Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 6/15/15.
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 drummer, Ken Mary, who was in Alice Cooper’s band for several years, was an original member of House Of Lords, played with Impelletteri and Fifth Angel (amongst others). He will be the host of an upcoming movie/documentary entitled “The Drumming Hall Of Fame.” In one of the more fascinating interviews since the launch of Music Discovery Monday, Ken shares the unlikely recording on one of the best cover songs ever (“Can’t Find My Way Home”) in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment, and talks about the meaning behind Fifth Angel’s underrated song, “Broken Dreams.”
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
CRYSTAL BALL (f. NOORA LOUHIMO) – “Eye To Eye”
Crystal Ball is the perfect example of a band that is a force to be reckoned with in Europe, but totally flies under the radar in the United States, largely due to the fact that the opportunity for radio exposure is basically non-existent. One of the reasons that Music Discovery Monday was launched was to expose bands like Crystal Ball to hard rock music fans. Starting out as a cover band in 1995, the band released its first studio album in 1999. Fast forward to 2015…Crystal Ball has just released their eighth studio album entitled LifeRider. With a new energy courtesy of German frontman, Steve Mageney, the Swiss rockers are ready to once again make their mark in the hard rock genre. “Eye To Eye” is pure power metal at its best. Mageney’s vocals work so perfectly with the vocals of Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast), that she feels more like a part of the band than a guest vocalist.
JUDAS PRIEST – “Never Forget”
40 years atop the metal world, and Judas Priest is still as relevant today as they were when they made their debut in the early 70s. Even though the band’s 2014 release, Redeemer Of Souls, was met with critical acclaim, there are still plenty of tracks on the extended album that many fans probably still haven’t heard yet. “Never Forget” – the final bonus track on the album – is an anthemic ballad that is simultaneously inspiring and melancholic. After four decades, the metal gods would be more than justified to call it a career, but it will still be disappointing to their legion of fans when that day finally arrives. Lyrically, “Never Forget” has the feeling of a bittersweet thank you and goodbye to the fans for the many years of support. The band has recently hinted that Redeemer Of Souls will not be their swan song, but if it is, it’s hard to imagine a better sendoff than “Never Forget.”
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
Normally, my picks for the week don’t come with a preamble, but one seems proper in this case. For all of the music that I absorb during the course of a normal week, one of my favorite things to have happen is to be tipped off unexpectedly by a friend or acquaintance to something that I’ve managed to miss on my own. It makes the journey seem a little less solitary (or something like that). A couple of songs this week fall into that category…
EMPIRE OF FOOLS – “Devil Inside”
Empire Of Fools is a U.K. band that had escaped my attention until they broke through with Scott Hamilton and Rockfile Radio. It’s tempting to describe their current single as a straight-ahead hard rock song, but then the solo kicks in midway through and it becomes something … bigger. More modern, more compelling, just…more. Hard to explain if you haven’t heard it, not necessary to explain after you hear it.
FAILURE ANTHEM – “Paralyzed”
It’s great to get recommendations on new bands from people that you’ve come to trust, and those can carry an extra bit of weight when the tip comes from an artist. So when my Atlanta-area buddy, Jonathan Pruitt (Downside), pointed out these guys from Greensboro, NC, I took a listen (or two). It took that extra listen for me to really put my finger on what made the song stand out. It’s the passion that singer J.D. Eubanks puts across in his delivery here that propels “Paralyzed” from “the next song that you’ve heard” to “the song that you want to hear next.” The band behind him is cohesive and skilled. The combination is well-suited for expanding their range and exposure, which they’ll do later this summer when they hit the Midwest with Texas Hippie Coalition.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
VISIGOTH – “The Revenant King”
American classic metal is alive and well! Visigoth, out of Salt Lake City of all places, lays the landscape to waste with their first full-length album, The Revenant King. The title track opens the album at full jaunt, sacks a few cities, and there’s no looking back from there. This is solid, old-school metal with heavy riffs and a pounding rhythm section.
PETERIK & SCHERER – “Broken Home”
Survivor founder Jim Peterik discovered a great vocalist with amazing range in Marc Scherer, who was apparently working as a jeweler. They collaborate beautifully on the AOR album, Risk Everything. Packed with great melodies, they afford Scherer ample opportunity to demonstrate his talent. Most of the songs are upbeat, though my favorite, “Broken Home,” is a bit of a heart-tugger.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
AT THE DAWN – “Land In Sight”
At The Dawn is a new, young, Italian Prog metal band, (together since 2012). Michele Viaggi’s intricate guitar and Stefano de Marco’s powerful vocals front this fluid and tight group. “Land in Sight” is the title track from this year’s release. Honorable mention also goes to “A Crow With No Wings.”
WARDRUM – “Phoenix”
Wardrum’s “Phoenix” breaks out of the gate with a driving, heavy sound and relentless pace. Vocals from Yannis Papadopoulos have a good rasp to them, which is a perfect complement to the thick sound of the track. Great guitar licks and a screaming solo from Kosta Vreto match Yannis’ powerful highs. As you might have guessed from the names, Wardrum hails from Thessaloniki, Greece. The band has been together since 2010.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to…
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
FIFTH ANGEL – “Broken Dreams” (1989)
Long before the launch of Hard Rock Daddy, or the creation of Music Discovery Monday, I was always on the hunt for bands flying under the radar. When I discovered Fifth Angel’s album, Time Will Tell, back in the late 80s, I thought for sure that they would be a breakout band. In an ironic twist of fate, the band that hailed from just outside of Seattle saw the grunge movement begin right in their own backyard shortly after their major label debut. “Broken Dreams” is a standout, melodic power ballad. Unfortunately, the title also describes the fate of a band that never got the opportunity to live up to their potential. As much as I liked the album, I never knew much about the individual members. Needless to say, when I was contacted by the publicist for drummer, Ken Mary (this week’s featured artist), I jumped at the opportunity to discuss a band that made an immediate impact on me over two decades ago.
In my recent interview with Ken Mary, he discussed the inspiration and meaning behind “Broken Dreams”…
“As you know, it’s kind of a moody song, and it has to do with certain times in life where you don’t feel that you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve. I guess that you can say that there’s a time where the dream dies. It happened to a lot of people in the music business. Many friends of ours were in music, and at a certain point, life creeps in…they got married, had kids, bought houses, etc. All of a sudden, there’s a dream that dies. They wanted to do something, but life pulled them in a different direction. So, ‘Broken Dreams’ is really about the time where a dream dies. It talks about shattered pieces being left behind, and there’s nothing left worth fighting for…it’s over. There’s a certain time where the towel gets thrown in, and sometimes it’s a good thing depending on what the dream is. ‘Broken Dreams’ is sort of a melancholy song, where you’re looking back, closing a door and moving on. That’s not always an easy thing to do, especially if it was something that you were super-passionate about.”
Make sure to check out the interview with Ken on my other Hard Rock Music Time Machine pick this week. It’s one of the most fascinating stories to ever appear on Music Discovery Monday.
HOUSE OF LORDS – “Can’t Find My Way Home” (1990)
Interestingly, when Ken Mary recorded the album with Fifth Angel, he was already a member of House Of Lords. The band has had a fairly lengthy career since Mary left the band, but he was there during the peak years when they recorded the most successful single of their career – a cover version of the Blind Faith song, “Can’t Find My Way Home.” The decision to tackle a song that is considered to be a classic (by most peoples’ standards) left House Of Lords vulnerable to second guessing. Thankfully, they never let the naysayers influence their decision, because the end result is one of the best hard rock cover songs ever recorded.
During our interview, Ken discussed the decision to do a cover of the classic Blind Faith song, and the fairly surprising manner in which the recording was done…
“The story to that song is pretty deep, so I’ll just cover the major points. Andy Johns, who produced Sahara (the album that featured the song), was also the engineer on the original version that Steve Winwood did with Ginger Baker and Blind Faith.
I can’t remember who in the band decided that we should do the cover of the song, but I do remember working on demos in a little rehearsal hall with a 12-track recorder. We recorded the demo for ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ in the rehearsal studio using very basic gear.
We came out with something on that demo that was kind of magical. The singer’s voice was kind of tired that day, and for whatever reason, just had this extra grit and grime to it. He had a beautiful tone on the day that he tracked those vocals. Everything just kind of came together on that song when we wrote that whole new electric section at the end (which wasn’t on the original). The original version was fairly short and acoustic.
When we finished the demo, we turned it in to RCA, and everybody at the label was freaking out over it. They said that it was incredible and that they loved it.
We were going into the major, 32-track digital studio to record with Andy Johns, and all of a sudden there was all of this pressure to create what we created on the demo. We went in there and tried to capture what we did on the demo, but for whatever reason, we could not capture that same magic, so we ended up taking the 12-track demo and bouncing it to the 32-track digital. We re-did the drums and bass, but everything else on the song was from the original 12-track. All of the vocals, the guitars and even the solos were all done with a little Marshall amp in our rehearsal space.
Tons of people came up to us and told us that they loved the Blind Faith version, but that our version is the best version of the song, including program directors. Some were initially offended that we were brash enough to attempt to re-do a classic song. Some were even pissed off that we did it, but they eventually came around and told us that they ended up liking it better than the original.
It ended up being our biggest hit ever. It goes to show you that sometimes it’s really not about the technical end; it’s more about the emotional end. We captured something really special emotionally on that song. We feel like it captured a little bit of who we were, and where we were as a band, and it was really magical.”
TRIXTER – “Tattoos & Misery” (2012)
Even with a new album recently released, mention of early 90s glam band Trixter sends me back to their previous release for a song that was really one of my favorites of 2012. The original lineup keeps the best of their signature style while putting the tiniest bit of contemporary polish on things. Catchy, singable, it’s just a fun song when it hits my ear.
TORA TORA – “Walkin’ Shoes” (1989)
If you put together a list of bands that a lot of us from a certain era wish were more active today, these rockers from Memphis would likely appear pretty frequently. Musically tight, vocally gifted…most of all, I think what stands out about Tora Tora is that listening to them, or seeing them, was simply a lot of fun. Sometimes, there may be a tendency to forget that as good, or technically gifted or talented that a band might be, there’s supposed to be some fun in rock n’ roll. These guys – who have done some limited reunion work over the past few years – always seemed to have that part down cold.
KELLY KEAGY – “Blink Of An Eye” (2007)
Night Ranger drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy put out his second solo album in 2007. Teaming up with Jim Peterik (Survivor, Pride of Lions, Peterik & Scherer) and Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), he produced some compelling melodic hard rock. “Blink of an Eye” was a favorite, highlighting the talents of all concerned, but with a modern vibe.
LEVERAGE – “Follow Down That River” (2006)
Leverage is a melodic metal band out of Finland. In 2006, they released their wonderful debut album, Tides. The dual driving guitars of Tuomas Heikkinen and Torsti Spoof are balanced beautifully by the staunch vocals of Pekka Heino (Brother Firetribe).
AMARAN’S PLIGHT – “Coming Of Age” (2007)
As you might expect, a lot of different influences come together when mixing talents from Shadow Gallery, Spock’s Beard, Royal Hunt and other solid metal DNA. “Coming Of Age,” a dynamic, melodic piece from Amaran’s Plight, has a classic acoustic lead-in that resolves to a bright and driving rhythm with crisp guitar work (Gary Wehrkamp) that is perfect for its feel-good theme. Great vocals from D.C. Cooper.
GALNERYUS – “Burn My Heart” (2010)
Going back to the not-so-distant past for some terrific guitar work on “Burn My Heart” from Galneryus, who hail from Osaka, Japan. These prolific power metal heads have produced an album (many full-length) or video in each of their 15 years together. The intense shredding (courtesy of Syu) is accompanied by the unique lead vocals of Masatoshi Ono (who reminds me of Geddy Lee).