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

The Perfect Album Of 2014

We know that metal and rock bands need to get their heads away from the album format. From all of the 2014 releases that I heard, there was not an album that I loved from start to finish. So for my top 10 list, I have sequenced my favourite songs like an “album”. (Everyone gasps).

It looks pretty solid from start to finish.

Machine Head – Now We Die

It’s the first track and lead single from “Bloodstone and Diamonds”.

Cast off the shackles of the past
Live in the moment nothing ever lasts

So true, live in the now because no one knows when that last day being alive is.

A family friend died last week at 50 years of age however he actually died over 10 years when his wife left him. He just never got over it and it led to 4 heart attacks, stents, pace makers and in the end it was a brain haemorrhage that did it. A few days ago, the mother of a kid I coach in football died from a heart attack. She was under 40 years of age.

The recording business is so enraptured about what they lost that they fail to see the opportunities of the day and what they stand to gain.

Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun

One of Australia’s best kept secrets when it comes to melodic metal. This is the title track of their new album that almost didn’t get made.

 How many times can you walk away
How many years can you give to crying

It covers the years in between albums and the struggle to get the album done due to life being life. They dealt with a record company going bust, band members leaving, shelving the music written with those band members, starting from scratch again, the death of a family member and then finding inspiration to continue.

Evergrey – King Of Errors

The anti-heroes from Sweden. As a fan, there has not been a bad release from them. “Hymns For The Broken” is no different and “King Of Errors” is a great comeback song.

They call us kings
And then we fall down broken

Social media accounts put out an image that all is well in our lives. There we are, happy, smiling, taking selfies with others and having a good time.

I know that life is peaks and valleys. We could be kings and queens for a while but it doesn’t sustain. We all have our lows. We all make errors. I made errors and I made choices that led me to where I am today.

Black Label Society – Angel Of Mercy

“Zakk’s developing into a monster. If you listen to his guitar playing there’s a little bit of Hendrix here, some other stylings there. He’s putting it all together in his own way. Zakk’s a musician for the future.”

OZZY – Guitar World, October 1989

Enough said.

Door of memories
Closed forevermore

I love the analogy of using the door to keep the memories from leaking out. We never want to lose all of those good and bad memories. In the end they make us who we are today.

Intervals – Automation

Intervals is another progressive band from Canada with a cult like following. I came across their name when I saw them on a tour poster with bands that I support like Periphery, Protest The Hero and TesserAct.

“Automation” is from their 2014 self-funded/released album “A Voice Within”.

After a few instrumental releases, this is their first one to feature vocals and what a stellar job they did with it.

The gears pulling forward
Always falling into place
The battle I know is over
Despite the effort and haste

The Kindred – Heritage

Yep, another band from Canada that was formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague” and one of the best progressive bands out there that everyone needs to hear. This song is from the album “Life In Lucidity” released on Sumerian Records.

Now stand on the shoulders of history’s tallest thinkers
See that their height is borrowed from predecessors
And even the worst ideas can spur better conceptions
Pushing humankind along an evolutionary rite of passage

The whole British Rock movement in the Sixties came about because of the love the British musicians had for the American Blues movement. They borrowed from their predecessors to make new creations. Hell, Led Zeppelin took blue and folk staples and built a career of that. That E7(#9) chord that Jimi Hendrix so famously used in “Purple Haze” was used consistently by Wes Montgomery years before. However it is known to the masses as the “Hendrix Chord”.

We’ll be tomorrow’s heritage
The giants of advancing thought
But if only we respect the statuesque preceding

Machine Head – Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones

It was hard to pick a song from Machine Head because “Sail Into The Black”, “Killers and Kings” and “Game Over” are all up there as well, however “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” was a favourite right from the start. That whole intro build up made me want to pick up my work desk and throw it out the window.

From my throat the agonies emit
My demons wrestle and my thoughts conflict
The stench of bile, as I purge this hate
An inner struggle I can’t separate

With all that was happening behind the scenes between the Machine Head members it is a miracle that this album was finished and finally released.

Adrenaline Mob – Dearly Departed

Adrenaline Mob’s aura is a throwback to the Eighties period. Yeah, I know they might have had some nu-metal style of riffing in some songs, overall, the feel is still classic Eighties.

I gave you everything
Took you under my wing
With open arms brought you in the family

I don’t allow people into my life that easily anymore. The band members from my last band left me cautious and then when they put in song writing claims for songs that I had registered in 2005 (and the band formed in 2008, with the bass player that also put in a claim joining in 2010) I was furious. The deceitfulness shown by them I thought wasn’t possible in humans and it was a real eye-opener to me to be more careful.

Fight or Flight – Leaving

The side project that featured members from Evans Blue and Disturbed.

Living life through compromise

Being married for more than fifteen years is basically living a life through compromise on both sides. Having kids further compromises that life. Working a Monday to Friday job is another compromise. Get where I am going with this. Are there any people out there that have never compromised anything of themselves?

Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died

Sanctuary are a cult favourite of mine and the thing is as much as I tried to get into Nevermore, I just couldn’t. Then came Warrel Dane’s solo album and I was like “yeah”. And with Sanctuary’s new one, it’s a “Fuck Yeah”.

What if there is nothing more?
What if there is only emptiness?
What if there is nothing more
Beyond the code of deliverance?
What if everything decays?
What if we’ve all just been betrayed?
The code of deliverance leads us closer
We are closer to the end

It’s like a modern-day “Draconian Times” from Paradise Lost all wrapped up into one song.

ONE LAST ENTRY: Black Veil Brides – Faithless

Say what you want about them and their look but man, this band has two deadset shredders in Jinxx (plus he plays a mean violin) and Jake Pitts.

“Faithless” is a riff romp and the Bob Rock production just takes it to another level. Even the vocal tone of Andy Biersack which I am not a big fan off is pretty good under the tutelage of Rock.

Live with defiance
It’s time to fight
Don’t ever let them keep your words from being heard

Dee Snider would be proud.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

The “Now We Die” Leak

I tried to pre-order the new Machine Head album from the Nuclear Blast US store. I was after the box set package at $77.99 plus. It was easy to find and it was easy to click on “add to cart”. Then when I went to check out and I couldn’t. When I investigated it was due to some holding days parameter. It is the first time I have seen anything of the sort. Maybe it was a godsend because when I checked the FAQ on delivery costs, the label was going to charge me $55 to have it delivered to Australia.

So I sent the label a WTF email and pre-ordered the limited 48 page media book from Amazon without any fucking issue. Typical label bullshit. Here is a tip for any label web store. Make it as simple as possible. If anyone has read Steve Jobs’s bio, there is a passage there that stuck with me. He basically wanted his Apple products to be as simple as the Star Trek arcade game he came across as a child. That game had two rules. Insert Coin and shoot Kligons with red button.

I also listened to “Now We Die” from Machine Head a lot of times today.

Listen to the version on Machine Head’s account. It sounds better than the link that Robb Flynn had on his Journal post which is to a fan YouTube account. So first the song. The violin start is enough to get the blood pumping and when that opening riff kicks in it is absolutely killer. I would have loved for that violin part to come in again throughout the song in the form of a harmony solo section however it didn’t. But for some reason I have a feeling that it will come back in play somewhere else in the album. So with “Killer And Kings” and “Now We Die” doing the rounds, all I can say is that I am really looking forward to the album.

Now for the leak.

“Now We Die” is the official lead single from the “Bloodstone And Diamonds” album. It leaked on the Internet 3 weeks before its official release date because someone messed up. However the way Machine Head has responded to the leak is the way every artist should respond. They have uploaded the song to their own YouTube account, they have told their fans to share it to every corner of the world and most importantly they are working on getting the song/s up on Spotify as quickly as possible.

Machine Head has a pretty loyal fan base and all we want is access to the new music.

And kudos to the band on not going all nuclear on taking down the songs. Even in their anger, they understand the way the world works today and when something like this happens then you need to be in a position to capitalise on it.

Because even though music might feel like it is free it is not. YouTube pays the rights holders and so does Spotify. It’s up to the artist to promote these avenues and to get their fan base to listen. If an artist wants to get paid then get people to listen. If Calvin Harris can clock up more than a billion streams on Spotify there is no reason why a metal act can’t do the same. Those one billion streams of ONE, (yes, ONE) song would have generated closed to $7 million in Spotify payments to Columbia Records. Now how much of this goes to Calvin Harris and how much goes to the label we will never now, but hey, think about it for a second. That one song generated $7 million dollars.

And even though piracy exists, more and more people (especially the kids) are busy streaming than downloading. It’s a brave new world out there, a bit fragmented but getting better all the time.

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