MUSIC DISCOVERY MONDAY – 2/26/18
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)
COUNTERFEIT – “You Can’t Rely”
If you listen to “You Can’t Rely” without knowing the backstory of U.K. rockers Counterfeit, you’d think that the underlying darkness beneath the melody comes from the typical struggle that most rock bands endure these days. But this band is not typical, at least not frontman Jamie Campbell Bower, who is an accomplished actor known for his roles in both the Twilight and Harry Potter movies.
While the actor’s status may open up some doors, it’s the music that speaks for itself. We’ve seen actors and actresses cross over into music in recent years, but it’s hard to think of any that have done so with an edge that feels so genuine.
With guitarists Sam Bower (Jamie’s brother) and Tristan Marmont, bassist Roland Johnson, and drummer Jimmy Craig, Bower is at the helm of a formidable lineup that stacks up with most bands in hard rock today. They have a melodic punk edge in the vein of Green Day, but sound nothing like them. They have a dark vibe that reminds you of Korn and Marilyn Manson, but they don’t sound like them either.
In recent years, a few bands come to mind that have masterfully blended darkness with uplifting melodies like Counterfeit…Avatar and Sunflower Dead. All three of these bands have a unique sound, but there is a commonality that makes you believe that if they all toured together, the shows would be something to behold.
Like the aforementioned bands, Counterfeit has a nuanced, layered sound that makes you appreciate what they have to offer with each listen. While writing this review, I must have hit replay four or five times, and enjoyed each listen equally. “You Can’t Rely” is so engaging that you actually forget that the singer is a famous actor as you immerse yourself in the song. This band is a force to be reckoned with.
LEGION – “Crash”
One of my favorite aspects of Music Discovery Monday is having the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon of talented artists early on. This is definitely the case with Legion, a band that was introduced to me by a member of Veer (another up-and-coming Maryland band that we featured recently). It’s even better when the band has a powerful song with meaningful lyrics. Legion has that with “Crash.”
You’re instantly drawn in by the thunderous, pulsating rhythm of the song. The soulful, emotive vocals of David Rodriguez gives “Crash” a definitive modern vibe. But there is something about Adam Iacarino’s guitar work that takes you back in time to the late ‘80s (think George Lynch meets Zakk Wylde).
Can a new band build a modern structure on a foundation with roots that are seemingly three decades old? It’s no easy feat, but Legion does just that in spectacular fashion on “Crash” by melding the modern-day flair of Sevendust with Dokken-esque guitar parts and the haunting harmonies of King’s X. If Legion is coming out of the gate this strong, there’s no telling what the future holds. The band’s debut album will be released in April. Jump on this bandwagon early!
KURT ARFT – HRD Music Scout
MARCO MENDOZA – “Viva La Rock”
Marco Mendoza has played with many of the bands/artists out there that we know and love. His musical discography reads like a who’s who of Hard Rock…Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Lynch Mob, Black Star Riders, Blue Murder, and many others.
Mendoza has been a busy man lately. While working on the new release from his current band, The Dead Daisies, he has also been working on his first solo album in over seven years, Viva La Rock (coming out March 2nd).
From what I’ve heard so far, it’s going to be a rock n’ roll album mixed with other musical elements ranging from his Spanish/Mexican heritage, to blues, R&B, and funk. Medoza pulls off the combination of these elements brilliantly!
The title track, “Viva La Rock”, is a pretty straight forward rock n’ roll song with some great guitar and bass work. Mendoza’s voice on the track reminds me of a harder rock version of Lenny Kravitz.
The song was produced by the mega talented Soren Andersen. I’m very much looking forward to hearing the rest of the record. I think it will be a great addition to anyone’s music collection.
In support of his latest release, Mendoza will be heading out on tour in Europe with his band – guitarist Michael “Micky” McCrystal (Tygers of Pan Tang), and drummer Kyle Hughes (Bumblefoot). Hard Rock Daddy readers in Europe should be sure to catch the show that promises to be a high energy, fun, rock n’ roll experience.
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – “The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away”
We all know Zakk Wylde as the hair swinging, muscle flexing, modern-day Viking, guitar blazing badass from his years with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society. His guitar riffs and solos speak for themselves, but I think where he really excels is with his more melodic, softer side “ballads” (for lack of a better term).
With Black Label Society’s latest release, Grimmest Hits, Wylde has created another masterpiece in “The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away.” His guitar work, voice, and songwriting on this tune really conveys the passion, heart, and soul in his music. Not to say that the heavier stuff doesn’t have the same passion, but you can really feel the melody and guitar playing on this one.
When I first heard the album title, Grimmest Hits, I thought to myself, “Oh no, why is he releasing a greatest hits album?” I thought that the title was a play on the words “greatest hits,” but boy, was I wrong!
As Wylde puts it…“We have no hits.” I disagree with that statement. While he may not have “hits” as defined by industry metrics, he has a number of great, memorable songs that will be around for future guitar players and generations of music fans to enjoy.
To me, Wylde is one of the most well-rounded guitar players out there. His outstanding catalog features metal, hard rock, southern rock, blues, and country. His acoustic playing is as impressive as the signature sound that he’s become famous for.
Wylde has worked hard to hone his craft, which elevates him above the most others, not just his guitar playing, but his songwriting as well. His love of music and varied influences – ranging from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, to guitar heroes like Randy Rhoads, Jimmy Page, and Tony Iommi, to Elton John – are all incorporated into his sound. There is so much to gain (for younger and older rock fans alike) by listening to Black Label Society.
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
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