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

The Record Vault: Dio – Lock Up The Wolves

The band changed. There was no one left except for Ronnie James Dio. 18 year old guitar wiz, Rowan Robertson was on guitars, Jens Johansson on keys, Teddy Cook on bass and Simon Wright on drums who left his AC/DC gig that he held from 1983 to 1989 to join.

Actually Robertson was only 17 when Dio announced to the world that he was the new guitarist in July 1989 after more than 5,000 guitarist submitted audition tapes.

“I saw an item in Kerrang! about Craig Goldie leaving Dio, so I knew they needed a guitarist. I sent in a tape just for the hell of it, you know, not expecting much, but figuring I had nothing to lose.

I was 16, learnt to play guitar in my bedroom by banging around to Bad Company records and the only stage experience I had was with a couple of pub bands that were going nowhere. I thought if I was lucky, maybe I’d get an audition”.
Rowan Robertson

I was surprised to see that Jimmy Bain was out. But he was fired (along with Claude Schnell) in mid-1989 and Vinny Appice was let go two weeks before work began on the album.

The production team also changed a little bit, with Tony Platt in the producers and engineer’s chair along with Ronnie. Suddenly the sound became better thanks to Tony Platt’s engineering experience.

According to guitarist Rowan Robertson and mentioned on Wikipedia, two more songs were written and demoed for the album but left off at the decision of Wendy Dio: “Hell Wouldn’t Take Her” and “The River Between Us”. Maybe she felt the songs were too personal.

In 1990, MTV still ruled.

It was simple. You get a music video in mass rotation and watch the album go Platinum. And the Dio camp tried. They really tried.

The photos of the band had them with a bit of a tease and hairspray in their hair. They spent some decent money on a clip for “Wild One”.

And MTV still avoided Dio, who at 48 years of age was seen as a relic of the past with nothing new to offer. My Dad turned 46 that year and I saw him as old.

Also Dio’s lyrics of jesters, clowns, gypsies and rainbows had run its course for the TV station but not for the fans.

While I ignored the “Dream Evil” album when it came out in 1987, I purchased this one.

It was a tab of “Wild One” in the “Guitar School” magazine which got me interested. I was playing along to the song before I even heard it and the guitar solo was a highlight. And I was like, “man, this dude is of a similar age and he’s smoking on the guitar, I need to get practicing”.

Wild One

Written by Dio and Robertson, it’s a great fast song to kick off the album and announce the new guy in town.

That Pre-Chorus, reminds me so much of Savatage.

And the lead break starts off as a blues-a-metal-thon, almost jazz fusion like. Then it goes into the super-fast tapping section. Another great way to announce the new gun slinger .

Check out the head banging outro. How can you not like it?

Lyrically, it was another “stand your ground and be who you want to be” message, although done in a very Dio way full of riddles.

Born On The Sun

A mixture of “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” and “Holy Diver” but with Rowan Robertson providing a more EVH approach to decorating simple grooves.

Check out the drumming on this.

The song is credited to Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice. It sounds like Appice wrote the drum parts but its Wright who plays em.

You can hide in a circle
It’s a way to survive
Be another number
At least you’d be alive

Great lyrics. So much truth in the words.

Scared to be different or speak our minds because of the resistance and the blowback. Especially these days, with social media and how a point of view can blow up and suddenly we have trolls and haters all spamming our inboxes.

Hey Angel

Written by Dio and Robertson.

The majority of stories I read when Grunge came, was how the lyrics from the Seattle bands were more deeper and darker, focusing on depression and anxiety and rooted in real life. It’s like the Seattle artists were the only artists doing stuff like that. Sort of like how the heirs to Marvin Gaye believe he was so original that they sue everyone to oblivion.

Well, heavy metal and hard rock artists did have songs dealing with isolation, loneliness, depression, conformity and being in dark places after a relationship breakdown.

How do you feel right now?
How does it feel to be alone?

My parents never asked me how I feel. These kind of emotions and questions are frowned upon when your ancestry comes from Eastern Europe.

I also grew up in life being told that angels are these all powerful beings that shine a bright light and can’t be hurt.

I suppose if you feel, you can get hurt. If you bleed, you can die. Or in the words of Schwarzenegger in “Predator”, “if it bleeds, we can kill it”.

The solo is excellent on this.

From just one album, Robertson was given a chance to do an instructional tape. His “Speed Picking” VHS tape is out there on the Net.

Between Two Hearts

Another song written by Dio and Robertson. It starts off with an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “Children Of The Sea”.

Then the slow groove kicks in, it’s almost like a blues dirge.

Check out the way Robertson plays the riffs in the second verse, combine palm muted arpeggios, diads and pedal tones.

Put on your party faces and come along
Join in the big parade
Here comes the camera
Do you look as good as your sister
Smile at the animals
They should be the ones in the cages
Turn the pages

A photo for Instagram before it was even invented.

Or a song about the paparazzi and the price of fame when we lived in a monoculture. These days, we live with many different sources informing us, and a person could be making millions from music and be walking the streets and shopping aisles with us and we wouldn’t even know.

Night Music

This one is written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

So open up your arms
Let the night time in
Say the word and it begins

I love the night. I feel the most inspired then and there was nothing better than listening to music at night, reading the lyrics and singing out aloud, like the lyrics to this song, “Night music, you’re singer and I’m the song”.

Lock Up The Wolves

Another song written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

The sound of a clock ticking. Its normal paced. Then it picks up in speed, almost frantic like. The music is ominous, giving the listener a feeling that time is running out. By the time the distorted guitars kick in, the ticking is relentlessly fast.

And the doom feel of the song reminds me of “Sign Of The Southern Cross”.

In the houses of the holy
To the middle of the mystic sea
At the cradle of the world

Its back to his fantasy places, about wolves, screaming for sanctuary and how there is no back door to heaven, just a front door to hell. I guess we’ll meet again.

Evil On Queen Street

Written by Dio, Robertson and Cook. It’s like a 12 bar blues dirge with another killer solo by Robertson.

Walk On Water

Written by Dio, Robertson and Johansson, it reminds me of “Stand Up And Shout” but while “Stand Up And Shout” screams rebellion, “Walk On Water” tells ya to not even try because you can’t “Walk On Water”.

The lead break is guitar hero worthy.

Twisted

A Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice cut.

And when I told the truth
They were sure it was a lie

What would you do if no one believes you?

When your truth is seen as a lie.

Why Are They Watching Me

A Dio and Robertson cut.

It’s confusing lyrically, about being ready to rock and someone watching.

My Eyes

A Dio, Robertson and Johansson cut.

I’ve seen it from heaven and hell
I’ve seen it from the eyes of a stargazer

Great song titles to drop into a song.

Rock and roll eyes
Tell rock and roll lies
And rock and roll lies
Never end

I guess what happens in rock and roll stays in rock and roll.

“I think obviously, my defining moment is the “Lock Up the Wolves” album, and I feel very fortunate for it. It was a good album…it captured excitement and I played really well on it.”
Rowan Robertson

From memory it’s Robertson’s only album.

As soon as the album was released it was met with mixed reviews. Early sales were positive in the U.S and then the album spiralled down the charts as it disappeared altogether.

But it had longevity in the European markets as Dio’s brand was still big business there. So it was no surprise that the first leg of the tour was in Europe.

And Black Sabbath was a just a phone call away, and when that call came, the “Lock Up The Wolves” band was put on ice and never re-awakened after the Sabbath gig fell apart.

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1976 – Part 2.1: Rush – 2112

Released in 1976.

The album cover captured my attention immediately.

The “Red Star” was easily associated with the Communist governments of the time. Kids these days would have no idea, but in 1976, Eastern Europe and parts of South East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America were under Communist governments or military dictatorships. And these kind of governments like to control everything and everyone.

Coming into 2112, Rush was in a predicament. D

o they stay true to themselves and their art or do they give in to what the label wants?

In the Guitar Legends magazine focusing on Rush, Neal Peart said the following;

“Caress didn’t actually do any worse than the albums before it, at that point, all three had sold about 100,000 copies a piece in the U.S.

But if our record company hadn’t been in such turmoil I don’t think we would have been able to keep our recording contract.

By the end of that year we were unable to pay our crews salary or even our own. Things were dire and we were getting a lot of pressure.

Polygram had written us off before “2112” had come out. We’d seen their financial predictions for 1976 and we weren’t even on the list!”

In the same magazine, Alex Lifeson said the following;

“The Fountain Of Lamneth” on “Caress of Steel” was really our first fill concept song and “2112” was an extension of it.

That was a tough period for Rush because “Caress of Steel” didn’t do that well commercially, but we were really happy with it and wanted to develop that style.

Because there was so much negative feeling from the record company and our management was worried, we came back with full force with “2112”. There was a lot of passion and anger on that record. It was about one person standing up against everybody else”.

History shows that they made the right decision.

And for all the hate “Caress Of Steel” got from the label, it was the album that bridged the first era of Rush albums to “2112”.

The entire Side One is all “2112”. Which is broken up into 7 sections.

I. “Overture”

An instrumental that acts as a summary in which you get to hear all of the melodic pieces which appear on the song.

II. “The Temples of Syrinx”

A sombre melody with the words “And the meek shall inherit the Earth” is sung before the distorted guitars kick in for “The Temples of Syrinx”.

This is a future where individualism and creativity are outlawed and the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temples of Syrinx.

And the way copyright law is going, creativity can be outlawed as every single melody known to the human race has been used and corporations are doing their best to lock them up under ridiculous terms, like life of the creator plus 90 years after death. But they seem to forget that creativity is based on influences.

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you read, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes

The schooling system is designed for conformity, a one size fits millions approach. The schools are factories for degrees later on. You can’t even get an Administration role in a Company without a Uni/College degree. And Masters Degrees are the biggest scams ever. A pure profit making product for the colleges.

III. “Discovery”

A classical acoustic guitar announces the arrival of “Discovery”, found inside a cave and the founder rediscovers the lost art of music.

I can’t wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see its light
Let them all make their own music
The Priests praise my name on this night

Creativity and imagination is progress. Without it, we stagnate.

IV. “Presentation”

This is like Zeppelin Rush which tells the story of how the guitar is presented to the priest of the Temple of Syrinx, who then proceed to destroy it and banish the man who found it.

Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There’s something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

But the Priests didn’t want to know about his ancient relic. It was the downfall of The Elders. The emotion and escapism that comes from listening to music.

Just before the song finishes, they go into the “Temples of Syrinx” riff and Lifeson solo’s over it. Check it out, its guitar hero worthy.

V. “Oracle: The Dream”

A shimmering chorus guitar kicks off the song in which the man who found the guitar dreams of another world in which creativity and individualism is allowed and full of song and laughter.

VI. “Soliloquy”

We are back to the sounds of water running down, like how we heard in “Discovery”. But the lyrical theme is heavy. The man who was filled with joy at finding the guitar, is now in despair at living a life that’s cold and empty. So the only way for him to be with the world in his dream is for his life’s blood to spill over.

Make sure you check out Lifeson’s solo. So bluesy, full of bends and emotion. Brilliant.

VII. “Grand Finale”

Major key chords kick off the “Grand Finale”. And it’s up to the listener to decide what happened.

When I first heard the lines “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation, We have assumed control” I presumed that the “Solar Federation” put down some uprising and assumed control again.

Then I thought it meant that the “Solar Federation” was overthrown by someone and they are alerting all the planets that there is a new government in control.

“A Passage to Bangkok”

It kicks off Side 2.

A great riff to start a song about all the places in the world that grow the best weed. The track names a number of cities and countries, including Bogotá, Acapulco, Morocco, Bangkok and Kathmandu, Nepal.

I just finished watching “The Serpent” on Netflix and how the main character preyed on tourists who came to Bangkok and Kathmandu in the late 60s and 70’s to experience those weed highs, kidnapping them, robbing them and then killing them.

“The Twilight Zone”

I like the harmony guitars to kick off the song.

How good is the music in the section, when Lee sings, “you have entered the twilight zone”?

Use the key, unlock the door
See what your fate might have in store…

I never watched “The Twilight Zone” on TV. I’ve read some short stories on it and in the 80’s a documentary was aired on Australian TV’s about strange phenomena and they called it “The Twilight Zone”.

“Lessons”

It’s Lifeson expressing his love for Led Zeppelin. It’s got hard rock distorted chords and clean tone strummed verses.

“Tears”

This is a great song.

How good are the verse riff arpeggios?

“Something for Nothing”

The acoustic guitar intro gets me interested. And the way Lee and Peart come in, they change the groove completely.

The song is about freewill and decision making, a topic I write about regularly on this blog when I’m putting my point of views out there on certain songs and the lyrical message.

You don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free

In the end “Freedom isn’t free”.

If you don’t believe me, why does it cost so much to live in a free country.

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your own song

The lyrics are prophetic. Rush didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do. They did what they wanted to do and they wrote their own story. In the end, it was a backs against the wall album. If it bombed commercially, they would go down in flames. But it didn’t.

They stuck to their guns, did what was important to them and built a career from it.

3x Platinum in the U.S and 2x Platinum in Canada.

Press Play, relax and “Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation. We have assumed control.”

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Dio – Dream Evil

What else did Ronnie James Dio have to say?

That was the predicament affecting Dio. And no one was talking about the elephant in the room, his shrinking fan base.

The audience he had in 1984 was diminishing. “Sacred Heart” in 1985 was seen as a commercial disappointment and the live EP “Intermission” in 1986, didn’t help matters, seen as a pure cash grab.

But the biggest problem for Dio’s brand of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was MTV. The TV service went all in and embraced the “hard rock” sounds of bands like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Poison. Whitesnake and Guns N Roses would be added to that list, along with Skid Row and Warrant a few years later.

So on July 21st 1987, Dio released “Dream Evil”.

His last album to feature some “Rainbow” elements in it as from this point forward he started to move more towards his Black Sabbath days.

And the band had a member change. Vivian Campbell was gone. It was a bad split. Craig Goldy was in, joining Ronnie, Bain, Appice and Schnell.

The album is produced by Ronnie and engineered by Angelo Arcuri. The same team from the previous albums.

“Night People”

“Neon Knights” part two and I like it.

“Dream Evil”

“Man On The Silver Mountain” part two and I also like it.

“Sunset Superman”

How good is the riff to kick it off?

The verses remind me of “We Rock” and Appice thunders all over this track, especially during the solo.

“All The Fools Sailed Away”

An Intro like “The Last In Line”. But when the music comes in, it’s more moody, almost doom like.

But with a melodic rock anthemic Chorus and an instant classic is created.

“Naked In The Rain

The riff in the verse is like “Eye Of The Tiger” just a bit slower but it’s the vocal melodies from Dio which rock. If anything it’s overall vibe is doom rock.

Overlove

A ZZ Top like blues Intro gives way to the same riff being played in high octane distortion sort of like the verses and main riff in”Hot For Teacher”.

“I Could Have Been A Dreamer”

I came across the lyrics in Hit Parader and I quickly copied em into my lyric book. I hadn’t even heard the song but in my head I already had.

And when I did hear it, an instant classic it became.

In the vein of songs like “King Of Rock N Roll” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

“Faces In The Window”

It’s a melodic rock cut. Just listen to the melodies that came from Dio.

“We are evil and we are all divine”

A familiar lyric is back, just a bit different.

“When A Woman Cries”

Goldy came up with a riff rooted in the late 80s sounds. It’s good to play but as a song it’s one of the weaker moments.

Overall, it did good business in Europe and it was well received in Australia.

Fun fact, Dio along with Scorpions and Black Sabbath were just some artists from metal and rock allowed to be played in Eastern Europe (behind the Iron Curtain) legally.

But in the U.S, it didn’t receive a certification.

The album exited the charts pretty fast as it didn’t really stand a chance once the “Whitesnake” album blew up. That album was released in March, the same year, but the “Here I Go Again” single came out in June. And from then on the album went through the roof. By July it was Platinum, by August 2x Platinum and by December that same year it was 4x Platinum.

Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” came out in August that same year. By November 1987, it was 2x Platinum. But it’s big movement would happen from April 1988 when “Love Bites” hit the airwaves. By the end of 88, “Hysteria” had gone 8x Platinum.

The album was also competing against his previous albums. “The Last In Line” went platinum in Feb 1987 (the same year “Dream Evil” came out) and “Holy Diver” went platinum in March 1989. People were still buying Dio, but with limited funds, we had to be selective.

Because of my limited funds and my friends jumping off Dio’s ship, (I guess we are all fools who sailed away), I didn’t hear “Dream Evil” until many years later. In a confusing time called the mid 90’s.

P.S. I don’t own this album anymore (lost in those many house moves) hence why the post isn’t called “The Record Vault”.

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Soen – Imperial

It’s the kind of metal I like.

Soen is a Swedish progressive metal supergroup consisting of various extreme metal musicians. Their debut album “Cognitive” came out in 2012.

It was like hearing Tool and I was all in.

“Tellurian” came out in 2014 but their rise really started with “Lykaia” in 2017 and “Lotus” in 2019. And in 2021, we have “Imperial”.

And while the debut sounded a lot like Tool, this one is more metal and hard rock with some progressive grooves and textures.

And the band has been stable in the line-up. Founding members Joel Ekelöf (vocals) and Martin Lopez (drums) are still there along with Lars Enok Åhlund (keyboards and guitar), Cody Ford (lead guitar) and new bassist Oleksii “Zlatoyar” Kobel.

Lumerian

How good is the Intro riff?

And the Chorus, so melodic and haunting.

In the middle, the band introduces its main dynamic, which is heard throughout the album, in which they quieten down the song and rebuild it.

Deceiver

It’s almost Disturbed like from the “Believe” album in the Intro.

Monarch

That Intro riff. So heavy and intricate.

Listen to it.

A Pink Floyd Pre-Chorus gives way to an anthemic Chorus.

Illusion

A Pink Floyd like cut. Think “Sorrow”.

And the solos. Wow.

Antagonist

Another head banging killer metal riff kicks it off.

The Chorus. Wow.

From the 3.50 mark it goes into a mellow interlude with an emotive solo. Then the vocals come in and I get emotional.

And it becomes quiet. And once you hear the words “fire up your guns”, the music crashes back in.

Modesty

The Chorus is so haunting.

From 2.10 a Maiden like harmony riff plays while a shred-a-licious and emotive lead is played over it.

The last 40 seconds are excellent.

Dissident

The Tool like track on the album but with a heavy dose of metal and hard rock.

Listen to the Chorus riff when they sing “we are one”.

At 2.50 it quietness down. A piano plays and the vocals come in. Then the drums and everything else comes in as they build it up slowly.

By 4.36 it’s back to a being a metal tour de force.

Fortune

Dio and the Sabbath “Heaven And Hell” version would be proud. The groove and feel is as doomy as the influences.

That Chorus is haunting, with the violins and emotive vocal melody.

I like the lead break. Almost bluesy and the phrasing is excellent.

At the 3.20 mark, a sing-a-long ohhh and ahs happen. This section happens again for the outro but this time the guitars are in harmony.

The only thing left to do is to listen to it again.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 19 to July 25

4 Years Ago (2017)

All death is tragic.

David Z, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington passed away. Ivan Moody was in a dark place at the time.

So many people make money from artists, and some make way more than the artists. The vicious cycles that artists are on from labels and management is borderline negligence.

The show must go on but there is no show when there is no artist.

The Jungle Giants is a band that plays a form of pop rock with dance/techno elements. I’m not a huge fan but in 2017 they were an unsigned artists that racked up over 50 million streams on Spotify. Those stats are impressive and a lot more than artists who actually have label deals.

It’s hard work controlling your own destiny. But you have the freedom to decide what path to take.

And Album number 4 just came out.

When is inspiration/influence just that and when is inspiration/influence copying? 

It is possible to borrow without “stealing”. When ideas appear in ones mind, quite often they are unconsciously inspired by a piece of music the artist has heard.

And it’s perfectly okay and very common to take an existing idea and turn it into something new. 

According to manager Barry McKay, Steve Harris stole an idea. I don’t know how you can steal an idea, but hey it happens.

Legal streaming music at the time was hurting.

Streaming companies need to license music from the legacy players for a substantial fee and then pay royalties to these organizations when the songs are listened/viewed.

And these organizations like the labels and publishers keep the bulk of these payments and pay cents to the artists they represent. 

Then they remain silent when Spotify gets sued for having music on their service.

But.

It was these organizations that approved Spotify to license their catalogues.

And I compared music streaming to Netflix who at that time had no problem growing its subscriber base and making profits, however it produces its own content, which earned it over 90 Emmy nominations.

And it’s monthly fees are identical to music subscription services, even though it costs a lot more to create a TV show or a movie than a song/album.

So how is Netflix profiting and Spotify losing?

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Australia.

Corporations and Unions run this country. The Courts have been compromised by money. The mainstream media is all about half-truths and likes. No one reports with any substance or an opinion anymore as they had served whoever paid them the most.

Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show in the world, with Australia leading the way.

Why?

Unless we pay $300 plus for a PAY TV subscription, we couldn’t watch it.

Nine years later nothing much has changed. We’re still a mess. We can’t get our population vaccinated and we have a leader who just looks for the photo opportunity and has best friends who run QANON sites.

I’m an Amazon Prime Video subscriber and due to a deal they have with another PAY TV provider in this country, I couldn’t watch Bosch S7 on Amazon.

So I downloaded it.

Imagine that. I’m a paying legal subscriber and I couldn’t watch a show that the service created on their platform.

Why did guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Alex Skolnick, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert rise above all the other shredders of the era that came on the scene between 1984 and 1994?

Guitarists like Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe and Vinnie Moore are all great guitarists, however they are still relatively unknowns outside of their guitar instrumental niche market.

Someone like Vinnie Moore played with Alice Cooper and is holding down the fort with UFO. He’s been there since 2003, 18 years. Michael Schenker only did 11, his first stint between 1973 and 78 was only 5 years.

But a lot of people still don’t Moore.

Jon Bon Jovi seemed to be pissing off his fans.

Perseverance is a massive skill. Especially when it comes to life as a musician in an internet era with information overload each day.

And success happens when you contemplate giving up.

Dream Theater almost called it a day, between 1988 and 1991, when months rolled by and no suitable singer appeared.

Quiet Riot during the Randy Rhoads years, couldn’t get a U.S deal. After Randy left to join Ozzy, Kevin Dubrow persevered under his own surname, only to resurrect the Quiet Riot brand after the death of Randy Rhoads and turn it into a Number 1 act.

George Lynch auditioned for Ozzy’s band on two occasions, losing out to Randy Rhoads once and then to Jake E. Lee. One of his earlier bands “The Boyz” had a showcase gig organised for Gene Simmons to attend. Van Halen opened the show and the rest is history. Gene even said to Lynch, to consider changing his name as he will never make it.

Ronnie James Dio spent 18 years paying his dues before finding success with Rainbow in 1976.

How many musicians starting out today, would put in 18 years of service to music?

Don’t chase trends because what is here today will be gone tomorrow.

The Record Labels aren’t worth much if they don’t have acts. And Artists really don’t need a label deal anymore.

Of course it’s more difficult going your own way, however that is the future. If you are successful you will get label interest and a deal that suits you, because without an artist, there is no profit from music for the labels.

But.

The major labels want radio hits so they find artists that are easy to sell and easily expendable.

The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy was one of the funniest movies I had seen that year.

I provided my thoughts on the Metallica “Death Magnetic” DVD which included footage on the making of the album. It came with the Coffin Edition of the album.

James Hetfield still rules. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. Bob Rock once said that the problem with “St Anger” was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for “Death Magnetic”.

And they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the “Six Feet Down Under” EP’s part 1 and 2.

When that died down, they orchestrated the “Big 4” shows and the “Orion” festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.

Then they celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. When that died down they released the “Beyond Magnetic” EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut. Then they released “Quebec Magnetic” and at that point in time they were doing the “Through The Never”movie.

So did anyone remember the debacle of “Lulu”?

It was old news, history. It’s like it never existed.

What a difference two years make?

“The House of Gold and Bones” by Stone Sour was becoming a favorite so I posted my review here and a review of a song “The Uncanny Valley” here.

At the time I was reading about how artists deserve to be paid for their creations because they put their blood, sweat and tears into those works.

Once upon a time, artists created music and that Record Labels looked to profit from this relationship with the artists. It didn’t always happen as making money in any occupation is a tough business.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series: Airbourne – No Guts No Glory

Released in March 2010, “No Guts. No Glory.” is album number 2 for Airbourne, the follow-up to their 2007 debut “Runnin’ Wild”. While the debut caught a lot of people by surprise, the follow up was anticipated. On the same day of its release, the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack hit the shelves, which is seen as an AC/DC “Greatest Hits”.

You can’t get too much Acca Rock.

The album cover forecasts what the album would sound like. There is a steel works, an out of control truck driven by Lemmy, alcohol, women, raising the flag at the Eureka Stockade, a twister, the band and an Explorer guitar raised high like a trophy by one of the band members.

Airbourne is Joel O’Keeffe on lead vocals and lead guitar, David Roads on rhythm guitar, Justin Street on bass and Ryan O’Keeffe on drums. Production is handled by Johnny K and mixing is done by Mike Fraser. All songs are written by Joel O’Keeffe and Ryan O’Keeffe.

The album was recorded in Chicago at Johnny K’s studio. The band even slept in the studio.

“Born to Kill”

The intro guitar lick is like an out of tune national anthem. Then the rock and roll power starts, to kick off a song about being in a rock and roll band, being loud and doing what you love.

“No Way But the Hard Way”

It feels like “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution”.

The idea of the song originated when the guys in the band lived together in a house (like a band house), while on welfare payments and trying to get the band up and running, and noticed.

As told by the band members in the track by track breakdown of the album on YouTube, after the album was released they were touring in Canada. The vehicle they were in, skidded off the road. They were stuck in freezing conditions for 24 hours, waiting for help.

No way but the hard way indeed. It’s a very Bon Scott like title.

And the film clip has them taking their rage out on the record labels as they enter the office of one and smash it all to bits. As I read in one interview, the labels are big powerful monsters who get demos from thousands of bands so they could put it in a box and never respond. So it was an F.U to them.

“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful”

“For Those About To Rock” or “Powerage” gets a makeover into a “Blonde, Bad and Beautiful” wrecking ball woman with long legs and the moves to break a man.

“Raise the Flag”

An anthem. Airbourne hit the market at the right time, just when AC/DC’s album output was slowing down and they quickly became the next best thing.

So if you love rock and roll, raise the flag. That’s the simple message of the song.

And how good is the intro?

“Bottom of the Well”

The title is self-explanatory, from being in a crap situation to turning it around. This song is more Kiss than AC/DC.

“White Line Fever”

More Kix like but still sounding like it came from the Aussie Pubs. Lyrically, I guess it’s that time again when you’re feeling stressed out.

“It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”

The fastest track on the album. Like “Let There Be Rock” just faster.

“Steel Town”

It was written for people from working class towns. Australia has a few “steel cities” so a lot of their fans here can relate.

“Chewin’ the Fat”

Read the lyrics. It sums up oral sex.

“Get Busy Livin'”

It feels like a Free cut at the beginning, but when the whole band kicks in, its AC/DC all the way.

“Armed and Dangerous”

The intro and verse riff rock.

From the words of the band members, just think of a hot chick walking past and you get a hard on, well you’re armed and dangerous. Enough said. Press play.

“Overdrive”

It’s about living hard and no sleep, having a good time and not caring about the next day. Easier said when you’re young.

“Back on the Bottle”

Another fast rocker, to close the album off, and a subject matter about getting on the piss.

I guess I’ll have one more glass of whatever then.

It charted well in Australia and New Zealand, and it also did good business in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Canada. In the U.S it peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hard Rock Charts as in some states they rocked and in other states they were unknown.

A shrewd business decision by the band and its management to license a lot of the songs from the album to various video games and movies, which brought in a different source of revenue, much higher than what the sales revenue would have generated.

“Born to Kill” is featured in the film “Jonah Hex”.

“Heads Are Gonna Roll” is featured in the video game “Madden NFL 10” and the official trailer.

“Raise the Flag” is featured in the video game “Twisted Metal”.

“Bottom of the Well” is featured in the video game “NHL 11”.

“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful” is featured in the trailer for the film “Bachelorette”.

“Back on the Bottle” is featured in The Good Guys episode “The Dim Knight”.

It’s not original in anyway and there is no great “hit” song to sell the album. But it’s a fun album, cool to listen to and in the words of Bon Scott, “Let There Be Rock” as the album has its foot on the accelerator pedal from the outset.

P.S.

Here is a little playlist that Joel O’Keefe told Guitar World readers in the July 2010 issue. I guess there are no surprises in the list.

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The Record Vault: Dio – Sacred Heart

“Sacred Heart” is album number three.

By know Vivian Campbell was an unhappy camper. From his point of view he was promised a larger piece of the pie and that wasn’t forthcoming. Plus he had an issue with the publishing. So it’s no surprise that this is the last album to include Vivian Campbell, who Dio fired midway through the tour, replacing him with Craig Goldy.

Released on August 13, 1985, almost a year after “The Last In Line”, it wasn’t just competing against all the other new releases from other artists, it was competing against the previous two Dio albums. It wasn’t a smart decision from Warner Bros.

The band for the album is the classic line up, known as Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass, Claude Schnell on keyboards and Vinny Appice on drums.

The King Of Rock And Roll

How can you not like this song, fake crowd noise or not?

Campbell’s riffs are excellent to play, Dio’s melodies rock, Bain rumbles and Vinny Appice powers all over this.

Bad boy always on the cover gettin’ the story told

It could have been about anyone in the rock business. By 1985, a lot of bad boys graced the cover of magazines.

He’s got the midnight madness / he’s got a soul
’cause he’s the king of rock and roll / king of rock and roll

I used to keep my own book of rhymes before I realised that a rhyming dictionary existed. Well, Dio albums and most hard rock and metal albums provided plenty of source material.

Sacred Heart

The riff sounds epic on this and the keys from Schnell enhance it. But its Vinny Appice on the drums that turns this song into a powerhouse. The mix is perfect and I’m drawn to the groove of the drums.

Plus the lead break from Campbell is different from his earlier albums, better phrasing.

Oh running into nowhere turning like a wheel and a year becomes a day

Truth right there. Without a plan, the days just slip away.

Whenever you dream you’re holding the key it opens the door to let you be free yeah

Infinite possibilities when you let your imagination run wild. Why do you think mindfulness and meditation is so massive?

Another Lie

Its more blues rock but Campbell decorates a simple blues groove with pedal points and diads and suddenly it sounds like heavy metal.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Children

Does anything else think that “Shot In The Dark” from Ozzy sounds like this?

Anyway, it’s a melodic rock anthem with a killer Campbell lead break.

Rock ‘N’ Roll children alone again
Rock ‘N’ Roll children without a friend but they got rock’n’roll

Damn right.

As much as rock and roll lyrics are about parties, most fans of the music spent a lot of time alone with it, and the music was a form of escapism.

Hungry For Heaven

The solo break from Campbell on this is excellent.

So just hold on
You can make it happen for you
Reach for the stars and you will fly

It’s the same message as in other songs. You are responsible for your success, so what are you waiting for.

Like The Beat Of A Heart

It’s an inferior re-write of “One Night In The City” but still a good listen, especially the outro riff and groove.

There’s a beast that lives inside you and it’s screaming to get out

Just Another Day

Its “King Of Rock And Roll” part 2, and I like it. The riffs are excellent, while Bain and Appice hammer out an energetic foundation.

The guitar arpeggios after the solo.

Fallen Angels

The blues rock riffs on this just don’t get the credit they deserve.

Remember that the evil will rule / it’s waiting outside / bringing’ pain / for you fallen angels

Shoot Shoot

An AC/DC style cut.

Yes you know the feeling all alone your back to the wall
And all the doorways are starting to close in front of you

It’s more of the same that we are responsible for our own journey and that it all starts with us.

The high points on the album are definitely “Sacred Heart”, “King Of Rock And Roll”, “Rock N Roll Children” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

But like all Dio albums there is a little bit of everything in the other songs.

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Joel Hoekstra 13 – Running Games

I was interested to hear this but I didn’t think I would have liked it as much as I did.

It’s excellent.

I am a Russell Allen fan. I knew of Allen long before I heard of Joel Hoekstra. Allen has a voice which can suit power symphonic bands, metal bands, melodic rock bands, hard rock bands, nu-metal bands and blues rock bands.

And I’m also a Jeff Watson fan, so I wasn’t too thrilled with any Night Ranger version without Watson. Then again Watson hasn’t done much being away from the band and I still want to hear new Night Ranger music.

So I still listened and Hoekstra impressed but I felt he was restrained within that band as Blades and Keagy are the alphas.

And with Whitesnake, Coverdale has two great guitarists to write tunes with but they need to comply with what Coverdale desires.

Which means that Hoekstra 13 is the true Joel Hoekstra.

“Running Games” is album number 2 for his Frontiers label.

The musicians for the album are Russell Allen on vocals, Tony Franklin on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards with Jeff Scott Soto doing backing vocals. Yep, you read that right, the great JSS is doing backing vocals.

It feels like the 70s ethos, when you see so many guys from different bands jamming together and releasing music.

I was reading some of the interviews Hoekstra did when the album come out and fuck there are some shit interviewers out there, who just do the simple Wikipedia style of interview without even listening to the album.

But the one at “The Rock Pit” is what an interview is about. The interviewer actually listened to the album, liked it and wanted to know more about it. And you get exactly that.

“Finish Line”

“We Rock” from Dio is merged with “I’ll See The Light Tonight” from Malmsteen for the Intro riff and I’m all in.

And that Chorus. Wow. What a hook!

Make sure to check out the lead break as Hoekstra is doing his eight finger tapping.

“I’m Gonna Lose It”

I like the Intro lead. It reminds me of Thin Lizzy.

And just before the Chorus, there is a little snippet of a riff that gets me thinking of “A Touch Of Madness” from Night Ranger.

The lead break again. Wow.

Over at Glide Magazine, Hoekstra said He came up with the song out at Hook City at the Whitesnake studio.

“Hard To Say Goodbye”

The Chorus feels like a Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow Chorus.

“How Do You”

It’s slower and groovy, more in the vein of Adrenaline Mob in the verses with a Euro classical inspired Chorus.

“Heart Attack”

It is a bluesy groovy cut.

“Fantasy”

It feels like ZZ Top added some Metal to their sound in the Intro, and the verses are massive, Kashmir like.

Their is a keyboard solo and then Hoekstra breaks loose.

“Lonely Days”

What a melodic rock Chorus. I’m a sucker for these.

“Reach For the Sky”

Cliched and overused song title.

In an interview over at The Rock Pit, Hoekstra mentions how he wrote the riff on the Whitesnake Tour Bus. Inspiration strikes all the time.

“Cried Enough For You”

It feels like a Y&T cut from the “Black Tiger” album in the acoustic sections before it moves to an Iron Maiden like old school groove.

“Take What’s Mine”

The fast guitar lead and machine gun riff to start off the song gets me to pay attention, but it’s the verse riff that makes me pick up the guitar and bang my head to.

And there’s another anthemic Chorus.

“Running Games”

It feels like a Toto cut.

“Lay Down Your Love”

It feels like ZZ Top has come to town.

Overall Hoekstra’s songwriting is top level and the performances from the guys are excellent.

Check it out.

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The Record Vault: Dio – The Last In Line

The Vinyl Cover
The Cassette Cover.

Did anyone else think that the Dio logo upside down spelled Devil?

I did.

“The Last In Line” was my first Dio purchase and I played the cassette a lot. There isn’t a song I don’t like on it and if you want an introduction to Dio, then this is the album to sink your teeth into. Vivian’s guitar work also became very influential to me.

To this day, I still have the original cassette.

But I cannot locate the LP and the CD which I purchased much later on. As part of my many house moves I lost a lot of music.

The band is the same as the “Holy Diver” album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass and Vinny Appice on drums.

We Rock

How good is the Intro?

Appice is working away on that snare while Campbell plays the A minor pedal point riff.

And that solo from Vivian Campbell is perfect. It’s fast and melodic and it has a bluesy feel with doublestop bends and pentatonic licks.

The best part is the outro chorus when Vivan is playing the Am pedal point riff and the chords change from Am to F under it via Jimmy Bain whole Dio is ad libbing his vocals and Appice is driving the song home.

You can’t get better at that.

On Spotify it’s got 22 million streams.

The Last In Line

Sitting at 33.2 million Spotify streams.

That fingerpicked intro.

How good is the section when Dio holds the “home” vocal note and the band comes crashing in around him with an epic “Kashmir” like groove.

And the stop start music in the verse so the vocal melody is the centerpiece, goes to show how a strong melody can carry a song.

“Well know for the first time if were evil or divine” is one of the best lines Dio has put to paper.

For so many of us we live a life which we think we’ve done good and when it comes to judgement at the pearly gates, the almighty one might have other views.

Breathless

If the sound of a person being breathless in the intro isn’t enough to get you interested, then that groovy riff that kicks in will do it.

Dio’s strength (apart from his voice and good business sense) was the addition of a young guitarist that resonated with the youth and all the new young shredders who wanted to make their mark in Hard Rock and Metal.

Even though they parted ways bitterly, the three albums Dio did with Vivian set up Dio’s solo career, in the same way the two albums Ozzy did with Randy Rhoads set up Ozzy’s solo career.

Check out Campbell’s solo on this and the snare work from Appice to come out of the solo.

One other thing that I always enjoyed with Dio songs is Dio’s ability to ad lib in the Outro.

I Speed At Night

A speed metal song before speed metal became a thing or a genre. If you don’t believe me, then press play on this song.

If the riff sounds familiar, it should. It’s “Stand Up And Shout” re-imagined.

And that solo again from Vivian. It’s perfect.

One Night In The City

The music is head banging material for a song that introduces a dark child called Johnny, who was promised but seemed to get into trouble and then found some form of love.

Did you get that?

Cool. I’m still confused.

And what about the drum fills from Appice after the solo and into the outro.

Who said drummers are not important?

I can even air play the fills.

Evil Eyes

They promise you treasure if you fly and fly Dio did. It’s a perfect combination of fast blues and metal.

And Campbell again steals the spotlight with his guitar hero solo.

Mystery

It’s in the key of Dm and it moves between major and minor keys throughout like F major in the chorus and D minor in the verses.

The Intro has moments of “Rainbow In The Dark”.

And Vivian is on form again in the guitar solo department.

Eat Your Heart Out

In the key of Em and Vivian is all over this one. From a guitar point of view there is a lot to unpack in the riffs department.

And for the guitar solo, what can I say. Vivian kicks it off with a tapping lick before blazing into some arpeggios and finishing it all off with some pentatonic lines.

It might not be Dio’s most famous song but it’s a guitar players delight.

Egypt (The Chains Are On)

The best track on the album for me and the drumming from Vinnie Appice is excellent under the epic and groovy guitar riff.

The verse riff is basically the feel of “Heaven And Hell” and Dio references his singing style from the same song in the verses.

I love the lyric line, “when the world was milk and honey”. Dio puts it out there that the world was nice and sweet once upon a time and so far removed from the warmongering, greed and ills that came after. For singer well known for introducing the Devil horns salute, his lyrics are influenced by the Bible.

Did I mention that Appice lays down some serious groove?

Well he does. It’s so effective, so simple and fucking frightening.

And in the outro, Vivian plays the intro riff and the Jimmy Bain changes the chords under it, like in “We Rock” and it’s brilliant.

This is a band in form and on top of their game. Vinny Appice on the drums is an unsung hero on this.

For such an influential album in hard rock and heavy metal circles it’s certifications are at platinum for US sales.

By the end of the album I was doing the Devil horns. \::/

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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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