MUSIC DISCOVERY MONDAY – 12/18/17
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)
ICED EARTH – “Black Flag”
There are a few constants to one of the most underrated (at least in the United States) heavy metal bands in the world. It’s not uncommon for European power metal bands to face hurdles gaining traction in the United States, but Iced Earth is an American band. Dating back to 1990, when Iced Earth released their debut album, the constants of the band – besides being woefully underrated in their homeland throughout their career – are Jon Schaffer (the only remaining founding member), and a sound that has always been larger than life.
Being the epitome of power metal, it’s easy to see why Iced Earth has played to massive crowds in Europe. There has always been an appreciation for their brand of music overseas that inexplicably don’t exist stateside. When I first heard the band in the mid-‘90s, I would have bet big money that they would become the next Iron Maiden. Maybe if they started a decade earlier, they would have been, but I digress…
I’ve only had the good fortune to see the band perform live once. It was in the ‘90s in a NYC club that held around 250 people. Having seen numerous club shows through the years, most of them tend to blend together. However, that Iced Earth show is one that is right up there with any arena or stadium show that I’ve ever attended. Imagine getting to see Iron Maiden playing balls-to-the-wall in a small club. The intensity and energy of a stadium show shaking the foundation of a club, with hair, fists and sweat flying throughout the evening. It was magical.
From early on in their career, Iced Earth has always had a mystical, historical, theatrical quality to their brand of power metal. And though the names have changed numerous times through the years (aside from Schaffer), the formula has remained steadfast. Nearly two decades after their first release, their 12th album (Incorruptible) has a vibe that takes me back to the music that turned me on to the band in the mid-‘90s. If you’re a fan of this style of metal, it is absolutely timeless.
It almost seems like a disservice to ask you to listen to one Iced Earth song, because this is an album band if ever there was one. However, every journey begins with a first step. If Iced Earth has managed to fly below your radar, check out “Black Flag,” and then do yourself a favor and dig deeper into the band’s catalog. Like many of their songs, the lyrics and theatricality of “Black Flag” combine to paint a mental picture that makes it feel like the soundtrack to a movie.
SHADOW HORSE – “Weather The Storm”
The last time that I was blown away (within 30 seconds) by a power trio with a unique sound was nearly three decades ago when I heard Out Of The Silent Planet by King’s X for the first time. It was like déjà vu when I heard “Weather The Storm” for the first time. Like the video for the song (which feels like a movie), there is a mythical vibe to Shadow Horse that adds a layer of intrigue that you simply don’t find in many new bands.
“Weather The Storm” is only around four minutes long, but it has the epic feel of Metallica’s “Fade To Black” and the progressive sensibilities of classic Kansas. Lane Dudley’s vocals, which are a perfect blend of haunting beauty and power, bring the lyrics to life in a vivid way. Equally impressive are his crunching riffs and soulful leads. The rhythm section of Pete Bartels (bass) and Tyler Logan (drums) provide such a heavy foundation, that you have to remind yourself that this is actually a power trio.
In my opinion, King’s X is a band that never got their just due because they marched to the beat of their own drum and couldn’t be easily pigeon-holed. That, and their thought-provoking lyrics may have been above the heads of the masses. Here’s hoping that Shadow Horse can overcome some of the challenges that befell King’s X. The world needs more bands like this!
KEVIN GRAYSON – HRD Music Scout
SAXON – “Thunderbolt”
Their name says it all for me, but for those who are young, new to metal, or may have been hiding under a rock, I will elaborate. Saxon is an English heavy metal band that formed in 1977. They were considered one of the leaders in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and are one of Britain’s biggest metal acts (selling more than 13 million records worldwide). Saxon has influenced a large number of the top metal acts in the US including “the big four”: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. Biff Byford’s vocals seem to just get better with time, and the rest of the band keeps coming up fresh material that is just amazing to hear.
HE IS LEGEND – “Sand”
He Is Legend is a rock band from Wilmington, North Carolina that formed in 2009. The band has released five albums to date (with the last four charting on the top 200 in the US). The band has perfected their own flavor of rock that covers several genres including hard rock, alt rock, stoner rock, and sludge metal. This is a talented group of musician’s that live by the idea that belief can be a powerful thing (even when shared with a small group).
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