Influenced, Music, My Stories

Spin Review

I always like reading reviews and different people’s takes on new albums from artists.

In this Spin Review from August 1989, the reviewer decided its good practice to group, “In Your Face” from Kingdom Come (on Polydor), Blue Murder’s self-titled debut (on Geffen) and Badlands self-titled debut (on Atlantic). He’s probably thinking, why waste print space on three separate reviews when he can do it quicker with one review and have some fun with it.

So here we go with a Spin Review from Jon Young in italics.

“Sales figures suggest otherwise but heavy metal can be as quaint as doo wop or rockabilly. The endless shouting about loose ladies and glories of the road, punctuated by sweaty guitars, recalls a more innocent era, especially after the revisionist antics of Metallica and other killjoys.

Which probably matters not a whit to the innocent, hard-working dudes of Kingdom Come, Blue Murder and Badlands. They’re too busy pursuing “the blazing heart of rock and roll” (to quote KC’s Lenny Wolf).”

Things changed by 1989.

The reviewers of music had been exposed to so many records from “so many similar” sounding bands, that everything would have sounded the same to them. And their reviews started to reflect the sameness in a scathing way. Then again, controversy always got people’s attention, so maybe it was their way to get some traction.

Also this review mentions the revisionist antics of Metallica, who had a line of journalists eager to rewrite music history on their behalf and claim that every album from Metallica swept all that came before and led the way for so many different styles of music, when in fact, the first two albums “Kill Em All” and “Ride The Lightning” had a cult following but were ignored by the larger music buying public. It took the Ozzman to take em on tour for the “Master Of Puppets” album for them to begin commence their crossover.

“Ridiculed last year for the Led Zeppelin fixation, Kingdom Come seizes he moment to refute the doubters on their sophomore effort; “In Your Face” kicks off with “Do You Like It”, a churning rave up totally unlike Zep. It’s also the dullest cut of the bunch.

After this bold departure we’re happily back to the sincerest form of flattery, as Lenny Wolf portrays Robert Plant to a fare-thee-well, expertly replication his idol’s sighs, moans and grunt.

If only he had some flair – you need real style to sing convincingly about lemon squeezes and big legged woman, after all. His bandmates lack the chops to follow suit, contenting themselves with generic plodding. When lead guitarist Danny Stag finally summons up the nerve to try a Pagesque solo on “Perfect O”, you’ll want to have a copy of “Houses Of The Holy” handy as an antidote.”

The Wolfster might have glanced his eyeballs over this review, because he fired his whole band soon after, to replace them with German musicians. Or maybe it was a move for money’s sake as Lenny Wolf was the one who got the recording contract.

“At least Kingdom Come has a vision, albeit an unoriginal one.

The aimless Blue Murder exudes the unmistakable aroma of instant disaster. Decked out in swashbuckler gear from Adam Ant’s rummage sale, stone-faced vets John Sykes (Whitesnake), Tony Franklin (The Firm) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Beck, etc) raise a ruckus to little effect.

Blame front man Sykes, who tries to touch every base imaginable and ends up nowhere. A shrill vocalist and hyperactive guitarist, he ranges from thudding sword and sorcery epics reminiscent of Rainbow (“Valley Of The Kings”) to bloated pop tailored for airplay in hell (“Jelly Roll”).

Sykes hits a ghastly pinnacle of sorts on the weepy “Out Of Love”, seven minutes of aggressive self-pity guaranteed to inspire fond thoughts of Steve Perry and Journey.

No about these gents will move on to more rewarding gigs, Appice remains a sharp drummer, though he looks too old for this nonsense and hide Blue Murder at the bottom of the resume.”

The pirate look was a massive screw up for Blue Murder. It was so out of touch with everything. Even Dio, who was sort of into that black clothed sorcerer look, was moving towards street clothing, which Guns N Roses and Motley started with “Appetite” and “Girls”. I agree with the review that the sound was big and bloated, and that is where our agreeance ends. The debut album was exactly what my ear drums needed.

“The Badlands boys make a show of their own inauspicious trappings; they’ve got a lame motto (“Feels so Good to be so Bad”) and singer Ray Gillen claims credit for blues harp. I doubt the guy ever studied with James Cotton.

Well, shut my mouth, cause their self-titled debut is hot stuff.

Led by guitarist Jake E.Lee, who paid dues with Ozzy Osbourne, the lads turn the usual ingredients into big, beaty entertainment, part stomping metal and part belch-rock in the spirt of early Bad Company. “Dreams In The Dark” and “Seasons” qualify for actual tunes, not just inflated riffs and Lee adds welcome shades of color here and there, augmenting the electric guitars with dobro, sitar, mandolin and other exotica.

A genuinely inventive guitarist, he really makes his strings talk on the struttin, “Rumblin’ Train” and the rip-snortin’ “Dancing On The Edge”.

After the muddled clichés of their peers, Badlands’ clean attack is inviting. There’s more constructive sounds around, but never underestimate the pleasures of good trash. Now ‘scuse me while I boogie one time.”

The Badlands debut is a killer debut. There isn’t a bad song on it, except for the egos, which Eric Singer more or less alluded to when he left because the band environment wasn’t to his liking.

And it (along with Voodoo Highway) will never be on a streaming service as the Atlantic Reps have killed it, due to the daughter of one of their contracting the HIV virus from Ray Gillen.

But since Jake E. Lee is on Frontiers, expect a re-recording to happen as Frontiers President Serafino Perugino, is trying to get all the artists on his roster to re-record their best songs (especially the artists who made it big during the 70’s and 80s) so Frontiers can lock up these versions for at least another 100 years under Copyright.

And for the record, all three records are excellent.

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

April 2020 – Part 1

April 2020 has finished and a lot of new music has hit my earbuds and I am still listening to tunes released between January and March 2020. While the last post started off with the songs from previous months, this post will start the new ones;

Here is the Spotify link.

Sever
From The Ashes
Red

From the album “Declaration”.

“Sever” and “From The Ashes” have been added to the excellent “The War We Made”.

There is something about the voice tones and the vocal melodies of Michael Barnes which always hook me in. But if I look at the writers or co-writers, Barnes isn’t even listed as a songwriter. The majority of the songs are written by guitarist Anthony Armstrong along with producer Rob Graves.

In case you are not aware, Red is made up of Barnes on vocals, the Armstrong brothers, Anthony on guitars and Randy on bass and piano with Dan Johnson on drums. I have been a fan of this band since 2008. Their first three albums are my favourites and the albums that came afterwards had some cool songs, but they also lost me a little bit with their direction, but “Declaration” is a step back into my headspace and a direction I like.

Time won’t stop another setting sun
Facing this pain like a loaded gun

There’s no escape from problems. The more they are ignored, the bigger they become.

Sever these fraying ties

Break away instead of mending. It’s easier said than done, because while one part of the mind knows it’s right, the other part holds on to the memories, the good ones and the heart wants everything to stay as it is.

Agonize alone in the cold again
I loved more than I could hold

You think you could have it all, a relationship, a family, a career and a life as a touring musician or a high paying job.

But it’s hard.

Having so many commitments, something or someone will suffer.

I Would Love To Rock The World
Moon Of Forever
Free Spirits Rising

“A call to the promoters, trying to get a show, messages left are unanswered, trying to give rock a go” is how “I Would Love To Rock The World” starts off.

You can tell they are having fun with this song as it tells the story of trying to get a gig because even though they have failed or been burned many times, they would do it again if given the chance.

“Castles are burning as mother earth cries, her message of love is etched forever in blue” is how “Moon Of Forever” starts off, which has more of a 70s feel. In the 5 minutes, it has three verses and a lot of music with different moods.

From what I can gather, Free Spirits Rising is an Australian artist (just one dude who plays all the instruments). At this point in time he has released 10 stand-alone songs on streaming services since April last year. Sort of like a song a month policy.

The Black
Hologram
Dynazty

The Swedes are back with a new album called “The Dark Delight”.

“The Black” and “Hologram” stand out for me.

That harmony lead lick to kick off “The Black” is excellent and the vocal lines in the chorus which are inspired by classical and old folk pirate songs.

Meanwhile “Hologram” is a pop metal gem, if there is such a term. The lead break in “Hologram” is one of my favourites for this year so far. You need to hear it, to know what I mean.

Ride The Blade
Rock’N’Roll Survivors
Bonfire

For two albums (“Fireworks” released in 1987 and “Point Blank” released in 1989), Bonfire was one of my favourite acts.

The riffage and the songs were exactly to my liking. Then all hell broke loose with record labels dropping hard rock bands and suddenly Bonfire’s 1991 record, “Knock Out” was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t even get it imported into Australia and I couldn’t even get any news from em, because the usual metal mags I was buying didn’t mention em.

But Napster and its users gave me their 90’s output, and streaming now has some of their albums, but not the ones I like. “Fistful Of Fire” is their 17th studio album and man it’s been a long ride for founding guitarist Hans Ziller, the only original member since 1972.

So it’s probably a big reason why “Rock ‘N’ Roll Survivors” resonated plus the riffs and lead breaks played a pretty big part.

And the intro to “Ride The Blade”. Crank it loud and start to play air guitar.

She Dragoon
Conception

“By The Blues” has been doing the rounds for a few months on my playlists and now, “She Dragoon” is added to the list. This is one of the best Queensryche songs that Queensryche didn’t write.

In case you are not aware, Conception is from Norway and they came into my life via the excellent “In Your Multitude” released in 1995. which reminded me of Dream Theater’s “Images and Words” and “Awake” era albums, but with the songs more accessible. They also released another good album in “Flow” in 1997 and then they disbanded between 1998 and 2018.

Awaken Me
Spoken

I like this band.

They are marketed as an American Christian Rock band.

But to me, they are pretty awesome hard rock band who has been doing the rounds since 1997. The last new music from the band was back in 2017 and in February, they released a nu-metal song, called “The Way Back Home” with a massive melodic chorus.

“Awaken Me” is not as aggressive in the riffage as “The Way Back Home”. It’s more melodic and the chorus remains with me.

Awaken me to you
Cover me with the fire of your love
Take me with you
Forever, forever
With you

The “YOU” can be a lover, a parent, a child or a God. Just insert which one you want. And its catchy. Hence the reason why the song is in the list.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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

The Record Vault – The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect are from Brisbane, Australia. Formed in 1999, they dropped their debut EP in 2001.

“Crave” is from their “Begins Here” album released in 2003. The next song “Saved” didn’t appear on any album until their 2016 release, “B Sides, Live and Rarities”. “The Cell” and “Take It Away” appeared on their six song EP, released in 2001. It was “Take It Away” from the EP, which got me interested in the band. 

“Imago” was released in 2006.

It debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts.

You could hear in this album that the band was progressing in their song writing department. You can hear the onus on more melody. Getting older, playing live, building on experiences and relationships all enhance the song writing.

But it wasn’t so smooth making the album.

“I think, as a grown man, I can probably say it would have been the most stressful seven weeks of my life”

Drummer Ben Hall 

Joe Barresi was hired to produce the album. He heard the demoes the band sent and was enthusiastic to work with them. He just finished recording Tool’s “10,000 Days” album and the band flew to LA as soon as a slot came up in Barresi’s calendar.

But the band wasn’t really ready to start recording at this point in time. And Barresi sure let them know it. The band started to not enjoy the process, but the experience with Barresi, showed them gaps in their commitments which they used to realign their goals with their music career.

From the opening one minute instrumental “Imago”, to “Aisles Of White” to “Gone” to “A Slow Descent”, it’s a four punch combo. The ending of “A Slow Descent” is excellent. But the album gets better. “Before They Knew” and “In A Memory” are my favourite cuts on this album. 

“In A Memory” has this bass riff inspired by Tool as it rumbles along and leads the song. But when you think the song is over at the 3.30 minute mark, it moves into this beautiful section which starts with chords and then arpeggios and a haunting vocal melody. And it’s got an ending as good as “A Slow Descent”. And those endings are pure gold.

It’s just a memory of all that we could have been

It’s just a memory and all that we could have been

It’s just a memory, I’ve seen

It’s just a memory, I’ll see 

The way these words are delivered is haunting, like a dream you’ve just had and you are not sure when you wake up, if it’s a real memory or a dream memory.

As good as “Imago” is, their piece d resistance album is “Final Conversation Of Kings” released in 2008.

I have no photo to share of this album because I gave it and the debut EP to my ex drummer, along with “The Dirt” hardcover book from Motley Crue, a  Rush “Live in Rio” DVD and a Coheed and Cambria live DVD. I should have gotten my stuff back first, before I booted him.

And speaking of band members not getting on, The Butterfly Effect had some issues between founding guitarist Kurt Goedhart and lead vocalist Clint Boge. So it was no surprise that the band members went their separate ways, until a few years ago, when they released a new song and announced a tour around Oz. 

Welcome back. 

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

The Pirate Vault #9

Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time / Annihilator – Never, Neverland

I taped the “Somewhere In Time” album with Side 2 first and Side 1 second, because I didn’t want the 45 minute per side constraint to cut off “Alexander The Great”. I preferred that song over “Heaven Can Wait”.

“Never, Neverland” is the follow up to “Alice In Hell” and although each song on the album has some good guitar sections, it’s patchy overall.

Night Ranger / Deep Purple / Queen

This mix tape was done based on songs I liked at a particular point in time. I recorded it at my cousins place.

Halfway To The Sun, I Did It For Love, Reason To Be, Restless Kind

I didn’t like the “Man In Motion” album. But the songs listed here are what I would call my favorites. More musically than lyrically.

Like check out these masterpiece lyrics from “Halfway To The Sun” which was more suited for Motley Crue or Aerosmith.

So take them overdone lips
And that million dollar smile
And go use them up on some younger pup
That’ll spend his time and money on your style

They went their separate ways in the 80s.

Jack Blades teamed up with Tommy Shaw and Ted Nugent, bringing us two stellar albums Damn Yankees. Along the way Shaw and Blades wrote a lot of songs for other artists as well. One of my favorites is the Vince Neil track, “You’re Invited But Your Friend Can’t Come”.

“Burn” and “Mistreated”, I copied because they are awesome songs and I wanted to learn em.

Queen really came into my life in the 90s because of a few random things.

My cousin Mega was a huge fan and he kept playing me their more rockier songs.

“I Want It All” released in 1989, was all over the charts in Australia and then it kept getting played on radio.

Metallica covered “Stone Cold Crazy” in 1991 and it blew me away.

Lynch Mob covered “Tie Your Mother Down” in 1992 and it also blew me away. Suddenly I’m going back and listening to Queen.

The Prophet Song” is from the “A Night At The Opera” album. It’s a blast at 8 plus minutes. I felt like I was in a “Conan The Barbarian” movie. Savatage would take this style and run with it, during the Zachary Stevens fronted era.

Lily Of The ValleyTenement Funster, Flick Of The Wrist, Stone Cold Crazy

All of these songs are from the excellent “Sheer, Sheet Heart Attack”. If you like rock and metal music, there is no way you can’t like this album.

Rocktober Radio Recordings

Triple M was one hell of a radio station once upon a time. And from the late 90s and onwards, it morphed to just another radio station that played the same as most of the other stations. Even the presenters had no rock credibility anymore. But once upon a time it was a bonafide rock station. October also brought forth Rocktober at Triple M.

Don’t Tell Me What To Do – Baby Animals

Suzi DeMarchi is one awesome frontwoman. I saw the band live at Revesby Workers and man they could play.

For those who don’t know DeMarchi was also married to Nuno Bettencourt.

This song is the first single from their second studio album, “Shaved And Dangerous” released in 1993. DeMarchi and Bettencourt also wrote a song together for this album and Nuno even produced and wrote a few songs for her “Telelove” solo album released in 1999. I like this album more than the debut but it’s the debut that keeps selling.

The Flame Trees – Cold Chisel

This is their best song. It’s melancholic and hopeful at the same time.

Sister Havana – Urge Overkill

One hit wonders with this song, which has a riff similar to songs like “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova and “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield.

Personally I liked it and it rocked hard during an 90s era that tried to kill rock.

Soul To Squeeze – RHCP

It was a B side from their massive “BSSM” album. Then it was released as a single and it went massive. You can’t keep a good song down.

Why Can’t This Be Love (Live), Dreams (Live) by Van Halen

These tracks were taken from their live album. It was very rare in the 90s for radio stations to play live songs.

Janies Got A Gun (Live), Rag Doll (Live), Love In The Elevator (Live), Dude Look Like A Lady (Live) by Aerosmith

Aerosmith songs were recorded during an Oz tour I think. The band is firing on all cylinders here, delivering songs from their two biggest 80s albums.

Runaway Train by Soul Asylum

I saw these guys on an MTV awards show and the songs music, and melodies connected immediately because it reminded me of the 70s acts.

Are You Going My Way, Believe by Lenny Kravitz

“Are You Going My Way” was overplayed. It went to Number 1 in Australia. My favorite is the ballad and the outro solo to “Believe” is brilliant.

Twisted Sister – Big Hits And Nasty Cuts / Def Leppard – Retroactive

I don’t know why I felt the need to copy the Twisted Sister “Greatest Hits” album to a cassette. But I did.

“Retroactive” from Def Leppard is excellent. “Desert Song” and “Fractured Love” are two of my favorites and they have Steve Clark all over em.

These unfinished songs from the “Hysteria” recording sessions, show how creative an artist is at certain points in time. The guys in Def Leppard wrote over three albums worth of music for “Hysteria”.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Success Is A Combination Of Different Metrics

I’m surfing the net and reading. I come across a few reviews of music. Black Sabbath are getting favorable write ups from the mainstream however music fans are split.

I think we need a shut down and a restart in music as everybody is so busy scrambling for cash. Great music is coming a very distant last.

Ozzy these days is all about the money.

In my opinion it doesn’t matter whether anybody buys the new Black Sabbath album. Thinking of sales as the only validation point is old school economics.

These days it’s all about whether people LISTEN to it. I love Black Sabbath but I’m not listening to 13 nor have I a desire to hear it again.

Music was always a service. People heard music by going to a live performance of it. Then music evolved into a product. I grew up in an era were I wanted to own the music I liked. I wanted to collect as much music as possible. I was buying a product.

Now I don’t need to own music. I can just get the music I like whenever I want to hear it. Streaming is changing the way I consume music.

Instead of purchasing a CD once and playing that album 10,000 times, I can now stream a song 10,000 times. It’s a relationship between the artist and fan that never ends.

The music business is built on smoke and mirrors. That gig that sold out, by bands purchasing their own tickets for reselling in reality didn’t sell out. That album that sold millions, by the labels pressing millions in reality didn’t sell millions.

If people want to know if an album or a song is a hit they need to look at more metrics.

How many YouTube views?
How many Spotify streams?
How many streams from other providers?
How many torrent downloads. Free music can be good for you. I remember watching the Iron Maiden 666 movie and Nicko McBrian was saying that they haven’t sold a single record in Costa Rica, however they have 40,000 kids coming to the show.
How many digital sales in the major markets?
How many physical sales in the major markets?
Are people talking about the album?

The main point is it’s a combination of everything, sales numbers are not everything, you’ve got to look at the total picture.

Standard