Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 7/21/16
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)
MEAT LOAF – “Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back” (1993)
The sequel to one of the greatest albums of all-time (Bat Out Of Hell), was released nearly 16 years to the day after the original. Although Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell was successful in its own right, aside from “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” the singles didn’t have the same impact as the numerous classics from Bat Out Of Hell. That is more a sign of the times than the quality of the songs, which were also epic and outstanding.
Meat Loaf has once again joined forces with Jim Steinman for Braver Than We Are (due September 2016), but it is not the new release that brought “Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back” to my attention all these years later. Rather, it is the current state of affairs in the United States, a nation that seems to grow more divided by the day during a contentious election cycle. Written 23 years ago, the lyrics of the song seem like they could have been written specifically for this election cycle.
I encourage you to pay attention to the lyrics when listening to this song, but even if you don’t, you will enjoy the passionate, theatrical manner in which Meat Loaf brings Steinman’s lyrics to life.
MEGADETH – “Foreclosure Of A Dream” (1992)
Back in 1992, life in America seemed to be “happier.” Maybe it was the lack of a 24/7 news cycle; maybe it was the lack of the pot being stirred on social media; or, maybe people were generally happier during simpler times. Clearly, there were still issues that weighed on many, especially those who paid close attention to the ways of the world like Dave Mustaine, who didn’t need the internet to keep his finger on the pulse of America.
1992’s “Foreclosure Of A Dream” (off of Countdown To Extinction) is a powerful song that taps into the raw, emotional observations made by a clearly enraged Mustaine. So much has happened in the near quarter of a century since this song was released, and yet, it still seems to be incredibly relevant today. The more things change…the more they stay the same, I suppose.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
NAPALM DEATH – “Plague Rages” (1994)
One of the pioneers of grindcore/death metal is England’s Napalm Death. “Plague Rages” – a single from their fifth album, Fear, Emptiness, Despair – is classic death metal at its finest. The song is full of tuned-low, distorted heaviness, blast beats and death metal growls that incorporate a little industrial metal feel. Fans of the genre will surely recognize Napalm Death’s influence on the death metal scene. The band continues to tour to this day, never slowing down since their inception.
CELTIC FROST – “Into The Crypts Of Rays” (1984)
From the opening feedback and first note, “Into the Crypts of Rays” is head-banging mania for all Celtic Frost fans. This is the song that turned me on to the whole black metal genre (without the whole face painting thing). From their first album, Morbid Tales, featuring the guttural vocals of Tom G. Warrior, Motorhead-like speed and dark lyrics, this song propelled the band into being one of the pioneers of black metal. Although their sound has changed over the years up until their breakup, Celtic Frost has influenced scores of metal bands in the doom/death/black metal categories.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
TNT – “Lonely Nights” (2004)
Like many metal bands that gained fame in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, TNT faced some challenging times in the late ‘90s. Two albums that saw them trying to update their sound fell flat, causing them to disband briefly. But their 2004 effort, My Religion, was a total triumph, as they fell back (in part) to their classic sound while finding a balance with their growth as musicians. The songwriting and execution are strong, and Tony Harnell hits his high notes with energy and emotion.
ALDO NOVA – “Always Be Mine” (1983)
Canadian rocker Aldo Nova put out this metal love ballad on his second album, Subject. It captures a distinctly ‘80s sound with heavy synthesizers, infectious melody, and soaring vocals complete with some dizzying high notes.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
FUTURES END – “Terrors Of War” (2010)
Future’s End burst onto the scene in 2009 to critical acclaim with their only album to date, Memoirs of a Broken Man, which was voted “Best Progressive Metal Album” in USA Progressive Music Magazine’s annual poll. This band of talented veterans has ties to Testament, Pyramaze, Circle II Circle and Zero Hour. “Terrors of War” is epic – with guitar work from Christian David Wentz and Marc Pattison that is nothing short of excellent. What really stands out though, especially on this live video, is Steve DiGiorgio’s bass work and Jon Allen on the drum kit (check them out on the song’s lead-in). Both are highly active, wide-ranging and exact. Fred Marshall’s vocals complete the package, with a tone that’s similar to Geoff Tate’s.
I AM I – “Stay A While” (2012)
I AM I was founded in 2012 by vocalist ZP Theart after his departure from DragonForce. Melodic metal is the signature of this UK-based band. “Stay A While” is instantly appealing from the opening notes of the main theme to the infectious chorus. Along with Theart’s terrific vocals, Jacob Ziemba’s guitar work stands out. Heavy on licks that add the metal edge to this track, it culminates with a great solo before fading out with a reprise. Their sophomore album, which is complete but yet to be released, has a different lineup that then original (except for Theart). The album was expected last December, when the band was deciding on which label to go with. Hopefully we’ll see that soon.