Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.
This week’s Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with James Durbin (singer of Quiet Riot) discussing the meaning and inspiration behind “Til Death” with his project Maps To The Hollywood Scars.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher/Editor, Hard Rock Daddy)
MAPS TO THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS – “Till Death”
I was initially intrigued by Maps To The Hollywood Scars because of the theatrical sounding band name. As I dug deeper, I discovered that this project features the vocals of James Durbin.
Hard rock, metal and American Idol are not often associated with each other, but Durbin was a heavy as they came on a show that captured the attention of the American public for 15 years. He brought a powerful, theatrical quality to a show that featured singers who (often times) lacked stage presence. Sometimes, the stage can be too big for the performer, but in the case of Durbin, he looked like a rock star from right away.
The plan to feature Map To The Hollywood Scars’ “Till Death” was in place before Durbin was surprisingly announced as the new singer of Quiet Riot. It’s not a surprise that the band chose Durbin, but the announcement seemed to come out of nowhere. Anyone familiar with Maps To The Hollywood Scars may not have been as surprised, given that the project is a collaboration between Durbin and Quiet Riot guitarist, Alex Grossi.
“Till Death” is from the band’s debut EP, Maps To The Hollywood Scars – Volume 1. The song has a solemn intro, which makes sense given that it is about the loss of someone close. Like all great power ballads, “Till Death” climbs to an uplifting crescendo as the song progresses. You have to give Durbin a great deal of credit for being able to bring you back in time to the heyday of power ballads, especially since he wasn’t even born until 1989.
Taking inspiration from ‘80s hard rock, Durbin and Grossi have created a memorable song in “Till Death” that makes you long for days gone by. In my case, this is especially true. The timing of this feature is serendipitous, but not for the reason that you may think. While it does come on the heels of Durbin joining Quiet Riot, for personal reasons, I couldn’t think of a better song to feature today, as I am reminded of the loss of my father and wondering what might have been if he was here to celebrate a milestone birthday with us, rather than celebrating yet another one in heaven.
The poignant message of “Till Death” is delivered in an emotionally stirring way by Durbin. It’s bittersweet, for sure. It reminds the listener of the loss, while offering hope that you will one day be reunited with the person who is gone from your life.
In a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive, James Durbin shared the meaning and inspiration behind “Till Death”…
“Alex (Grossi) had given me the song as an instrumental. As I was writing the lyrics, I was wondering to myself what the vibe was, and the meaning, and I couldn’t figure it out.
‘Till Death’ was one of the last songs sitting there, and I was thinking about what to write. Around that time, a close family friend had passed away. It was the first friend that I ever knew that suddenly died. She got into an awful car accident, and it was real shocking. I’ve lost my dad, and grandparents and everything, but never anyone around my age.
I was just kind of forcing myself to write the song. Sometimes it helps me to give myself a deadline. I took a bath and submerged my whole body under the water. I wanted to get rid of all of my senses and be in a senseless state. I remember sitting back up with this idea in my head that if death takes away from you, what happens when you die? Are you (in a sense) brought back to life with what you love?
I believe in heaven. I believe in God. I have faith, so it comes from that place. I left the tub with the idea of ‘till death brings us to life.’ It’s also a promise that I will love you till death brings us to life. It’s a promise that I will never forget you or the memories that we shared.
Dizzy Reed from Guns N’ Roses provided some keyboards, strings and arrangements, so it’s a pretty special song. It’s got a GNR vibe, and the harmonies in the verses are very Scorpion-esque.”
RIVAL SONS – “Fade Out”
While listening to Eddie Trunk’s show recently, I heard “Fade Out” for the first time, and was instantly drawn to the haunting vibe of the song. You don’t usually hear epic songs from modern hard rock bands (except for prog). Back in the ‘70s (where you’d swear that Rival Sons came from if you didn’t know any better), songs like this would be close to 10 minutes long. Think of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” or Deep Purple’s “Child In Time.” Somehow, Rival Sons have managed to capture the same type of mystique with a song that is just under five minutes long. To say that “Fade Out” is timeless epic rock is an understatement. You have to listen to this one more than once to peel back the layers of nuance to fully appreciate it.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
POWER TRIP – “Firing Squad”
This crossover band from Texas is back with their second full-length release, Nightmare Logic. Power Trip is a good mixture of death metal, hardcore punk and thrash. Think of Cro-Mags, mixed with Death with a touch of Slayer thrown in. They have a great sound, killer grinding riffs, and the speed and attitude to match. Overall, a great sophomore release by some Texans who knows how to write quality metal.
GOJIRA – “The Cell”
Gojira has had quite the year with their release of 2016’s Magma. I, for one, have not stopped listening to the album since its release. These French Environmental metallers were nominated for best album this year at the Grammys. In a way, I am glad they didn’t win since the Grammys really know nothing about metal. “The Cell” comes off their latest album. It is a dizzying testament to the musical genius that is Gojira. The percussive guitars, the polyrhythmic drumming, the angst-filled vocals and lyrics of despair and pessimism for today’s society all melt together into a great headbanging tune.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
LUNAR SHADOW – “They That Walk The Night”
German newcomers Lunar Shadow just released their debut album, Far From Light. Offering up some heavy harmonies in the classic style, they compare favorably to giants like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (who have no doubt influenced them in no small part). The songs are energetic, often deep, and always memorable.
VANGOUGH – “Morphine”
Dark and brooding progressive metal is composed and delivered expertly by this Oklahoma band, founded ten years ago by vocalist and guitarist Clay Winthrow. They will be releasing their fourth album, Warpaint, later this week.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com