Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 3/21/16.
Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.
In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the ’70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.
This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Duke Jackson of StrikeForce, who discusses the inspiration behind the band’s song, “Doomsday.”
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
STRIKEFORCE – “Doomsday”
It was a different world when StrikeForce first launched in 1982, both musically and politically. The band’s history is one of the more remarkable stories in hard rock. For over three decades, this Missouri band has managed to fly below the mainstream radar (although they have opened for a number of high-profile bands through the years).
From StrikeForce’s most recent EP (Elegant Steel), “Doomsday” is a song that taps into everything that is going on with the current presidential election, but the song was actually written well-before we even knew who the 2016 candidates were going to be. Although the lyrics seem to have foreshadowed what would eventually transpire, it’s more accurate to say that they captured the growing discontent with our government that sowed the seeds for the mess that is currently taking place.
Musically, there’s a sense of hope in the upbeat melodies that shine through the darkness of gritty, Black Sabbath meets Metallica riffs. Founding member Duke Jackson showcases vastly underrated guitar playing, while longtime drummer Jimmy Burdette sets the intense mood and pacing of the song.
In an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, StrikeForce guitarist Duke Jackson discusses the meaning and inspiration of “Doomsday”…
“The inspiration for ‘Doomsday’ came from the state of the world that we are currently living in…political chaos, middle eastern wars and economic depression. The lyrics in the chorus – ‘Are you ready? They will be taking all you got’ – refers to higher taxes, your firearms and that your rights as an American citizen are slowly disappearing into thin air. ‘One nation, under God…politicians soaked in fraud’ pretty much sums up our feelings about the current state of affairs of the American government. We’re very proud of this song, which has become a crowd favorite.
I’d like to thank Hard Rock Daddy for the continued support of StrikeForce, and helping to spread the word about our most recent EP, Elegant Steel.”
DREAM THEATER – “The Gift Of Music”
Fantasy meets reality in the first single off of Dream Theater’s current concept album, The Astonishing. Early on in the song (before any characters are mentioned), the storyline reads like a discourse about the current mood of the people in the United States during one of the most bizarre (and frustrating) presidential elections to ever take place. While “The Gift Of Music” touches upon the present state of affairs, the construction of this musical journey took place over the past few years, so the lyrics are definitely not ripped from the headlines. As the song progresses into the fantasy element that mentions specific characters, you realize that you don’t have the full context of the song when it is isolated from the rest of the album. In the future, will this fantasy end up looking (in retrospect) like a historical piece? Only time will tell. For the moment, “The Gift Of Music” offers enough intrigue to whet your appetite and make you want to experience the story in its entirety.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
BLAMESHIFT – “Tell Me It’s Alright”
The lead single from a forthcoming new album has gotten airplay on U.S. radio for several months, putting Blameshift in position for a possible breakthrough later this year. From Long Island, NY, the band will likely be considered “new” to most rock listeners, but they’re actually crossing over the ten-year mark as an entity this year.
HARDSTUFF – “Hardstuff”
Newcomers from Sao Paulo, Brazil make a good first impression. Vocals remind me of Dave Meniketti (Y&T) with a little hint of Chris Jericho (Fozzy) thrown in.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
MOB RULES – “On The Edge”
German power metal band Mob Rules has just released their latest album, Tales From Beyond. This first single rocks hard with their trademark heavy riffs and melodic vocals. It’s a strong signal that they’ve put together another quality album that will get some heads banging.
CIRCUS MAXIMUS – “The Weight”
Norwegian progressive metal band Circus Maximus returns after a four-year wait with their fourth album, Havoc. On this first single, a complex arrangement is laden with hooks to keep the listener drawn in. There’s a poignant interplay between feathery moments and booming riffs that elevates the piece.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
METATRONE – “Keep Running”
Just released, “Keep Running” is new power metal from Italy’s Metatrone. The track combines prog and symphonic elements, along with strong vocals from Jo Lombardo and a terrific rhythm line. The band typically follows Christian/society themes, but this track is more inspirational versus a gospel.
SHIRAZ LANE – “Wake Up”
Shiraz Lane breaks out of the gate with the aptly named “Wake Up,” from their debut album, For Crying Out Loud. Relentless from the first note, Hannes Kett belts out the commands in a style like Klaus Meine (which makes me hope for a few updated covers of classic Scorpions tracks).
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
Once again, this space is reserved for a legendary rock star’s passing. This time, it’s Keith Emerson, one of the most iconic keyboardists in rock history. Since his passing, it has come to light that his death came at his own hands. Although he battled depression, sadly, his suicide is at least partly attributed to his desire to be perfect despite having nerve problems in one hand. That desire, combined with reading all of the negative comments from “fans” became too much to bear. This suicide should serve as a cautionary tale that no one (even rock legends) is immune to the slew of negativity that exists behind the anonymity of the (computer) keyboard. This week, we take a look at a few of Emerson’s more notable works…
EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER – “From The Beginning” (1972)
It’s the beautiful acoustic guitar intro and riff that is most familiar to the masses. That, and Greg Lake’s vocals. Though the song is relatively short (especially for prog), it still has an epic feel to it, due in no small part to the unique keyboard styling of Keith Emerson (which starts at around the 3:00 mark). Often times in rock, the keyboardist gets attention for noticeable melody lines. On “From The Beginning,” Emerson’s keyboard work is about adding layers of depth and nuance that takes the listener in an entirely different direction than the melody. It’s this kind of contribution that made him so revered. There’s a certain irony that the opening lyrics inadvertently touch upon issues that Emerson was having with online critiques…“There might have been things I missed…but don’t be unkind…it don’t mean I’m blind.”
EMERSON, LAKE AND POWELL – “Touch And Go” (1986)
A reunion of the original members of ELP was intended in 1985, but because of drummer Carl Palmer’s obligation to Asia, it wasn’t possible. It is said to be a coincidence that Keith Emerson just happened to be friends with an outstanding drummer whose last name also started with a “P” in Cozy Powell. This incarnation of ELP only made one studio album, but from it came one of the band’s biggest mainstream hits…“Touch And Go.” Unlike “From The Beginning,” which featured a more textured keyboard sound, “Touch And Go” opens with a majestically theatrical keyboard riff that sets the tone for the entire song and repeats throughout. It’s hard to think of many keyboardists who are as vital to the sound of a band as Emerson was to ELP. Another rock icon gone too soon. RIP Keith!
BLAMESHIFT – “Let Go” (2013)
Stepping back to Blameshift’s previous album for a little more from this Long Island band (see above). This is, perhaps, another step on the road to a breakout.
HUMBUCKER – “The Way I Am” (2012)
Set aside any preconceived notions about what “a Scandanaivan rock band” sounds like. This is straight-ahead rock from Norway that would be right at home in a northeastern (U.S.) bar. A nice blend of grit and professionalism…just an enjoyable rockin’ listen.
THE LADDER – “All Of My Life” (2007)
Three members of British hard rock band FM left for several years to pursue other projects, including two albums as The Ladder. The whole band sounds great, but it’s Steve Overland’s smooth vocals that truly elevate this melodic rock piece.
HARDREAMS – “My Last Desire” (2009)
Out of Barcelona, Spain, melodic rock band Hardreams delivers smooth vocals with some heartfelt guitar. Keyboards tastefully (but unobtrusively) accompany every measure.
VAN CANTO – “Rebellion” (2011)
One of the most unique bands out there, Germany’s Van Canto is “a capella hero metal,” that features one drummer and five vocalists (in place of other expected instruments). The infectious rhythm and the vocal guitar solo are outstanding. “Rebellion” is a cover of a 2009 Grave Digger track.
CELTIC LEGACY – “Resurrection” (2003)
Formed in 1994, Celtic Legacy hails (not surpisingly) from Dublin, Ireland. “Resurrection” is a glory epic with a driving force, overflowing with excellent, articulate guitar work from Dave Morrissey. The rhythm section of Stephen Cash and Dave Boylan, and tremendous vocals of Mark Guildea, completes this fantastic title track of their 2003 album.