MUSIC DISCOVERY MONDAY – 5/22/17
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.
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)
The music world was dealt a devastating blow this week with the passing of Chris Cornell. Unless there are unreleased tracks by Cornell (and I hope that there are), this will be his final appearance on Music Discovery Monday. Saying goodbye has been tremendously difficult for so many (including me). CLICK HERE to read the Hard Rock Daddy tribute to Chris Cornell.
CHRIS CORNELL – “The Promise”
Although his untimely passing came in May, Chris Cornell’s recording career most closely resembles the month of March…“in like a lion, out like a lamb.” The lion being the edgier beginning of his career with Soundgarden, the lamb being his recent acoustical work.
Who could have ever predicted that the soaring vocalist who delivered in ways that few ever have with songs like “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage,” (to name a few) would leave us with a final recording that is poignantly bittersweet, soft and beautiful?
Released in March, “The Promise” was written for the ending credits of a film with the same name. The film tackles the subject of Armenian genocide. Not being Armenian, you might be wondering why Cornell was asked to provide such a vital song to the film. He did too. Although the subject matter resonated with him because of his wife’s Greek ancestry (her family line was affected by the genocide), Cornell thought that Serj Tankian (System Of A Down) would have been the more likely choice. Not only was Tankian working on the movie, but he has been outspoken about the genocide in the past. Ultimately, Cornell agreed to write the song when it was made clear that he was neither too close nor too far away from the situation.
Because Cornell always seemed to make everything feel so effortless, it was surprising to learn that he struggled with the song initially. In fact, the first draft was scrapped entirely. The second time around, he just let the song come to him without trying to force what he thought it should be.
The talk since his passing has been mostly about what his music meant to countless people and the manner of his demise. Lost in all of the tributes and discussions is Cornell’s philanthropic side. “The Promise” was released as a charity single to help benefit the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization. It was founded by Albert Einstein (a different kind of genius than Cornell).
Orchestrated by Paul Buckmaster (known for his collaborations with Elton John and the Rolling Stones), the final recording of “The Promise” was recorded with a 24-piece orchestra. Cornell explained in a Rolling Stone interview that the song was meant to fit the film’s theme…
“I wasn’t trying to record a song that sounded like it was 1915, but I didn’t want there to be obvious modern references because, at the time, there was no such thing as the Beatles or Metallica or everything that is my reference for musical ideas. So, the orchestra works just because that did exist and it can be a little bit out of time, so I was swimming in those waters of ambiguity.”
Swimming in the waters of ambiguity is something that this brilliant poet did with regularity throughout the course of his storied career. As incredible as his voice was, his ability to make you see a mental picture with your mind’s eye when you listen to his lyrics is what made him special in a way that words cannot describe.
It seems fitting that “The Promise” plays under the closing credits of a movie, as it is the final chapter in a life that was filled with highs and lows. Sadly, there was no Hollywood ending this time around…
CHRIS CORNELL – “Our Time In The Universe”
If “The Promise” is Chris Cornell’s swan song, “Our Time In the Universe” is the swan song of his solo career. This is the closing track on Cornell’s most recent solo album Higher Truth. Sadly, this album is his fourth and final solo release. Although his solo albums have been well-received, they have still flown under the radar for many.
Fans of Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple Of The Dog will find something distinctly different in Cornell’s solo work. The beauty of these solo albums is that you don’t have to be a fan of any of the aforementioned bands to enjoy these. In fact, you don’t even have to be a fan of rock music.
“Our Time In The Universe” is a nice introduction to Cornell’s solo work. It’s more soulful than rocking, and more musically diverse as well. After a brief mood-setting intro, the music preceding the vocals has a Bollywood feel. Hints of this sound are woven into other parts of the song, but more as an nuanced accent than anything else. What really grabs your attention is the smooth-as-silk vocals of Cornell.
For all of the darkness of his early work that was born out of his battle with depression, this uplifting song gives the impression that he had not only won the battle with his demons, but came through it with flying colors. There is an heir of genuine contentment in “Our Time In The Universe.”
One lyric in particular stands out in the song…
“Cause it’s our time in the universe…and I don’t mind, if we’re blessed or cursed.”
From an outside point of view, I always thought of Cornell as being blessed. Blessed with the gift of immeasurable talent. Blessed with the acceptance of fame that eluded so many that came from the grunge movement. Blessed with a loving wife and three children. Blessed with the financial means to experience everything that life has to offer. In reality, the curse of depression far outweighed all of Cornell’s blessings. And though he left a vast catalog behind, we’re all left to wonder…“what if he was able to find a way to let the light drown out the darkness?”
Ultimately, we all have “Our Time In The Universe.” I know that I speak for many when I say that I just wish that more of Cornell’s time was spent blessing us with his gift. Listening to his music since his passing has brought many moments of sadness. However, listening to this song over and over again has brought a sense of joy and true appreciation for everything that Chris Cornell gave to the world.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
IRON REAGAN – “A Dying World”
I can’t stop listening to the new Iron Reagan album, Crossover Ministry. Being a fan of the whole crossover genre since back in the ‘80s, it’s refreshing to hear a band like this effortlessly blend the sounds and attitudes of hardcore punk with modern thrash metal. Founded by members of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour, the band breezes their way with aggression and gang vocals through each song on this album in the same vein as the old school hardcore albums. The album pays homage to their influences of bands such as D.R.I.
POWERFLO – “Resistance”
Members of Biohazard, Fear Factory, Cypress Hill, Downset, and Worst have come together to form a new band, Powerflo. It’s heavy and political (with definite influences of music from each of these band members). The current single, “Resistance,” has a unique sound unlike anything current. This blend of hip-hop/metal/hardcore has been around since the ‘80s when members of Cypress Hill guest rapped on Biohazard’s albums. This new collaboration sounds similar to that, but with a modern heaviness to it. I am very interested in hearing the rest of the album when it’s released.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
MASTERCASTLE – “Drink Of Me”
From 2003 until 2008, Pier Gonella played guitar for Italian power metal band Labyrinth. But when that band took a break in 2008, he began writing music with vocalist Georgia Gueglio. The two were a natural fit, and after adding some other members, they formed Mastercastle. This melodic rocker comes from their recently released album Wine of Heaven.
WOLFPAKK – “Falling”
Mark Sweeney (ex-Crystal Ball) and Michael Voss (Mad Max, Michael Schenker) got together in 2011 with the idea to write great songs for an album and then recruit different guest musicians to perform on each one. Since then, they have released a new album every two years with some of the biggest names in melodic metal. Right on schedule for 2017 is their fourth collaboration, Wolves Reign. This opening track features Claus Lessman (ex-Bonfire) on vocals, Timo Somers (Delain, Vengeance) on guitar, and Rudy Sarzo (Dio, Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, etc.) on bass.
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