Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 11/3/16
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)
GUNS N’ ROSES – “Civil War” (1991)
There are a handful of songs that I can recall hearing for the first time, and picture the moment as if it happened yesterday. “Civil War” is the most prominent among them.
By 1991, Guns N’ Roses had already become one of my favorite bands after the release of their incredible debut album, Appetite For Destruction. You would think that a band with as much momentum as GNR would want to strike while the iron was hot, but instead, they made their fans wait over four years for their next release, an epic double album (Use Your Illusion I and II).
It was a stormy Long Island night, and driving conditions were terrible. I was en route to meet friends at a comedy club as I drove down Hempstead Turnpike. As I passed a Dunkin’ Donuts, “Civil War” came on, and I was immediately floored. The stormy weather blended into the background as I was mesmerized by long-awaited music from (what I believed would be) the next great rock and roll band.
A quarter of a century has passed since that fateful night, and I can still remember the moment as if I was living it right now. What more can be said about a song that is so epic, that it has held the same luster for 25 years?
ROGER DALTREY – “After The Fire” (1985)
Three years after The Who’s “farewell tour” in 1982, Roger Daltrey emerged with a solo album entitled Under A Raging Moon. The title track gained some traction, but “After The Fire” is the song that resonated the most. Originally written by Pete Townshend, the plan was for The Who to play the song during their performance at Live Aid. However, because they were a late commitment to the event, and they hadn’t had time to properly rehearse it, “After The Fire” was given to Daltrey for his solo album.
I don’t know the exact meaning behind the song, but the message of a fire still burning after the fire has taken on a whole new meaning for me today than it did back in ’85 (when life was infinitely simpler). America has spent over a year-and-a-half immersed in a firestorm of sorts. And though the end of it is now in sight, I can’t help but wonder what happens “After The Fire.”
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
HELMET – “Unsung” (1992)
If I had to sum up my memory of ‘90s hardcore and metal, this song would be one of the top five that comes to mind. Helmet’s “Unsung” (from their second album – Meantime) exploded onto the charts in the early ‘90s due to its “alternative” sound. Even though this was probably their only “alternative” sounding song, it still had all of the hardcore elements that the band excels in. Eventually labeled post-hardcore, Helmet influenced scores of other post-hardcore, alternative and nu-metal bands for the next two decades. The rest of the album was angry and scathing, with Page Hamilton screaming the lyrics to every song, and the band chugging away with their heavy, tuned-down riffs. Helmet was a great, heavy band back in the day that always takes me back in time to the ‘90s.
MASTODON – “Blood and Thunder” (2004)
If there was ever a song to capture my attention and make me love a band, “Blood and Thunder” off of Mastodon’s second album (Leviathan) was the one. From the opening simple riff, to Brann Dailor’s drum-fill explosion into the main verse, this song is everything that I love about Mastodon. Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds scream and growl with wild abandon as they play one of the most recognizable and memorable guitar riffs ever written. And if that wasn’t enough, this song features additional vocals by Neil Fallon (from one of my favorite bands ever, Clutch). Add the disturbing video of clowns, circus and carnival performers, and you have one hell of an unforgettable song. Mastodon has now become one of the most influential bands in metal, and (in my opinion) Leviathan is one of the best metal albums of the 21st century.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
BLIND GUARDIAN – “Age Of False Innocence” (2002)
From their 2002 album A Night at the Opera, German power metal veterans Blind Guardian delivered this bombastic exploration of a man’s struggle between religion and science. Technical brilliance is layered in thick, with the signature vocals of Hansi Kursch somehow towering over every epic passage. An amazing song from an amazing album.
FAIR WARNING – “Generation Jedi” (2006)
German melodic hard rockers Fair Warning formed in 1991 around vocalist Tommy Heart and bassist Ule W. Ritgen (ex-Zeno). They had a hit back in 2006 with this cynical rocker that launches from a well-known movie quote. They have just released a new album, Pimp Your Past, where, fittingly, they rework the most important tracks from their first three albums (all from the ‘90s). Coming from a later album, this one wasn’t included, but is a great introduction to the band.