Breaking The Law

Judas Priest is probably the quintessential heavy metal band in my mind. They came around during a time when I was caught up in Progressive Rock and Punk, and not too keen on Heavy Metal, though there were plenty of people around me that were into Metal at the time. They had songs and critical success before 1980, but in 1980 they went for financial success, and achieved it. The album British Steel, released in that year, was 34 on the Billboard top 200, and “Breaking The Law” was listed by VH1 as being the number 40 of the best Heavy Metal songs, and the 12th greatest hard rock song of all time.

This is “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest from their 1980 album British Steel. I seem to remember an acquaintance saying something about this being the perfect song to listen to while exceeding the (incredibly fair) 55 MPH speed limit Jimmy Carter imposed on everyone. (When YouTube trips, and says the video is “Unavailable” use the link provided.)

Viral

A COVID-19 Musical Interlude? Sort of. Given that we’ve all been locked up or locked down or whatever it is, I guess it is not surprising that artists pull inspiration from these circumstances. Amaranthe has done exactly that.

As for an explanation of Amaranthe, I will steal shamelessly from myself

Amaranthe is a bit hard to categorize. Some Death Metal. A touch of Beauty and the Beast (the Gothic Metal sub-genre, not the musical). Some call them Metalcore (a mix of Metal and Hardcore Punk), some call them Melodeath (Melodic Death Metal.) A lot of their stuff has a distinctive pop flavor, I think that comes from the nature of Elize Ryd’s voice. They have 3 vocalists, to cover all those bases.

Amaranthe is Nils Molin doing clear vocals, Elize Ryd singing soprano and Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson doing “harsh” vocals. Morten Løwe Sørensen on drums, Johan Andreassen on bass, and Olof Mörck playing guitars and keyboards round out the group.

This song is “Viral” by Amaranthe from their upcoming album (October 2nd) Manifest.

And I do really like being tied into the new music, especially music that I love.

So is this appropriate for the Holiday weekend? Probably not, but then the holiday weekend hasn’t been the best.

Comatose

Ayreon is a Progressive Metal project by Arjen Anthony Lucassen. I ran across them because Anneke van Giersbergen provided some vocals for the work. Progressive Metal isn’t quite Progressive Rock from the 80s, but it isn’t far off, either. You might like it.

This is “Comatose” by Ayreon from their 2018 live album Ayreon Universe. It features vocals by Jonas Renkse and Anneke van Giersbergen. The song was originally on their 2008 album 01011001. (That’s the binary representation of an ASCII letter “Y” if your interested.)

Living In A Ghost Town

New music from The Rolling Stones? I guess so. They were in the studio prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, and thought this was appropriate given the state of our cities.

Life was so beautiful,
Then we all got locked down.

This song is “Living In A Ghost Town” by the Rolling Stones. It was released as a single in April of 2020. The first material since 2012 released by The Stones.

Intermission

Pagan’s Mind is a Hard Rock band out of Norway. (English Lyrics!) I stumbled across this band because Floor Jansen, currently of Nightwish, did a project with guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofstad of Pagan’s Mind. Their collaboration is Northward. I don’t know if that band will continue, of if the album they produced in 2018 will be the only one.

This song is “Intermission” by Pagan’s Mind from their 2011 album Heavenly Ecstasy. Here’s a link to lyrics, because it is still Hard Rock/Heavy Metal.

I have to listen to more of their work to see if I really like them or not. The guitar work is top notch, but I think the compositions need a bit of polishing. Still, it mostly works.

Descending

We haven’t had any Tool for a while. I have to say that their new album (released last year) is one of my favorites. Their music is complicated in a way that most Rock and Roll, just isn’t. From their rejection of 4/4 time, to the subject matter of their songs. This isn’t your typical Rock and Roll.

You can find the lyrics at this link.

This song is “Descending” by Tool from their 2019 album Fear Inoculum.

Faccions

Soen is a supergroup of musicians from various metal bands. They are solidly Progressive Metal and have been compared to Tool. I really like some of their music. But then Progressive and Metal… What’s not to love? Some of their music doesn’t strike me as metal, being a bit low-key. We might get to some of that eventually.

And while they are singing in English, here’s a link to the lyrics, just in case…

This is “Fraccions” by Soen from the 2012 album Cognitive. The last minute or so, is an a cappella harmony coda, or outro, which is quite nice.

“Fraccions” translates to Fractions in English. It is in Catalan, a co-official language of three autonomous communities in eastern Spain, most notably Catalonia.

While Love Died

Shortly after Floor Jansen joined Nightwish, that band decided to take a break. Well, after an album and a tour they took a break. That gave her a chance to revisit a project she was forced to put on the shelf a few years back. They both have other commitments, and Nightwish is huge. Especially since they fired their previous soprano for daring to have a solo career. Well that and they were in danger of becoming Tarja and Nightwish, and they were not going to stand for that…

This is “While Love Died” by Northward. The hard rock project by soprano Floor Jansen (Nightwish) and guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad (Pagan’s Mind) from their 2018 album Northward. And while she is singing in English, it is hard rock/metal, so here’s a link to the lyrics.

Winternight

Visions of Atlantis is a group I only stumbled upon recently. Austrian. Symphonic Metal. (Don’t worry, they sing in English) Some would say that they have been around since 1995, though they changed the name of the band in 2000, but they have had a large number of personnel changes years. Well, I won’t fight about it.

The biggest personnel change came when Nicole Bogner left the band in 2005. She later passed away after a long battle with a severe disease. (Privacy is a thing in Europe.) Several places list this version of the song as being dedicated to Bogner, and there is a note on the subject in the video itself. Still, Clémentine Delauney, the new soprano, has a beautiful voice.

There are some screaming guitars, though maybe not enough for Monday, but since I make the rules… And it is a beautiful song.

This song is “Winternight” by Visions of Atlantis from their 2016 EP Old Routes – New Waters. It was originally on the 2004 album Castaway.

Do or Die

There aren’t too many women doing the Death Metal, Death Growl. Angel Gossow is one of the best. I can’t say she beat others to that, but she was lead singer for Arch Enemy until 2014. Since then she has managed a couple of groups including Arch Enemy and Amaranthe. This is the first musical outing since she left Arch Enemy.

Amaranthe is usually Nils Molin doing clear vocals, Elize Ryd singing soprano and Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson doing “harsh” vocals, though I don’t think he sings on this song. Morten Løwe Sørensen on drums and Johan Andreassen on bass and Olof Mörck playing guitars and keyboards round out the group.

This is “Do or Die” by the group Amaranthe featuring vocals by Angela Gossow. It from the 2020 album Manifest, which is due to be released in October. You can find the lyrics at this link, because Death Growl.

The Rules

Another band I found via the generated playlists from either Spotify or Pandora… The band is Elysion, which is listed in a couple of places as Gothic Metal, but this song is neither dark, and while the lyrics are a little brooding, not enough for me to call them Goth.

Their F*c*book page lists them as Alternative Metal. Something in the music sounds like good old-fashion Rock and Roll to me. Anyway, as I write this, I have not listened to a lot of their music, but there are a number of songs I do like. Lyrics can be found at this link

This is “The Rules” by Elysion, from their 2009 album Silent Scr3am. (And no, that is no a typo. It is leet, sort of.)

They’re a Greek Band, with a name not quite stolen from Greek Mythology; it is just an unusual spelling in English. But don’t worry, they sing in English, because they know how much you hate foreign languages. The band consists of Christianna – Vocals, Johnny Zero – Guitars, FxF – Bass, Laitsman – Drums, Nid – Guitars. And no, I have no clue about the names…

Vengeance Is Mine

I think Alice Cooper’s long-standing career points out that the whole drugs/alcohol scene in Rock & Roll doesn’t work. He’s been sober since the 1980s. It seems to work for him. (It also worked for Ted Nugent, but that’s another story.)

In 1986, Megadeth opened for Cooper on their US Constrictor tour. After noticing the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in the band, Cooper personally approached the band members to try to help them control their abuse, and he has stayed close to front man Dave Mustaine, who considers Cooper to be his “godfather”.[146] Since overcoming his own addiction to alcohol in the mid-1980s, Cooper has continued to help and counsel other rock musicians with addiction problems. “I’ve made myself very available to friends of mine – they’re people who would call me late at night and say, ‘Between you and me, I’ve got a problem.'” In recognition of the work he has done in helping other addicts in the recovery process, Cooper received in 2008 the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the fourth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in Los Angeles.

Not the image a born-again Christian usually portrays, that’s what Cooper is….

This is “Vengeance Is Mine” featuring guitarist Slash (Saul Hudson) of Guns N’ Roses. The song is by Alice Cooper from the 2008 album Along Came a Spider.

Schism

One of the things I love about the Progressive Metal band Tool, is that they don’t feel constrained to write songs in 4/4 time. For you non-musicians, that is the meter you find in much more than 90 percent of rock music. Some bands I wonder if they know anything else. “Schism” is definitely not in 4/4 time.

The song begins with two bars of 5/4, followed by one bar of 4/4, followed by bars of alternating 5/8 and 7/8, until the first interlude, which consists of alternating bars of 6/8 and 7/8.

The following verse exhibits a similar pattern to the first, alternating bars of 5/8 and 7/8. The next section is bars of 6/4 followed by one bar of 11/8. This takes the song back into alternating 5/8 and 7/8. Another 6/8 and 7/8 section follows, and after this the song goes into repeating 7/8 bars.

But that’s not the end of it.

The other thing to love about Tool, is the way the lyrics are crafted. (See this link.) This song is about how a communication breakdown will doom any relationship.

This song is “Schism” by Tool from their 2001 album Lateralus.

Warrior Soul

Strange to think that Warlock put out their first album in 1984. In an era where radio stations could barely understand that a woman could be part of a Heavy Metal band, let alone lead singer. Warlock faded away, and Doro (Dorothee) Pesch changed the name of the band to Doro. (Though the original members of Warlock did do a reunion at one point.)

This song is “Warrior Soul” by Doro from the 2006 album Warrior Soul.

I was reminded of this song by Social Media, a while back. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Not too hard-pounding, but plenty of screaming guitar for a Monday afternoon.

Eye of Ra

What do you get if you cross Rick Wakeman’s progressive rock with Heavy Metal? Well, you might just get Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One. I tripped over them because Anneke van Giersbergen did some work with Lucassen on a different project. Floor Jansen, of Nightwish and After Forever, is (was?) a member.

This song is “Eye of Ra” by Star One from their 2002 debut album Space Metal.

Valley of Diamonds – Mexico City

Anneke van GiersbergenMore Heavy Metal that has no touch of the Death Metal Death Growl? Sure.

As I mentioned in January, I really like Anneke van Giersbergen’s voice. While I don’t always like her music, some of it is outstanding.

This song is “Valley of Diamonds – Mexico City” by VUUR from their 2017 album In This Moment We Are Free – Cities.

Sober

“Why can’t we not be sober?”

Tool doesn’t play well with the tiny minds in the American Music industry. They’ve been censored any number of times, and they insist on privacy. For that relationship alone I could love them. But I do like a lot of their music, which is usually categorized as Alternative Metal.

Tool released an album at the end of August, 2019, Fear Inoculum. As a result of that release, I’ve been revisiting songs, which I liked, but haven’t listened to in a while.

This song is “Sober” by Tool from their 1993 album Undertow. It was the first single released from that album and reached number 13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. You can find the lyrics at this link. It deals with the issue of how an addiction can destroy the people around the addict.

Lately YT has been playing nicely with my browser’s privacy settings, but if that changes, use the link provided.

Leaves

Anneke van GiersbergenAnneke van Giersbergen is another woman from The Netherlands singing Symphonic Metal. For many years she was lead singer for the The Gathering, but they parted company about 10 years ago, or more. She has a solo career and she recently founded a new band (VUUR) which we have sampled, and will get back to in the future.

And although she is singing in English, here’s a link to the lyrics. It is Metal, after all.

This is “Leaves” by The Gathering, from their 1995 album Mandylion. It was their first album to feature Anneke van Giersbergen as lead vocalist.

Endlessly

More Amaranthe? Why not. Here’s a ballad.

Elize Ryd was a subject of post over at The Daley Gator after I posted a song by Amaranthe for Metal for Monday a while back. So here is more Amaranthe, with a song that is mostly the soaring voice of Elize Ryd. (Enough guitars and drums for Heavy Metal, even if there are violins as well.)

This song is “Endlessly” by Amaranthe from their 2016 album Maximalism. And while this is a ballad, it is off a Heavy Metal album, by one of my favorite Heavy Metal groups. Deal with it. It is the kind of song that makes the head of those American music suits, with their tiny minds, explode. (You mean all metal isn’t thrash?)

OK my original post and the Daley Gator post was a LONG while back. This post was written back then, and kept getting pushed. I’m not exactly sure why that was now…