Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 10/12/15.
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, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with legendary vocalist Geoff Tate, who discusses two of the songs from Operation: Mindcrime’s The Key – the first in a trilogy of concept albums.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
OPERATION: MINDCRIME – “Re-Inventing The Future”
From the ashes of a protracted battle over the Queensryche name, Geoff Tate emerges under a new, and very fitting moniker – Operation: Mindcrime. This name is much more than the band’s most critically acclaimed album; it represents the direction that Tate is taking now by doing what he does best…bringing stories to life through concept albums.
Now free from the shackles of the past, Tate’s only limits exist at the boundaries of his mind. While it’s hard to see an institution like Queensryche dismantled, there is definitely a silver lining for fans of one of the greatest voices that rock has ever known, and it comes in the form of Operation: Mindcrime.
From The Key – the first album of a concept trilogy – “Re-Inventing The Future” helps to set the tone for the underlying story. Although Kelly Gray is the only Queensryche connection on this track (besides Tate), the song is very much in the same vein as the concept album that started it all back in 1988.
Inspiration comes in many forms, especially FOR Tate, who shared the serendipitous story behind the creation of “Re-Inventing The Future” in a recent exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy…
“About a year ago, I found myself on an airplane flying down to South America for a one-off show, and I got seated next to Dave Ellefson from Megadeth. Dave and I didn’t know each other, and had never met, but we ended up spending 18 hours on a flight, and had a great time getting to know each other. We talked about music, life, family, kids and the music business. I was describing to him the new album that I was writing. About a week after I got back from the trip, I got an e-mail from Dave with a song idea that he had come up with, which was inspired by our conversation on the plane. That song ended up becoming ‘Reinventing The Future.’ He came up with the first draft of the music bed, and then Kelly (Gray) and I took it to where it is now after I wrote the lyrics.”
OPERATION: MINDCRIME – “The Stranger”
An integral part of any story is character development. Whereas “Re-Inventing The Future” helped set the tone for the story of The Key, “The Stranger” introduces us to a character that will play a key role as things unfold. The edgy swagger of this more aggressive song helps to define what “The Stranger” is all about. Unlike “Re-Inventing The Future,” this song is not in the familiar Queensryche vein. It’s not the type of song that would typically be released as a radio single, but that is less important than the purpose that it serves within the confines of the story.
During the interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Tate shared his insight about “The Stranger”…
“There’s four main characters in the story being told on these concept albums. ‘The Stranger’ introduces a kind of a sub-character from the first album, The Key. The Stranger is a hitman that his hired to do away with someone within the story. Scott Moughton (my guitar player) and I wrote the song. It has a kind of aggressive strutting kind of feel to it that I thought really fit the hitman character, somebody that is very calculated and confident.”
NOTE: The full interview with Geoff Tate and an album review of The Key will be published in the coming week on Hard Rock Daddy.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
FIRST DECREE – “Stop”
When I first mentioned this band from Cheyenne, Wyoming early in 2015, it was in the context of my frustration with radio not giving enough attention to songs that are narrowly missing out on cracking the charts and having a breakthrough. With their latest effort, the band finally gets a bit of their due with a few more stations coming on board to push them into the Top 50. They deserve quite a bit more than that for a song that really spotlights the haunting quality of Travis James’ voice.
OTHERWISE – “Fate Is Your Enemy”
The latest album Peace At All Costs from these Las Vegas standouts has produced two hits at rock radio already, but this album cut is a song that really stands out in their live set. The intensity of the song, while not lacking on the recorded version here, is turned up another notch onstage.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
DEMON’S EYE – “Welcome To My World”
Taking a break from Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, Doogie White (ex-Rainbow, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) returns as the frontman for German rockers Demon’s Eye on their second album, Under The Neon. Demon’s Eye began as a Deep Purple tribute band. Those Deep Purple and Rainbow influences are strong on their original material, including this wonderful rock ballad. Gentle guitars and a tiptoeing piano draw the song in with a sense of hesitation, soon to be joined by the vocals, which are reserved but dripping with emotion. You don’t have to wait long for those vocals to explode, supported by a powerful and addictive riff.
VOODOO HILL – “Waterfall”
Guitarist/songwriter Dario Mollo teams up with bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes to form Voodoo Hill, for hard rock filled with soulful, captivating moments. That magical combination stands out strong on the title track of their third album, Waterfall (dropping October 16th). Alternating between heartfelt depth and fevered crescendos, it highlights two masters in their musical prime.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
VALOR – “The Crown Of Evermore”
Greece is the home to Valor who, as you might have guessed, are a glory, power-metal outfit. This driving, upbeat track opens with a terrific piano theme that becomes the undertone of the song, and is highlighted by standout vocals and harmonies.
INFIDEL RISING – “The Power Of Goodbye”
Brand-new, progressive power metal from Dallas, Texas. Infidel Rising’s debut album, Torn Wings of Illusion, was released worldwide October 10th. Great vocals from Travis Willis (who sounds like Tony Harnell) leads the way. “The Power of Goodbye” flows nicely, and is on-par with many tracks from Scandinavian groups who excel and dominate the genre.
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@MusicDiscoveryMo
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
QUEENSRYCHE – “The Weight Of The World” (2013)
After Geoff Tate and Queensryche parted ways, and before the eventual settlement on the use of the name, Tate released a final album under the Queensryche moniker. “The Weight Of The World” is the final track on the vastly underrated Frequency Unknown album. It starts out with Tate’s incredibly powerful and emotive vocals over an acoustic guitar, before the intensity kicks in. Haunting layers of vocals provide depth to the song, which is a lengthy album-closer that features guitars shredding with such intensity that they almost cry out in pain.
The writing of “The Weight Of The World” took place in an unlikely setting. Tate shared the story during a 2013 Hard Rock Daddy interview…
“The last song on the record, ‘The Weight Of The World’ is an interesting track for me. The music was put together by Randy Gane (our keyboard player), who is one of my dearest friends. On the end of my solo tour, he had a heart attack, and he was in the hospital recuperating. He called me and asked me to bring him a keyboard in the hospital. I brought it to him, and he wrote that musical part from his hospital bed.
It’s a song that’s about coming face-to-face with your mortality, and wondering what this life really means. What is valuable about it? Is it that you had all of these experiences? Or that you bought all this stuff? Or is it the relationships that you’ve had in your life? Or what people remember about you? That was a real special song for me with the circumstances surrounding it. It turned out to be a really great track on the record.”
CLICK HERE to read the entire 3-part interview.
GEOFF TATE – “Change” (2012)
As mentioned by Geoff Tate above when discussing “The Weight Of The World,” he was on a solo tour at the time of Randy Gane’s heart attack. His solo album, entitled Kings & Thieves, features a different kind of sound. “Change” is a beautiful song that features Tate’s stellar vocals and a message that is focused on self-awareness. The piano parts are reminiscent of some of the work that Jim Steinman has done with Meat Loaf, as it the impassioned delivery of the vocals. If you’re a Tate fan and missed out on his solo album that flew under the radar, make sure to check out “Change” and the rest of Kings & Thieves.
LIKE A STORM – “Never Surrender” (2012)
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly three years since this song helped introduce these New Zealand rockers to a global audience. Granted, it wasn’t the hit that really launched the band, but in hindsight, it easily enough could have been. One of the things that is striking about them isn’t the hits they’ve had to date, it’s the number of hit songs they seem to be capable of.
SEASONS AFTER – “11:11” (2009)
The first single from the 2008 version of their debut album (re-released in 2010), this track reveals more of their “unclean” vocal capabilities than newer fans might be familiar with if they know them only from their radio hits. While I tend to lean towards the clean vocal camp pretty strongly, these Kansas-based rockers show – especially live – how to mix the two styles effectively and create something that can appeal to fans in either camp.
SCHENKER BARDEN ACOUSTIC PROJECT – “Another Melody” (2009)
Guitarist virtuoso Michael Schenker discovered vocalist Gary Barden in 1980 and the two have performed together since on numerous albums and tours. They reunited in 2008 for a new Michael Schenker Group album, and then followed it up with something a little different a year later. This haunting tune comes from their 2009 album that ditched the plugs for an acoustic outing. Michael Voss contributes keyboards and backing vocals.
CODE – “The Enemy Within” (2007)
Code was a Swedish melodic rock band that united former members of Grand Illusion with vocalist Sherwood Ball. Ball has some interesting musical connections through his father, famous in his own right and owner of Ernie Ball Guitars, and his great-grandfather, who wrote the Irish standard, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” With an extensive resume of his own, he delivers powerfully on the vocals here on the album’s title track.
OPETH – “Burden” (2009)
“Burden” is a ballad-paced, power piece from Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. This track, from their 2009 album (Watershed), showcases the great vocals and guitar of Mikael Åkerfeldt along with Fredrik Åkesson’s guitar work. “Burden” is an excellent blues track with a powerful undertone. Opeth is named for the location of an ancient empire, translated literally to “City of the Moon.” The band has been active since 1990.
DISTURBED – “Serpentine” (2010)
Beware of the warning signs! Disturbed’s “Serpentine” (off of Asylum) is a great all-around track about discovering someone’s true nature, albeit too late.