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

The Derivative Effect In Action with Avenged Sevenfold and Hail To The King.

All hail. The King has arrived. Good artists copy, great artists steal is the saying. I am really digging the new Avenged Sevenfold album. A7X said they wanted to make a classic rock/metal album in the vein of AC/DC – Back In Back, Metallica – Master of Puppets and Black, Megadeth – Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction, Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz, Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast and Powerslave, Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance, Vah Halen – 1984, Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction, Dio – Holy Diver and Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell.

On release, it went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Once upon a time going to Number 1 was important, however these days, it is a fad. Longevity is the new importance. Does the album have the longevity? Will it be streamed forever and a day? My answer is YES it will.

On first listen you will hear influences (and on some tracks it is really obvious) from quite a few of the albums and bands mentioned above. They do it so well, it is hard to not like it. The lead breaks are brilliant and very Maiden like. They have gone for that sing along lead break. It will be interesting to see how those lead breaks translate to the very passionate and vocal South American fan bases. Overall, all the songs will work well in a live setting.

In the end A7X has definitely given a “popular band’s feel” to all the songs along with their own A7X bits and twists in between.

All metal and rock music and popular music in general has come to exist because of evolution, because of progress being derivative. It is never the result of creating something out of nothing that it is so original, it would blow everyone away.

“Live Wire” from Motley Crue released in 1981 borrowed from Girlschool’s “Yeah Right” also released in the same year.

“My Sanctuary” from Unisonic released in 2012 has a vocal melody that is very similar to the A Flock Of Seagulls song called “I Ran (So Far Away)” that was released in 1981.

“The Ghost Inside” from the band Vendetta released in 2012 is very similar to Michael Schenker’s “Desert Song” released in 1981. “Desert Song” is then very similar to what Michael Schenker did with UFO on the song “Love to Love” released in 1976.

“Hey Hey My My from Neil Young, released in 1979 is very similar to the song” I’d Love To Change The World” from Ten Years After released in 1971. In addition the riff to Tom Petty’s “Refugee” is also very similar to “I’d Love To Change The World.”

“Ten Black Roses” from The Rasmus released in 2008 borrows from Muse’s “Showbiz” released in 1998.

“Life is Beautiful” from Sixx AM released in 2007 borrows it’s Chorus from Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” released in 1993. The song “Beautiful” from the band Since October released in 2006 has a verse that is influenced by “Come Undone” from Duran Duran. The chorus riff also borrows from the same song. In addition, the song Come Undone is a derivative work from an earlier Duran Duran song called “First Impression” released in 1990.

The song “This Is It” from the band Staind released in 2011 has the chorus vocal melody that borrows from The Offspring’s “Gone Away” chorus melody.

Anyone that listens to the above examples, will be able to note the similarities from beginning to end. This is what I mean by the term progress is derivative.

By taking similar phrasings and chord structures, A7X was able to reinvent a past work with a fresh perspective. They have created new songs that are rooted in the past. That is why we as fans appreciate music so much. It is all built on something that came before. What makes the song unique and great is the musicians ability to express it and play it. If James Hetfield was a flawless virtuoso, I am sure the Metallica songs would have sounded a touch different, maybe less personalised and more sterile. If Motley Crue was a bunch of virtuosos then I am sure it would have been a different band. Good or bad, we will never know, however what we do know is that musicians sound the way they do because they are influenced by emotions and by their technical ability on the instrument.

It is produced by Mike Elizondo. Mixed by Andy Wallace and Engineered by Adam Hawkins.

Management is Larry Jacobson and Alex Reese for World Audience.

Shepherd Of Fire

The rain and the bell at the start and the feedback riff with the evil tri-tone is influenced from the song “Black Sabbath”. The main riff is very “Enter Sandman” like and it also has touches of Megadeth like the songs “Disconnect” from “The World Needs A New Hero” and “Trust” from Cryptic Writings. Since Metallica got the “Enter Sandman” riff from a band called Excel, we can safely say that progress is derivative. The drumming in the Intro, After The Solo and Outro is very “Enter Sandman” like, which Lars Ulrich said is based on AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website for the track:
“We intentionally wrote it as an intro track. The idea was that the arrangement would evoke a sense of imagery with the tribal yet primordial drums. It seemed to resonate from Hell almost. It’s something of an apocalyptic call to arms. I love the arrangement. We wanted to set up the album and foreshadow what was to come, being that it’s a groove-based, riff-oriented record. We haven’t really done Zeppelin-style or Sabbath-like riffs before, so this is our version of an album that’s along those lines.”

Hail To The King

From the outset this song has that Iron Maiden vibe. The intro reminds me of “Wasted Years” from the “Somewhere In Time” album. The chorus reminds me of the song “Sign Of The Cross” from “The X Factor” album. Synester Gates said that he was playing a lot of “gypsy jazz guitar – Django Reinhardt and a few others”, so for the intro, he took those techniques and metalized it. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website for the track:
“The whole solo is based on minor blues changes. I like it when it transfers to that regal feel, which aligns with the lyrics. A lot of people get confused and think that it’s neo-classical, but it’s really gypsy jazz.” 

Doing Time
This song is a Guns N Roses merged with WASP. The whole intro has got that “You Could Be Mine” / “Welcome To The Jungle” vibe. The vocals in the verse remind me of GNR and The Cult. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website for the track;

“This was a Mike Elizondo suggestion. He was hearing a kind of low vocal, swagger-based rock song, sort of a quintessential ‘80s or ‘90s vibe but with a very modern approach. It’s a bad freight train that never stops.

“For this solo – and for all of them, actually – I tried to just jam with the songs instead of being overly analytical about what I was doing. I sat with Mike and the rest of the guys, and I would play until everybody was on board with the way it was going. The main thing was that I wanted the songs to influence my playing rather than me imposing a signature style on the music.”

This Means War

Three words. “Sad But True”. With each listen I keep on enjoying the album just a little bit more. The songs flow well together and with similarities aside (seriously “This Is War” is a very ballsy song to release due to how similar it sounds to “Sad But True”) the album has a pretty epic feel to it. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website about the track;
“We wanted a really impactful, riff-based intro but one that would also feature our dual lead harmony approach. It’s pretty cool how it fits into the slow groove of the track and just hammers through.

“This song is becoming one of my favourites. I’ve been really enjoying watching people listen to it because it so fits the vibe of the album. When they hear it, they start moving, and they don’t stop. Sometimes, with more progressive songs, you lose that feel somewhere along the line, but This Means War never quits – the energy is always there.”

“All of my solos were improvised initially – I would go in and get my bearings and see what I came up with. I was hearing something chaotic in the intro, a machine-gun spray that would build into something more melodic.”

Requiem

This is classic Euro metal. It has that vibe. It’s got that Yngwie Malmsteen / Swedish metal influence. The choir at the beginning reminds of Carl Orff “O Fortuna”. The Metal Sucks website calls this song a “Kashmir” rip off and while I get that aspect, this song is one of those songs that is a little harder to pin down. The vocal part were Shadows screams “In Flames” reminds me of “No More Lies” from Iron Maiden, that came out on the “Dance Of Death” album in 2003. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates had to say about the song on the Music Rader website;

“The choir in the beginning is great. I’m very excited about how this song turned out. We wanted the foundation to be a metal band’s approach to classical orchestration.”

“Matt’s vocal is more like a lead violin part, and when my guitar chugs underneath the riff, it’s almost like what low brass would do. We layered each element very carefully, and the result is one of the more cinematic tracks on the record.”

“The solo was a fun one. I don’t do a lot of wah stuff, so I had a great time playing around with that. The wah gave it an added dimension and colours, some new life.”

Crimson Day

This is what Synester Gates had to say about this song on the Music Radar website.

“That’s a clean-sounding electric guitar on the opening, not an acoustic – there were no mics on the guitar involved, just on the amps. It’s one of my favourite clean tones I’ve ever fucking heard.”

 “We stumbled onto it by accident, actually. There were a few secrets in getting it, mainly that it’s a baritone guitar with a capo on it so I could play it in open E standard tuning. It has a really sick, rich, sparkly sound. Seriously, I’m so proud of how it turned out.”

“We wanted the song to have huge drums and be an epic rock ballad. It has a sombre vibe, but it doesn’t make you fucking sad all the way through. We were listening to a lot of Elton John, some Ozzy ballads and some Zeppelin. Actually, the lyrics are inspired by my nephew, so the song has a very personal meaning to me.

Heretic

Like This Is War, the song is very ballsy as it is like Megadeth’s – Symphony Of Destruction. Overall it has that Megadeth feel to it and yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates said on the Music Radar website:
“This was probably the first song that we wrote for the album, so there’s a bit of a throwback to the old, traditional Avenged stuff. It’s a little progressive, but we wanted to maintain some space in the arrangement so the drums could shine and the riffs and vocals could breathe.”

 “That’s a pretty important point, really, because we tend to fill things to the brim with guitar harmonies, vocal harmonies, lead things going in and out. Leaving a feeling of air made a big difference in how all of the parts stood out.”

“This is a lot of guitar, though, some big moments. If you’re not the biggest groove fan – and it you’re not, you should be – there’s still a progressive element. So it’s a mix, this song, and it worked out really well.”

Coming Home

This song is weird. I am getting an overall Iron Maiden feel but its hart to pin point exactly what. I’m sort of getting “Ghost of Navigators” for the verse but there is something else, which might not even by Maiden, maybe WASP? I am starting to sound like a psychic. The Harmony guitars at the end is Megadeth, “A Toute Le Monde.” Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates said about the song;
“Another Mike suggestion. He wanted us to do something upbeat, but we wanted to make sure that it didn’t get hokey – we’ve done upbeat before, and sometimes things can get a little too cutesy and sugary. Our goal was to have a darker, more serious tone, which can get lost when you increase the tempo.” 

“It’s very adventurous, but it maintains that upbeat vibe. There’s some great drumming on it, and I’m really excited about the guitar work. The solo is big. Instead of doing a vocal bridge, we decided to do one with the guitar and have it take you places. I think it fits with the imagery of the lyrics, which are very personal but still presented in a way that people can relate to it. The words are very ‘storytellery,’ concerning travel and endeavours, but they’re not necessarily concerned with present time. The guitar stuff goes hand-in-hand with all of that.”

Planets

The way the drums are in the Intro it reminds me of a song that I cant put my finger on. Kiss comes to mind, something from the Psycho Circus album. Also the riff. Yep familiar, not sure what like though, riff is similar to the outro of “Broken” except heavier, Bridge bit is Pantera: “Mouth of War” for the drums. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates had to say about the song on the Music Radar website;
“To me, the last two songs, in addition to being my favourites, make up the best ending to a record we’ve ever had. Lyrically, Planets is the precursor to Acid Rain; it’s about a meteoric, intergalactic war that results in an apocalypse and the human species aligning together to go fight something much better than us, our individual trials and tribulations.”

“Musically, the song was incredibly difficult to write and pull off – the elements of dissonance, tension and resolution. We wanted to have that friction throughout, but it still had to be palatable; it couldn’t be like listening to Penderecki or Stockhausen. There had to be a relate ability and connect ability to it.”

“We really toiled over the track, but it turned out great. I’m so fucking excited about it.”

Acid Rain

This is Gary Moore – “Still Got The Blues/Parisienne Walkways” merged with GNR – “November Rain”. The Solo is definitely “November Rain’ish.” Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates had to say about the song on the Music Radar website;
“It’s a cool way to end the record – not a typical ballad, but it’s not soft or sugary, either. The song takes you to an emotional place, especially if you pay attention to the lyrics, which are some of the best Matt has ever written.

“The song is about coming to the realization that you’ve lost the battle, but at least you’re with that one special person who matters. It’s something of an apocalyptic love story, which is pretty unique for us.”

In the end what we are hearing is a mish mash of different artists, a verse from one artist, a chorus from another artist, an intro riff from another and with the A7X little elements chucked in.

Of course, it’s not a bad form to go with, the only issue here is that some sound so close that they are unmistakably obvious, or perhaps that was the point. I wonder if they are going to see some action over it?

When I first heard the album, the first thing I did was Google, “Avenged Sevenfold copied” and heaps of pages come up. To me, it all comes down to this. Music is a sum of our influences. A person that hasn’t heard a piece of music can say that what they created is original as they have not heard anything else before that. However for all of us, music is a sum of what we have heard, mixed in with our style and ability to play those influences.

So will there be any action of these “similarities.” I see it as a double edged sword.

Because the bands they are “ripping off” are popular I don’t see how those bands can bring some action against A7X. They haven’t taken anything away from the original versions of those songs. If anything it’s made me interested to go back and listen to those songs to see if I can pick up more similarities. Those bands should be posting things like, “Thanks to Avenged Sevenfold for bringing attention to our song Symphony Of Destruction on the song Heretic from their new album Hail To The King. Check out the Megadeth version here.” That is what they should be doing.

However, if they borrowed or where influenced from unknown bands, like how Metallica and Led Zeppelin did, then I am sure that the unknown band/artist would be bringing action to the band, however I still believe it is a stupid idea. Use it to your advantage in other ways. Point to it. Market yourselves like the example above.

In the end Avenged Sevenfold released an album that has people talking about. We are engaged with it, talking about the influences we hear on it and the similarities to other artists. Some are negative, some are positive. In the end we are engaged with the product and we are forming a relationship with it.

For the record, I ripped the CD of the album and then I gave the CD to a few friends to rip on their own computers so that he can listen to it. WHY? I wanted them to listen to it so that we can talk about it.

Nah, people are talking about it on the web. The first thing I did was Google, “Avenged Sevenfold copied” and heaps of pages come up. To me, it all comes down to this. Music is a sum of our influences. A person that hasn’t heard a piece of music can say that what they created is original as they have not heard anything else before that. However for all of us, music is a sum of what we have heard, mixed in with our style and ability to play those influences. Show me someone who says what they wrote is “original” and I’ll show you a liar. Everything has been written, we are just a sum of our influences and how we interpret those influences through our own individualism, and there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

For action against them it’s a double edged sword.

Because the bands they are “ripping off” are popular I don’t see how those bands can bring some action against A7X. They haven’t taken anything away from the original versions of those songs. If anything it’s made me interested to go back and listen to those songs to see if I can pick up more similarities. Those bands should be posting things like, “Thanks to Avenged Sevenfold for bringing attention to Symphony Of Destruction on the song Heretic.” That is what they should be doing.

However, if they borrowed or where influenced from unknown bands, like how Metallica and Led Zeppelin did, then I am sure that unknown band would be bringing action to the band, however I still believe it is a stupid idea. Use it to your advantage in other ways. The same way the big bands should use it. It’s always better to enforce positive approaches in order to take advantage of whatever scenarios are encountered.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

The KISS that rocks

Revenge made Kiss relevant again.  1982’s Creatures of The Night and 1983’s Lick It Up, re-established Kiss as a force to be reckoned with in the Eighties.

MTV was the outlet, and every time Lick it Up came on, it made me stop and watch.  This was all about the music.  The band had removed their make-up and they needed to make a statement.  Lick It Up was that statement.   That crunchy and distorted guitar from Vinnie Vincent is what makes the song roll.  Of course, it wouldn’t be long before Vincent was shifted. It’s like Gene Simmons can’t handle having talented people around me for a long period of time. Gene likes to rewrite history that Vinnie Vincent’s contribution to KISS was as a salary paid employee, however the music doesn’t lie.

Life’s such a treat and it’s time you taste it
There ain’t a reason on earth to waste it

We all know what Paul is saying in the lyrics to the women in the world.  Make sure that no mess is left ladies.

By the time the keyboard heavy Crazy Nights (1987) and the pop metal Hot In The Shade (1989) came out, fans started to accuse the band of following whatever MTV trend was popular at the time. 

Crazy Crazy Nights to me was so hooky and it was as good as anything else that was in the Charts at that time. I personally love the song, and this is in the era, post the Slippery When Wet explosion.  It just reminds me of good times and crazy days, sort of like how Tesla’s Lazy Days and Crazy Nights song does.  Listening to the Crazy Crazy Nights song today (I did an Eighties’ CD for my wife and this song was one of the songs I put on it) it just reminds me of how busy my life has come to be, where most of the time I am running on empty or caffeine.  It would good to be able to kick back and relax. 

They try to tell us we don’t belong,
That’s alright, we’re millions strong
This is my music, it makes me proud,
These are my people and this is my crowd

A song for the rock show, making the people believe that they belong here. Crazy Crazy Nights was co-written by Paul Stanley and Adam Mitchell who he used on the Creatures of the Night album as well.  Going back to the well that gave birth to quality previously, is a good thing.   

Going back to the Revenge album. The Nineties had a massive paradigm shift in the music business.  Kiss, now had to compete with bands that released game changing albums.  Nirvana released Nevermind and Pearl Jam released Ten bringing Grunge and Alternative Rock to the masses.  U2 released Achtung Baby, Red Hot Chilli Peppers released Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Metallica released the Black album, The Cult release Ceremony, Guns N Roses released the Use Your Illusion I and II albums, Ozzy Osbourne released No More Tears, Skid Row released Slave To The Grind, Pantera released A Vulgar Display of Power and Van Halen released For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.  The majority of the albums had a heavy rock feel and in the case of Van Halen it was return to the brown sound. 

Coming into the recording process of Revenge, Kiss already had some momentum going with God Gave Rock N Roll To You, which appeared in the movie, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1991. The song is an Russ Ballard composition for the band Argent, however additional credit is given to Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin.  Argent at that time was trying to follow up their mega hit, Hold Your head Up, so when God Gave Rock And Roll To You came out, it bombed.  However the song is a great song, and it is a good thing that Kiss rescued it and turned it into a hit.

For Kiss to be relevant in the Nineties, they had to do something different, so they hired a marketing consultant firm to find out what the fans wanted. The answers came back.  The fans wanted more Demon, more heaviness, more rock and an album to rival 1976’s Destroyer. It was time to get the team together.  Bob Ezrin who produced the epic Destroyer and the terrible Music From The Elder was hired to produce.

The biggest decision made was to use the fantastic, talented and egotistical Vinnie Vincent as a songwriter.  Simmons and Stanley realised that Vincent’s contributions to the Creatures of The Night and Lick It Up albums, had produced songs that have become some of the best and well known Kiss songs in recent memory.  The sinister single opener Unholy was written by Simmons and Vincent.  It is heavy, it is evil and it fit perfectly in the current music climate at the time. 

You send your children to war
To serve bastards and whores

It’s a tough lyric line.  There is that devilish theme throughout the song.   

Other classic Vincent penned songs that appear on Revenge are Heart of Chrome is written by Paul Stanley, Vinnie Vincent and Bob Ezrin, while I Just Wanna is written by Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent.

It is a shame that this song writing partnership went sour so quickly again, and they haven’t collaborated since. 

Revenge is Kiss being themselves and by doing that, they made a record that satisfied the hard core fan bases and somehow also fitted in with the times,

Of course, the album is also in memory to drummer Eric Carr, who passed away due to cancer, before the recording process started.  Eric Singer took his place in the band and he has been with Kiss, since then.  How good was the Badlands project that Eric Singer was in, with Jake E.Lee, Ray Gillen and Greg Chaisson?  However that is for another day.

Standard