

We all know that when these organizations meet with government officials it’s for their benefit only and maybe some small change to the artists to keep em quiet.

And based on how all of these investment houses are buying the rights to songs from artists, expect to see a new player in the meetings with government over copyright and its terms.

8 Years ago (2013)

The site was still young and new and I had a few posts in the month of January but none during this period.

But… I’ll cover a bit of history.

Jason Newsted flirted as a band called Newsted and released the underrated “Metal” EP. Interest was high, they played smaller venues and they sold out on the physical CDs for “Metal”.

The plan was for three EPs.

But that got canned and the same year they also released the album “Heavy Metal Music”.

The band was costing Newsted money. He was the investor for the tours and what not. And it was on a tour of Australia that Newsted ended the band for personal reasons.

And Black Veil Brides released the excellent album “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” which gave rise to their biggest song. “In The End” currently stands at 99.299 million streams on Spotify.

Check em out.

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

November 2020 – Part 6

Gene The Werewolf

“I Should’ve Known Better” appeared on my Release Radar playlist on Spotify. I remember hearing “Rock N Roll Animal” back when it came out in 2012 and liking it, but then I lost track of the band.

But when I went to the Spotify account and saw all these releases since 2012, well I went into a rabbit hole with it. The bands take on ZZ Top’isms, with the AC/DC blues riffs mixed with hard rock and southern rock is interesting.

“Love And Touch” is a single released in 2019 which was a quick save based on the riff.

The following songs are from “The Loner” album, released in 2016.

“Too Kool For Skool” is a ZZ Top like track in the verses. “The Loner” is a 12 bar blues romp. “Fortune And Fame” could have come from an AC/DC album.

The following songs are from the “Rock N Roll Animal” released in 2012.

“Wicked Love” needs to be listened to, to be appreciated. “I Only Wanna Rock N Roll” sounds like a certain song called “Long Way To Top (If You Want To Rock N Roll” and I like it. “Heart Of Steel” is one of those major key pop rock songs that I like. The title track, is a party anthem. “Light Me Up” is one hell of a ballad, a glorious collision between The Cars and hard rock.

“Give It Up” could have come from “Unmasked” or maybe there is more “Beat It” from Michael Jackson than Kiss.

The album closes with “The Ballad Of Gene”, an Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and Beatles mash up, about trying to make it.

It’s perfect.

But there is still more, “Make Love” is an iTunes bonus track, and it could have come from the pens of the Madden brothers.

David Lee Roth

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar And Grill” is Roth’s tribute to EVH. These dudes changed the game for hard rock music and EVH changed the game for all guitarists.

Press play and enjoy.

Doro

Doro is a powerhouse singer and Warlock was the vehicle for her voice to break into the lucrative U.S market back in the late 80’s.

And Warlock did have some success, but she built her career as Doro after Warlock.

I liked “All We Are” back then and when “All We Are” (The Fight Version) kicks off this 56 song, set called “Magic Diamonds – Best Of Rock, Ballads & Rare Treasures” I was all in because I haven’t heard much of Doro’s work after Warlock.

“Haunted Heart” gets me with the riffs, the vocal delivery and melody and the double kick metronomic drumming throughout the whole song.

“I Rule The Ruins” from the Warlock albums appears a few times, as a live version and as a classical version with all the guitars and bass played by violins and cellos. There is an excellent cover of “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” from “The Last In Line” album by Dio. And another bone crunching cover of “Nothing Else Matters”.

Raven

I never gave em a chance back in the day. But in 2020, I gave the “Metal City” album a listen and it was the title track that got me to press save.

And the rest of the tracks seemed interchangeable with each other, which is a good thing as it shows consistency.

And then “When Worlds Collide” started, with a Sabbath like groove as its foundation,

Durbin

From when I saw clips of James Durbin covering “You Got Another Thing Comin’” on American Idol many years ago, I became a fan and have followed his solo career and his time with Quiet Riot with interest. Now he has gone to Durbin, which is being promoted as a Dio like project.

“Kings Before You” is the pre-release track of this project which features, Phil Demmel on guitars and Chris Jericho on backing vocals and second verse duties.

Lyrically, it’s about castles, skies, horizons and wizards.

I’m interested to hear what comes next.

Joel Hoekstra’s 13

“Hard To Say Goodbye” is the first pre-release of Hoekstra’s next album release. This is in Night Ranger territory, which isn’t a surprise considering he spent time with em before joining Whitesnake.

Apart from crafting a great melodic rock song, Hoekstra uses it as a springboard to some superb guitar moments in the bridge before the solo and the solo itself.

I’m interested to hear what comes next.

David Hodges

I went into a rabbit hole with David Hodges.

Hodges, along with Ben Moody and Amy Lee wrote/co-wrote a monster album called “Fallen”. Then Moody and Hodges became a song writing team, writing songs for other artists and for themselves.

While none of these albums came out in November, I did give them time.

AVOX is an instrumental cinematic rock project between David Hodges and John Campbell. The album “The Fragile World” came out in 2010.

Opening song “The War” had this piano riff that kept on repeating while the guitars, drums and orchestra kept building. “The Fuse” borrows from that same template. “The Legacy” gets me thinking of the “Intermission” movie from Christopher Nolan. “The Breach” reminds of the first “Transformers” movie. “The Source” feels sad, yet hopeful.

Trading Yesterday is a band project, like a melancholic acoustic rock with different moods. They released “The Beauty And The Tragedy” album in 2004 and “More Than This” in 2011.

Songs from this project which made it to instant saves are “The Beauty And The Tragedy”, “She Is The Sunlight”, “World On Fire”, “Love Song Requiem”, “Shattered” and the haunting “For You Only”.

And five of these songs (except “World On Fire”) appear on the “More Than This” album.

“Revolution” opens the “More Than This” and this time around, the mood is still slower, but there are rocking guitars and busier drums. Like “Lifehouse”. “One Day” reminds me of “The Calling”.

Arrows To Athens is a band project that I am aware of. The “Kings And Thieves” album from 2011 is an essential rock album for me which I have covered on this blog before. Tracks like “Stars”, “Used To Be” and “Alive” are prefect. And then there is the six song “Exile” EP which was unknown to me.

And finally there are David Hodges albums.

These are made up of “The December Sessions” Volumes 1 to 5 albums, released separately over the years. “Volume 1” came out in 2011, “Volume 2” in 2013, “Volume 3” in 2015, “Volume 4” in 2016 and “Volume 5” in 2017.

And there EP’s. “Passengers: Sirens” and “Passengers: Weapons” came out in 2014. “Discrepancies In The Recollection Of Various Principles/Side A” and “Discrepancies In The Recollection Of Various Principles/Side B” came out in 2019. Also in 2019, a single release called “Waking Up With You” with Armin Van Buuren also came out.

Hodges is one hell of a talent.

Part 7 is coming up.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Certified Sales And Reach

I’m digging the data that comes from Stream N Destroy.

Based on RIAA certifications (total album units certified by the RIAA) Iron Maiden has 6.5 million sales in the US.

Megadeth and Tesla are also sitting at the same certification amount across their catalogue.

Who do you reckon has the biggest audience when it comes to playing live from the 3 bands?

Which tells me that Iron Maiden must be the most heavily pirated band there is. Their sales of recorded music compared to their sales of concert tickets and merchandise just don’t correlate. They get the same attendance as Metallica would get, yet the difference in certified album units between the bands is huge.

Metallica is at 63 million certified units.

While Megadeth and Tesla do play live, the crowds they get compared to Maiden are very different but they have the same amount of certified album sales.

So sales of recorded music does not correlate to massive concert attendances.

David Lee Roth, Muse and Dokken are sitting at 3.5M certified units but Muse plays gigs to 15,000 people and are headliners for certain European summer festivals.

Dokken even at their height didn’t play venues that big nor did David Lee Roth as a solo artist.

Like with Maiden, the sales of certified units don’t correlate with the concert attendances.

Since the sales don’t correlate to the increased demand for concert tickets, is it illegal downloading or the access to music via streaming driving the growth?

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Spin Review

I always like reading reviews and different people’s takes on new albums from artists.

In this Spin Review from August 1989, the reviewer decided its good practice to group, “In Your Face” from Kingdom Come (on Polydor), Blue Murder’s self-titled debut (on Geffen) and Badlands self-titled debut (on Atlantic). He’s probably thinking, why waste print space on three separate reviews when he can do it quicker with one review and have some fun with it.

So here we go with a Spin Review from Jon Young in italics.

“Sales figures suggest otherwise but heavy metal can be as quaint as doo wop or rockabilly. The endless shouting about loose ladies and glories of the road, punctuated by sweaty guitars, recalls a more innocent era, especially after the revisionist antics of Metallica and other killjoys.

Which probably matters not a whit to the innocent, hard-working dudes of Kingdom Come, Blue Murder and Badlands. They’re too busy pursuing “the blazing heart of rock and roll” (to quote KC’s Lenny Wolf).”

Things changed by 1989.

The reviewers of music had been exposed to so many records from “so many similar” sounding bands, that everything would have sounded the same to them. And their reviews started to reflect the sameness in a scathing way. Then again, controversy always got people’s attention, so maybe it was their way to get some traction.

Also this review mentions the revisionist antics of Metallica, who had a line of journalists eager to rewrite music history on their behalf and claim that every album from Metallica swept all that came before and led the way for so many different styles of music, when in fact, the first two albums “Kill Em All” and “Ride The Lightning” had a cult following but were ignored by the larger music buying public. It took the Ozzman to take em on tour for the “Master Of Puppets” album for them to begin commence their crossover.

“Ridiculed last year for the Led Zeppelin fixation, Kingdom Come seizes he moment to refute the doubters on their sophomore effort; “In Your Face” kicks off with “Do You Like It”, a churning rave up totally unlike Zep. It’s also the dullest cut of the bunch.

After this bold departure we’re happily back to the sincerest form of flattery, as Lenny Wolf portrays Robert Plant to a fare-thee-well, expertly replication his idol’s sighs, moans and grunt.

If only he had some flair – you need real style to sing convincingly about lemon squeezes and big legged woman, after all. His bandmates lack the chops to follow suit, contenting themselves with generic plodding. When lead guitarist Danny Stag finally summons up the nerve to try a Pagesque solo on “Perfect O”, you’ll want to have a copy of “Houses Of The Holy” handy as an antidote.”

The Wolfster might have glanced his eyeballs over this review, because he fired his whole band soon after, to replace them with German musicians. Or maybe it was a move for money’s sake as Lenny Wolf was the one who got the recording contract.

“At least Kingdom Come has a vision, albeit an unoriginal one.

The aimless Blue Murder exudes the unmistakable aroma of instant disaster. Decked out in swashbuckler gear from Adam Ant’s rummage sale, stone-faced vets John Sykes (Whitesnake), Tony Franklin (The Firm) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Beck, etc) raise a ruckus to little effect.

Blame front man Sykes, who tries to touch every base imaginable and ends up nowhere. A shrill vocalist and hyperactive guitarist, he ranges from thudding sword and sorcery epics reminiscent of Rainbow (“Valley Of The Kings”) to bloated pop tailored for airplay in hell (“Jelly Roll”).

Sykes hits a ghastly pinnacle of sorts on the weepy “Out Of Love”, seven minutes of aggressive self-pity guaranteed to inspire fond thoughts of Steve Perry and Journey.

No about these gents will move on to more rewarding gigs, Appice remains a sharp drummer, though he looks too old for this nonsense and hide Blue Murder at the bottom of the resume.”

The pirate look was a massive screw up for Blue Murder. It was so out of touch with everything. Even Dio, who was sort of into that black clothed sorcerer look, was moving towards street clothing, which Guns N Roses and Motley started with “Appetite” and “Girls”. I agree with the review that the sound was big and bloated, and that is where our agreeance ends. The debut album was exactly what my ear drums needed.

“The Badlands boys make a show of their own inauspicious trappings; they’ve got a lame motto (“Feels so Good to be so Bad”) and singer Ray Gillen claims credit for blues harp. I doubt the guy ever studied with James Cotton.

Well, shut my mouth, cause their self-titled debut is hot stuff.

Led by guitarist Jake E.Lee, who paid dues with Ozzy Osbourne, the lads turn the usual ingredients into big, beaty entertainment, part stomping metal and part belch-rock in the spirt of early Bad Company. “Dreams In The Dark” and “Seasons” qualify for actual tunes, not just inflated riffs and Lee adds welcome shades of color here and there, augmenting the electric guitars with dobro, sitar, mandolin and other exotica.

A genuinely inventive guitarist, he really makes his strings talk on the struttin, “Rumblin’ Train” and the rip-snortin’ “Dancing On The Edge”.

After the muddled clichés of their peers, Badlands’ clean attack is inviting. There’s more constructive sounds around, but never underestimate the pleasures of good trash. Now ‘scuse me while I boogie one time.”

The Badlands debut is a killer debut. There isn’t a bad song on it, except for the egos, which Eric Singer more or less alluded to when he left because the band environment wasn’t to his liking.

And it (along with Voodoo Highway) will never be on a streaming service as the Atlantic Reps have killed it, due to the daughter of one of their contracting the HIV virus from Ray Gillen.

But since Jake E. Lee is on Frontiers, expect a re-recording to happen as Frontiers President Serafino Perugino, is trying to get all the artists on his roster to re-record their best songs (especially the artists who made it big during the 70’s and 80s) so Frontiers can lock up these versions for at least another 100 years under Copyright.

And for the record, all three records are excellent.

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

The Record Vault – Black Veil Brides

Let’s talk about Jinxx and Jake Pitts.

Jinxx and Jake Pitts, are the guitarists in Black Veil Brides (from here on, known as BVB). Jinxx plays rhythm guitars and violins and Jake Pitts is the lead guitarist.

Jinxx (real name is Jeremy Ferguson) is also classically trained, but the first album, he ever owned was “And Justice For All” from Metallica. Great mix in my book. His influences are of course, Randy Rhoads, Metalica and the various classical composers that inspired Malmsteen.

Meanwhile Jake Pitts learnt music and harmony theory from his mum, who is also an accomplished classical pianist in her own right. And of course, his influences are people like Randy Rhoads, Paul Gilbert, EVH, Dimebag Darrel, the Schenker brothers, the various Dio guitarists and of course Metallica.

And these two dudes are very big reasons why I am a BVB fan. Plus Bob Rock produced their self-titled fourth album and what an album it is.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Courtesy of The Pirate Bay, I downloaded their first two albums. I liked em and I purchased them from Amazon U.S as it was cheaper to purchase from the U.S and pay for delivery than to buy them here in Australia. It’s insane how physical products are priced in Australia.

Even the Guitar World magazines. A subscription from the U.S would get me 12 issues for $70 Australian. That comes to $5.83 an issue. To buy that same issue from the newsstands, the cost was $15 an issue.

Anyway, back to BVB.

We Stich These Wounds

Released in 2010, it starts off with a scratchy vinyl record playing and a small talking piece called “The Outcasts (Call To Arms)”. And then the riff for the title track, “We Stich These Wounds” kicks off and I was hooked.

The guitar playing in BVB is exactly what I like. And the “outcasts” theme is what BVB would build their songs around. Metal and hard rock bands from the 80’s had these themes as well.

Vocalist Andy Biersack is not as confident on this album as he is on the albums which followed, but heavy metal music was never about perfect pitch. It’s about the rawness, the attitude, the melody and the aggression. Of course when bands got bigger, they actually got better as well.

Then again, for all of the vocal lessons that someone like James Hetflied had for the “Black” album because Bob Rock requested it, I still prefer his chainsaw like vocals from the first four albums.

In “Beautiful Remains” the guitar solo is a shred-a-licious.

“Children Surrender” has a fast paced intro, with an excellent melodic lead and a chorus with harmony guitars and lots of wohhhs. There is screaming in the pre-chorus which I’m not a fan off, but the music is enough to get me going. And before I forget, the drumming is metronomic precision by Christian “CC” Coma.

“Perfect Weapon” and “Knives And Pens” have the best riffs on the album. On the Reddit forum’s it’s been mentioned that “Knives And Pens” is a rip off from an Avenged Sevenfold song. To me, the riff is from the NWOBHM, one of those derivative riffs that just can’t be copyrighted, so if people are looking for a well-known song, “Electric Eye” from Judas Priest comes to mind.

And the Chorus in both songs is worthy of attention.

The creepy title of “The Morticians Daughter” disguises an acoustic song which borders on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Southern Ballad Rock.

And the best solo on the album is on the song, “All Your Hate”. Listen to it and put the guitar back in the box. It reminds me of the solo in “Afterlife” by Synester Gates in A7X.

And all of the classical influences from Jinxx and Jake Pitts comes out in “Heaven’s Calling”. Crank it and enjoy it. It’s a song that deserves more attention. “Never Give In” also breaks out the classical references with a digital delay melodic riff. “Carolyn” is written by Jake Pitts dealing with his mother’s illness. Listen to it as it has so much beautiful guitar moments.

Basically, the debut has enough musical moments to get me interested. On to album number two.

Set The Word On Fire

Released in 2011.

The album kicks off with a monster in “New Religion”, full of double time riffage. It’s all an album without any song writing credits from Jinxx, however the two producers Josh Abraham and Lucien Walker get a few credits here and there, and Marti Frederiksen, who is well known for his song writing contributions to Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and other artists of the hard rock genre.

It moves into “Set The World On Fire” with more excellent riffage and you know that by track 2, Andy Biersack has found his Mr Sparrow swagger. “Fallen Angels” is track 3 and it’s a three punch combo knockout. It also has 28.4 million streams on Spotify.

“Rebel Love Song” keeps the up-tempo vibe of the album going with more riffage and killer leads. Plus Choruses that are memorable. “The Legacy” is a thrash song crossed with a pop song chorus.

“Die For You” is probably my favourite. It’s the Chorus which seals the deal. Its written by Biersack, Pitts, bassist Ashely Purdy and Frederiksen. No surprise there that the co-writing credit Frederiksen has, delivers my favourite song on the album.

After the album was finished and recorded, the guys put Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” on and starting mixing the album with the “Hysteria” vibe. They are ticking all of the boxes in my book so far of paying homage to their roots or to the best-selling hard rock albums.

The Wretched and Divine

The concept album with the “Mad Max” and “Shout At The Devil” look was released in 2012. They even had a movie made that told the story of the “The Wretched And The Divine” uprising against F.E.A.R, the overlords who protect and watch over the citizens in this dystopian Mad Max wasteland.

“I Am Bulletproof” is a perfect opener and “Wretched and Divine” is a metal track, the way I know metal. It’s guitar heavy and I like it. The guitar solo is a guitar hero spotlight full of melody, and brought to life by fast alternative picking, sweep picking, bends and legato lines.

“We Don’t Belong” is the best Bon Jovi chorus that Jon Bon Jovi didn’t write, with its woohs and ohs. “Devils Choir” has another guitar hero spotlight solo while “Resurrect The Sun” moves between being a ballad and a rocker.

“Overture” is a violin instrumental and it showcases the impressive violin skills of guitarist Jinxx. He layers those violins and creates a symphony. “Shadows Die” is up next, with its very sounding Avenged Sevenfold arrangement. “Days Are Numbered” has got this up-tempo “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) inspired riff, which connects and gets me interested.

“Done For You” is just a laid back ballad and man, it reminds me of Coheed and Cambria. And the Chorus has a repeating line of “it’s all done for you” and the ohhh backing vocals. Its haunting and hopeful. The yin and the yang.

“Lost It All” has this piano intro which immediately connects. And Biersack sings with a bass-baritone voice, which is perfect for the melancholy that the first part of the song brings out. Then the band comes in, and man, this is a good song. That’s it. It’s a good song. The way Jinxx and Jake Pitts decorate the verses with their palm muted arpeggios and Jinxx is also wailing away on his violin. And then the violin takes centre stage from about the 3 minute mark, with female gospel like vocals.

Then the big one starts, “In The End” with 84.6 million streams on Spotify and counting. Plus it has a Gold certification from the RIAA, for over 500,000 sales in the U.S.

Black Veil Brides

The self-titled album came out in 2014.

Bob Rock is producing and man, this dude takes it to another level in the sonics and the sound. It’s perfect. If you are a fan of the 80’s music or grew up during the 80’s and want an introduction to Black Veil Brides, then let this album be it. I swear it’s like a different band, that’s how good Bob Rock is in capturing everything.

“Heart Of Fire” is the opening track and it plummets your brain with the sonics, the heaviness and its super catchy chorus. And on this album, there are a lot of outside songwriters. For example, this song is written by Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts and Jinxx, along with Justin Cordle and Mark Holman. Don’t know who these dudes are or their background, but who cares, as the song is doing the talking.

“Faithless” is a thrash metal piece in the intro. Listen to it. Metallica hasn’t written anything this heavy and this good in the 2000’s. The first 40 seconds is a circle mosh pit. This song has a song writing committee of Biersack, Pitts and Christian Coma from the band, along with Tommy English and Nick Long. Again, no idea who these extra song writing dudes are from.

From about 2.50 there is this military style snare beat, which sort of sets up the song for the interlude and solo section. Again, it’s a thrash metal mosh. Did I mention the guitar solo is another entry into the guitar hero spotlight?

“Devil In The Mirror” again brings out the heaviness. This one is written by Biersack, Pitts and Jinxx from the band, along with Tommy English and Josh Moran as the outside writers.

“Goodbye Agony” is my favourite. That clean tone intro riff reminds me of “Tears Of A Dragon” from Bruce Springsteen merged with “Nobody’s Fool” from Cinderella. It’s a good song.

“World Of Sacrifice” has this bridge section from about 2.20 which gets my head nodding and there is no guitar solo spotlight on this one. Because it didn’t need one, the riffage and all the guitar melodies over it was enough.

“Last Rites” is a head banging hard rock song.

“Walk Away” is written by Biersack, Pitts and Jinxx from the band, along with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Holman. It’s a ballad, but it’s not clichéd or boring or all mushie. Just listen to the last two minutes of this song. You will know what I mean.

“Drag Me To The Grave” has another head banging and foot stomping riff along with an arena rock chorus. “The Shattered God” has another bone crunching riff in the intro. And the album closers with “Crown Of Thorns” another rocker.

After this album, Andy Biersack released two solo albums which lived in the pop and acoustic domain, under the name of Andy Black.

Then “Vale” came out from Black Veil Brides in 2018, a prequel to “The Wretched And Divine” album. And a two song single called “The Night” came out towards the end of 2019. But the band became a bit different, with bassist, Ashley Purdy leaving in 2019, replaced by Lonny Eagleton.

I’m interested to hear what’s next.

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

You Want A Battle (Here’s A War)

“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 head banging riffage.

The message based on the first three lines, is the same message from 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 music videos.

While in the 80’s, the enemy for Dee Sninder 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. Which is basically what the Twisted Sister song is about as well. Standing up to the oppressors.

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.

You see, back in the 80s, there was a lot of metal heads in just the one area/school. The music and the metal movement was like a juggernaut and all of us sick motherfuckers helped propel it.

But as the years went by, the metal head unity got more fragmented.

Suddenly a fan of Death couldn’t like Motley Crue or Bon Jovi. But I did. If you liked Metallica or Slayer, how could you like Poison and Warrant. But I liked all of em.

Suddenly a Pearl Jam fan couldn’t be a Dream Theater fan or a Yngwie Malmsteen fan. But I was.

Suddenly a Smashing Pumpkins fan couldn’t be an AC/DC fan. But I was.

But to the elitist, it was sacrilege and man they and their little stooges sure knew how to let you know. And all I can say to these elitists with fixed mindsets and surrounded by their echo chambers, they missed out on experiencing different things.

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.

Check it out.

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

Up All Night

Slaughter is a forgotten band.

The people who normally read and comment on this blog would know that Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum were in Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion, which was signed to Chrysalis, when a person called John Sykes ran the label (not the John Sykes that we all know from Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy and Tygers Of Pang Tang fame), but what a bloody coincidence.

Anyway, Vincent’s diva like demands didn’t sit well with the label and they offered the rest of his deal to Slaughter and Strum and the rest is history.

For two albums, Slaughter ruled because the band could rock, could croon like Michael Bolton and they could also bring out the metal, with Mark Slaughter belting out a triple octave voice.

And they even had a 25 year old Michael Bay direct the music video clip for this song. In 5 years’ time, he would become well known with the first “Bad Boys” movie.

Up all night
Sleep all day

This is an anthem.

It still has the same power 30 plus years later as it did back in the day. We tried to live to this. Artists lived this life, they didn’t care about their brand, their endorsements, their promo on Morning Breakfast shows. They kept it mysterious. All to themselves. With a lot of groupies.

Which doesn’t even exist anymore in music, because the techies and the financers are now breaking the rules and living the rock star lifestyle. When Steve Jobs hit the stage at an Apple launch event, he was greeted with an applause that was normally reserved for rock stars. When Oprah or Ellen or Lettermen walked onto their sets, they had a bigger applause than rock stars.

And musicians just kept signing their rights away for another chance to record and to be in a state of never recouping with the labels, while the labels laughed their way to billions in profits. Those same label execs who contributed nothing to culture, fly private, while the artists who made them billions don’t. There is no way a techie would have given away their rights the same way the music artists did.

When evening comes
I am alive

I feel I am most productive at night. Sometimes its past midnight and I don’t want to sleep because I am in the zone.

Up all night, sleep all day.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Interesting Times

Interesting times we are living through. We have gotten so used to everything just happening. Flick on a switch and the light comes on instantly. It doesn’t matter where you go, you are connected to the internet and to all of the good and bad things that comes with it. Book a holiday and it happens.

But now, everything is getting cancelled or postponed.

Machine Head just cancelled their European tour, so did Sons Of Apollo a week earlier. Festivals are cancelled. NBA cancelled its season, football leagues in Europe and the US have either suspended their leagues or cancelled their leagues or are having matches/events go ahead behind closed doors.

Goes to show how much dollars the TV rights are.

In Australia, the Formula 1 Grand Prix was on with an audience, then it was on with no audience and now it is off, when McLaren pulled out because they had members in their team with Coronavirus.

Holidays have been cancelled, my Euro trip in April has been postponed to sometime in September, whatever that means and countries have shut down people movements and from all of this, there is no toilet paper in Australia but plenty of alcohol to buy.

And this will be a hard time for artists who make their coin on the road and the crew that also rely on these tours to make coin.

Brian Slagel posted on Twitter how fans should purchase something from the artist, like buying music or merchandise. It’s a nice suggestion, but then again Slagel is in the business of selling recorded music, while the world has gravitated to streaming, which based on the streams that rock artists get, it doesn’t pay enough to be split between band members, management, legal and labels.

But, the people who buy, have already purchased something. The people who stream, will continue to stream, regardless of the pleas. It’s just the way it is of the interesting times we are living in.

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