Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 9/22/16
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)
W.A.S.P. – “The Idol” (1992)
When you think of rock concept albums, one of the best of all-time – W.A.S.P.’s The Crimson Idol – is often times overlooked. Lyrically and musically, the album ranks right up there with classics like Queenryche’s Operation: Mindcrime and Rush’s 2112. In some ways, it’s unfair to cherry-pick one particular track from a concept album because you lose context, but in the case of The Crimson Idol, the songs are strong enough to stand on their own. The challenge then becomes choosing just one to share.
“The Idol” is an outstanding representation of the The Crimson Idol album, and should whet your appetite enough to make you want to experience the full album as it is intended. Originally, this album was slated to be a Blackie Lawless solo record, but was put under the W.A.S.P. moniker due to fan pressure. If the fans were able to have their voices heard in the early ‘90s before the internet and social media, one can only imagine what kind of resistance Lawless would have been met with these days. Regardless of labeling, the fact of the matter is that The Crimson Idol is not only one of the best concept albums of all-time, but one of the best rock albums of all-time. Personally speaking, this one is worthy of being a desert island disc.
“The Idol” is just the tip of the iceberg as to what this album has to offer. After you check this song out, I strongly suggest listening to the album in its entirety.
IRON MAIDEN – “Can I Play With Madness?” (1988)
While W.A.S.P.’s The Crimson Idol concept album is one that is not nearly as well-known as it should be, Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is well-known, but some may not realize that it is a concept album. Maiden lyrics are always intelligent and often times historically-based, so those listening to the songs outside of the confines of the album might not realize that there is an overarching storyline.
Like most of Maiden’s work, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is the brainchild of bassist Steve Harris. The idea for the album came to Harris after reading Orson Scott Card’s Seventh Son. According to Harris…
“It was our seventh studio album and I didn’t have a title for it or any ideas at all. Then I read the story of the seventh son, this mystical figure that was supposed to have all of these paranormal gifts like second sight and what have you, and it was more, at first, that it was just a good title for the seventh album.”
“Can I Play With Madness?” is the lead single from an album that also includes classics like “The Evil That Men Do” and “The Clairvoyant.” The song is about a young man who wants to learn the future from an old prophet with a crystal ball. The young man thinks that he’s going mad, and looks to the old prophet to help him with visions/nightmares. What’s notable about the song is the fact that it starts with powerful vocal intro before launching into the traditional Maiden galloping pacing.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
ICED EARTH – “I Died For You” (1996)
One of the most under-rated thrash/metal bands is Florida’s Iced Earth. The band has released more than eleven albums, including some with former Judas Priest singer Tim Owens sing for them. “I Died for You” – from the band’s album The Dark Saga – is the song that got me interested in Iced Earth. Probably one of the most metal love songs ever written, the album follows the story line of one of my favorite comic books, Spawn. The cover of the album was even drawn by the comic book creator, Todd McFarlane. This song and the album is classic Iced Earth…heavy, melodic and memorable.
NEVERMORE – “Enemies of Reality” (2003)
In the realm of thrash metal, Jeff Loomis is a pretty well-known name because of his playing style and impressive guitar work. Couple that with the songwriting and vocals of Warrel Dane, and you have a great thrash metal band. “Enemies of Reality” is a great all-around metal tune from their fifth album of the same. The song’s subject matter is dark and nihilistic through and through, the guitars complex and the rhythm section intricate enough (but not overpowering) to allow for the vocals and guitars to stand out. Loomis now plays for Arch Enemy, but fans of Nevermore will notice that his guitar playing in his former band was much more open, free and complex (probably due to his collaboration with Dane). Let’s hope for a reunion one of these days.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
BADLANDS – “High Wire” (1989)
In the late ‘80s, having just finished a successful tour with Ozzy Osbourne in support of The Ultimate Sin, guitarist Jake E. Lee received some shocking news in a telegram from Sharon Osbourne…he was fired. He would then team with former Black Sabbath members Ray Gillen and Eric Singer to form Badlands. “High Wire” opens the band’s self-titled debut album. They would go on to release a second album, Voodoo Highway, shortly after which they would break up. Though they never reunited, and Ray Gillen would die a few years later, in 1998 they put out a third album, Dusk, from previously unreleased material.
KIX – “Cold Blood” (1988)
American hard rock band Kix formed in the late ‘70s and put out their first album in 1981, but it was with 1988’s Blow My Fuse that they achieved their first major commercial success. They put out their latest album just two years ago, and remain active on the concert scene, where they never skip this hit from their breakout album.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
PAUL GILBERT – “Fuzz Universe” (2010)
“Fuzz Universe” is the title track to the 3rd full-length album from guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X). Gilbert composes music in a wide variety of styles. His amazing hand speed is always on display, along with his clear articulation of complex passages and his notable staccato picking technique. Sit back and enjoy this excellent, epic jam.
CHICKENFOOT – “Dubai Blues” (2011)
“Dubai Blues” is part of the great Chickenfoot III album, which is actually the second release from the band, not the third. Sammy, Satch, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith are at the top of their game here. Musically excellent and immensely cool, this great tune speaks to having all of the riches in the world (except for the girl).