Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 12/21/15.
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.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
NEXT TO NONE – “Blood On My Hands”
The current generation of teenagers has grown up in a different world, one with the threat of terrorism on American soil, and mass shootings (particularly in schools) occurring with regularity. Most bands are either too old or too immature to write about this subject from a meaningful, first-hand perspective. Of course, Next To None does not fall under the category of “most bands.”
Aside from the familial connection that Max Portnoy (drummer) has with Mike Portnoy, the band is made up of fellow musical prodigies: Ryland Holland (guitar), Kris Rank (bass) and Thomas Cuce (keys and vocals). Ranging from ages 15-16, these teens are not only skilled beyond their years, but wise as well.
In an interview with Bravewords, Cuce discussed the inspiration for “Blood On My Hands” and the carefully planned writing process for the song…
“At the time [I wrote the lyrics] it seemed like every day there was a different person going crazy somewhere and shooting up a building or whatever, and I would ask myself ‘Why does this keep happening? What was that person thinking? What led them to do this?’ So I tried to put myself in this person’s head. I created a character and started from the aftermath of the event, which is where we first hear about it in the news.”
Of the song’s extended arrangement, he says, ‘It took us months to write this song and then months to learn it. We had a big dry erase board that we used to chart out all the parts with the time signatures until we had them memorized.”
With thought-provoking lyrics and complex song structures, the younger Portnoy and his bandmates are well on their way to becoming this generation’s Dream Theater.
GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS – “In Dreams”
Ghost Ship Octavius is a NYC-based band that describes their sound as “Melodic Progressive Heavy Metal,” an accurate description given all of the elements that they bring to the table. Whereas some progressive metal can be so intensely chaotic that it only appeals to a very specific audience, Ghost Ship Octavius incorporates enough mainstream components to have more of a mass appeal to hard rock and metal fans in general. However, this is not to say that their music doesn’t have its fair share of complexities that will appeal to diehard prog fans.
With “In Dreams,” the band has masterfully straddled the fence between catchy, melodic hooks, virtuosity and interesting, unpredictable time changes without ever wandering into the sensory overload territory. Featuring Matt Wicklund (God Forbid, Warrel Dane, HIMSA) and Van Williams (Nevermore, Ashes of Ares), the band is rounded out by Dagna Silesia (Warrel Dane, The People Now) and up-and-coming frontman Adon Fanion. The band is currently doing dates with Next To None.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH – “Born Again”
The lead single from TFK’s forthcoming album, Exhale, provides another infectious song for the library of this highly successful crossover band. While not a complete change in style, there is a bit of a different sound here than their recent songs, keeping the tempo and upbeat nature, but with a little less frenzy. It’s a promising look at the follow up to the 2014 album, Inhale, likely to both please existing fans and add new ones.
WOLFMOTHER – “Victorious”
“Victorious” is the title track from the forthcoming (February 2016) album by an Australian band that I recently described as being more recognizable to U.S. listeners by sound than by name. I don’t mean that as criticism, just as the reality that goes with the frequent use of their music in video games, sports arenas and so forth. Songs like “Woman” and “Joker and the Thief” are now approaching a decade since release. Although the band has had two less successful albums in the interim, this new track feels (to me) like it may be the best chance at another breakout hit, which would be their first since 2005-06.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
THE CHRONICLES PROJECT – “Forever”
German keyboardist Malte Rathke (J.R. Blackmore) combed Europe for the right musicians for this progressive power metal project. What began as a simple YouTube collaboration garnered so much interest, that it snowballed into a full-blown studio project. The names may be new, but the musicianship is off the charts on this concept album that begins an epic tale from another world that is expected to span several albums. Unlike some progressive outfits, they have put melody and hooks at the forefront of their compositions, making for some very memorable pieces.
LETHAL STEEL – “Sirius”
Lethal Steel delivers hard-hitting, traditional-style heavy metal out of Sweden. Twin guitars, a pounding rhythm section, and strong vocals combine for a familiar (but well-executed) sound. Their new album, Legion Of The Night, boasts plenty of harmony with some amazing riffs.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
LAST IN LINE – “Martyr”
The original members of Dio’s band (Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell) have come together to form Last In Line, rounded out by Andrew Freeman’s (Hurricane, Lynch Mob) unique and powerful vocals. This driving and passionate track gets right down to business from the start. Look for Heavy Crown, the debut album from this talented unit, in early 2016.
X JAPAN – “Born To Be Free”
X Japan formed more than 30 years ago, and haven’t made a studio album in 20 years (they were broken up from 1998 – 2007). Their next studio release will finally arrive in March of 2016. ”Born to be Free” (the first single from their upcoming release) is an inspiring change-of-pace track formed from a memorable melodic refrain with Toshi’s superior vocals atop a power/symphonic metal sound. The beautiful piano intro and interlude make this an exceptional overall composition.
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
NOTE: My Hard Rock Music Time Machine picks this week both pay homage to two bands that finally got elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after years of being inexplicably snubbed.
DEEP PURPLE – “Smoke On The Water” (1972)
Is it ridiculous to include a song with one of the most iconic riffs in rock and roll history on Music Discovery Monday? Absolutely! But it is much less ridiculous than the fact that it has taken Deep Purple so long to be recognized by the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” (quotes used to point out that the name is a misnomer).
It’s hard to take any establishment seriously that misses the mark by such a wide margin time and time again. There is no logical explanation as to why a band that has been active since 1968 (with the exception of a hiatus from 1976-1984), had numerous hits and influenced countless other bands, is being recognized after artists that have nothing to do with rock and roll or its history. Then again, logic rarely prevails when it comes to the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Had Deep Purple been inducted when the classic lineup reformed in 1984, things would have been a lot simpler. As iconic as the band is, they are known as much for their lineup changes and internal strife as they are for their music. Deep Purple’s long overdue induction will be clouded by controversy over which members get inducted, which members are asked to perform and which will even accept the invitation.
CHEAP TRICK – “I Want You To Want Me” (1978)
Like fellow “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” inductees Deep Purple, Cheap Trick also has a storied career. Although they formed eight years later, they have never broken up, and have only had minor, temporary lineup changes. Since their formation, this underrated quartet has released 16 studio albums and one of the most iconic live albums in rock and roll history (Cheap Trick at Budokan).
There aren’t many hit songs where the live version is the most well-known, but “I Want You To Want Me” definitely falls into that category. Like “Smoke On The Water,” this song wasn’t chosen because it is undiscovered; it was chosen because of the place that it holds in rock and roll history, and to point out the absurdity that it has taken so long for Cheap Trick to be inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
DEAD MAN’S CURSE – “Shot To Hell” (2013)
Dead Man’s Curse announced last week that they will disband rather than continue on without their vocalist/drummer Mark Weerts, who got “an offer he couldn’t refuse” from an unnamed other band. Pity, because this Dutch band made a positive impression on me when I first heard them two years ago, but then never really crossed my radar again. “Shot To Hell” features a nice heavy groove with clean vocals. I would have enjoyed hearing more from them, but time has a way of marching on, I suppose. If you haven’t heard them before, then take a listen and consider what might have been.
NIGHT RANGER – “Seven Wishes” (1985)
I recently saw someone mention that it had been 30 years since the release of the third studio album by Night Ranger, which led me to marvel at how quickly time passes, and also at the fact that I can’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can still remember getting this album (on cassette) after a nearly hour-long drive to the nearest record store. I also still remember my first listen to the album, with the title track being my favorite of the bunch (both then and now). Lyrically, “Seven Wishes” is one of my favorites from Night Ranger’s catalog. It’s an underrated song, from what is probably also an underrated album.
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – “Christmas Nights in Blue” (2004)
Composer Paul O’Neill recruited members of the metal band Savatage, and the finest musicians and singers for a band whose music and world class tours have become a Christmas staple. Combining progressive metal, symphonic metal, classical music, and too many other elements to name, they have revitalized holiday music. On this favorite from their third album, they even incorporate some blues.
PRETTY MAIDS – “A Merry Jingle” (1990)
Danish metal band Pretty Maids had some fun with rock legend Ian Gillan (of the finally Hall-of-Fame-inducted Deep Purple) to give us their headbanging take on some Christmas classics. Nothing should be this much fun! They romp through some familiar tunes with style and playfulness. Don’t miss Gillan’s sign-off at the end…“I told you I was drunk!”
ASTRAL DOORS – “Child of Rock n Roll” (2011)
“Child of Rock n Roll” – from 2011’s Jerusalem – is a great biopic-styled track from Sweden’s Astral Doors. Both the music and Nils Patrik Johansson’s fantastic vocals are unmistakably inspired by Ronnie James Dio. The band simply kicks ass with a traditional heavy metal reverb sound.
DARK NEW DAY – “Taking Me Alive” (2005)
American supergroup Dark New Day broke onto the scene with this track off of Twelve Years Silence back in 2005. This powerful, raw, gritty track embodies its angry theme…“you’re never taking me alive.” Brett Hestla’s passionate vocals and Clint Lowery’s wailing guitar work are the stand-out performances.