Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 5/11/15.
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’s Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Sonic X frontman, Adam Troy, who shares the inspiration behind the band’s single, “Pray,” and an interesting story about the evolution of the song.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
SONIC X – “Pray”
As mentioned in the Hard Rock Daddy review of “Pray,” Sonic X is somewhat mysterious. More will be revealed about the band in due time, but for now, it’s best to let the music do the talking. Suffice it to say that Sonic X has an interesting story, and an origin that is somewhat unexpected given their tailor-made for SiriusXM Octane sound, which is where I discovered “Pray.” Hard, driving rhythms provide the perfect canvas for frontman, Adam Troy’s angst-ridden vocals. Following the current DIY trend in hard rock today, the lyric video was created by Troy as a labor of love. It isn’t often that I recommend watching a lyric video, but in this case, the choice of images adds another layer of intrigue to the song, which was brought to life in the studio by the “mad scientist” (cue evil laugh…and then crank up the volume!).
In a recent interview with frontman, Adam Troy, he shared the inspiration behind the song and the evolution that took place to create the final product…
“Whenever I write lyrics and melodies, I do it based on how the music that our guitarist, Lawrence Falcomer, sends to me, and how it makes me feel. We’ve all been in a place where people have done us wrong. ‘Pray’ kind of wrote itself, in that I sat down, and the first line of the song just jumped into my head…‘you say I’m nothing, well I’ve got your number.’ It was written from a point of view which seems pretty obvious that I’m pissed off. You say I’m nothing and I’m proving you wrong. It really came from that place.
I know what the song is about, and what it means to me, but I like people to get their impression of what it means to them, because it can mean something different to everybody. While we are not a Christian band, I do have my religious beliefs, and there’s a little bit of that in there. With the chorus, it was more about praying that this turns around because things won’t last going this way. It was more directed at a person than society if you will, but it’s ambiguous in that it could mean anything to anybody. While the song was triggered by one break-up, it really is a culmination of things that I’ve dealt with in my life, whether it was relationships or business in the music industry.
Believe it or not, there’s a completely different version of ‘Pray.’ We had written the song with a totally different groove and drumbeat, but the melody and phrasing were exactly the same. Lawrence called me up one day and told me not to get upset with him, but he tried something different with the song and he wanted to know my thoughts. He’s like a mad scientist in the studio. He actually played us two other versions of the song. I didn’t like what he did with the first one. A few days later, he came back with the version that we ended up releasing, and I was like ‘holy shit…this is completely different and I like it, but what do we do with the old version?’ I think that the old version was equally as strong. We ended up taking a vote, and the version that’s getting played on Octane now won out.”
SEETHER – “Nobody Praying For Me”
If there is another band around that has the uncanny ability to channel anger in such a melodic and poetic way, I have yet to discover them. The chorus of “Nobody Praying For Me” is classic Seether…a great hook that you will be singing in your head all day long, but what really makes this song stand out are the verses, which show a different side of the band, the vocals of Shaun Morgan in particular. This song will likely climb the charts sooner rather than later, but it was included this week to keep with the theme of “praying” (but not necessarily in the religious sense), and because this week’s featured artist (Sonic X) cites the band as one of their influences. Make sure to check out the video for this one to hear Mogan discuss the writing of the song.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
FIFTH HOUR – “Not The Enemy”
One of the most enjoyable things for me as a fan are those moments when you realize that you’ve come across a band that has “it”… so finding this Minnesota band ranks as one of the highlights of my year to date. The longer the song goes, the more the “it” becomes apparent, from vocal intensity reminiscent of early Pop Evil (think “Hero”) to guitar work with serious bite; there’s a truly exceptional amount of good things going on here.
EVERLIT – “Break Away”
Pennsylvania newcomers that previously hit the road (with a slightly different lineup) as Willpowerless might turn out to be THE new artist of 2015. This is pure active rock, right in the sweet spot of the genre, and they hit the target dead solid perfect. From delivery to hook to relatable lyrics, I’m not sure how much more anyone could have asked of a debut single, taken from their upcoming June EP release.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
CIVIL WAR – “Bay Of Pigs”
Ex-Sabaton members team up with vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson to form the power metal juggernaut Civil War. Last week, on the Hard Rock Music Time Machine, I reviewed a song by Astral Doors, a group that also features the distinctive vocals of Johansson. He delivers in a big way again, here on the band’s sophomore album. The songs all focus on war and various historical battles, with “Bay of Pigs” standing out as a catchy rocker where everyone shines.
SIRENIA – “Serpent”
The lead singer’s ethereal vocals play against distorted guitars and the doom-filled vocals of the rest of the band in this song from Sirenia’s latest album. Atmosphere is everything, and the darkness is always looming as these Norwegians blend symphonic and gothic metal.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
STARGAZERY – “Dim The Halo”
The Rainbow influence is evident, not just in the dead-giveaway name, but also in their songs. Some might be inclined to call it neo-classic Rainbow, but it’s more than that. They boil down to a really good Finnish band with the obvious great inspiration. You’ll hear some Graham Bonnet “Eyes of the World” in the lead-up to the chorus. As the story goes, they used to be called Stargazer, but added the “y” because there are so many other acts with the same name.
CRIMSON WIND – “In Vain”
Symphonic metal from Palermo, Sicily. This track is full-on from the first chord, with a great rhythm line, melodic riffs and good guitar work (Giuseppe Taormina). Formed in 2008, “In Vain” is from of the band’s sophomore album, Last Poetry Line.
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
In honor of Mother’s Day, I have chosen two songs for this week’s Hard Rock Music Time Machine that were written about moms who passed away. Having lost my mom in recent years, these songs really hit home and take on a special meaning.
ALTER BRIDGE – “In Loving Memory” (2009)
“In Loving Memory” was written by guitarist, Mark Tremonti, as a dedication to his mother after she passed away. The studio version if this song is incredibly powerful, but the live version (from Amsterdam) takes it to an entirely different level. Myles Kennedy delivers such a moving performance of the song, that it’s hard to believe that it didn’t come from a personal place. With a singer as brilliant as Kennedy, you usually don’t want to the mic turned to the audience, but the crowd in Amsterdam singing in unison only enhances the performance, and will give you the chills (especially those who have lost their mothers). In a Hard Rock Daddy interview with Mark Tremonti, I asked him about his feelings as he listened to the crowd singing his words. His reply…
“It tore me up. It was very emotional. It was hard to hold back the tears up there in front of all those folks. At that moment, I was just thinking about baseball to try and get through it.”
“We’ve backed off playing it a little bit because it would be hard to go through that every single night, but other than ‘Blackbird,’ I think that it’s still my favorite AB song to this day.”
ANOTHER LOST YEAR – “War On The Inside”(2012)
Frontman, Clinton Cunanan, wrote this song a year after his mother passed away. He stated the following in an interview about the song…
“I was lost and stuck at a crossroads between what I was doing and where I wanted to go. ‘War On The Inside’ is about that constant struggle that we all have, and finding peace within yourself and trusting yourself to make the right decisions.”
From the band’s 2012 album, Better Days, “War On The Inside” was a standout track that got a lot of attention on Octane. It showcases Cunanan’s incredibly powerful, emotive delivery, and his ability to bring the lyrics to life. While this song had some traction, the band still remains largely under-appreciated by radio (not their fans).
FINGER ELEVEN – “Pieces Fit” (2010)
While their 2007 double-platinum smash “Paralyzer” remains a rock radio staple in the U.S., this now-veteran Canadian band has since seen only mixed results in the States, but remains a consistent force in their native country, scoring six straight (and counting) Top 10 rock singles in the years that have followed. With a new album reportedly coming later this year, hopefully the broader success will return for the band who scored big at home with this otherwise somewhat overlooked song.
STAIND – “Break Away” (2008)
One of the more interesting exercises when revisiting older albums can be trying to pick out “the single that wasn’t”… the track that could have easily ended up being a hit and becoming a staple of a band’s catalog, but was never highlighted. This might be that song from The Illusion Of Progress, certainly worth revisiting as we approach four years without anything new from the band, although solo efforts and side projects have carried right along.
THRESHOLD – “Slipstream” (2007)
British progressive metal band Threshold hit one out of the park with “Slipstream,” a song that mixes strange (but welcome) bedfellows of several musical elements. There’s the progressive sound that the band is known for, great riffs, a driving rhythm section, touches of death metal in the backing vocals, and a melodic refrain that incorporates more and more harmonies as the song builds to a dramatic conclusion.
STUART SMITH – “Memories” (1999)
Most listeners will be familiar with vocalist Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple, Sunstorm, Rated X, and so many more). Here he teams up with guitar great Stuart Smith in a lesser known but not-to-be-missed song. The two play off each other beautifully, and it becomes impossible to say which is really driving the song, the vocals or the guitar work.
FOO FIGHTERS – “The Pretender” (2009)
A favorite of mine from 2009. Not under the radar, but has an interesting origin as a song that was (at first) half-written, with a much slower tempo. It was picked up again later, and the finished work was what you hear now, described by Dave Grohl as “a stomping Foo Fighters up-tempo song, with a little bit of Chuck Berry in it.” Not sure about the Chuck Berry part, but definitely has their hard-rockin’ signature. Great all-around track!
BLACK SABBATH – “Nightwing” (1989)
This lineup of Sabbath was never in the mainstream, and these albums were largely ignored. This suited me just fine, never being at risk for too much airplay. However, that didn’t do so well for the band’s Headless Cross U.S. tour, which was cancelled after 8 shows due to low ticket sales. “Nightwing” is a great track regardless of the times, showcasing Tony Martin’s tremendous voice and classic Iomi riffs. Severely underrated song and album.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to…
[…] Similar to Five Finger Death Punch’s collaboration with the legendary Rob Halford on “Lift Me Up,” “Pray” chugs along with an intense driving rhythm and an incredibly catchy chorus. Tight playing anchored by a powerful rhythm section, passionate vocals and an impressive display of guitar shredding all combine to make this a killer track. (ADAM TROY discusses “Pray”) […]