Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 10/27/16
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.
This month’s theme is Halloween-related songs.
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)
ICED EARTH – “Dracula” (2001)
It’s hard to think of a better album than Iced Earth’s Horror Show to commemorate Halloween. Every track on the album is based on classic monsters and horror movie icons, so choosing just one track was no easy task. Ultimately, I decided upon “Dracula” for nostalgic reasons.
“Dracula” brings back memories of dressing up as a vampire as a kid. I distinctly remember one Halloween where I had my entire face painted white, before adding the classic black widow’s peak on top of it. There weren’t many hair styling products available back then, so I greased my hair back with Vasoline (which, by the way, was a nightmare to get out). Thinking back to that Halloween, I can vividly recall the feeling of mumbling “trick or treat” over the plastic vampire teeth in my mouth, and the fake lines of blood that ran down the corners of my lips. When I put on my black cape, I became Dracula.
Of course, “Dracula” is also a hauntingly powerful song that showcases the beauty of Matt Barlow’s natural voice, and his immense range with high notes that seem to cry out in pain. It is an epic anthem that features the vastly underrated guitar playing of Jon Schaffer, and the drumming of Richard Christy (of Howard Stern fame). Anyone who is familiar with Christy knows about his unbridled passion for Halloween. This album was his first with Iced Earth (which seems appropriate).
THE WHO – “Boris The Spider” (1966)
The second track on The Who’s second album (A Quick One) is unlike anything else in their catalog. “Boris The Spider” is the first song that bassist John Entwistle wrote for the band (after a night of drinking with Rolling Stones’ bassist, Bill Wyman, who just turned 80 this week). Although the song is considered to be a “horror song,” you can’t help but appreciate the campy aspect of it. As you might expect, “Boris The Spider” has a heavy bass line, but the part of the song that Entwistle is most known for is the low vocal bass tones that he hits when he sings the title of the song. This is the first time that we’ve gone back as far as 50 years on Hard Rock Music Time Machine. It’s hard to think of a song that better captures the spirit of Halloween than this classic song by The Who.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
KING DIAMOND – “Halloween” (1986)
Halloween just isn’t Halloween without the high falsettos, painted face and demonic portrayals of King Diamond. From their debut album, Fatal Portrait, “Halloween” is classic King Diamond that features the intricate guitar work of Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner, and the furious drumming of Mikkey Dee. This album (and song) is an essential piece of metal history as much as Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. King Diamond’s vocals are immediately recognizable. His songwriting and compositions are eerie, filled with emotional dread and despair, and an overall evil mood. Fatal Portrait remains as one of the classic albums of all time in heavy metal, and a perfect jam for Halloween.
MISFITS – “Halloween” (1981)
In the heavy metal and horror punk genre, there is no shortage of Halloween-themed songs. Case in point, the classic “Halloween” and “Halloween II” by the Misfits. Any band that can write campy lyrics about dead cats, burning bodies, candy apples and razor blades is a band that truly understands the meaning of Halloween fun. Who better than the Misfits to write a song such as this? The Misfits are legends in the punk genre, and probably one of the most influential bands in punk history. Fronted by Glenn Danzig with Jerry Only, Bobby Steele, Doyle and Arthur Googy, this band made popular devilocks and their Misfits Fiend Skull (which can be seen on shirts and stickers everywhere). The band recently reunited with Dave Lombardo on drums, which should prove to be very interesting. Crank this up and scare your neighbors…Happy Halloween!
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
POWERWOLF – “When The Moon Shines Red” (2007)
In 2003, two guitar-playing brothers took on the pseudonyms Charles and Matthew Greywolf, and founded a German power metal band devoted to dark themes. This song of foreboding comes from their 2007 sophomore album, Lupus Dei. It’s a concept album about a wolf trying to free himself from his bloodlust.
AT VANCE – “The Evil In You” (1999)
In 1998, singer Oliver Hartmann and guitarist Olaf Lenk formed the German power metal band At Vance. In 2003, Hartmann left the band to pursue his solo career, yielding vocal duties to current vocalist Mats Leven. This is the title track from Leven’s first album with the band–and an excellent one for Halloween!
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
TROUBLE – “The Wolf” (1984)
A deep cut off of Trouble’s incredible, eponymous first album, “The Wolf” sets a menacing and sinister tone before the tempo takes off. The great rasp of Eric Wagner adds even more depth to the mood of the song (along with Bruce Franklin’s excellent guitar work). A worthy ode to all the werewolves out there this Halloween.
DIO – “Dream Evil” (1987)
Dio’s 1987 release, Dream Evil, was the band’s fourth studio album. The title track is a classic, dark Dio tune, with his vocals shining through a murky rhythm line and ominous theme. The song’s warning message is akin to “Don’t Talk To Strangers” from Holy Diver. This great lineup featured Craig Goldy on guitar, Jimmy Bain on Bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Claude Schnell on the keys. A little trivia: Dream Evil was Dio’s last album to feature Murray on the cover.