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

2019 – Part 2

The year in review continues.

The “Feral Roots” Album
Rival Sons

Album number six. They started off the release cycle in 2018, by dropping four or so songs that got me interested.

And after the album dropped I started saving songs like “Do Your Worst”, “Sugar On The Bone”, “Back In The Woods”, “Look Away”, “Feral Roots”, “Too Bad” and “Shooting Stars”.

In other words, the majority of the album, took me by the throat the same way the dog on the cover would if it got a hold of me. And the earlier Rival Sons albums didn’t grab me like this one.

It’s like they did a deal with the devil at the crossroads. Even the opening lyric to “Do Your Worst” introduces the devil by saying, “see that stranger coming up the hill, though you don’t recognize him, I know your preacher will.”

Burn
Testament
War
Corroded

Another band from Sweden who write music in a way that I like and can easily relate to. And they have been doing this since 2004 and releasing albums since 2009.

The “Bitter” album is basically loud, aggressive and heavy and people who read this blog know that I have covered Corroded previously.

The Gathering
The Runaway
Gathering of Kings

The “First Mission” album is like a who’s who of melodic rock artists around Europe and “The Runaway” stands out to me because of Bjorn Strid doing some impressive vocals.

Home
Horizon Ignited

From the album “After The Storm”.

I haven’t heard the album yet and I probably won’t at this point in time, however “Home” did come up on a Release Radar playlist and it was good enough to get added to my 2019 list. And I’ve been listening to this song for most of the year, but I know nothing about the band.

So Google tells me they are from Finland, with melodic and death metal influences.

There’s no light beneath the waves, the silence feels like home

Evergrey’s Tom Englund is very big on using water as a metaphor or analogy to convey a feeling and Horizon Ignited are no different, finding comfort at the bottom of the ocean.

Fall Into The Light
Dream Theater 

From the “Distance Over Time” album

It’s probably my least favourite Dream Theater album, but this song has all the things I like about Dream Theater. Killer riffs, frantic drumming, emotional guitar solos and that outro solo with its sweep string skipping is finger breaking.

Never Let You Go
DeVicious

From the “Reflections” album. They are a band based in Germany with German and Serbian members. This song is a duet with Norwegian singer, Age Sten Nilsen from melodic rock bands, Wig Wam and Ammunition.

Mettavolution
Battery
Rodrigo y Gabriela

From when they released there self-titled album in 2006, I have been a fan. I enjoyed their “11:11” album in 2009, their Area 52 band style project in 2012 and their “9 Dead Alive” album in 2014.

Basically I like the shit they create.

And “Mettavolution” is the title track of an album that has them covering Pink Floyd’s 19 minute “Echoes” song plus there is a bonus cover of “Battery” from Metallica. If you are fan of Metallica, you will be pleased of the acoustic rendition, because Gabriela is so percussive in her style, she covers the drum feel along with the rhythm guitars so easily, it allows Rodrigo to flourish the song with the vocal melodies and everything else melodic.

Break These Chains
The Brink

From England and signed to Frontiers “New Breed” roster. And their sound is like the glam rockers of the past and their names mimic the past names as well, like Izzy Trixx, Lexi Laine and Tom Quick.

Break the chains that bind you I say.

Radio Song
Buckcherry

Buckcherry have been going since 1995.

Each album has a song or two which gets me interested and on the “Warpaint” album, “Radio Song” is a ballad about time slipping away and looking for you’re an escape, while you hear the radio playing your favourite song, so you turn it up and have some fun.

Shock
Tesla

One of my favourite acts. Their first four albums became so influential to me, in my song writing, plus the interviews of Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch spoke of influences I didn’t really know of, so based on their recommendations, I brightened my musical horizons.

Blood In Blood Out
Mustasch

Another band from Sweden, which I have mentioned before in my yearly write ups. They are basically dudes wearing moustaches with some serious musical ability to craft aggressive, abrasive, metallic and melodic rock songs.

I was born to be defiant

It’s the lifestyle of a metal head.

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Invasion Of The Swedes – The First To Embrace Streaming and Guess What… Their Scene Is Flourishing

What do all of these bands have in common?

Evergrey, Corroded, Yngwie Malmsteen, Crashdiet, Avatar, In Flames, Europe, Soilwork, Jeerk, John Norum, Angeline, Baby Jane, Arch Enemy, April Divine, Cervello, The Night Flight Orchestra, Pretty Maids, Wig Wam, Fatal Smile, H.E.A.T, Hardcore Superstar, Scar Symmetry, M.ill.ion, Machinae Supremacy, Meldrum, Meshuggah, Overload, The Poodles, Shotgun Messiah, Sister Sin, Coldspell, Kee Marcello, W.E.T, Work Of Art, Audiovision, Dream Evil, At The Gates, Angelica, HammerFall, Tad Morose, Hollow, Pain Of Salvation, Opeth, Sonic Syndicate, Dead By April, April Divine, Bonafide, Crazy Lixx, Diamond Dogs, Plan Three, Treat, Takida, Royal Republic, Renegade Five, Vains Of Jenna, Amon Amarth, Bathory, Candlemass, Karmakanic, Degreed, Diamond Dawn, Eclipse, Gemini Five and House Of Shakira.

They are all from Sweden. And it was “Tearing Down The Walls” the fourth album from the band H.E.A.T that got me thinking about this invasion.

And the thing is they have always been producing so many good bands and great music. But when the record labels controlled the market, we didn’t know of the bands unless they broke big like Europe, Roxette, Yngwie Malmsteen and so on. Now with the internet, we know a lot more.

“Address The Nation” from 2012 was the first piece of music I heard from H.E.A.T and then I went back and heard their 2008 self-titled debut and it’s 2010 follow-up “Freedom Rock”. I liked them all, so I had high hopes for the fourth album. Going in blind, “Point of No Return” didnt disappoint. After listening to Bonfire a few days ago, I can honestly say that H.E.A.T reminds me of a cross between Europe and Bonfire. And that is a good thing.

Which melodic hard rock band these days isn’t from Sweden. It’s a Viking musical invasion in so many ways.

Max Martin is rocking the Billboard Top 10 charts with his pop formula. Other artists are also breaking through. Avicii and Swedish House Mafia are the big EDM artists that have crossed over recently.

And a lot of the hard rock and metal bands that I mentioned earlier would probably not tour the Americas or Australia on a frequent basis however they have a career touring around Europe and Japan. And trust me, they are big markets to hit.

H.E.A.T for example have shows all over the continent. And you know their name is built on the backs of song number 14 on album number 1. Yep, “1000 Miles” almost has 3 million streams on Spotify.

And for a Swedish band, H.E.A.T’s new album is not even available to be streamed.

Which is a big contrast to say the band called “Takida”. Yep, they are another Swedish band and their song “You Learn” from their 2011 album “Burning Heart” has 21,853,323 streams on Spotify. WTF.

I can tell you that a lot of American major label acts do not have those stats. I just checked Five Finger Death Punch and they are nowhere near this figure. To prove that it is not a one-off fluke I checked out some of their newer material from 2014 and the song “One Lie” is sitting at 900,000 plus streams. I went deeper and the song “Curly Sue” from their 2007 album is sitting at 7,677,597 streams. Bands would kill to have these stats and I bet a lot of people reading this would be saying, who the fuck is Takida?

The same could be said for the band “Mustasch”. Their song “Double Nature” from 2007 has 8,627,129 streams. Yep they are another rock band from Sweden. If you want to compare streams, Dream Theater’s “On The Backs Of Angels” has 1,419,649 streams.

Then what about the band called Sabaton? Their song “Ghost Division” has 7,817,664 streams. Or the Swedish band “Dream Evil” that features Gus G. Their song “The Chosen Ones” has 1,161,146 streams. Or the band “Dead By April” and their song “Mystery” that has 11,643,378 streams.

Isn’t it funny how the home country of Spotify also has one of the most vibrant rock and metal scenes in the world. But wait a second. I am sure I have heard the RIAA and their proponents scream that because music has been devalued, no one will create anymore.

Well it looks like someone forgot to tell the Swedes.

But, the RIAA and their proponents still screams piracy and the copyright industry still screams for stronger copyright enforcement. But the truth of the matter is that all eyes should be on Sweden. Here is a country that has embraced streaming and guess what, their musical scene is flourishing.

Once you add in all of the crossover artists like Swedish House Mafia and Avicii, along with songwriting king Max Martin (aka Martin Sandberg) it is safe to say that free music to a consumer DOES NOT MEAN THAT CREATORS HAVE NO INCENTIVE TO CREATE.

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