Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 11/10/16
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)
ICED EARTH – “Melancholy” (1998)
In the late ‘90s, metal had started to really come back with bands like Iced Earth tapping into the dynamic, massive sound of bands like Iron Maiden. The first time that I listed to the Something Wicked This Comes album, I was completely blown away. To this day, it is still one of my favorite albums. The song that stood out above all others at the time was “Melancholy.”
Using the formula that many bands used for power ballads – an acoustic intro with more subdued vocals before launching into a powerful attack – “Melancholy” brilliantly showcases the incredible range of frontman Matt Barlow. The chugging riffs by Schaffer buoyed by the rhythm section conjures up memories of Maiden’s signature galloping sound.
If Iced Earth had gotten their start a decade earlier, they may very well be mentioned with the all-time great power metal bands. I was fortunate to be able to see them perform an arena worthy show in a NYC club that held around 200-300 people, and it was epic!
There is something cathartic about listening to “Melancholy.” It allows you to be immersed in sadness, but then picks you up and helps your spirits soar. These poignant lyrics capture the mood of many at this moment in time…
“I see the sadness in their eyes, melancholy in their cries, devoid of all the passion, the human spirit cannot die, look at the pain around me, this is what I cry for.”
METALLICA – “Eye Of The Beholder” (1988)
Although I’ve been a headbanger for most of my life, there is only one instance where headbanging literally ended up a pretty painful case of whiplash. That moment occurred on Metallica’s And Just For All tour. Despite the pain, it is still my favorite live Metallica performance.
“Eye Of The Beholder” has always been one of my favorite songs on the album, largely due to the lyrical content. Ever since the PMRC days, freedom of speech has been an issue that I’m most passionate about. For reasons beyond my comprehension, freedom of speech these days seems to reflect the exact lyrics of this song, but not necessarily by way of government suppression, rather by peer-to-peer on social media.
Particularly prophetic to me at this moment in time are these lyrics from the song…
“Do you take what I take? Endurance is the word. Moving back instead of forward seems to me absurd.”
Whether you listen to “Eye Of The Beholder” for the lyrical relevance, the healing power of metal or just simply to bang your head to the point of whiplash, this song will get your blood rushing and fist pumping.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
SICK OF IT ALL – “Step Down” (1994)
I remember my first hardcore shows when I was a teenager at CBGB’s matinees in NYC. The first note and first scream sent the crowd erupting into a frenzy of flailing arms and legs. Stagediving, pile-ons and being accidentally kicked or punched were all a common occurrences, but despite the perceived violence of a hardcore show, we all picked each other up. Sick Of It All was one of the premier New York hardcore bands that I would venture out to see whenever they were playing. Their fans and the energy of their music always made seeing them perform live a great time. The video for this song made me miss those days of moshing, stagediving, and screaming into the mic whenever Lou Koller stuck it into the crowd. Long live New York hardcore!
WARZONE – “The Sound of Revolution” (1996)
With this farce of an election coming to an end, I couldn’t help but remember the days of my youth, listening to politically charged hardcore punk bands like Warzone. As one of the founding groups of the New York City hardcore movement, Warzone defined the street-tough, politically-aware attitudes of the youth growing up during that time. They sang songs of youth unity, anti-racism and anti-sexism, and encouraged a generation of kids to stand up for themselves and do the right thing. I can honestly say that this band (and this genre of music) made me the person I am today. What they lacked in musical proficiency, they made up for with the power and energy of their music, their fans in the crowd, the sing-alongs and the sense of togetherness whenever they took the stage. Watching the video for “The Sound Of Revolution,” made me realize that the problems of yesterday are just as real today.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
FIREWIND – “Head Up High” (2008)
Firewind originally was something of a side project started by guitar virtuoso Gus G while he was still with Dream Evil. When he left that band, and was able to devote full attention to this Greek power metal band, things really took off. This lively rocker from their amazing 2008 album, The Premonition, packs a lot of punch as it builds to a melodic chorus. There are some great riffs, intense drumming, and a simple, uplifting theme. It remains a concert mainstay.
HALFORD – “Thunder and Lightning” (2010)
Vocalist Rob Halford is best known as the frontman of Judas Priest, but his resume would be impressive even without reference to that iconic band. When he split with Priest during the ‘90s, he started three solo projects: Fight, 2wo, and Halford. Halford was by far the most successful, and this song comes from that project’s fourth (and so far, final) album, Halford IV: Made of Metal.