Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 6/23/16
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
ASIA – “Don’t Cry” (1983)
Modern day supergroups tend to have a very short shelf life. It wouldn’t be surprising if many rock music fans thought that Asia fell into that category, given that the band’s most notable work came from their first two albums in the early ‘80s. However, with the exception of a brief hiatus, the band has actually been in existence since 1981 (albeit with a multitude of lineup changes). The one constant in the band has been keyboardist Geoff Downes, who previously played with Yes and The Buggles. Those from the “MTV Generation” can fully appreciate the significance of The Buggles, whose claim to fame is having the first song every played on MTV – “Video Killed The Radio Star.”
“Don’t Cry” is a notable Asia song because it comes from the band’s sophomore release, Alpha, the last album before guitarist Steve Howe’s departure. Howe would eventually rejoin Asia nearly a decade after his departure. “Don’t Cry” takes you on a nostalgic journey back to the early days of MTV. This keyboard-heavy track is highlighted by vocal harmonies and a progressive influence that is accessible to all mainstream rock listeners.
GTR – “When The Heart Rules The Mind” (1986)
After departing from Asia, Steve Howe went on to form another supergroup called GTR. This group only ended up recording one album together, giving them a tenure that is similar to what many supergroups of today experience. Although Howe had parted ways with Geoff Downes and Asia, Downes was the producer this project’s only release. The entire album is has an AOR feel with progressive influences, and is an excellent listen for those who are interested. The self-titled album produced one hit song, “When The Heart Rules The Mind.” Like “Don’t Cry,” it is highlighted by a heavy keyboard sound and vocal harmonies. This incredibly melodic tune is definitely a favorite from the mid-‘80s. Interesting fact: The name GTR is derived from the abbreviation for “guitar” on the studio mixing console.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
TESTAMENT – “Over The Wall” (1987)
Some of my most memorable nights were hanging out on a Saturday night and watching Headbanger’s Ball on MTV. When this video came on, I would crank it up, bang my head and drum along (until my mom would tell me to turn it down). Testament never had the same popularity as Metallica, but they knew how to write an awesome thrash metal tune. In fact, in my opinion, “the Big 4″ should have been renamed “the Big 5,” and included Testament with the others. From their first album The Legacy, Testament was all about aggression…fast, yet technical “bang your head” thrash metal. Listen to Alex Skolnick’s solo on this song!
DEATH ANGEL – “Seemingly Endless Time” (1990)
Because I’ve been playing the hell out of their new album, The Evil Divide (released last month), I’ve pulled out one of my favorite songs by Death Angel – “Seemingly Endless Time” – from their third album, Act III. These Bay Area thrash masters are one of the most underrated thrash bands ever. Listen to the aggression from the opening riff, and also when the drums enter to the “math lesson” after the numbing solo back into the main riff. These guys seem to be able to do it all. Although they didn’t get the notoriety that they deserved, their technical playing and songwriting on songs like “Seemingly Endless Time” has made them one of the best thrash metal bands ever.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
CRASHDIET – “Beautiful Pain” (2010)
Six years ago this glam rock band out of Sweden released this deep and moving hard rock ballad on their album, Generation Wild. Lead vocals and rhythm guitar were handled by Simon Cruz, the band’s third frontman, who left the band just last year. Here’s to hoping they find a new singer soon and get back to producing great music.
STURM UND DRANG – “Rising Son” (2007)
Storm and Stress. While the American colonies were fighting for independence, it was a revolution of another kind, in literature and the arts, across the ocean in Germany. This Scandinavian metal band borrows its name from that movement, and lays on thick both the storm and the stress in their 2007 debut album, Learning To Rock.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
HIBRIA – “Shall I Keep On Burning?” (2013)
Brazillian metal band Hibria penned this terrific power ballad back in 2013, off their fourth full-length album, Silent Revenge. Iuri Sanson’s acoustic opening is captivating, and sets the tone for this song of a love lost. The agony is amplified when the heavy rhythm line kicks in and builds to tremendous solo work from Abel Camargo and Renato Osório. An excellent, deep cut from a talented under-the-radar band.
ALTARIA – “Unchain The Rain” (2004)
Finish melodic power metal group Altaria has been around since 2000. This quartet thrives on catchy rhythms, vocals and a bright, well-produced metal sound. “Unchain the Rain” is the lead song from the band’s second album, Divinity. The track breaks from the gate with an upbeat tempo that characterizes their inspirational message, which holds till the end, repeating the song’s memorable refrain.