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

2016

2016 will be seen as the year when the populations of the world, fresh from dealing or seeing terror hit their streets, decided to enforce change with their vote. Whatever side of the fence people sat, it was shown in major countries that the major cities and the governments are out of touch with the rest of their country. When people voted in 2016, it was a protest against the last 30 years of democracy and how the ruling classes became richer while the middle classes became poorer.

Megadeth kicked the year off with “The Threat Is Real” and it sure was. Megadeth released the better album this year, however Metallica’s “Hardwired To Self Destruct” would be more popular.

The messiah or mass murderer
No controlling who comes through the door
THE THREAT IS REAL – Megadeth

The shepherd led, we blindly followed
Into the world of no tomorrow
THE ENDLESS KNOT – Haken

Tyrants overtaking intoxicate with lies
There is no escaping, not this time
The simple man receiving, defending every crime
Somehow still believing they are right
THE LAST HERO – Alter Bridge

Omnipresent endless knot
The architect of every thought
Through the prison walls made by your design
A chameleon hides behind Orwellian eyes
THE ARCHITECT – Haken

We give up more of our liberties and privacy, but how secure are we?

For all the spying our governments do, they have no idea when an event will happen. Sure, they might identify persons of interest and then what. No one stopped the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels but somehow the mainstream media and the police read and believed the fake news sites on the internet.

We will grow strong from this
We will not be defeated
However hard they try
Over and over and over a thousand times
RISE OF THE MELANCHOLY EMPIRE – Sixx A.M.

With hands held high, we can rule the world
RULE THE WORLD – Dee Snider

It’s a call to arms for the “good” people of the world to band together and defeat the “bad” people of the world.

When terrorist bombs go off, the lines between good and bad are clear, we are the good ones and the terrorists are the bad ones. During the U.S election lead up, Trump was portrayed as the bad one and Hillary as the good one by the mainstream media. The fact that over half of the country voted for him, does it mean that all of those people are bad.

The bottom line is everyone is clueless and the future is exactly that, with endless possibilities and outcomes.

So together we’ll build a new world
A better world
OUR NEW WORLD – Dream Theater

But for all of Petrucci’s clichés, the world is much more complex. Robb Flynn asked “Is Anybody’s Out There” that feels just like him. One simple song, with two powerful verses addressing abandonment and racism.

Now I stand as a father, to men with no honor
Ashamed of the racists I used to call brothers
Cause no flag can mean bravery,
when bloodied by slavery,
The rebel, a devil, disguised as a savior
IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? – Machine Head

And he didn’t stop there. After Trump’s election win, he released (via YouTube) an acoustic song called “Bastards”. A simple D to A to Bm to G chord progression, underpins some personal viewpoints about the state of his world. And “Bastards” generated some heated discussions amongst the Machine Head fans, especially the ones who voted for Trump.

I am disconnected from a system I’ve rejected.
ALONE WE STAND – Killswitch Engage

A sign of things to come with Brexit, Trump and the Italian referendum serving as perfect examples of the disconnected people rejecting the current systems in place.

  • And the system allows Volkswagen to cheat on their emissions tests.
  • And the system allows the banks to get away with running the country into the dirt.
  • And the system allows lobbyists to lobby/bribe elected officials into writing laws to benefit corporate profits.
  • And the system allows the CEO’s to scream help to the government for a bail out, while the people, the workers, need to sell because they lost their jobs or they can’t make repayments.

I’ve seen rock bottom and I’ve smashed my fists against it
Just keep telling yourself it will be alright
STRENGTH OF THE MIND – Killswitch Engage

And there’s nowhere to turn
At the end of the road, I can’t hold on
MY ALLIED OCEAN – Evergrey

I’m just a creature of a broken past
We’re all looking for a second chance
PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED – Sixx A.M.

Who hasn’t been there?

You know the moment, when you feel like you are not winning and everything you do just turns to crap. And you cant get out of the rut, because you’re spending your days doing things for others, through obligation or duty to the family. And your life is so far away from the world of possibilities you had when you where young.

Somehow through it all
We carry on (we carry on)
WE CARRY ON – Killswitch Engage

And that’s our lives in a nutshell. We overcome setbacks, deaths in the family, wins and losses. Through it all, we still carry on. We rise.

Speak out, don’t let the status quo define you
This is your world, just put the fear back in their eyes
RISE – Sixx A.M.

Did I decide
Or did the road choose me?
1985 – Haken

Free will is an illusion. We believe we have it, but it ceases to exist when we start to follow the rules set by institutions.

 

Falling from the sky
Cast out from heaven’s light
Drenching the soil with blood
Baptized in the fire hole
THE DEVIL’s BLEEDING CROWN – Volbeat

I always looked for acceptance
I understood what it’s like to be different
PASSING THROUGH – Evergrey

From the day we are born we are looking for acceptance especially those outliers cast out from heaven’s light who do not conform to what the institutions what from them. The key is to stay true to who you are and be accepted and not be the artist who created safe art, looked safe, walked away from their fans to be in partnership with the corporation and so forth.

What have I got to lose
When I’ve already lost it all
PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED – Sixx A.M.

When you’re at the bottom, the only way is up. For a lyric to work for me, the person writing it, has to have experienced it.

It’s the worse when you lose when you know how hard you tried
BELIEVE – Dee Snider

So many times when I was misunderstood
I just wish we had spoken so much sooner
DISTANCE – Evergrey

Life is funny in hindsight and sometimes painful to replay. We all would love to live with no “what if’s” however it never happens that way.

Just like tragedy
Folks line up to see
We forget and the problem’s gone
It just ain’t right to move on
MY LAST MISTAKE – Tremonti

We show outrage initially and then we move on like it never happened. It’s a sick symptom of society where we fail to hold to account, the people responsible for the tragedy. The GFC perps went on college speaking tours and high-five jobs at the financial firms they organised laws to benefit. They escaped unscathed, while the middle class and lower class got their homes foreclosed.

Every time there is a shooting there is outrage, however nothing is done after on gun reform.

For all of the laws passed to spy on citizens in the name of terror, not one terrorist act have they stopped. And after each terrorist attack, our privacy and liberties erode a little bit more.

The people need to hold to account the people responsible. But we cannot devote the time because the people responsible have us hooked line and sinker. We can’t take time of work because the income means more to us than the cause.

Sold my soul and signed my name in blood
Stole it back, now praying in the dark
Fooled the devil, begging for a fight
Count the dollars, make your bet tonight
SEAL THE DEAL – Volbeat

Seduced by fame
A moth into the flame
MOTH INTO FLAME – Metallica

Infamy
All for publicity
Destruction going viral
MOTH INTO FLAME – Metallica

If you wanna lead or be a star
They’ll expose all that you are
Are you sure you want this now?
They will only tear you down
CROWS ON A WIRE – Alter Bridge

Facebook and social media has created a culture wherein everything is on show. Ask yourself the question. Is it fame you want or a career as a musician/artist?

Middle fingers in the air, singing we don’t f….. care, when we say “So What”
SO WHAT – Dee Snider

It’s become the soundtrack to “Standing Rock” in 2016, but it’s been my motto since I got into hard rock/heavy metal music.

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

Score Card Inc

Three years ago in November, 2013, I posted a score sheet on certain artists/trends and how they are dealing with the music business.

Three years later, how are the artists fairing.

Robb Flynn
He still understands that it is not all about making records. From Nov 2013 to now, Robb Flynn via Machine Head, kept on releasing his Journals both video and written. In April, 2014, “Killers and Kings” came out for Record Store Day and the band went on tour. He started a clothing range called “Killers and Kings” that didn’t really take off. In November, 2014, “Bloodstone and Diamonds” came out and the band embarked on a lengthy “An Evening With” world tour. In June 1, 2016, “Is There Anybody Out There?” came out as a stand-alone single.

His connection with his audience runs deep. People either dig him or detest him or some people will not just forget him in an orange jumpsuit during the Nu-Metal phase of the band’s career.

Protest The Hero
Back in 2013, “Protest The Hero” showed how the record labels are so out of touch with its customers. PTH was dropped because the label told them they have no audience. However, a fan funding campaign showed a pretty impressive hard-core audience that was willing to cough up some serious dollars for the band. Even the band was blown away at the response.

And they did it again between Nov 2015 and April 2016 with “Pacific Myth” an innovative one song per month release over six months via Bandcamp. Fans had the option of two packages, and I selected the one that also had the six video releases. In between, the guys would upload drum videos, cooking videos, song transcriptions and what not.

Nikki Sixx
In 2013, he talked about a farewell tour. Well that tour finally happened and concluded in 2015. The Crue fan base didn’t really need one more world tour however, they wanted to finish up in their own way and the world tour is what we got, with a new song called “All Bad Things”. The movie is still in the works, they have their own pleasure toys, a rumour of The Dirt 2, plus lawsuits from photographers and opening bands to contend with. Seriously, squirting piss at a bunch of guys who paid $1 million to be on the tour would always end up in the courts.

With Sixx A.M. he has released an albums worth of music and the next album is coming in a few weeks. They are on tour with Five Finger Death Punch, he does his Sixx Sense Radio Show and he doesn’t like to wash his hands after going to the toilet.

Coheed and Cambria
By November, 2013, COCA had been touring non-stop on the back of “The Afterman” two album releases that came out within a 4 month window. Add to that Comic Con appearances, plus Sci-Fi conventions and appearances in Comic Shops and you get the idea that this band realises that it is not just about music and money. It is about creativity.

Since then, Claude Sanchez became a dad. He wrote more comics with his wife called “Translucid” in 2014 and in 2015 managed to release another slab of songs called “The Color Before The Sun” and go on a another world tour.

Metallica
Back in 2013, I wrote;

They need to make new music soon. There are only so many times that a band can go on a worldwide victory lap on the same piece of music. They need to be back in the studio.

Well, we are almost one week away from that new music hitting the streets and in the meantime, we have been treated to three tracks.
It’s a welcome relief to hear Metallica doing what they do best and I believe they have enough new music in their archives for another album to drop within two years this time, instead of eight.

And after hearing the album – yes it is available on the pirate sites, I can honestly say that it’s not worth the 8 year wait at all and maybe 4 song EP’s is the best way to go.

Dream Theater
I wrote in November 2013, that they need a great record soon or they will become yesterday’s news. Dream Theater has a knack for popping up with some goodies, like “Images and Words”, “Scenes From A Memory”, “Systematic Chaos” and “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”.

So in January 2016, they dropped the 130 minute “Astonishing” concept album, about a dystopian future society. Concept albums lead to different revenue spin offs like a stage play, comic book stories, video games, animations, TV series, a movie and so forth. But then again, Slayer are doing a graphic comic book series and have never done a concept album.

Stone Sour
I wrote in 2013, that something went south with their career trajectory. Of course, a beast called Slipknot would devour the creative forces of the band. Their take on modern metal is good, but with Slipknot getting more melodic, is there a reason for Stone Sour to exist.

Five Finger Death Punch
They have an audience who purchases and streams their product. Along the way, each album has received certifications for so many units moved. An onstage meltdown, a record label lawsuit and then a change of label has not slowed the band down in any way. If they can remain together, they will remain a powerhouse.

Trivium
Back in November, 2013, their new album “Vengeance Falls” was called a Disturbed covers album. The truth is, if people are talking about you, it is a good thing. And that album gave Trivium a concert classic in “Strife”. Since then, they released “Silence In The Snow” in 2015. They are always looking to reinvent themselves constantly while staying true to heavy metal. Plus Matt Heafy has a pretty cool Top 10 list of albums that changed his life.

1. Metallica – The Black Album (1991)
“A kid lent me The Black Album at school and it changed my life. I had never heard anything like it before, and I started playing guitar all the time.”

2. In Flames – Whoracle (1997)
“That was at the time of Napster, and I was into the classic great metal bands. I was on Napster and I found In Flames. I had never heard melodic death metal before, and it changed my ear on what kind of music I wanted to play.”

3. Queen – A Night At The Opera (1975)
“What I’ve always loved about Queen is that they’ve never released the same thing twice. Everything is drastically different while still sounding like Queen. Every song on A Night At The Opera sounds different to the next one and they all stand up as fantastic.”

4. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (1988)
“With Iron Maiden it’s hard, because I love so many of their records. They’re all so important. Seventh Son, though, is the one that really got me into Iron Maiden. It’s one of their more epic records; there’s vivid storytelling going on. Getting into Iron Maiden helped me trace the roots of the music that I love. I could see where so many metal, death metal and black metal bands had taken things from.”

5. Ihsahn – Eremita (2012)
“Emperor changed my life, and Ihsahn changed my life again with this album. He spun the idea of black metal on its head by incorporating jazz chords, interesting production and clean singing. That record taught me to never be afraid of making whatever I want to make. We’ve always done that, but this album drove that home for me.”

6. Boston – Boston (1976)
“The vocal production is insane. Everything about this record epitomises the best things of rock ‘n’ roll.”

7. The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
“The Beatles blow my mind in the same way that Queen do in that every song and record is so different to the last. Both of those bands have incredible songwriters as well. It’s not like nowadays where you might have one songwriter in a band.”

8. Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (1997)
“This is where Emperor really changed the dynamic of where black metal was going. Black metal was the rebellion to rock and metal, and was supposed to be different. “When there’s a movement like that, a lot of bands come out playing semi-similar music. That record opened up with clean guitar and there’s this classical singing; it has chaotic moments and beautiful moments all in one. Emperor makes such interesting black metal with these big dramatic moments.”

9. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990)
“Listening to Depeche Mode, you can hear that Rammstein is a combination of Depeche Mode and Metallica. Violator is one of the darkest, scariest records I’ve ever heard. It has this different kind of sadness that you feel in the music.”

10. The London Symphony Orchestra – Mozart’s Requiem (1791)
“The gothic artwork of that record is incredible, and this version for me is just the best. Listening to this, you can hear that out of all contemporary music, metal is the closest living relative to classical. It is the most epic moments of music that have always drawn me in, and I feel that with Mozart’s Requiem that is where you’re getting into the blueprint for everything that was to come.”

Shinedown
They have an audience who want to listen to them and so far, no one’s doing hard rock better than them. Their new album “Threat To Survival” has taken its influences from Adele, Imagine Dragons and other pop artists and they still made it rock hard. Daughtry and James Durbin should take note. Along the way, their fans purchased and streamed all the way to certification after certification.

Avenged Sevenfold
Say what you will about the “influences” on “Hail To The King”, doing that album was a bigger risk for Avenged Sevenfold then their new album and it paid off for them.

Fast forward to 2016, and their new album drops early. It is a creative tour de force but to me it’s already in the rear view. All of the good bits in each song are undone by the creativity of trying to push the boundaries.

Piracy
In 2013, I wrote that piracy is not that large of a problem as the majors and the RIAA make it out to be and with revenues in 2016, approaching the pre-Napster era, it’s further proof that piracy does not affect their bottom lines, especially when there are services out there that can compete with piracy.

Evergrey
The pure definition of perseverance with 20 plus years in the music business and still going strong.

By November 2013, the “new” version of the band that delivered “Glorious Collision” had splintered again and lead vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund was not sure on the next step. A reconnection with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage (who departed before “Glorious Collision”) spawned the excellent “Hymns For The Broken” in 2014 and a few months ago, “The Storm Within” builds on the atmospherics created by “Hymns”.

Megadeth
In 2013, Megadeth’s new album “Supercollider” was outsold by Metallica’s self-titled “Black” album. In 2015, Mustaine got his metal chops back and in 2016, “Dystopia” came out. Another Mustaine Resurrection was at hand.

Tremonti/Alter Bridge
Mark Tremonti knows it’s about putting new music out there and consistently. In 2013, we had “Fortress” from Alter Bridge. In 2015, we had “Cauterize” from Tremonti and 2016 has given us, “Dust” from Tremonti and “The Last Hero” from Alter Bridge. In three years, Tremonti has been part of 4 albums while Metallica ……

The Night Flight Orchestra
The best classic rock side project ever from Soilwork and Arch Enemy band members. The first album “Internal Affairs” came out in 2012 and the second “Skyline Whispers” in 2015. Essential listening to any hard rock fans of the 80’s.

Sales
In 2013, I wrote that sales are not the best metric to measure a bands reach and pull in the market. In 2016, listens are more important than sales.

Bullet For My Valentine
By November 2013, people had lost their “Temper Temper” with them, but in 2015, the band found their “Venom” again, which leads us to new music hitting the net in November 2016.

Revolution Saints
In 2013, this band existed in the head of the Frontiers President. In 2015, they released an excellent melodic AOR rock album. So much potential, so many good songs, great musicians and it all went to hell because Castronovo couldn’t keep his 5555t together. Let’s hope that Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich forgive him and they try for another album. This time with the three of them writing.

TesseracT
One of the hardest working progressive bands out there, building their fanbase, city by city. In 2011, they released “One”. In 2013, they released the excellent “Altered State” and in 2015 we got “Polaris”.

Days Of Jupiter
An unsung Swedish melodic groove rock band, that’s a cross between Evergrey and Disturbed. In 2012 they released “Secrets Brought to Life” and in 2015, “Only Ashes Remain” came out.

Sweet and Lynch
Another album would be sweet.

Muse
They play stadiums but they don’t have the same sales figures as the 70’s and 80’s legends. A perfect example of the modern world, in which massive single songs sell concert tickets.

Live
In 2013, I wrote;
Remember the excitement and the buzz of going to the show. It was uncontrollable. Everyone waiting in line to get inside, to watch a band that rules, in an era that music ruled. Today, it is too expensive to take kids to a concert and that is only for a glimpse in the back. This business needs a reset.

Concert ticket prices are still high, especially for the superstar acts. The price gauge happened as an offset to dwindling revenues from recorded sales, however with recorded music revenue now as high as the pre-Napster era, there is no reason for the high concert ticket prices.

Slash
As an artist, he didn’t need to go back to Gunners. He had enough momentum to keep going as a solo artist and with Myles Kennedy, a better front man than Axl Rose. Slash kept on releasing new music consistently, while Duff and Axl complained of piracy and artistically were dead in the water. Money triumphs over creativity and in this case, it’s really sad.

Album
Back in 2013, I wrote how everyone talks about the money that is lost due to piracy as album sales shrink. Back then 20% of the tracks on Spotify have never been played. So what is the point of the album, when people ignore the songs that are not “hits”. When I go to Spotify and I come across an artist I haven’t heard before, I go to their Spotify page and hear the tracks in their top 10 list. Those tracks in most cases are pulled from many different albums.

And if any of those tracks connect with me, I might dig deeper into the album.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Created by their love of metal and rock music and when that same genre put up roadblocks to a career in music, they changed tact and went all flamenco acoustic on the world. Talk about paying their dues and taking risks. They moved from Mexico and took a chance in Europe. Over an 8 year Dublin residence, they honed their style and songs, so when their “official” debut album hit in 2006, what seemed like an overnight sensation was 15 years in the making.

There is nothing more difficult in the world then trying to make it as a musician. You need to show up day after day, week after week, year after year. And your brand or movement might just make some small gains. Then it hits a few speed bumps, like Rodrigo and Gabriela’s metal band losing their recording contract in 1997 and suddenly you are back at the start. But they kept on showing up, on the coast of Mexico and playing their acoustic guitars in the bars. Because showing up day after day, is the hardest part of making a difference. If you look at the history of the artists we like and admire, you will see many years in pursuit of their dreams.

It is a work of a lifetime to create an impact and build something of substance. In 2013, they were riding the highs of their 2012 “Area 52” collaboration, which involved re-working their best songs with a full flamenco band. Then in 2014, “9 Dead Alive” dropped and new music is needed ASAP.

Sebastian Bach/Skid Row
They shouldn’t get back together, because no one cares about Skid Row in the way they used too. They might have a large audience in Japan, like Dokken, but the rest of the “Youth Gone Wild” have moved on. Sebastian Bach is actually bigger than Skid Row and releases way better music than Skid Row have done without him. But, what was he thinking when he approved the photo for his memoir’s cover.

The Kindred
From Canada and the healthy progressive scene. They started off as “Today I Caught The Plague” from the ashes of another band called “A Legend Falls”. In 2011 they released the excellent “Lore” and went on tour with one of my favourite bands in Protest The Hero and their “Scurrilous Tour”. Then in 2013, a name change happened to “The Kindred” and the excellent “Life In Lucidity” came out at the start of 2014.

However, PTH needed a drummer for their “Volition” tour and it was no surprise that they tapped Mike Ieradi (who also co-founded the group) to fill the spot. Then in 2015, vocalist David Journeaux departed, with Johnny McArthur as their new vocalist and Kenny Saunders as their new drummer. So now I wait to see what comes next.

Streaming
Back in 2013, I wrote that everyone talks about the money which isn’t filtering down to the artist and how streaming is too entrenched to be replaced. Since then the record labels have grown their revenues on the back of streaming. Artists who negotiate deals with the streaming services like Metallica and Motley Crue have never complained about streaming. Suddenly, luddites Anthrax are not complaining and Scott Ian even mentioned how he believes streaming is the best thing to have happened to the recording industry.

Streaming is the future and those artist who don’t grow with this future will be too busy shrinking.

The Gaslight Anthem
They do the early 80’s Bruce Springsteen better than Bruce Springsteen these days. It was like a supergroup of independent musicians that came together in New Jersey in 2006. Their 2010 album, “American Slang” spawned an unexpected hit with the title track and “45” from their 2012 album “Handwritten” became their biggest hit. Since then, “Get Hurt” came out in 2014 and by July 2015, the band went on an indefinite hiatus.

Since the hiatus, singer Brian Fallon released a solo album called “Painkillers” in March 2016, and on April, 2016, a vinyl EP called “Georgia” was released for Record Store Day 2016 with a limited pressing run of 2,000 copies on 10″ vinyl. Let’s hope that “The Gaslight Anthem” get together for more music over the next three-year period.

Volbeat
Seen as overnight sensations however they are over 25 years in the business. It all started with “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” in 2008 and being added to the Metallica “Death Magnetic U.S. Tour”. Then in 2010, “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven” came out and while that was still selling, they released “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” in 2013 and they hit every major music market over and over again. Since then, they released “Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie” and are continuing on their merry ways. For all the newbies, check out their streaming numbers. They are huge compared to other major label metal/rock acts.

Killswitch Engage/Times Of Grace
In 2013, Killswitch Engage released “Disarm the Descent”, their comeback album with Jesse Leach on vocals. And how good is “In Due Time” with brutal verses and an arena rock chorus. Then in February 2015, a new track called “Loyalty” appeared on “Catch The Throne: The Mixtape Volume 2” to promote “Game of Thrones”. They then toured and kept on working on “Incarnate” which finally came out on March 11, 2016. Since then, they toured and are planning on releasing a beer. Meanwhile, “Times of Grace” have five songs completed for a new album to come out, with their last one coming out in 2011.

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

The Whole Damn Thing Has Turned To Dust

Tremonti windowed the release of “Dust” and kept it from Spotify for 4 weeks. This windowing process denies Spotify Premium fans a chance to listen to it. It’s discriminatory . It didn’t make me go out and buy the CD to hear it. I was actually tempted to search for it on the pirate sites to download it, however it just proved too much effort. And to purchase an mp3 just doesn’t come into the equation for me. And then YouTube, the service that pays less had it up.

Anyway, it feels like yesterday that I was listening to “Cauterize”. It was my number 7 for 2015 releases. So here we are almost a year later with “Dust”.

“In the words of the immortal YODA, a solid listen, this album is. An outstanding song, there is not. Intention of Tremonti, was not the hit single.”

It’s how I started my review of “Cauterize” and it still rings true for “Dust”.

Mark Tremonti has shown the world that he was the brains and driving force behind Creed. He kept his career trajectory going with Alter Bridge. In the downtime, he also started his own solo band.

After Creed finished up, he went away and mastered the art of shred. Along with his brother they formed Fret12. It’s a record label, book publisher (you should check out the “The Sound And The Story” specials and the diverse guitarists involved) and an overall one stop shop for all things Tremonti and other projects. His PRS guitars are state of the art and brilliant to play. Trust me on that one as I have one. The PRS through the 5150 is the perfect sound for me.

And via Alter Bridge, Tremonti is filling the void left behind by Led Zeppelin. Myles Kennedy is one of the best vocalists of the modern era ala Robert Plant and Mark Tremonti is a prolific writer and innovator ala Jimmy Page. And the real good musicians always rebuild their careers after their initial success. Jimmy Page did it after “The Yardbirds” and Mark Tremonti continues to do it after “Creed”.

Evan as “Dust” hits the streets, Alter Bridge are recording their next album. The work ethic is high.

“My Last Mistake”
It’s a thrash-a-thon. Like “Cauterize” before it, it’s a speed metal song. The chorus is excellent.

Just like tragedy
Folks line up to see
We forget and the problem’s gone
It just ain’t right to move on

It’s a sick symptom of society where we fail to hold to account, the people responsible for the tragedy. The GFC perps went on college speaking tours and high-five jobs at the financial firms they organised laws to benefit. They escaped unscathed, while the middle class and lower class got their homes foreclosed. Every time there is a shooting there is outrage, however nothing is done after on gun reform.

For all of the laws passed to spy on citizens in the name of terror, not one terrorist act have they stopped. And after each terrorist attack, our privacy and liberties erode a little bit more. The people need to hold to account the people responsible. But we cannot devote the time because the people responsible have us hooked line and sinker. We can’t take time of work because the income means more to us than the cause.

“Once Dead”
It’s another thrash-a-thon speed metal song, with a blast beat groove and a wicked arena rock chorus. It’s a great mix. Garrett Whitlock cements himself as a powerhouse drummer on this one.

We sink like a stone
Once dead once belonged

Sinking like a stone means to fail completely and once dead to me; means, your time is up. So in other words, the lyrics can be paraphrased as;
We have failed in life
And now our time is up

“Tore My Heart Out”
It’s a derivative version of “Dust” but unique enough to be a stand alone. Tremonti thought of changing the title because he didn’t want another song title with “heart” in it. “Another Heart” is on “Cauterize”. And that outro riff is like a crazy train going off the rails.

Show your will and do your part
Or be blind right from the start

“Catching Fire”
There is an interview with Tremonti (I think at whatculture.com) where he states the riff that starts the bridge, he’s had since high school. I dig little insights like that. You just don’t know when the time will come for an idea to blossom into a song.

The whole world’s catching fire again

“Betray Me”
How could you betray me
Remember hope, remember faith, remember trust

Venomous lyrics and sweep picking makes an appearance. Remember Malmsteen. Actually, how many fans of Creed/Alter Bridge, would know of Malmsteen?

“Dust”
But the piece de-resistance like “Providence” from the previous album is “Dust”. In the original track listing, “Dust” was the closer, however it got moved up to track number 4.

It grooves from the opening notes and it’s a song to define a career. The syncopated call and response of the riff and vocals, immediately hook you in.

You can hear the years of practice, the honing of his chops and how he called Shred teachers from the 80’s in Troy Stetina and Michael Angelo Batio to brush up his technique. Even after he sold 30 million plus records with Creed, he still worked at improving.

Tremonti stated that “’Dust’ is about how it feels to watch a close friend lose confidence in you.” And that’s what great songwriting is. Evidence of humanity.

And the Pre-Chorus, is a riff, building up to a Chorus that rocks hard with emotion and groove.

The whole damn thing has turned to dust
The ashes you left to bury us

There are other tracks on the album like;

“Rising Storm”
The song was meant to be called “Lay To Waste” however when Tremonti recorded the song in Garageband, it was called “Rising Storm” and the song title just stuck around.

“Unable To See”
It’s a derivative version of “Waters Rising” from Alter Bridge. The intro is from “The Sound and the Story DVD” and another musical idea that was written 20 plus years ago. Tremonti also stated over at whatculture.com;

“Unable to See” has some of the oldest parts on the entire record. The chorus of that song comes from a pre-chorus of a song I’d written for the One Day Remains record, the first Alter Bridge record, so that’s many years old, so there’s definitely some history scattered throughout.

Still we love to see a smile
But we are wronged by the ones that would never

If you take the relationship perspective to the lyric, it would be that we are surrounded by people who see the glass half empty and if you take a world view perspective, it would be about the terrorists who are trying to turn all of our cities into a desolate wasteland like their home city.

“The Cage”
Is that some chicken-picking going on masquerading as tapping? And the lyrics are very strong, almost venomous.

Take your words, they’re worth nothing, let your evil show

It’s another way to say, that the beliefs of people who try to affect our freedoms and liberties mean nothing to us and whenever their evil shows, they just push us together, something even the best intentioned governments couldn’t do.

“Never Wrong”
It could have been on an Alter Bridge album.

Tremonti is a guitar hero, as good as any of the Eighties shredders. He had multi-platinum success with Creed, an act that was devoid of guitar solos and lumped in with the Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock scene. It brought out the haters, jealous that a person who could shred, didn’t shred. In the end, people live and breathe on the songs they write, not on the guitar solos they write and Tremonti has built a consistent legacy. The pinnacle of his career in my eyes would be when his second act, Alter Bridge played the Wembley Arena. And dont be surprised if Tremonti the band get there as well.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dust

Just finished listening to the song “Dust.”

Mark Tremonti is a guitar god. He’s earned his keep.

His time with Creed established him. Alter Bridge proved the Creed was no fluke. And his own Tremonti project is cementing his reputation, deservedly so.

And there’s hardly any press like the old days. The mainstream is more concerned with Scott Stapp’s paranoid outbursts and Myles Kennedy work with Slash than Tremonti.

But people are hearing his music. And isn’t that the goal. To get people to hear your music.

Which brings me to “Dust.”

It grooves from the opening notes. The syncopated call and response of the riff and vocals, immediately hook you in.

A relic from the MTV days is the “hits”. They get all the attention. And some of those tracks are great on occasions but Tremonti makes music just a bit outside the standard format. 90% of the time, his Tremonti songs border on speed metal or groove metal. But the ones that get AirPlay and rotated around the news sites are the songs that sound closest to his Creed and Alter Bridge output. The rest of the songs, people are unaware of.

You can hear the years of practice, the honing of his chops and how he called instructional shred teachers from the 80’s to brush up his technique. Yep, that’s right. after he sold 30 million plus records with Creed, he felt the need to improve. So he called in Troy Stetina, Rusty Cooley and Michael Angelo Batio to teach him.

Tremonti is not whining about revenue from sales like Scott Ian and Frank Bello from Anthrax. It’s all about the music first, as opposed to revenue. But there was very little revenue from recorded music. The real revenue always came from the road. In the past, the sale of a LP/CD was just one transaction. Today, in streaming land, each listen adds up and makes money for the artist.

And he’s not keeping his music or new music off Spotify like other misguided artists. It’s silly and stupid, especially when you can stream for free on YouTube and download illegally from other European websites.

But there are a lot of legacy musos who are ignorant.

Today’s music business is all about availability, making it easy for the fans. Putting money first is short-term thinking, and there’s plenty of cash for those who connect with their audience.

Tremonti stated that “’Dust’ is about how it feels to watch a close friend lose confidence in you.”

And that’s what great songwriting is. Evidence of humanity. A connection is made instantly.

And the Pre-Chorus, is just a riff, building up to a Chorus that rocks hard.

Listen to “Dust” and get ready for the album.

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

Once Upon A Time In 2015: Part II

NUMBER 4:
Bullet For My Valentine – Venom
BFMV is always re-defining themselves with each album and still sticking to their core sound. They started off classed as “Metalcore” or “EMO” for “The Poison” released in 2007. Then they went all “Thrash Metal” on their best album “Scream Aim Fire” in 2008. For 2010’s “Fever” they adopted a more hard rock/metal approach, which they re-defined and commercialised a bit more for “Temper Temper” in 2013.

Now in 2015, they have combined elements of all releases into a very good album from start to finish. The core will lap it up and man it’s got some pretty good head banging mosh pit moments.

“No Way Out” is relentless. A thrash-a-thon.

In “Army Of Noise”, before the Chorus comes in, there is this foot stomping riff that just gets me ready to break stuff. “Worthless” is more moody and groovy in a Deftones kind of way than the first two songs. “You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)” starts off with the call to arms.

“Venom” the title track surprised me, because of its U2ish delayed riffs in the Verses. It’s actually a pop metal song, and I dig it.

“Skin” has another “I Want To Break Stuff” intro that I dig and a Chorus riff that reminds me of “Iron Maiden”. My favourite track of the album.

“Lights out, fist raised, Adrenaline rushing, infecting our veins, Now feel the heat as the temperature spikes, Bodies are thrashing the fire ignites” ….. From “Army Of Noise”

“We will not take this anymore, These words will never be ignored, You want a battle? Here’s a war” ….. From “You Want A Battle? Here’s A War”

“Now I’m giving up, I’m never looking back, here we go again, You keep giving me a taste of your venom” ….. From “Venom”

“I wish that I could tell you so you know, There’s things I’m hiding deep beneath my skin, beneath my skin” ….. From “Skin”

NUMBER 5:
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Love the album and Deen Castronovo on vocals is excellent. It’s a shame he is in the press for all of the wrong reasons. He even lost his Journey drumming gig.

And for the record, I still can’t understand how a guitarist like Doug Aldrich can do an album and not write a single song on it. Anyway, “Back On My Trail” has a good melodic riff. Not a fan of the chorus/vocal melodies, but the music is of high quality. “You’re Not Alone” is quality. “Locked Out of Paradise” is brilliant. All three are written solely by Alessandro Del Vecchio.

So a lot of people are asking who is Alessandro Del Vecchio?

First and foremost he is a musician, fronting his own band “Edge Of Forever” and being a member in “Hardline” (remember that band that came out in the early nineties that had Neal Schon in it, well the current version is very different). When he isn’t doing his own thing, he is producing, performing and writing for the head of Frontiers Records, Serafino Perugiono.

Chances are if you have heard melodic rock music from Resurrection Kings, Moonland, L.R.S., Rated X, Three Lions, Bailey, Mother Road, Faithsedge, Ez Livin’ and Revolution Saints, then there is a good chance you would heard songs from Del Vecchio. He got into Frontiers by doing is own thing, which was the melodic rock Edge of Forever albums, on a label which was distributed by Frontiers.

Another artist/songwriter/producer that is represented on Revolution Saints is Erik Martensson.

“Dream On” is a better derivative version of “Back On My Trail” and it brings back memories of Night Ranger. However this one has music written by Erik Martensson (from the Swedish melodic rock band Eclipse) along with Finish-Swedish songwriter Johan Becker. And one of the best songs on the album is the Eclipse track “How To Mend A Broken Heart” that’s also written by Martensson.

NUMBER 6:
TesseracT – Polaris
For those that don’t know, TesseracT is a British progressive metal band formed in 2007 and has released three full-length albums and two EPs. They have built their audience, mile by mile, show by show, release by release. There is no harder working band than these guys.

“Polaris” is a pretty good album. Actually, all of TesseracT’s releases have been excellent for me. I know that “Survival” has gotten some press recently as singer Dan Tompkins mentioned it’s about struggling financially and dealing with the difficulties of being away from his wife and son for extended periods of time.

And if you want an introduction into the album, then “Survival” is the song. It’s math rock with a catchy arena rock chorus.

“Hexes” is a progressive, math like atmospheric tune, like “Dark Side Of The Moon” era Pink Floyd. It’s got a delay riff at its core, which keeps on building into an explosive syncopated progressive riff.

“Tourniquet” has this cool vibe. At its core, the song has a repeating apreggiated riff and the song continues to build and transition around it.

“Cages” also falls into the cool atmospheric vibe, with a repeating lick that the rest of the song builds and transitions over, so by the time the song comes to the end, its unique and powerful.

“Seven Names” has one hell of a vocal performance under the beautiful and chaotic bed of music.

“It isn’t a secret this mind shatters in mystery
It isn’t a secret I find terror in memory” ….. from “Hexes”

“Disturbed – will I disappear with a vision of tomorrow or will I fall?
Disturbed – and I get the feeling I’ve been here before on the abandoned road” ….. from “Survival”

“Your love is my tourniquet
Learn to rise, contain the pressure” ….. from “Tourniquet”

NUMBER 7:
Tremonti – Cauterize
In the words of the immortal YODA, a solid listen, this album is. An outstanding song, there is not. Intention of Tremonti, was not the hit single.

For those who don’t know, Mark Tremonti is the guitarist and main songwriter for Creed, which then morphed into Alter Bridge with an even better singer and songwriter in Myles Kennedy. Plus Myles is one hell of a guitarist. Both bands styles however are in the hard rock arena. In between downtime, Tremonti decided to hook up with some friends and pay homage to his metal influences.

“Cauterize” intro riff is speed metal to a tee and the song morphs into a Euro Metal tour de force. “Another Wait” has a groove metal intro. “Tie The Noose” borders on Rammstein and Five Finger Death Punch groove riffing. “Sympathy” is more in line with the rock of Alter Bridge.

But the piece de-restitance is “Providence”.

That riff that comes in at 2.25. Then it gets doubled, then the rest of the band comes in, then a cool vocal line comes in and then the shred begins.

“Shield what you love and hope it’s enough and pray that your providence comes”…. From “Providence”

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Music, My Stories, Piracy, Review in 40 Words

Review in 40 Words – Alter Bridge – Fortress (2013)

Brilliant album. Tremonti and Kennedy are a formidable songwriting team. This album is an extension of ABIII with extra influences added. “Fortress” solo section is worth the price of the album. “Children of The Grave” merged with “Revelation (Mother Earth)”.

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