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

2001 – Part 4.4: Staind – Break The Cycle

Aaron Lewis has been in the news recently. He is touring in the U.S for his “Frayed At Both Ends” Country album, getting criticized for playing the same song at a gig twice and a few months ago he released a song called “Am I The Only One” in which he expressed his political views and questioned the patriotism of Bruce Springsteen.

Music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz didn’t like it and Lefsetz called out Lewis and his label boss Scott Borchetta. However Borchetta in an open letter back to Lefsetz, said that even though Lewis and Borchetta have opposing political views, Borchetta is not going to cancel or drop Aaron Lewis.

Moving away from “Politics 2021”, back in the early 2000’s, Lewis was busy writing and recording “Break the Cycle”, the third studio album by Staind. Released through Elektra and Flip Records in 2001, it is Staind’s most successful album to date, and it was the album that broke them into the mainstream.

Supported by Fred Durst who signed them to his Flip Records label originally, they had the fortunate or maybe unfortunate tag as Durst prodigies. The debut album, “Tormented” was ignored by the press, but Elektra wanted a piece of the action and “Dysfunction” is the result of major label support.

Then came “Break The Cycle”.

At 28 years of age, Aaron Lewis had lived and experienced enough sadness and happiness to put his life and thoughts into his lyrics.

A total of 5 singles were released from this album, “It’s Been Awhile”, “Fade”, “Outside”, “For You” and “Epiphany”, all of which did reasonably well.

On a side note, the album did cost $800K to make and Elektra along with Flip Records, just weren’t sure they would even get close to recouping.

But in its first three weeks, it sold over a million copies in the U.S. Currently it is certified 5x Platinum for U.S sales. In Canada and New Zealand it was certified 2x Platinum and in the U.K it was certified Platinum. In Australia and Sweden it was certified Gold.

And the label is still saying that Staind owe em money.

The band for the album is Aaron Lewis on Lead vocals and Rhythm guitar, Mike Mushok is on Lead Guitar, Johnny April is on Bass and Jon Wysocki on Drums.

Open Your Eyes

It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde. The lush strummed lightly dirty electric guitar which is the verse riff and part of the intro is calm and beautiful.

The riff that kicks in with the natural harmonics and downtuned riffing is aggressive and ugly. Sonically they just don’t go but the jarring difference works this time around.

Pressure

Written by Staind and producer Josh Abraham.

It has metal like riffs and a verse that is very Grunge like.

Fade

One of their best songs.

The bass groove is great and the way the guitar decorates the spaces shows the skills of Mike Mushok.

And of course, Aaron Lewis is more than capable of crafting and carrying a vocal melody.

It’s Been Awhile

I suppose this was the song that got a lot of people to check out Staind and at 194.497 million streams on Spotify it’s remained in the conversation and the various playlists.

Change

A huge metal like riff starts it off before the clean tone verses kick in.

The Pre-Chorus or is it the Chorus, feels like it could come from a Bush song.

Can’t Believe

Not a favourite. It sounds like the vocals are screamed through a loudspeaker and it does nothing for me.

Epiphany

An Aaron Lewis cut, as the acoustic guitar is prominent with a haunting vocal melody.

Suffer

It’s a hard rock riff however the down tuning and phrasing makes it sound like it isn’t.

Warm Safe Place

It’s just down-tuned too much, that the riff sounds like a muddled mess.

For You

My favourite track on the album.

That opening riff is good enough to challenge some of the best metal riffs from the 80’s.

Outside

Lewis again brings his acoustic guitar and melodies to the table.

The song has 95.057 million streams on Spotify.

Waste

A simple drum groove starts it off, almost jazz blues like. A clean tone guitar plays the riff and Lewis delivers his emotive vocal melody.

In the Chorus, the distorted guitar dynamic kicks in before it moves back to the subdued clean tone verses.

Take It

Another killer riff to start it off.

If there is a problem with the album, it’s the down tuning. On some songs it is excessive, to the point that it sounds muddled. But when they get it right, the songs elevate themselves and the slower acoustic pieces add a lot of variety.

Regardless of political alliances, Aaron Lewis does have a great voice. There are YouTube videos in which he covers “Black” by Pearl Jam and “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger live.

Lyrically, he’s copped a lot of flak for his lyrics to the point that people have called em depressive, but then again, no one said that life is all sunshine, happiness and smiling selfies in exotic locations.

Press play on this and start with “For You”.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

2001 – Part 4.3: Alice Cooper – Dragontown

Alice Cooper did really well between the difficult periods of 1993 and 2003 for rock artists. It didn’t matter what kind of music came out, the Alice Cooper brand was known for doing things different. The 70’s output alone is very diverse. The experimental early 80’s period, although not commercially successful, introduced new wave sounds into the mix. His stage shows bordered on the horror and macabre, with a lot of theatre thrown in. And one thing I do know as a fan of the horror genre, you don’t just stop being a fan.

Then “Trash” came out with its slick “hair metal” production and Alice was really back. His stage shows got even more extravagant and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Hey Stoopid”, the concept album “The Last Temptation” and “Brutal Planet” which told us we are all going to die, continued his brand in the 90’s.

And then there is “Dragontown” was released in 2001.

The band is Alice Cooper on Vocals, Ryan Roxie on Guitar and Greg Smith on Bass.

The studio session Guitar players are Wayne Swinny from the band Saliva and Tim Pierce who did a lot of session work and can be heard doing guitar on songs like “Runaway” from Bon Jovi, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” from Crowded House, “Iris” from Goo Goo Dolls and “Black Or White” from Michael Jackson.

Producer Bob Marlette plays about every string related instrument like Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and String Arrangements.

Sid Riggs is on Keyboards and programming and Kenny Aronoff on Drums.

Backing Vocals are provided by Teddy Andreadis, Eric Dover, Calico Cooper and Gionvanna Morana.

If the first two names of the backing vocalists look familiar, they should, as Teddy has done a lot of work with G’n’R and Dover was the singer in Slash’s Snakepit. And the third backing vocalist is Alice Cooper himself, making an appearance as Calico.

All tracks are written by Alice Cooper and producer Bob Marlette.

Triggerman

The sound is definitely on that industrial hard rock style that bands like White Zombie, Coal Chamber and Orgy did.

But in its essence, it’s still a rock song.

Just listen to the Chorus, its 60’s pop. And the ending is in the vein of “Paradise City”.

I am always out of sight
A shadow in the mist
I don’t need no alibi, cos
I don’t exist

Lyrically, it’s about a nobody, a person ignored by society, a person who doesn’t exist, but when that trigger is pulled, they do exist.

Deeper

A very heavy and down tuned chugging riff opens the song. The Pre-Chorus is haunting, with the symphonic Church sermon like voices.

Down and down and down we go
We’re in a deadly spin

Dragontown

An ominous like Intro begins it.

Then Alice starts his vocal melodies.

Well, here you are
Lying bleeding on a grimy street
See the broken glass sparkling darkly
As it cuts your feet

So descriptive.

The Pre Chorus is heavy and I like the vocal melody when Alice is singing, “come on, I’ve got something to show you”.

And the Chorus tells the story of how anyone can disappear in “Dragontown”.

This song is as good as any “metal” song released during this period.

Sex, Death and Money

This cut could have been on a Rod Zombie album. And the Alice sarcasm is back as by the end of the song, we are all going to fry because of our lack of morality.

Sex, death and money, sonny
Makes this wicked world go round
Sex, death and money
It’s the Gospel here in Dragontown

Amen to that.

Fantasy Man

You just want to squeeze my masculinity
Why can’t you leave it alone

It feels like a cut from “Hey Stoopid”, a mixture between “Hurricane Years” and “Feed My Frankenstein”.

Somewhere in the Jungle

From reading the lyrics, you get the idea that somewhere in the jungle the devil is laughing, as an African genocide takes place, making even the wild animals run away from the madness and slaughter while the million bodies are piled on top of each other, arms and legs, feet and hands.

It’s heavy like Ozzy’s “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide”.

Disgraceland

Downtuned 12-bar blues. That’s what this song is.

An Elvis Presley inspired verse, which also reminds me of a cross between Johnny Cash, Chris Issak and George Thorogood.

And Alice is doing a commentary on the absurdity of how the greatest rock ‘n’ roll hero of all time died on a toilet.

Sister Sara

How low can a guitar go?

In this song, very low.

And like “Sister Mary” in Operation Mindcrime, “Sister Sara” is in a bit of trouble. While “Sister Mary” had issues with an terrorist organisation controlling sleeper cells, “Sister Sara” gets caught with the Bishop and many other cardinal sins to feed her habit.

Every Woman Has a Name

An acoustic guitar arpeggio riff starts it off and Alice tells the story how dreams of youth are taken away by the cold hard and unforgiven world we live in.

I Just Wanna Be God

A bone crunching intro riff starts it off reminding me of Godsmack, Monster Magnet, Mudvayne, Static X and I like it.

And there’s a killer solo as well.

It’s Much Too Late

Then this one kicks in, more Country Rock and totally out of leftfield.

Alice is in his demented “Steven” character voice.

The road to hell is littered
with nice guys with good intentions
But once you’re there, you’re there

The Sentinel

And the album is rounded out by another dose of massive industrial downtuned riffs.

I am the sentinel
I want the world to know
I’m sending you all to hell
I’m tired and I’m wired here to blow

Amen. The countdown has begun.

While none of the songs became concert staples, the album did what it needed to do. Get Alice Cooper on the road.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2001 – Part 4.2: Sevendust – Animosity

“Animosity” is album number 3 and it was released on November 13, 2001. Four months later it was certified gold by the RIAA.

This is their best album, a mixture of their Nu-Metal grooves with a lot of melody and head banging riffs.

Just think Rage Against The Machine riffs merging with Metallica riffs and melodies and Faith No More riffs and melodies.

Sevendust is Lajon Witherspoon on lead vocals, Clint Lowery on lead guitar, and co-lead vocals on “Xmas Day” and “Angel’s Son”, John Connolly on rhythm guitar, Vinnie Hornsby on bass and Morgan Rose on drums.

This album really highlights what a great talent Lajon Witherspoon is. His vocals are exceptional.

T.O.A.B.

Written by drummer Morgan Rose, it stands for “Tits On A Boar”.

In case you are not familiar with it, it means a person, place, event or item in which there is little or no value.

Musically and vocally it could have come from the debut.

And any song that starts off with “Die you piece of shit!”, well you know you ain’t gonna get a love song.

Praise

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

A great riff kicks this off, something that Stone Sour would do a lot off.

Trust

Written by Clint Lowery and Lajon Witherspoon.

The power of the Intro riff hooks me in immediately.

Then it’s just bass and drums for the verses and Lajon delivers a killer vocal melody.

And if you are in any doubt, press play for the Chorus.

Also it wouldn’t be a Sevendust song with a head banging interlude.

Crucified

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

It continues the standard set with “Praise” but the Chorus is more melodic. Very Disturbed like.

And lyrics like “Don’t you feel like a bitch / Don’t promise shit you’ll never be” set the aggressive tone.

Xmas Day

Written by Clint Lowery.

A ballad, which reminds me of Soundgarden, Alice Cooper 70s version and other

Don’t know how she gets by
Sleeps with a phone on her chest
And a bottle that’s totally dry
Forgets the day I was born
But if she saw me right now

The lyrics more or less sum up what the song is about.

But press play to hear the Chorus and the great vocal performances.

Dead Set

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon composition. It’s a heavy rocker with another killer Chorus.

I dodge the grave almost every day

Shine

A Witherspoon composition with a syncopated groove riff in the verses which is head banging material.

I’m on a free fall / So hard for me to shine

Follow

A Lowery and Connolly composition with Aaron Lewis doing additional vocals. Goddamn it could pass as a Staind or A Perfect Circle song.

And how good are the opening lyric lines.

Time can take everything that surrounds you

Damaged

It’s a Connolly and Rose composition.

How could you really know as your blood flows
The damage left inside

No one will ever know the damage done especially the mental damage.

Live Again

Another Connolly and Rose composition. And if you press play on a track from this album this is it.

Look at yourself and live again

That Chorus. So emotive and catchy.

Beautiful

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon.

Another killer heavy Intro that gets me thinking of Faith No More with a Chorus that reminds me of Godsmack.

Redefine

A Lowery, Rose, Witherspoon with a heavy riff that reminds me of Disturbed.

But that Chorus riff. So cool to play with the octaves.

Angel’s Son

A Lowery and Witherspoon acoustic composition.

It was originally released on “Strait Up”, a tribute album of Lynn Strait, former lead-singer of the band Snot. Strait died in a car accident on December 11, 1998, at the age of 30.

If you thought Sevendust was just too heavy for ya, then check this album out.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Digital Summer – Counting The Hours

“Counting the Hours” is the album number 2.

It was released in May 2010.

On this album they amp up the radio rock songs, with bigger Choruses and concise song arrangements. They sound heavier, like Sevendust, more commercial than Three Days Grace and Staind and when they do the slower songs, they definitely know how to set a mood.

The band for the album is Kyle Winterstein on Vocals, Guitar and Producer, Ian Winterstein on Guitar, Johnmark Cenfield on Guitar
Anthony Hernandez on Bass and Ben Anderson on Drums and Assistant Engineer.

Counting The Hours

Dropped D down tuning, syncopated guitars and bass kick and a melodic droning lead kicks off the title track.

There’s nothing like an apocalypse to open your eyes

Great lyric, it reminds me of the lyric in “Life Is Beautiful” from Sixx A.M. when James Michael sings, “there’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive.” So don’t wait for those moments, seize the day.

The two guitar attack is very reminiscent of Machine Head during the Supercharger era. One guitar would crank the rhythms while another would play melodic motifs and leads over it during intros and verses and so forth. Korn’s two guitar team is another example of this.

Just Run

It’s basically a hard rock song, but played in a dropped D tuning and the riffs are more syncopated with the drums, which didn’t happen with hard rock bands in the 80’s.

You’ve been running your mouth for quite a while now

These days its more keyboard warriors running their mouths (aka fingertips) on social media.

Check out the Chorus.

Hostage

A fast alternate picked riff is played throughout while the other guitar embellishes with melodic leads.

It’s aggressive and angsty about a “relationship awakening” in which the writer realises they have changed so much that they have become a hostage to the relationship.

I don’t want to be a victim of this pointless game

Playing the Saint

It features guest vocals from Morgan Rose of Sevendust.

Industrial electronics kick it off and then the riffs start.

Kyle is not happy in this one.

I can see right through you and everything you do

The aggressive verses give way to a melodic Chorus about that someone in your life pretending to be someone their not and how they can do no wrong.

A four punch knockout combo so far.

Shallow (Closer than the Angels)

A more rockier bass riff that reminds me of “My Friend Of Misery” starts off the song but the overall feel is like a Five Finger Death Punch song as “The Bleeding” comes to mind.

Press play for the falsetto vocals and then the Arena Rock Chorus.

Anybody Out There

Morgan Rose also appears as a guest drummer, so it’s no surprise that my brain starts to think I’m listening to Sevendust.

And the riffage certainly helps.

SCREAM for help now, is anybody out there
Is anybody listening, does anybody care

There are people who care but they are the first ones we argue with, so let’s hope that are still around and still care in your time of need.

Morphine

Musically, it reminds me of the Limp Bizkit songs which have clean tone riffs and vocally, its melodic.

Not even morphine can kill the pain
Increase the dosage but I feel the same

We live in a drugged up world.

We take tablets for medication and some do it to get high. We take alcohol for various reasons. People still smoke cigarettes when they even know that smoking will kill you and some turn to illegal drugs.

The Thrill

It blasts out of the gate with fast riffing, reminding me of Godsmack.

Never cared for consequences, we take no prisoners
Don’t bother with regrets, we push forward till it hurts

It’s got the spirit of the early 80s.

Rescue Me

This appeared on the “Hollow” EP and was released as a single back then.

So maybe I’m the one that needed saving
Someone to rescue me from myself

Contemplation.

Maybe we are not so perfect after all.

Today

It stars off with a bass groove and drums, while the guitars kick in with shimmering arpeggios and clean tone melodies.

In the Chorus, they blast out the distortion.

The song is a bit derivative of the other songs and if I was John Kalodner, I would be leave this song off.

Inside My Head

The clean tone Intro reminds me of something but I can’t think of what.

It also sounds like part two of “Today”.

Use Me

This appeared on the “Hollow” EP as an acoustic track and here it gets the plugged in treatment.

Morgan Rose from Sevendust appears again as a guest drummer on this track.

The Chorus is melodic and excellent. Press play to hear it.

So Beautiful, So Evil

How good is the intro?

From the moment she laid her eyes on me
I knew how dangerous she could be

It’s like a Coverdale lyric about serpentine women.

Not Even God

Nonpoint and Sevendust come to mind but like “Today” and “Insiee My Head”, I would have done a Kalodner.

Something More

Another song I would have left off the album. Not that it’s a bad song, it’s because it sounds like many others on the album.

While The City Sleeps

One of my favourite songs.

The lyric of cruising the city while it sleeps could be a reference to Kyle’s job as a paramedic. Yes, while doing Digital Summer, he is also a full time paramedic with a generous boss who gives him time off to tour. His brother Ian is also a paramedic.

With the 16 songs, it’s a good album, however if list was cut down to about 10, then it would be a great album.

Either way, if you like heavy rock, crank it.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Australian Method Series: Parkway Drive – Ire

My journey into the world of Parkway Drive started with “Reverence” in 2018 and backwards I went.

“Ire” came out in 2016. It’s their fifth album, but the second album I’d heard from em. It went to Number 1 on the Aussie Charts and the U.S Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums chart.

The band for the album is Winston McCall on lead vocals, Jeff Ling on lead guitar, Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick on rhythm guitar, Jia “Pie” O’Connor on bass and Ben “Gaz” Gordon on drums.

The label even invested in a vocal coach for Winston McCall to increase his melodic skills as he’s already well known for this guttural vocals.

From listening to “Reverence” first and going back to “Ire”, it’s safe to say that this album was the start of the Hard Rock and Classic Metal tunes this band fine tuned with “Reverence”.

This fusion of Nu-Metal, Thrash Metal, Classic Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock ad Death Metal is not meant to go together and work, but it does and it works very well.

Destroyer

A repeating guitar lick starts the album. Its low, it build in intensity and it’s a lick that the crowd could sing-along with along with the “Destroy” vocal chant. But this section wouldn’t work without the rhythm and drum work. It’s thunderous and like a military march.

Once the main riff comes in, its melodic and heavy at the same time. If you grew up on a diet of hard rock, then this riff would fit the criteria.

Dying To Believe

Any song that starts with the lyric, “like dragging nails through my skin” is going to be fast and aggressive. And that’s exactly how it plays it in the blast beat intro.

Vice Grip

Sitting at 52.7 million streams on Spotify. The video clip on YouTube has 23 million views.

Another sing-along guitar riff to start the song and a Chorus you can chant along to with the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” vocals.

Musically, it’s a hard rock song and I’m picking up the guitar after I finish this post to learn it.

There is a “Rise” chant section, which reminds me of the “Die” section from “Creeping Death”.

Crushed

Religious chants give way to “tear the throat box out” vocals and riffs which are too good to not listen to regardless of your preference for vocal styles.

The section from the 40 second mark to 1.01. Press play for that, just to hear how the religious chants work with heavy music.

Or stick around from 3.26 onwards, just to hear the guitar melody under the vocals which could have come from an Iron Maiden album.

But the overall style of the track is Nu-Metal. Weird I know, but it works.

Fractures

The riffs remind me so much of the 80’s and Pantera’s first two albums.

But press play for the Chorus guitar melodies and “wooahs”.

Check out the section from 3.30 as it slows down and then builds back up. As soon as the guitar lead lets loose for the last 30 seconds of the song, someone decided to fade out the song. Nooooo.

Writings On The Wall

The drum groove is like “We Will Rock You”, so you hear McCall carrying the vocal over a bed of ominous piano notes, synths, bass and abstract guitar lines.

“Put your hands up, put your hands up, we’ll fight until we die, this ain’t ever gonna stop”, whispers McCall in true spirit of the 80’s ethos like “Stand Up And Shout”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Bang Your Head”.

Then at 2.30, the song kicks in with some metal like riffage.

At 2.55, my favourite melodic riff from the album kicks in. And the song ends with the haunting piano lines heard throughout the song.

Bottom Feeder

There are so many riffs that people will class as hair metal in this song. But it’s all Metal to me. It’s one of the heaviest tracks and catchiest.

The Sound Of Violence

The intro riff gets me to pay attention and the breakdown Chorus would work well in the live arena.

Vicious

Musically, this song has some serious hard rock cred. Even Metallica “Black” album era.

Dedicated

I feel like I’m listening to a Killswitch Engage tune on this.

Stick around for the breakdown at the end.

A Deathless Song

Acoustic guitars with a fusion of flamenco vibes and baroque start the song. But at 0.44, those iconic sing-along melodic leads kick in.

And those melodic sing-along leads are heard throughout the song, especially in the last minute outro, as they give way to the same riffs, but played with violins.

In the end it’s a “hard core hard rock” album, Somehow it makes perfect sense.

Check it out.

Standard
Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Music As A Weapon

The Disturbed Record Vault series is almost at an end.

“Music as a Weapon” is a series of concert tours created by Disturbed. All up this tour did the rounds seven different times.

In 2001, the first edition featured Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Adema, Stereomud and Systematic.

In 2003, which is also the tour captured on the CD, it featured Disturbed, Chevelle, Taproot and Unloco.

In 2006, the tour featured Disturbed, Stone Sour, Flyleaf and Nonpoint.

In 2008, the tour came to Australia and New Zealand which I caught. It featured Disturbed, P.O.D., Alter Bridge, Redline and Behind Crimson Eyes.

In 2009, the tour featured a bigger line up, with Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, Chimaira, Suicide Silence, Spineshank, Crooked X, Bury Your Dead, Born of Osiris and After the Burial.

In 2011, the line-up was Disturbed, Korn, Sevendust, In This Moment and StillWell. It’s also the first time the tour had co-headliners with Disturbed and Korn. The Australia and New Zealand edition had Disturbed, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Forgiven Rival and These Four Walls.

But back to the “Music as a Weapon II”.

It was recorded at The Aragon in Chicago in 2003, and released in 2004.

The DVD also contains Disturbed’s video for their single “Liberate” and it was Disturbed’s last release with bass guitarist Steve Kmak.

On a different note, it was also Unloco’s final release before splitting up. But vocalist Joey Duenas did form a new band called “Anew Revolution” and released two excellent albums called “Rise” in 2008 and “iMerica” in 2010. But that band is also no more.

“Loading the Weapon” (instrumental)

An instrumental track from Disturbed that is not on any album. I love the mood that this track creates.

“Bound”

It then explodes into “Bound” from the “Believe” album.

“Myself”

This CD was my first exposure to Taproot. The live recording didn’t captivate me to listen any further.

“Dehumanized”

It was written and recorded for the “Believe” album, however it didn’t make the final cut. But it was played live during the “Believe” tour and released as a B side to the “Stricken” single from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album, alongside “Hell”.

And it was finally released on “The Lost Children” album.

“Forfeit”

My first exposure to Chevelle and I was instantly a fan. The live recording isn’t the best, but the Tool like grooves into a concise 4 minute song was of interest to me.

“Fade to Black”

From Disturbed.

A Metallica cover. And how good is the whole intro with the acoustic arpeggios and lead break.

“Empty”

My first exposure to Unloco.

“Sumtimes”

Taproot’s other song on the album. It’s like Staind and the track is more accessible than the previous one. But still not interested.

“Darkness”

From the “Believe” album. The piano and acoustic guitar is haunting. Draiman’s vocal delivery is excellent.

“Bruises”

From “Unloco”. This song was in “The Matrix” movies and various video games.

“Prayer”

From the “Believe” album, the fast staccato riffing in the Intro isn’t as powerful as the album version, but I do like the slight increase in tempo which makes the fast staccato riffing even faster.

And Draiman delivers vocally.

“The Red”

David Draiman makes an appearance with Chevelle. Its pitchy especially when Draiman joins in with the harmonies but that’s what performing live is all about.

“Poem”

Song number three from Taproot. The riff sounded interesting and a bit complex, so from this song, I would go on to check out more Taproot eventually.

“Stupify”

From “The Sickness” album, and Peter Loeffler from Chevelle and Joey Duenas from Unloco make an appearance.

In the end, it’s live with no studio overdubs and very different to the live albums I grew up with, (which were basically re-cut in a studio).

I also like how Disturbed put three unreleased songs on this album.

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

2001 – Part 3.7: Adema – Adema

Labelled as Nu-Metal. I never understood what that label meant. Even though I hated the “hair metal” tag back in the late 80’s, it was easily understood why the record labels and media outlets labelled bands with that term.

But Nu-Metal always had me confused. To me it’s all just music.

The bands that started to make inroads in the early 2000’s, had the same aggression and rage as a lot of the bands I grew up with. Just because they didn’t have guitar solos, had shorter hair, dressed differently and played syncopated riffs, it didn’t make them that much different.

And the majority of these bands had even bigger arena rock choruses than the bands who made it in the 80’s and still had a level of success without MTV pushing them, which was very different to the 80’s as all the bands then got to a million in sales on the back of the exposure MTV generated.

The vocal tones of singers in the 2000’s were different as well.

Growing up in the 80’s my ears got used to the Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Sebastian Bach, Ronnie James Dio, Tom Kiefer and David Coverdale style vocals.

And then in the 90’s with the advent of Grunge, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder (along with others) changed what a vocalist should sound like.

Rob Thomas, Trent Reznor and Jonathan Davis further changed the expectations. And I was like a pariah within my hard rock friends, who hated all of these singers because they didn’t have the range of the metal and hard rock singers of the 80’s.

Back to Adema, the album came out in 2001, but I didn’t hear it until 2003. I have written about them in a Record Vault post, previously.

Adema is Mark Chavez on vocals, Tim Fluckey on lead guitar and keyboards, Mike Ransom on rhythm guitar, Dave DeRoo on bass and Kris Kohls on drums.

Everyone

The Intro riff reminds me of P.O.D and Godsmack.

The Chorus reminds me of Korn. I like how songs do that.

Everyone is the same
Quick to point the blame
All I know is that life is a struggle

Truth right there.

Blow It Away

So many influences here.

The Intro music reminds me of Godsmack.

In the verses, there is a Nirvana bass feel, with Korn like guitar embellishments.

Lyrically, it’s a nasty song about a relationship gone bad and if you’ve seen American Psycho, you will know what the singer is thinking.

Giving In

The Intro hooks me in, with its combination of Deftones and “Come Undone” from Duran Duran.

And it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album, about giving in to your addictions or giving in to the darkness that loneliness brings due to your addictions.

Freaking Out

The rapped verses have enough melody to keep me interested and the music/feel of the song reminds me of New Order.

The Way You Like It

My second favourite and the flow of the song is great, with a catchy Chorus.

More Linkin Park like.

Close Friends

A bass riff in the verses which reminds me of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Do What You Want To Do

Aggressive song about living the life you want to live.

Skin

Phased out chorused guitars shimmer and glimmer in the verses over a jazz-rock fusion drum groove. Then the Chorus riff kicks in, abrasive, compared to the verses.

Pain Inside

It’s got all the synth electronics that bands were using back in the day.

The chorus gospel effect on the guitars gets me interested and the verse drum and bass groove keeps the momentum going.

Once the power chords come crashing in for the Chorus, I’m sold.

Speculum

The acoustic guitar gets some use but it’s not a ballad.

There’s so many people dying
You complain about your situation

Death gives perspective.

Drowning

The intro riff reminds me of Muse.

It’s like a needle in my spine
It stings inside
Poisons me with time
I can’t deal with your lies

Relationships are tough. They could lift you up or bury you.

Trust

It feels like a song from “The Crow” movie with a bit of “Come Undone” by Duran Duran as an influence.

I’m so alone, empty and lost, it’s easier to let you go
Time will erode the shame and the fault, it’s easier to let you go

We become focused on achieving something and when we do, we realize we also lost something along the way, like a relationship that you didn’t want to lose.

And that’s the album.

The band was active up to 2009 and then disappeared, only to resurface in 2021 with a new song and possibly a new album.

But it all started here. The debut gave them the valuable rookie card.

Crank it.

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

The Record Vault: Disturbed – Immortalized

It’s the last album I purchased and much later than its release date at a discounted price. At the time I was still endeavouring at keeping my Disturbed collection intact.

So “Immortalized” is the comeback album after the hiatus, released on August 21, 2015 by Reprise Records. It’s also the comeback album for “The Guy”, the Disturbed mascot.

Between “Asylum” and “Immortalized”, there is a five year gap. “The Lost Children” doesn’t count here as it was an album of leftover tracks.

One song defines this album and it’s the cover of “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel. As soon as it was released as a single it went to Platinum, and by November 2017, it was 3x Platinum and right now its getting close to 4x Platinum.

The album itself was certified Platinum in January 2018. So in an era of no sales, Disturbed is still pulling good numbers.

The band members David Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar) and Mike Wengren (drums) perform on the album. Bass player John Moyer was not present, due to working with Adrenaline Mob and Art of Anarchy so Donegan did the bass. But Moyer is still pictured in the booklet.

Kevin Churko is producing and his run of certifications continues similar to Olsen and Werman back in the 80s.

The reviews at the time were not kind to the album with sentences like “It won’t change the minds of those who weren’t fans before” or “Immortalized” is fans-only release as it feeds the target audience”.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing and “The Sound Of Silence” for better or for worse brought in a whole new audience.

“The Eye of the Storm” (Intro)

You hear the sound of a vinyl record starting, all dusty and then a demented tremolo effect arpeggio starts, complemented by a guitar lead.

“Immortalized”

The Intro riff is classic Disturbed.

“Secure a legacy that will never die, be immortalized”

What kind of legacy is up to you?

“The Vengeful One”

It reminds me of “Louder Than Hell” from Motley Crue. And I like it.

The drum groove sets the pace and then one of my favourite riffs on the album just explodes the same way it does on “Louder Than Hell”.

Pure head banging bliss.

“The rabid media plays their role / Stoking the flames of war to no surprise / Only too eager to sell their souls / For the apocalypse must be televised”

There are no views for happy moments. Chaos, death and destruction gets people glued to their screens.

“Open Your Eyes”

It’s catchy and easily digestible.

This song has John Feldmann (from the band Goldfinger, plus he has a history of writing and producing other artists like Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides, 5 Seconds Of Summer) and Nick Furlong (another songwriter who has worked with Papa Roach, Good Charlotte, All Time Low, 5 Seconds Of Summer) as co-writers, along with Draiman, Donegan and Wengren.

But regardless of the songwriters, it’s still a Disturbed cut, through and through.

You’re hypnotized, demoralized
Believe every line that they sell you
Start channelling whatever will remains
Discern from what’s fiction and what is true

Open your eyes

People need to read more critically and research different point of views. But with social media being such a massive force of nature, it’s very easy to surround yourself in an echo chamber, hearing the same thing, over and over and over again, until you believe it is true and you refuse to see another point of view, which could be true.

“The Light”

A hard rock song, reminding me of “My Hero” from Foo Fighters in certain sections.

And how good is the vocal melody in the Chorus. Pure AOR Melodic Rock.

Four punch knockout combo right there.

“What Are You Waiting For”

I wasn’t surprised that they had a cut that sounded like Five Finger Death Punch on the album. The track is also co-written with John Feldman.

The lead break has a lot of the Digitech Whammy Pedal effects.

“You’re Mine”

The electronic element is back, then again, Draiman’s side project “Device” did sound like this.

“Who”

The riff is a derivative of “Indestructible” and the gang vocal chants are here.

“Save Our Last Goodbye”

It starts off with a person leaving messages on a phone.

The heavy songs were getting derivative at this point in time although I still enjoy listening to em, just to hear what Draiman does with the vocal melodies, or if there is a guitar lead or an interlude that makes me bang the head.

And this song from 3.07 has this Judas Priest like riff in the Interlude which definitely gets the head banging.

In the last minute, it breaks down to a piano and Draiman’s falsetto before building up again.

By the end of it, the person is still calling the number to leave a message and the number is no longer active.

“Fire It Up”

I feel like they started off with an idea to do a song like “We Will Rock You” but once it went through the Disturbed blender, it ended up sounding like “Fire It Up” and if anything it feels like a Godsmack track, with the lyrical line, “when I fire it up, it feels alright”.

“The Sound of Silence”

My brother was singing this song on the day he died from a brain aneurysm and he’s not even a Disturbed fan, but he heard the song on a TV show and it stuck with him.

And I didn’t really care about this song or this version, but a life experience has changed that.

“Never Wrong”

It’s a throwback to the debut album, with a repeating lyrical line done in the Draiman drawl.

“Who Taught You How to Hate”

A great title.

A long time ago I came across a quote like “a child’s life is like a blank sheet of paper, which every person leaves a mark on”.

So how did that child grow up to hate?

Now for the bonus tracks, “Tyrant”, “Legion Of Monsters” and “The Brave And The Bold”.

“Tyrant”

I like the lead break.

“Legion of Monsters”

Inspired by a Rolling Stone article on the Boston Marathon Bomber. It’s angry and energetic.

“The Brave and the Bold”

I like the Blues Rock riff to start off the song. The Chorus is pure Disturbed and the lead break is excellent as there are a lot of Randy Rhoads type licks chucked in and I like it.

For comeback albums, it was well received and while the reviewers said the album is for hard-core fans only, this album actually grew Disturbed’s fan base.

In Australia, Canada and the U.S, the album went to Number 1. In Austria, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K, it was a Top 10 album. In Belgium, Holland and Portugal it was a Top 20 album.

For certifications, it was certified Platinum in Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway and the U.S. It was certified Gold in Austria, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.K.

The “Immortalized” tour was earning on average $200K in B level cities (using California as a guide, San Diego is classed as a B level city) and about $400K in A Level cities (like Los Angeles) a night.

Good or bad, acoustic guitar songs would become very prominent on the next album “Evolution” released in 2018.

The touring cycle was done and the bad was starting a trek of shows to commemorate “The Sickness” 20 year Anniversary before COVID-19 put a halt to proceedings.

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

The Record Vault: Disturbed – The Lost Children

“The Lost Children” was released on November 8, 2011.

By the time this album hit the streets, Disturbed was on hiatus for an indefinite period of time. The band had been on a five album cycle of release and tour. 12 years in total without really having a proper break.

The music industry was also going through another transition. The U.S labels weren’t approving Spotify to operate until they got a percentage stake in the company, so P2P piracy was at an all time high and while the labels procrastinated, YouTube became a dominate streaming service which paid even less.

In the break, Draiman would produce a few bands, with Trivium being the biggest, form a new project called Device, which released an album that sounded like “The Sickness” while Donegan and Wengren hooked up with the “Evans Blue” singer Dan Chandler to form “Fight Or Flight” and release the excellent hard modern rock album “A Life By Design”.

Meanwhile bassist John Moyer would hook up with Adrenaline Mob for the “Coverta” and “Men Of Honour” releases, Art of Anarchy for their 2015 and 2017 releases, Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime project and its 2015 release.

Because of these projects, Moyer wasn’t available to play on “Immortalized”, released in 2015, but returned to the band to tour and then played on “Evolution” released in 2018.

“The Children” in the album title is another term for “The Songs”. And “The Lost Children” is all of Disturbed’s non-album tracks up to 2011.

“Hell”

It’s from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album.

I feel like the riff got tweaked and used to better effect for “Indestructible”. But it doesn’t mean that this song is inferior.

Lyrically it’s about s person in a relationship who keeps coming in and out of the persons life, and every time they come back in, they mess up their world a little bit more.

“A Welcome Burden”

From “The Sickness” album cycle and the song appeared on the “Dracula 2000” soundtrack.

Its flow is like the debut album and it’s groovy Nu-Metal riffs.

“This Moment”

It was written for the “Transformers” album, but never used.

And man, what a riff to start it off.

“Old Friend”

From the “Asylum” album cycle and a song which appeared in Dexter.

The Intro riff hooks me in. It’s head banging and almost progressive by it’s notes phrasing.

The Chorus as usual is huge.

“Monster”

From the “Ten Thousand Fists” album cycle and a riff similar to “Stricken” starts the song off.

I like the single note runs in the Verse riff.

And an excellent guitar lead is also present.

“Run”

From the “Indestructible” album cycle.

A fast double time Intro gives way to a groove verse. Actually the drumming from Mike Wengren is a stand out on this.

“Leave It Alone”

From the “Asylum” album batch of songs. The song has excellent riffs throughout.

In the Verses, there is a natural harmonic lick that comes in on certain bars.

The Chorus riff gets the head banging with its military like groove.

For the solo, it goes to half time and how good is that bluesy solo lick to come out of the lead section.

“Two Worlds”

A song from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album cycle.

Can melodic rock, Sabbath and Nu-Metal be a thing?

On this song they exist in harmony.

And I always enjoy a Donegan solo, but this time it’s the riff after the solo which gets me to pick up the guitar.

“God of the Mind”

A B-side from “The Sickness” and it also appeared in the “Valentine” movie. It’s a derivative version of the songs that appeared on the debut.

The verses do remind me of Tool but I feel like the song has more NIN and early Filter influences.

“Sickened”

A B-side from “Ten Thousand Fists” and a massive head banging Intro kicks it off.

For the verses, a tom-tom drum pattern provides the focus while the guitar belts out chords.

And as usual, the Chorus is melodic and big.

“Mine”

A B-side from “Asylum” and the song is about religion as a catalyst for war.

The first part with the spoken samples of leaders and newscasters with Draiman chanting “hey“ is excellent.

After that I feel like the song becomes a thrash groove song. Wengren on the drums is the star here.

“Parasite”

A B-side from “Indestructible” but with a riff that brings back memories of “Fighting For The Earth” from Warrior.

“Dehumanized”

A B-side from “Believe” that they played live regularly with a big Chorus.

“3”

A B-side from “Asylum”, originally released as a digital single to benefit the “West Memphis Three”.

The lead break is shred-a-licious.

In case you weren’t aware, the West Memphis Three are three Metal heads convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the juveniles killed the children as part of a Satanic ritual.

Due to the dubious nature of the evidence, the case generated widespread controversy and was the subject of several documentaries. Celebrities and musicians held fundraisers to support efforts to free the men. Metallica, Pearl Jam and Disturbed come to mind.

And after serving 18 years they were freed and the real killers still walk the streets.

“Midlife Crisis”

A Faith No More cover and a B-side from “Indestructible”. And each Disturbed cover is a great rendition. This song could pass as a Disturbed original.

“Living After Midnight”

A Judas Priest cover which starts off with the “Painkiller” drum Intro and a B-side from “Asylum”.

By the end of it, the album didn’t feel like a put together cash in. It actually felt like a new Disturbed album as the sequencing of the songs didn’t follow the chronological release of the songs.

Sink your ears into “The Lost Children”.

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

2001 – Part 3.4: Saliva – Every Six Seconds

“Back Into Your System” released in 2002 was the album that got me into the band. I purchased it because it had ONE song on it, written by Nikki Sixx and James Michael called “Rest In Pieces”. That’s right folks, I purchased an album that I’ve never heard from a band that I’d never heard off, based on ONE song written by an artist I was familiar with.

And man, that album blew me away, so I went back and listened to the first one “Every Six Seconds”.

Released in 2001, it’s listed as their second album on their Wikipedia discography, however on Spotify it is their first. Their independently released debut from 1997 doesn’t rate a mention on Spotify.

In July 2008, “Every Six Seconds” was certified platinum by the RIAA.

Saliva for this album are Josey Scott on vocals, Wayne Swinny on lead guitar, Chris D’Abaldo on rhythm guitar, Dave Novotny on bass and Paul Crosby on drums.

The cover is like a Glam Rock disco album but the influences are Sabbath, Crue, Steve Earle, Metallica, Sevendust and Skynard.

“Superstar”

Sitting at 18.1 million streams on Spotify.

Written by vocalist Josey Scott.

I think it appeared in a “Fast and Furious” movie as well.

It’s like a Guns’N’Roses cut on some sections, and even the vocal melody of the “all that I” section sounds like an Axl vocal melody.

“Musta Been Wrong”

It’s got a metal groove which sounds like Bush or the groove which is known as the “post grunge” or “Nu-Metal” riff, but vocally it’s an amalgamation of what Oasis created in the mid 90’s and hard rock from the 80’s.

“Click Click Boom”

Sitting at 146.799 million streams on Spotify. Written by Scott, D’Abaldo, Swinny and producer Bob Marlette. I was listening to P.O.D at the time and this song could be interchanged with a track from their “Satellite” album or anything from Kid Rock’s “Devil Without A Cause”.

The riff is sleazy and as good as any hard rock riff that I grew up with. Production wise, it’s got all those Korn sound effects with arpeggios and downtuned industrial sounding guitars

Vocally, the word rapping is different, but it works.

Check out the section from 3.16 to 3.30 when Josey Scott is singing, “it’s all inside of me”.

“Your Disease”

Its a heavy Dropped D bluesy in the riff department.

“After Me”

The vocal melodies get me interested in this song.

There is also a brief guitar melodic lead which enhances the interlude.

“Greater Than/Less Than”

It feels like an Alice Cooper cut, from his “Brutal Planet” and “Dragontown” era’s.

Six songs in, I wasn’t bored at all.

“Lackluster”

Sevendust comes to mind listening to this.

“Faultline”

A tremolo effect shimmering chord progression starts the song. Under it, is a heavy palm muted groove. The shimmering guitar part changes to a shimmering arpeggio riff.

“Beg”

Another heavy riff to start it off, with a loudspeaker vocal melody in the verses. The octave melodic idea reminds of Tool and the song “Sober”.

“Hollywood”

Another cut written by Josey Scott as the strummed acoustic guitar riff starts it all off. “Take A Picture” from Filter comes to mind. Also “Life Is A Highway”. And for some reason “New Tattoo” from Motley Crue also comes to mind.

“Doperide”

It’s been a skip since day one and still is.

“My Goodbyes”

An ominous tritone arpeggio riff starts it all off. The longest song on the album and a perfect closer.

Overall, Saliva’s has a dropped D rock/metal “Soundgarden” meets “Bush” meets “Tool” meets “Alice In Chains” sound with bluesy Southern/Country Rock influences.

Bob Marlette as the producer got those Mesa Boogie Rectifiers sounding big, loud and messy (but tight as a G-string tuned to A).

Check it out.

Standard