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

The Record Vault: Al Di Meola – Electric Rendezvous

In 1980, Di Meola released the double album “Spendido Hotel”. Keeping with the Miami Vice covers theme.

And then the subsequent tour was captured live and released at the start of 1982 as “Tour De Force – Live”.

Towards the end of 1982, “Electric Rendezvous” was released.

The band for the album is Al Di Meola on electric and acoustic guitars, Anthony Jackson on bass guitar, Jan Hammer on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums and Mingo Lewis on percussion.

God Bird Change

Percussionist god Mingo Lewis is still writing a track per album. This is his contribution.

The bass and drum groove throughout the song is a favorite as there is so much energy.

And of course there is a percussion interlude.

Electric Rendezvous

The title track at almost 8 minutes long.

The Intro is essential listening, with a clean tone guitar playing fast arpeggios while a nice relaxing guitar melody plays over it.

From 1.12 it changes. More Jazz fusion and alot of chromatics over time signatures changes.

From 2.11, a bass riff begins which the distorted guitars then copy. This creates a foundation for Di Meola to solo over, but it’s brief as they groove on the riff.

At the 4 minute mark, a metal sounding riff is played which allows Di Meola and Hammer to solo one after each other.

Passion, Grace & Fire

Paco de Lucia appears and the title of this song would be used to promote the run of acoustic shows that Di Meola, de Lucia and John MacLaughlin would do.

So there’s a lot of acoustic playing, fast fingers and lush arpeggios.

Cruisin’

Written by Jan Hammer it’s got a keyboard hook that is addictive and catchy.

It rocks and perfect for doing exactly what the title says.

Black Cat Shuffle

Written by Philippe Saisse, who also plays keyboards on this, it’s a blues groove with Di Meola’s Lydian and Mixolydian soloing.

The last 60 seconds has some great hard rock soloing from Di Meola.

Ritmo de la Noche

Lounge Waltz music with a Flamenco flavor.

Then some fast shred and make to the Waltz music.

Somalia

A short 90 second instrumental. Arpeggios and an exotic guitar melody as it’s centerpiece.

Jewel Inside a Dream

A riff that reminds me of ELP and their song “From The Beginning” dominates the song.

And you have Hammer and Di Meola trading licks on the keyboard and guitar.

I’m the end it’s a different album from its predecessors but still worthy.

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The Record Vault: Al Di Meola – Casino

Its album number 3 for Al Di Meola, released in 1978.

This time around its more of a band with Al Di Meola on all things guitar related, Barry Miles on keyboards, Anthony Jackson on bass, Steve Gadd on drums, Mingo Lewis with Eddie Colon on percussion.

While the first two albums had a lot of rock and metal overtones to it, this one leans more in the jazz fusion domain, in which Rock and Metal is not the dominant fusion partner as it was on the first two albums.

Egyptian Danza

An exotic riff made up of single notes begins this song. If you’ve listened to the first two albums it would be familiar, however if this was your first exposure to Di Meola it would be unusual and innovative, full of time changes, Arabic like influences and unison bass/guitar riffs.

It’s progressive and the drumming from Gadd thunders throughout the song.

Chasin’ The Voodoo

Percussionist extraordinaire Mingo Lewis is back again, with another excellent composition. He is the one that wrote “The Wizard” on the debut album and “Flight Over Rio” on the second album. From the whole album, this song is the progressive rocker and a favorite.

As expected, the song begins with percussion before a progressive bass riff kicks in. The drumming is frantic. Then the guitars kick in with chords and Di Meola’s superfast machine gun alternate picking.

There is a lot to unpack here, but my favourite section is brief, between 4.15 and 4.25.

And you’ll be pressing play on this, for the very underrated bass guitar playing.

Dark Eye Tango

A slow groovy bass line begins and when the drums come in, it’s like a wedding waltz, which Di Meola solos over appropriately.

At 1.38 it goes into a Latin/Flamenco feel, as the tempo increases and the solos while repetitive are catchy like a good Chorus.

Then at 2.57, a brief distorted guitar riff begins, which reminds me of Rush and Alex Lifeson, before it moves back to the Latin Flamenco feel, 15 seconds later.

On a sidenote, the keyboard riffs are great to play on guitar as well.

Senor Mouse

It’s a Chick Corea cover from Di Meola’s days in Return To Forever before he went solo. But he slows this one down and it doesn’t have the manic interplay of the original.

Regardless it’s still a good interpretation and it feels like the start of a movie.

Some sections are atonal and some sections are locked into a mode, with some chromatic notes being used as passing notes.

I like the bass riff at the 5 minute mark which Di Meola then goes into a flamenco like lead to complement. His palm muting technique is excellent.

Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars

It has four movements, in “Viva La Danzarina”, “Guitars of the Exotic Isle”, “Rhapsody Italia” and “Bravoto Fantasia”.

While all the ingredients are there for a flamenco sounding track, it’s more classical and Tuscany, then Spanish/Portuguese.

The section which I think is “Rhapsody Italia”, has strummed major chords with sevenths and ninths added while Di Meola throws in a fast machine gun lick here and there.

Casino

The closer. 9 plus minutes.

How good is the opening riff?

This album is a lot more experimental than the previous two albums and while “Elegant Gypsy” is the jewel in the crown, “Casino” shows a style that he would carry through from the mid 80’s and into the 90’s.

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1986 – Part 3.2: Queensryche – Rage For Order

“Rage for Order” is the second album by Queensrÿche, released on June 27, 1986.

The Queensryche Cyber Army are really good at keeping the bands Wikipedia pages up to date and super detailed. Everything that can be found on the a internet is included along with print media and newspaper articles.

Go to the Wikipedia page on this album and you’ll get heaps of information.

MTV was becoming a huge promotions vehicle for artists and 1986 was clearly becoming the last year that bands would experiment with the songwriting. After 1986, albums would become very MTV Friendly because all the artists wanted a piece of that pie.

Musically it’s an excellent album. Each song has a riff or a vocal melody that I like. From a song point of view, “Walk In The Shadows” is close to perfect.

Lyrically the album touches on subject matters I’m interested in, like government intrusion and corruption, technology and social issues.

Management and the Label must have felt threatened at the experimental progressive album delivered by the band, so it’s no surprise that there is a cover song, which then became the lead single.

And no one knew how to handle Queensryche.

They had opening spots with Ratt and Bon Jovi (seriously, what the….), AC/DC (good gig to have if you play similar styles but they are very different styles) and maybe the most compatible one in relation to “Metal”, Ozzy Osbourne.

The Tri-Ryche logo makes it’s first appearance as well.

I never understood how this album was ever labeled as a “glam metal” album, but the label had to make them fit somewhere along with some questionable clothing and hairspray.

Queensrÿche is the classic line up of Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton on guitars, Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums.

Neil Kernon is Producing, Engineering and Mixing. Man of many hats.

Walk In The Shadows

Written by Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.

It’s as good as anything that came from “Operation Mindcrime” and “Empire”.

I’m a big fan of the Intro riff (it’s great to play) and that Chorus is massive.

I Dream in Infrared

Written by Tate and Wilton.

It reminds me of Rush in the Intro and I feel like Crimson Glory took this song and used it as a foundation to build on.

But you need to press play on this for the acoustic guitar arpeggios and the haunting vocal melody from Tate in the verses.

Is it just me or does this track remind you of “Breaking the Silence” and “Waiting for 22” from the “Mindcrime” album?

The Whisper

Written solely by DeGarmo and the Celtic inspired Intro definitely gets me interested. Something that Maiden would use a lot in the Dickinson Part 2 era.

The whole song is what Metal should sound like.

Gonna Get Close to You

A Dalbello cover, although I didn’t know it at the time.

To cover a song from outside the genre you are classified in, is a sign of respect to the artist who wrote it.

Many years later, Lisa Dalbello would do guest vocals on Alex Lifeson’s “Victor” album.

Check out the way the verses are constructed, it feels ominous.

The Killing Words

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

The keyboard Intro gives way to the guitar, before it goes into a soundtrack like verse. It’s very Marillion like and the vocals remind me of Fish and I like it.

But you’ll be pressing play to this song, for the section when Tate sings “Over”.

Surgical Strike

Written by DeGarmo and Wilton it feels more like a cut from “The Warning”.

And there are sections here which remind of “Speak” and “The Needle Lies”.

Press play for the Outro that begins from 2.40. You won’t be disappointed.

Neue Regel

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

When I heard “A Perfect Circle” for the first time, I thought of this song. It has all of those atmospheric elements and outside the box sounds and composition elements.

This is how progressive music should sound like and it’s the embryo of what the “Promised Land” album would be.

But press play on this just to hear the power of Geoff Tate.

Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)

Written by Tate and Wilton, who brings the heavy metal riffs to the rebellion.

It’s put together in a progressive way as it doesn’t just follow the standard verse and chorus narrative.

London

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton and it reminds me of the “Mindcrime” album musically and the song “I Don’t Believe In Love”.

It’s got a great Chorus, so press play to hear “London” sound like “Young Boy”.

And then hang around for the harmonies and individual lead breaks.

Screaming in Digital

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton, musically it also reminds me of different songs from the “Mindcrime” album.

The electronic synths are dominant and Tate is very Peter Gabriel like in the verses.

But press play for the vocal melodies from 2.15 to 2.40 and stick around for the guitar hero lead breaks. And then those unbelievable vocal melodies come back.

I Will Remember

Written by DeGarmo, it has some nice acoustic playing from DeGarmo, a sign of things to come.

It was Certified Gold in the U.S.

To this Australian, it’s a criminally underrated jewel that was way ahead of its time and no one really knew what to do with it.

And I’m not sure if Marillion was an influence to the band at this point in time but goddamn this album reminds me so much of “Script for a Jester’s Tear”. Maybe it’s the similarities in vocal styles between Fish and Tate.

Anyway press play and let the sounds of love, politics and technology wash over you.

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1996 – Part 3.5: Victor

If you search for Alex Lifeson in Spotify, this album would not come up, because even though “Victor” is a solo album by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, its released under the name of “Victor” and filed away under V.

Released in January 1996 on Anthem Records and recorded between the Rush albums “Counterparts” and “Test for Echo”, two of my favourite Rush records of the 90’s.

The musicians behind “Victor” are Alex Lifeson on guitars, bass and keyboards, plus spoken vocals on a few songs. Les Claypool makes an appearance on bass for “The Big Dance” while other bass tracks are handled by Peter Cardinali. Bill Bell is a Canadian guitarist who has toured and recorded with Jason Mraz, Tom Cochrane, Alex Lifeson and Danko Jones to name a few, also appears on guitar and Blake Manning is on drums.

For vocalists, Lifeson speaks on a few tracks, and a singer called Edwin (who I found out later is from a Canadian Rock band called “I Mother Earth”) does vocals on “Don’t Care”, “Promise”, “Sending Out a Warning”, “The Big Dance” and “I Am the Spirit”.

Another Canadian singer called Dalbello (otherwise also known as Lisa Dal Bello) appears on “Start Today”

“Don’t Care”

The track is written by Alex Lifeson.

The sound is grungy. But take away the studio sounds of the day and play the riffs through a 5150 amp, you’ll hear how heavy metal they are.

Some of the open string riffs do bring back memories of 70’s Rush.

Lyrically it’s so different from what Peart would write for a RUSH album. Its crude, full of fuck words and it’s basically about sex. The Rush elitists crucified him on the Rush boards back in the day for the lyrics. But Lifeson didn’t care.

“Promise”

Written by Lifeson and Bill Bell, it’s got this REM/Tragically Hip feel in the verses with a bit of “Limelight” in the Chorus.

I like the solo section. It has a riff which keeps repeating, while Lifeson does ambient like guitar noises and various note bends. It’s not technical, but its more abstract and it fits the vibe of the song. Then again it could be Bell on the solo. I don’t know.

“Start Today”

Written by Lifeson, check out the intro riff on this. Its huge, simple and yet progressive.

And Dalbello sounds a lot of like Geddy Lee when she hits her highs. A young Geddy Lee.

“Mr. X”

An Instrumental written by Lifeson. It sounds like a King Crimson cut, very Avant-garde, but the lead breaks are like blues jazz fusion.

“At the End”

Written by Lifeson and his son Adrian Zivojinovich. Adrian actually provides most of the computer programming which gives the songs he’s involved in, that Industrial tone.

Check out the riff at 2.24. I went straight for the guitar.

“Sending Out a Warning”

Another track written by Lifeson and Bell. And the riffs are interesting enough to get me to try and jam along.

The main riff by the way is excellent.

“Shut Up Shuttin’ Up”

Written by Lifeson and Bell, along with Lifeson’s wife Charlene and a person credited as Esther who basically provide the talking voices complaining about their husbands.

Musically, its funky, a bit bluesy and full of soul and every time the female voice overs say “Shut Up And Play The Guitar”, Lifeson begins to wail.

By the end of it, Lifeson is screaming back at em to “SHUUUT UUUP!”

For some reason, “The Audience Is Listening” from Steve Vai comes to mind.

“Strip and Go Naked”

Another Instrumental written by Lifeson and Bell.

The intro riff is one of this “Copperhead Road” riffs. Even Maiden used a similar riff on “Writings On The Wall”. Aerosmith on “Hangman Jury”.

But a Lifeson song moves within different musical pieces and this song is no other.

Check out the bluesy licks from the 2 minute mark over an ascending like bass riff and a strummed acoustic riff. And at 2.48 it goes back to the “Earle/Maiden” like riff.

But from 3.28 to the end, Lifeson takes that simple riff and makes it sound progressive. Listen to it.

“The Big Dance”

Written by Lifeson and Adrian Zivojinovich.

Man, that intro riff, so heavy.

And Les Claypool is on this, so the bass is prominent, syncopated with the kick drum.

“Victor”

Written by Lifeson and W.H Auden as the song is based on a poem written by Auden.

Its more experimental, with programmed drums and synths being prominent throughout while Lifeson recites the poem to us. It does nothing for me.

“I Am the Spirit”

My favourite song on the album and a perfect closer.

Written by Lifeson and Bell, it’s the most Rush sounding song on the album but the heavy rock sounding Rush.

“Tragically Hip” comes to mind here for the Verses with the vocal delivery, but musically, its Rush through and through.

The Chorus shows “The Spirit Of Radio”.

At 2.40, it quietens down and you hear some synth chords being played. Then Lifeson comes in with a clean tone guitar riff and man, what a riff it is. Different variations of it are heard throughout the song, but the way its delivered in this section, really brings it to life. One of his best riffs for the 90’s.

Then he goes into a guitar lead, which is emotive and perfect. But too short.

A great way to close the album.

Overall it’s not a perfect album and the spoken work melodies don’t really do much for me, but it’s that outside the box thinking which also draws me in, plus Lifeson always includes a riff or two in a song which makes me want to pick up the guitar and play along.

Check out this eclectic mix of blues rock, soul, funk, progressive, grunge, hard, industrial and alternative rock.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – September 20 to September 26

4 Years Ago (2017)

After three weeks of zero posts it was James Durbin that got me out of the rut.

His first album dropped in 2011 and its a hard rock album. “Higher Than Heaven” is my favorite track. It’s melodic and heavy enough to rock and a co-write with James Michael and Marti Frederiksen.

Then album number 2 dropped in 2014 and it was not what I expected, more in line with the Imagine Dragons style of rock.

So I just moved on.

And then “The Road” came up on the New Release Playlist as I was driving.

I’d like to tell you that I knew it was Durbin on vocals just from hearing him, but I had to google it to find out. Hell I had to Google who was in that version of Quiet Riot. 

Frankie Banali has been the drummer for the band since DuBrow reformed it in the 80s after the death of Rhoads. Bassist Chuck Wright replaced Rudy Sarzo and has been in and out of QR since the 80s. Guitarist Alex Grosso has been in a lot of hard rock bands and ended up in QR in 2006. 

I wrote back in 2017 to go and listen to “The Road” first, then “Renegades” and “Freak Flag”. They are songs that should remain around for a lot longer. And I still stand by that but looking at Spotify, these songs doesn’t even rate in the Top 10.

Unfortunately this version of QR would record one more album. But, drama surrounded that release. Durbin left before it’s release and Banali went missing, only for the world to find out that he was dying from cancer.

But QR continues.

Johnny Kelly from Type O Negative and Danzig joins on drums. Jizzy Pearl is on vocals again. Alex Grossi remains on guitar and Rudy Sarzo has rejoined.

8 Years Ago (2013)

DID PIRACY ASSIST THE COMEBACK OF TWISTED SISTER?

Young people today do not realise the impact that Twisted Sister had on the music business around 1984 and 1985. Sure, other bands had greater sales and bigger tours, however no one did MTV like Twisted Sister.

But by 1987 it was game over for Twisted Sister.

So how did they come back?

LAST MAN STANDING

The “Because We Can” tour should of been renamed to “Because I Can”.

Richie Sambora didn’t show up to work but the show went on as JBJ had a replacement for Sambora on the same day.

Then Tico Torres undergoes emergency appendectomy surgery and the band POSTPONES their Mexico concert. This would have pissed the Jovi machine.

Then Tico fell ill again, but JBJ had a back up plan this time in New Jersey native and Kings Of Suburbia drummer Rich Scannella, who filled in until Tico was cleared to play.

The show must go on for JBJ as those super large merchandise deals means that the tour cannot stop. Merchandise deals become very expensive to the artist if they are broken or if the sales do not meet targets or if the promised shows are not delivered. Just ask Dee Snider.

DREAM THEATER PREDICTIONS

It was almost September 24, 2013 and the new self titled Dream Theater album would be “officially” released on Roadrunner.

Going back a few more years, on September 13, 2011, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” was released and it had 35,750 units sold in the first week.

With Roadrunner putting a lot of money into Dream Theater, they would want the above figures to increase by at least 20% but the market at that point in time was showing a shrinkage in sales compared to two years ago, due to licensed streaming.

But as album sales went down, concert attendances went up as well as ticket prices.

MOTLEY CRUE REVISION

“MOTLEY STILL SINGERLESS” is the headline from a news break item that did the rounds in an issue of Hot Metal from June 1992.

For anyone who wasn’t aware, Motley Crue and Vince Neil parted ways in February 1992. The actual argument took place on February 11, 1992, with Motley Crue issuing the official statement on Neil’s departure on February 14, 1992.

The Crue wanted everyone to believe that they started working with John Corabi immediately, from as earliest as February 17, 1992, however it wasn’t until September 27, 1992, that John Corabi officially signed a contract to be Motley Crue’s new lead vocalist.

Sebastian Bach’s claimed that he did in fact audition during that period which Nikki Sixx denied on Twitter.

The other vocalists that are known to have auditioned are Stevie Rachelle from the band Tuff, Marq Torien from the band Bullet Boys and Stephen Shareaux from the band Kik Tracee.

40 WORD REVIEWS – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

It is a pretty solid album, sticking to what they know best. I would rank it the same as “American Capitalist”, part two of what came before.

40 WORD REVIEWS – DREAM THEATER

Download “Illumination Theory”, “Behind The Veil” and “The Looking Glass”. “The Bigger Picture” also has some great musical sections.  As for defining what Dream Theater is about right now; technical wizardry comes first and the actual song comes second.

40 WORD REVIEWS – THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS

The women of the world will love this album and the majority of guys will love the track “Conquistador.” A grand experiment in orchestra style theatrics merged with rock and pop sensibilities. 

CERVELLO

I just heard Cervello’s debut album (released in 2011) in 2013 and I liked it. I wanted to find out more information, only to find that they had broken up.

40 WORD REVIEWS – CANDLELIGHT RED

This album is more or less “B” grade Sevendust except for the last track “Sleeping Awake” which sounds like an “A” grade cut that should have been on Red’s “Release The Panic” album.

40 WORD REVIEWS – WITHIN TEMPTATION

A brilliant hard rock covers album of pop songs. Songs that I originally dismissed as terrible suddenly have a new lease of life thanks to Within Temptation’s reinterpretation and Sharon’s wonderful voice. 

BURNING YESTERDAY

I have had some music laying around that I earmarked once upon a time for a re-listen in a proper way.

“Burning Yesterday” was one such band.

Their album from 2009, “We Create Monsters Not Machines” was an amalgamation of bands like Red, Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin, Skillet and Disciple. And I liked it, so give em a spin.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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1996 Part 3.4: Opeth – Morningrise

Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal/rock band from Stockholm, formed in 1989. The group has been through several personnel changes, including the replacement of every single original member. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth’s primary driving force since the departure of original vocalist David Isberg in 1992.

Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences into its usually lengthy compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works.

The band rarely made live appearances supporting their first four albums, but since conducting their first world tour after the 2001 release of Blackwater Park, they have led several major world tours.

So “Morningrise” is part off the “first four” albums.

It’s the second one, released on 24 June 1996.

Opeth for this album is Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocals and guitars, Peter Lindgren on guitars, Johan De Farfalla on bass and Anders Nordin on drums, percussion. All lyrics are by Akerfeldt and music is by Akerfeldt and Lindgren.

Åkerfeldt has mentioned that “The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden and “Lick It Up” by Kiss made him a metal head, but he also was heavily influenced by “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” by Black Sabbath and his favorite metal album is “Sad Wings of Destiny” by Judas Priest.

Lindgren had a nice diet of Iron Maiden growing up and was heavily influenced by “Master of Puppets” from Metallica along with ’70s progressive rock band Camel.

So with similar influences as mine I was more than interested to listen.

I didn’t hear this album until 2005/06 as I started listening to em after “Blackwater Park”.

5 songs clocking in at 60 something minutes.

Advent

The song is almost 14 minutes long as it moves between sludgy grooves, acoustic guitars and fast double kick metal like passages.

Vocally, Opeth during this period was more death metal like with some clean vocal passages.

At 3.20, this acoustic guitar riff kicks in, arpeggio based and very Rush sounding and I’m like where did that come from.

It becomes abrasive again with death metal vocals which don’t impress but the music does impress.

At the 6 minute mark, a different acoustic arpeggio riff kicks in and this time, the vocals are in clean tone and I’m all in.

At 8 minutes a Thin Lizzy/Iron Maiden/Helloween like galloping riff kicks in which is great to play on the guitar.

But it gets better, there is this metallic riff at 9.20 which has a jazz like bass line behind it with double kick drums. It feels unsettling and jarring.

The Night And The Silent Water

At 11 minutes long, it’s another short song.

Im not a fan of the death metal vocals, but goddamn I really like the music and it’s movement between distortion and acoustic.

Around the 8 minute mark, this “Children Of The Grave” feel/gallop starts. It keeps building until the guitars explode into playing octave melodies.

Nectar

At 10 minutes long it’s maybe the shortest song on the album.

The music is very Iron Maiden”ish” like. There is this riff that kicks in at the 2 minute mark, which is excellent.

At 7 minutes there is another acoustic like arpeggio passage which comes out of nowhere and yet it fits nicely. And the last 90 seconds has a riff which appeared on a Dream Theater album in a few years’ time.

Black Rose Immortal

Almost 20 minutes long.

The song has a lot of harmony leads that feel like they are influenced by Thin Lizzy as it’s got that major key Celtic like vibe.

Check out the Maiden like instrumental sections from 7.30 and the excellent volume swell section around 9.30 to 9.43 which is way too short. But hypnotic and very violin line.

To Bid You Farwell

Another 11 minute song to close the album. A “Fade To Black” like arpeggio riff starts it off.

And the song percolates in the acoustic domain until it explodes into distortion at the 7 minute mark.

The amount of acoustic progressions in this song, another person could have written 10 different songs.

The vocals are clean tone and make sure you check out the bluesy kicks at the 4 minute mark.

And it returns back to the acoustics for the last 90 seconds to end the album on somber note. Like Empire Strikes Back.

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Australian Method Series: Teramaze – I Wonder

From Australia. Advertised as Progressive Metal but it’s more like hard alternative rock with some progressive grooves on this album. And I like it.

“I Wonder” came out in October 2020 and I was surprised to learn that it’s their seventh album but my first time listening to them.

For this album Teramaze is Dean Wells on Guitars and Vocals, Andrew Cameron on Bass, Nick Ross on Drums and Chris Zoupa on Guitar.

The term Progressive Rock has a bad concoction these days, associated with a million notes over complex chord changes or in Tool’s case, long laboured grooves that move in and out of time signatures or polyrhythms. But there are a lot of bands that can take it all and make it sound easy, not complex and not too long.

Teramaze is one such band.

“Ocean Floor”

Kids noises are heard over an ominous synth riff and then the band crashes in with the lyrics “Children pray, from the ocean floor / Are we too late, to save their lives”.

The lyrics are based on a true story of children gone missing and their bodies been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

It’s powerful and you need to listen to it.

Especially that “Interstellar” soundtrack influence from 3.17 to 4.06.

“Only Daylight”

The way the songs starts off with the heavy groove riff, just gets the head banging.

By the time the verses come in, it’s slower but still powerful.

The lead break is excellent, emotive.

There’s this section after the solo which has the lyrics “No one will find me, no one will see me / From up above, I’m down below / They watch as they dance around me”. The way it is sung over the music is haunting as it carries the song for the last 2 minutes.

“Lake 401”

The clean tone arpeggio riff makes me pick up the guitar to learn it.

And the way the Chorus vocal melody with the words “Its so hard to know / If she’ll be waiting forever” is delivered is excellent.

And for styles, it’s more rock than anything else.

“A Deep State of Awake”

The synths start it off before an “Enter Sandman” style groove kicks in with the drums, bass and then guitar.

There are some leads which has the keys and guitar in harmony and it reminds me of Dream Theater “Images And Words” era.

Lyrically I see it as two voices within the same person. One part is delivered aggressively and the other is delivered melodically.

“Here to Watch You”

The Chorus.

Especially when Wells sings “The Fearless will construct / Our way all the world will know now”.

“Sleeping Man”

My favorite track.

The “Sleeping Man” has a chorus hook of “I’ve awoken the sleeping man inside”. It’s catchy, its hard rock and its perfect.

The keyboard hooks under the melodies are also memorable.

Check out the guitar solo.

“Run”

Man, this song for the first 90 seconds reminds me of those piano and vocal songs that Evergrey do so well.

After that it becomes a melodic rock song with excellent guitar playing

“Idle Hands / The Devil’s Workshop”

9 minutes long.

Musically and melodically the section in which Wells sings “We spent the time, and wasted it all most every year / And there is nothing left to follow” is excellent.

At 3.30, a lead break kicks in. It’s emotive and one of the best I’ve heard recently.

The section after it with the lyrics; “You never run it together / You never stopped the war / If only you could’ve chosen me / What life would have in store” is almost Daughtry like in delivery.

At 5.12 it’s just piano, playing the chords and vocal melody.

Then the vocals come in with the acoustic guitar. It builds up again to the “You never run it together / You never stopped the war” part again.

The last 90 seconds has double kick, fast melodic guitar leads and the only thing I can do is press play again and devote another 9 minutes of my time to the song.

“This Is Not a Drill”

Musically this song reminds of bands like Haken and Tesseract.

I see the world has changed
Theres nothing left to gather now
I feel the world has fallen
Tomorrow, may never come again..

We’re waiting for the cure
Assured it’s on the horizon
Pandemic fabrication
The lies insure well never know again..

I wonder what they’re singing about. And for everyone the world did change. People died, relationships ended, how we did things changed, flying and travel ceased and a lot of careers ceased to be.

At the 5 minute mark, the section that comes in reminds me of “Home” by Dream Theater.

To find someone to love, whatever.

That’s all we want in the end.

At 8 minutes and 40 seconds it never got dull or boring.

“I Wonder”

The closer.

The way this song builds and is constructed is excellent.

Check out the Chorus with its symphonic and anthemic melody, especially when Wells is singing “We’re here tonight, you’re never gonna see me alone / we feel alive, I’m never gone make it”.

The “I watch them killing you slowly” section reminds me of Muse.

At about 5.10 some intricate playing happens but it’s all still accessible and sing along like.

And the lead break is excellent.

By the end of it, each track left something behind with me.

And from reading some of the reviews, this is the first album in a while which features lead vocals from band leader and guitarist Dean Wells. And I’m like, “why didn’t he sing on all the albums?”. His voice needs to be heard.

Check it out.

And don’t let the progressive tag turn you off some great Rock and Metal.

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Australian Method Series: Karnivool – Themata

“Themata” is the debut album by the Australian band Karnivool. The album was released independently on 7 February 2005. In 2007, Bieler Bros. Records picked it up for a U.S release and in 2008 Happy Go Lucky picked it up for a U.K release.

The band has a “progressive rock” label, but they are not a band that plays a million notes per minute with polymath time signatures. They are a band who are progressive in their song writing, as verses could have different riffs, and a groove could be jammed out over different time signatures. Other labels the band is given is “alternative metal” or “alternative rock”. Whatever the label, they created a metal album which got radio air play.

Karnivool are Ian Kenny on lead vocals, Drew Goddard on guitar and string arrangements plus he wrote all of the album’s songs and performed drums on every track, except for “Life Like” which was performed by Ray Hawkins. Mark Hosking on guitar and Jon Stockman on bass.

24 years later it still sounds as fresh as it did back in 2005.

“Cote”

I like the mood this song sets up. It’s a great opener, almost like “A Perfect Circle”.

I suppose this question will be answered
And I suppose the answers are here to save us

“Themata”

The title track that hooked me in.

And Ian Kenny is one talented vocalist who also has a very successful mainstream pop rock act called “Birds Of Tokyo”. His delivery on the title track is “Lead Singer Hero” worthy.

The “Kashmir” like violins that come in towards the end are haunting and hypnotic. It’s a beast of a song and it was doing the rounds on Australian radio.

It’s so good to see
This world is alive

And by the end of the song, Kenny is singing, “it’s so good to see this world I’m in loves me”.

And I was reminded of “The Tea Party” so I listened to this song over and over and over again.

“Shutter Speed”

It’s got a heavy groove that reminds me of Disturbed and a great Chorus.

Check out the small melodic lead riff in the middle of the song, which brings back memories of Mark Tremonti from his Creed days.

“Fear Of The Sky”

The jarring intro reminds me of songs from “The Mars Volta” and “At The Drive In”.

Another song with a great chorus. At the 3 minute mark it quietens down only to build up again. Check it out.

“Roquefort”

It’s a fan favourite.

The intro riff grooves around various time signatures but it still sounds like its in 4/4, almost Tool like.

You want to chase, this rabbit down a hole
You start to slide and lose grip of control

Ian Kenny delivers another great vocal merging Deftones and Tool like vocals.

Listen to the vocal and bass section from about 3.10.

And remember that the drums are played by the guitarist.

“Life Like”

It’s got the embryo of what “Themata” would become. It was released as a single about two years before the album came out.

Its more Nu-Metal than what “Themata” is, almost Linkin Park like musically, but with David Dramain singing.

“Scarabs”

It’s a 2 minute, Groove Nu Metal instrumental, with some frantic drumming and bone crushing riffage.

“Sewn and Silent”

An acoustic guitar led song, comes in at the perfect time, like the eye of the storm.

Check out the section from about 2.30 to 3.01.

“Mauseum”

Djent like riffs before “djent” became a style. At 2.20 it changes to a slower melodic groove.

Press play and listen.

“Synops”

It’s “Themata” part 2 and another highlight with its exotic eastern feel. Another song which reminds me of “The Tea Party”.

Leave no light on, this war, it rages in me
Leave no light on, this war, I fear it won’t end

“Change (Part 1)”

An anti-climax. But like a Marvel movie, it’s an end credits scene to forecast the next album and the style to come.

“Themata” is an excellent example of Australian metal with some progressive overtones. There are pop choruses, big Mesa Boogie riffs or fuzzed out tones, vocals that cover a lot of different styles. Maynard Keenan, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, David Draiman, Chino Moreno, Mike Patton, Jonathan Davis, Thom Yorke, Davey Havok and my favourite, Serj Tankian when he’s doing his exotic clean tone melodies are all covered and mixed in with Kenny’s life experiences and emotions.

In between Karnivool albums, Ian Kenny worked on his “Birds Of Tokyo” project with great success.

Fast forward to 2021, Karnivool has been recording new music. It will be their first bit of new music since 2013 and the “Asymmetry” album. And an audience awaits.

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1986 – Part 2.7: Crimson Glory – Crimson Glory

I’ve posted on Crimson Glory before when I was doing my Record Vault posts.

The line-up which is known to me as the classic line up had vocalist Midnight, guitarist Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson, bassist Jeff Lords and drummer Dana Burnell.

They never broke out big in North America, with Asia and Europe being their main market. Their presence in Europe was probably due to Roadrunner Europe being their label and they got behind the band, booking them to play shows in major markets like Germany, France, UK, Holland, Belgium and Sweden.

Their overnight European success was 5 years in the making.

The masquerade mask angle along with hard rock perms and teased hair and leather vests was strange to begin with, but I understood their message, that the music should lead the way, not how they looked but by the third album the masks ceased to be and hard rock abs were on display in photo shoots.

The self-titled debut came out in 1986 but I didn’t hear it until 89, after I purchased “Transcendence” and I went back and got the debut.

Also by 1989, a lot of the bands I liked started to change or were past their heyday.

Scorpion’s didn’t really amuse me with “Savage Amusement” in 87, UFO still powdered their noses and had no recording contract, Queensryche went hard rock (which was a good thing) but I also liked their metal style and I was seeking bands like that, Iron Maiden lost an important band member and went even more streamlined with “No Prayer For The Dying” and Black Sabbath was still trying to replenish their worth and value after the “Born Again” debacle while Dio was starting to lose his star power from 5 years before.

So I went looking elsewhere for my unique metal fix and Crimson Glory filled the void.

And I like to play the guitar, so any album that makes me pick up the guitar to learn the songs gets my attention, and this is what the Crimson Glory albums do.

“Mayday”

There is a countdown. Then a chromatic moving arpeggio/lick in harmony.

And the speed kicks in.

The fastest song on the album, relentless like “Screaming For Vengeance” and that ball tearing falsetto from Midnight rattled my windows. A mixture between King Diamond and Rob Halford on this.

The lead breaks are Judas Priest like.

“Queen of the Masquerade”

It’s more hard rock than heavy metal with the “I Love Rock N Roll” chords in the verses and some serious shred.

“Valhalla”

The intro gets me with the harmony leads.

At the 2.00 mark, there is this guitar riff which moves up chromatically, reminding me of how “The Call Of Ktulu” does the same thing. Mustaine actually used that chromatic movement for “In My Darkest Hour” and then he took his “The Call Of Ktulu” riff and made it “Hangar 18”.

Check out the harmony solo’s on this.

“Azrael”

Along with “Valhalla”, it’s a two punch combo knockout.

The intro is a mix of acoustic guitars, symphonic voices, violins and Midnight’s unique voice which sounds like Geoff Tate from “The Warning” album.

This then leads in to one of the best metal tracks I have heard with harmony guitars and galloping riffs.

Check out the riff at 2.23, done in harmony. It goes for about 10 seconds, a brief change between verses.

The lead break from 3.11. It’s guitar hero worthy but guitarists Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson are virtually unknown to the masses as Crimson Glory didn’t really cross over like Queensryche in the U.S market.

“Dragon Lady”

It starts off with a Midnight wail, harmony guitars and then a Deep Purple “Stormbringer” like riff in the verses.

Make sure you check out the Chorus, which has a combination of harmony guitars and an AOR rock chorus.

But it’s the harmony lead lick that comes after the Chorus that really gets me hooked.

Plus the outro lead break. Check it out. It as good as Jake E Lee’s “Bark At The Moon” outro.

“Lost Reflection”

A haunting acoustic piece, built on two chords and Midnight’s gloomy and mournful vocals.

From 3.10, distorted guitars crash in with reverbed drums and after 30 seconds it fades out to how it started.

“Heart Of Steel”

It starts off with acoustic guitars and harmony leads.

It reminds me of 70’s Scorpions with Uli Jon Roth on guitars, with a nod to the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. And it’s probably their most catchiest.

I like the way Midnight sings “Heart of steeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeel” with an increase in pitch as he holds steel.

Check out the little harmony lead at around the 4.10 mark. And the last 15 seconds is that good, the only thing you can do is press repeat.

At 5 minutes long it doesn’t get boring.

Especially the guitar playing and those harmony leads.

“Angels of War”

It’s very reminiscent of Iron Maiden.

There is a lot of great guitar playing but the little section from 3.25 is excellent.

And my favourite is when the bass and drums kick in at 3.55, then the harmony guitars start and then the Chorus vocal. A perfect minute to end the song.

“Dream Dancer”

It’s not on the vinyl version that I have. But it’s on Spotify.

Like other songs, it is a mixture of acoustic guitars in the verses with an anthemic chorus full of distorted chords. It feels like Dio vocally, but musically, it’s more in the spirit of the 70’s.

The section from 3.45 is brief but so good.

And then the lead breaks start.

“Dream Dancer can fly away / wings of fire she burns the nightshade”

And like that, the 1986 part 2 series comes to an end as I fly away to 1976.

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Australian Method Series – Dead Letter Circus – Dead Letter Circus (2018)

There first EP released in 2007 is also called Dead Letter Circus. Hence why I put 2018 in the title of this LP.

Dead Letter Circus is a well loved prog rock band. To me their music is hard to describe as the songs are all in the 3 to 5 minute range, something that bands listed as prog don’t really do. They don’t have a million notes per minute sections either. It’s all music and vocals. And awesome drumming.

The band is Kim Benzie on vocals, Clint Vincent and Luke Palmer on guitars, Stewart Hill on bass, and Luke Williams on drums.

The Armour You Own

The bass and drums set the groove and the guitar locks in with em. It’s familiar and I like it, in the same way AC/DC play it safe within their blues rock style, DLC do the same in their prog alternative rock style.

You will reach
You will fall down
Every time you fail you will change

Truth.

It’s how we learn.

At 2.50 it quietens down before it builds up again. You need to hear it, to feel it.

The Real You

Hey you there
Show me the real you
Here in the physical
Because I see right through

Social media allows us to portray an image that is fake. Take a photo from above your head and suddenly you look slim and with deep fake photos and videos doing the rounds, no one can tell what is real anymore.

People need to get back to what was real. F

ace to face communication. And we can’t even do that in 2021 because of social distancing and lockdowns.

Change

Another song with a familiar sound from the earlier albums.

You alone the reason
The architect of all this time
Now you own this life
Build it
Fill it

It starts with you and no one else. Don’t blame others. It’s your life, own it and if something is not right, you have the power to change it.

It starts with you.

Running Out Of Time

How good is the Intro?

It’s an anthem. This is the band at their best.

Hoping maybe one day everything you want will fall into your hands
You don’t need to try

Life doesn’t work that way. Being a good student and then getting a job to pay bills and a mortgage will not give you what you want. You need to seize it.

We Own the Light

After four rockers, this one is almost ballad like.

No one else can understand my headspace
I’ve been slipping from my happiness
This whole time

We can only fake it for so long before we hit the wall. And we are not alone. So many others experience the same.

Heartline

The vocal melodies are memorable and hooky. This song just needs to be listened to, so it can be fully understood. one of my favorites.

Ladders For Leaders

Another song that lives in ballad like territory. It percolates and simmers.

Somehow they defeated us with no one even bleeding
No resistance or debate
They just covered our eyes
Villains created, become ladders for leaders
To keep us from asking who’s holding the strings coming from their backs

A brilliant verse.

We like to be comfortable and that means we like to have a stable income to get us through life. And for a lot of us, stability is good and we are happy building someone else’s dream while we believe we are building ours.

But for a small percentage of us, stability is not what we desire and we change the world.

Trade Places

This song would not be our of place on their debut album “This Is The Warning” released in 2010.

Yeah if you and I and them trade places
Make our stand in generation
Let the truth collide

Say It Won’t Be Long

This is the best track on the album and it’s deep in the album order.

The way it percolates and builds towards the end, it needs to be listened to.

Now I feel my confidence is growing
My sense of self worth is unfolding
I am now fearless facing forward
So I start crawling

The mental awakening when you stop pretending to be someone else.

Home

I love the grooves and riffs on this one.

I know I’m chasing something I can find home in
Think of all that I’ve been through
Every scar that I’ve grown through
There is nothing to fear now
I am ready for change now
To find my soul in it

What a great message to end the album with.

Lay back, crank it and have the lyric sheet or the lyrics via the net in front of you.

Let the album intoxicate you.

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