Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 11/24/16 – The Year: 1996
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 – The Year: 1996.
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)
SPACEHOG – “In The Meantime” (1996)
Two decades ago (in 1996), as a result of the grunge movement, rock music was still in something of a transitional period. Although the pickings were slim for fans of melodic rock, a few beacons of light shined through the darkness. Perhaps the most interesting one was Spacehog, a band comprised of all British members that formed in NYC in 1994.
What separated Spacehog from the rest of a rather mundane rock scene was the similarity to another British rocker who made NYC his home – David Bowie. Like Bowie, Spacehog frontman Royston Langdon was flamboyant and charismatic. Bowie had an alter ego (Ziggy Stardust) as did the members of the band. Langdon’s alter ego was Ray Sprinkles.
Unlike Bowie, Spacehog never really took off. They only had one hit song, but it was a great one. “In The Meantime” got a lot of radio play 20 years ago, but what brought them to mind when looking back to 1996 was the incredible live show that I got to experience at Irving Plaza in NYC. At a time when “rock stars” looked like everyone else in the audience, Spacehog reminded us all of the value of a larger-than-life persona.
GOLDFINGER – “Here In Your Bedroom” (1996)
Another band that delivered an incredible live performance at Irving Plaza two decades ago was punk/ska rockers, Goldfinger. As I mentioned above, 1996 was kind of a barren year for mainstream rock, but Goldfinger stood out because of their incredible energy. At a time when much of what rock had to offer was either bland or depressing, Goldfinger infused a shot of adrenaline into the genre.
Like Spacehog, Goldfinger only had one really well-known song. Although their whole eponymous debut album was rock solid, the song that captured everyone’s attention was “Here In Your Bedroom.” Fans of Green Day will definitely dig this track (and the rest of the album for that matter). Although the band put out several albums, their commercial peak happened with their debut in 1996. Having seen them live, I have more of an appreciation for how good Goldfinger actually was (especially in comparison to the rest of the rock scene at that time).
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
SEPULTURA – “Roots” (1996)
Sepultura was one of the biggest bands in the thrash/death metal genre in the ‘90s. When Roots Bloody Roots came out in 1996 (as an homage to the band’s Brazilian culture), it made a big impact on the metal community, primarily because no other band had written about pride in their culture like Sepultura had. The music was tribal (yet heavy), and with Max Cavalera’s screaming growls, it pushed the band a little more into the mainstream.
TYPE-O-NEGATIVE – “Love You To Death“ (1996)
Another great album released in 1996 was Type-O-Negative’s October Rust. This goth metal band’s first single from the album – “Love You To Death” – is the eptiome of the Type-O-Negative sound of despair and romanticism. Peter Steele’s baritone voice and the heavy, slowed down musical accompaniment made this one of the band’s best songs. Three years prior to October Rust, Type-O’s album Bloody Kisses put the band in the forefront of the goth metal genre. The band has ceased to exist since Steele’s untimely death. October Rust remains one of my favorite albums of the ‘90s to this day.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
DEEP PURPLE – “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” (1996)
In 1993, iconic guitarist Ritchie Blackmore walked off a Helsinki stage, mid-concert, never to play again with Deep Purple. This was the end of an era, but made way for another great guitar talent: Steve Morse (of Dixie Dregs fame). Morse shines in this personal favorite from the band’s first album without Blackmore, and he succeeds in filling some very big shoes.
STRATOVARIUS – “Eternity” (1996)
Finnish power metal mainstays Stratovarius put out a winning album in 1996, switching things up a bit and spanning a broader range of styles. The first two songs from Stratovarius’ Episode album open with the band’s characteristic speed and power, before slowing down just a bit for this darker, more compelling piece.