Monthly Archives: July 2014

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 8/9/14

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 8/9/14.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan. ***Click on the hyperlinked titles to read full album reviews***

THIS WEEK’S TOP 15:

    1. CROWN THE EMPIRE – The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways
    2. RISE AGAINST  –  The Black Market
    3. OVERKILL – White Devil Armory
    4. LINKIN PARK -The Hunting Party
    5. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Vans Warped Tour ’14: 2014 Tour Compilation
    6. JUDAS PRIEST – Redeemer Of Souls
    7. FOUR YEAR STRONG – Go Down In History (EP)
    8. SEETHER – Isolate And Medicate
    9. FOZZY – Do You Want To Start A War
    10. SUICIDE SILENCE – You Can’t Stop Me
    11. WITHIN THE RUINS – Phenomena
    12. ZZ TOP – The Baddest
    13. (HED)PE – Evolution
    14. WAR OF AGES – Supreme Chaos
    15. FALLUJAH– The Flesh Prevails

RELATED ARTICLES:

Judas Priest – “Redeemer Of Souls”: Hard Rock Daddy Album Review

Seether – “Words As Weapons”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Fozzy – “Lights Go Out”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2013

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums Archives

We Are Harlot – “Denial”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

We Are Harlot Denial

Did you ever wonder what would have happened if the hard rock and heavy metal train wasn’t derailed by Nirvana in the early 90s?  Aside from Guns ‘N Roses, most hard rock bands of that era didn’t have the edgier sound that the world apparently craved.  One can only speculate as to what would have happened if a band like We Are Harlot burst onto the scene with “Denial” around the time that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was almost single-handedly taking down an entire genre.

We Are Harlot began in 2011, but they only recently released “Denial,” the first single off of their upcoming debut album. Although the band is new, it features seasoned hard rock veterans who have been working on other projects:  Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria – vocalist), Jeff George (Sebastian Bach – guitarist), Brian Weaver (Silvertide – bassist), and Bruno Agra (drummer).

Most new artists start out playing small venues, but We Are Harlot first took the stage together at Rock On The Range and Rocklahoma (two of the biggest hard rock music festivals in the United States).  Only a band with a significant buzz around it could pull off such an unlikely debut.

One listen to “Denial,” and it is easy to see why there is so much excitement surrounding the band’s upcoming release.

Worsnop shows his versatility on “Denial” with vocals that are not as rage-filled as what we have come to expect from the Asking Alexandria frontman.  However, the cool, soulful, raspy quality that makes him stand out in hard rock today is in full effect.  Though the vocals are incredibly melodic throughout the song, Worsnop does throw in a modern-day growl for good measure.

“Denial” is pure, energetic hard rock at its best.  Agra and Weaver fuel a blood-pumping, driving rhythm (a la classic Aerosmith, GNR and Buckcherry), as George shows that he can shred with the best of them.

The vocal harmonies featured in the infectious chorus harken back to the glory days of 80s hard rock and heavy metal, and because of Worsnop’s modern touches, “Denial” is an instant hard rock classic with a timeless quality.

If “Denial” is an appetizer of what’s to come, the main course promises to be spectacular!

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 7-26-14

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Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 7-26-14.

The 7-26-14 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived playlists dating back to 2013.  Links to reviews of songs from the countdown are featured at the bottom of the page.

#15 –  “Darker Side Of The Moon” – OTHERWISE

#14 –  “Skeletons” – HEARTIST

#13 –  “Reincarnate” – MOTIONLESS IN WHITE

#12 –  “Dog On A Leash” – ADELITA’S WAY

#11 –  “Respect” – DEVOUR THE DAY

#10 –  “Pittsburgh” – THE AMITY AFFLICTION

# 9 –   “1000hp” – GODSMACK

# 8 –   “Would You Still Be There” – OF MICE & MEN

# 7 –   “Drown” – THEORY OF A DEADMAN

# 6 –   “The Last One Alive” – DEMON HUNTER

# 5 –   “Room To Breathe” – YOU ME AT SIX

# 4 –   “Sangre Por Sangre (Blood For Blood)” – HELLYEAH

# 3 –   “Take The Bullets Away” –  WE AS HUMAN (Featuring Lacey Sturm)

# 2 –    “This Is The Time (Ballast)” – NOTHING MORE

# 1 –    “Words As Weapons” – SEETHER

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs: January 2014 – June 2014

Nothing More – “Nothing More”: Hard Rock Daddy Album Review

Seether – “Words As Weapons”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Archives

Flashback Friday: Spotlight on The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs

The hard rock music genre has been flourishing in recent years.  With so many great albums coming out each year, some inevitably slip through the cracks and don’t get their proper due at the time of their release.  This was definitely the case with The Winery Dogs, whose debut album was released one year ago this week.

Inspired by The Winery Dogs, Hard Rock Daddy will be taking advantage of Flashback Friday (on occasion) to take a “second bite of the apple” and review noteworthy recent albums.

The timing of this first Flashback Friday article comes on the same day that The Winery Dogs are wrapping up their first-ever “Dog Camp” – an immersive program for aspiring musicians of all ages and skill levels.  Campers were afforded the opportunity to attend instrument-specific clinics, learn songwriting mechanics and enjoy intimate performances from the group (those lucky dogs!).

Often times, “supergroups” come together as a side project for a limited amount of time.  Based on their debut album, we can only hope that The Winery Dogs do not fall into that category.  The chemistry that exists between these three virtuosos is something to behold.  One listen to their debut album and you’ll be left to ponder two questions…

“How is it possible for a new power trio to sound like they have been together for decades?” and “Why did it take them so long to find each other?”

The Winery Dogs march to the beat of a different drummer, and not just because of Mike Portnoy’s incomparable drumming, which together with Billy Sheehan’s signature bass playing, comprises one of the best rhythm sections in hard rock today.  In an unprecedented move, the band put out a box set entitled Dog Treats, less than a year after their debut album was released.

Portnoy and Sheehan were already household names in the hard rock genre for their previous work, so the biggest beneficiary of this supergroup is the band’s highly underrated, dual-threat vocalist/guitarist, Richie Kotzen, whose work on The Winery Dogs’ debut album is nothing short of brilliant.

Kotzen is able to showcase his blues-based guitar virtuosity on the album because of the incredible rhythm section behind him.  From riffs to nuanced guitar parts to shredding leads, Kotzen’s playing is, at times, reminiscent of another legendary guitar player named Ritchie (Blackmore).  And though he draws justifiable comparisons to Soundgarden frontman, Chris Cornell, other (less obvious) vocal influences help shape his style into something unique.

The Winery Dogs debut is a straight forward hard rock album that features a modern take on an old-school, blues rock sound.  Because Kotzen’s vocal similarity to Cornell, it’s easy to compare the album to Soundgarden, but a more in-depth listen reveals many layers and influences from each of the individual members.

Songs like “Not Hopeless” and “Time Machine” showcase the dynamics, intricacies and seamless time changes that Portnoy was famous for with Dream Theater.  The songs also feature the signature sound that Sheehan made famous with Mr. Big’s “Addicted To That Rush.”

There are tasteful moments on the album where the band members each show off their immense talent, but always within the confines of the songs which are generally very melodic, and always incredibly tight.

Kotzen’s vocals shine throughout the album as he showcases his vast range.  On “The Dying” and “Regret,” Kotzen transitions from a soulful, southern rock sound to falsetto accents without missing a beat.

If you are a fan of bluesy hard rock and masterful musicianship, The Winery Dogs debut album is a must-have for your collection.  If the album has somehow eluded you, don’t miss your opportunity to take a second bite of the apple on this Flashback Friday!

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 8/2/14

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 8/2/14.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan. ***Click on the hyperlinked titles to read full album reviews***

THIS WEEK’S TOP 15:

    1. RISE AGAINST – The Black Market
    2. SUICIDE SILENCE – You Can’t Stop Me
    3. JUDAS PRIEST Redeemer Of Souls
    4. LINKIN PARK -The Hunting Party
    5. VOLUMES – No Sleep
    6. SEETHER – Isolate And Medicate
    7. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Vans Warped Tour ’14: 2014 Tour Compilation
    8. PENNYWISE – Yesterdays
    9. MASTODON – Once More ‘Round The Sun
    10. CHELSEA GRIN – Ashes To Ashes
    11. AVENGED SEVENFOLD Hail To The King
    12. THE PRETTY RECKLESS – Going To Hell
    13. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 2
    14. I THE BREATHER – Life Reaper
    15. BETRAYING THE MARTYRS – Phantom

RELATED ARTICLES:

Judas Priest – “Redeemer Of Souls”: Hard Rock Daddy Album Review

Seether – “Words As Weapons”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Five Finger Death Punch – “House Of The Rising Sun”: Hard Rock Daddy Video Review

Five Finger Death Punch (Featuring Rob Halford) – “Lift Me Up”:  Hard Rock Daddy Review

Five Finger Death Punch – “Battle Born”:  Hard Rock Daddy Review

Avenged Sevenfold – “Hail To The King”:  Hard Rock Daddy Album Review

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2013

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums Archives

Nonpoint – “Breaking Skin”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Nonpoint The Return

It’s been nearly two years since Nonpoint released their self-titled album, which featured “That Day” and “Left For You,” two songs that were mainstays on the SiriusXM Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown.  Though they may seem like a newer band to the casual fan, Nonpoint will actually be releasing the seventh studio album of their 17-year career on September 30, 2014, entitled The Return.  Ahead of the release, the band has just released the first single – “Breaking Skin” – which is sure to be the next Nonpoint song to have a lengthy run on the countdown.

Even though they have existed in some form or another for the past 17 years, this incarnation of Nonpoint is still relatively new.  Featuring original members Elias Soriano (vocals) and Robb Rivera (drummer), the rest of the band has only come together in recent years.  And while the new album features the same lineup as the previous one, the band has changed lead guitarists ahead of the release (click here for details).

Although the band has had to endure lineup and label changes throughout their career, none of these setbacks have prevented them from writing great songs.  Nonpoint’s sound continues to evolve, but the one thing that remains constant is Soriano’s passionate delivery of meaningful lyrics.

“Breaking Skin” is another powerful rocker that addresses a serious topic.  According to Soriano, “the song is about addiction, whether it be food, drugs, sex, lying or anything that tends to turn into an itch.  You can’t stop scratching it so you break the skin…then, you’re bleeding.”

An epic guitar intro sets the tone of the song before Soriano chimes in with his distinct, impassioned vocals.  Unlike the band’s aforementioned hit songs, “Breaking Skin” is a more straight-ahead, melodic hard rock song, but it is just as intense in its own way.

Still featuring the heavy sound that Nonpoint has become known for, “Breaking Skin” blends an underlying groove into the driving rhythm.  The song is tastefully accented by interesting guitar parts and subtle vocals beneath the verses.

If “Breaking Skin” is a sign of things to come, The Return should pick up where Nonpoint’s self-titled album left off.  The countdown to September 30th begins…

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 1997:  The One That Got Away!

Hard Rock Music Time Machine - Mudvayne

While working for Billboard Magazine in 1997, I attended the now defunct, Philadelphia Music Conference.  The conference was geared towards the more indie side of the business, and for the most part, it was fairly lackluster.  Truth be told, it wasn’t really set up very well for performances, with bands playing in stark, fluorescent-lit conference rooms in a hotel.  When you factor in the lack of enthusiasm that is commonplace with music industry audiences, the chance of finding an impact performance was very slim.  However, one performance blew me away!

It was the middle of the day as I was walking past one of the conference rooms on the way back to my hotel room.  The walls were shaking from thunderous drums, distorted guitars and the heavy bottom of the bass.  If you didn’t know any better, you would think that the guttural growls over the music were coming from someone being tortured.  I couldn’t believe that so much sound was coming from four guys on a makeshift stage in a conference room.  This kind of intensity was very out of place at the conference, so it really stood out as extraordinary. 

I entered the half-filled room, which couldn’t have had more than 50 people or so in attendance. As soon as the band finished their set, I went up to them, introduced myself, and told them how much I liked their performance.  In what had to have been an otherwise disappointing conference for them, they were happy to meet someone from Billboard Magazine.

The band and I instantly clicked, and we ended up spending the night hanging out in Philly together, enjoying some of the more talented “dancers” in the area.  The night continued with a healthy amount of beer back at the hotel after the bars closed.  By the time that I left Philadelphia, I was in discussions with this incredible band to manage their career and help find them a record deal.

While the band and I had a great connection, they did not have the same feeling about the person that I was going to partner with to help manage them.  It wasn’t long before the negotiations broke down, as their attorney also didn’t have a good feeling about my partner.  In retrospect, their instincts were better than mine, as I watched him proceed to over-promise and under-deliver on a regular basis before we eventually stop communicating altogether.

Fast-forward to 2009.  The band that I discovered playing to a near-empty conference room in Philadelphia released their fifth studio album.  To date, they have sold over 6 million records worldwide.

Usually, “the one that got away” is a term used by regretful people who let love slip through their hands.  In my case, “the one that got away” was not a girl, but a metal band from Peoria, IL called…(scroll down for the answer)

 

 

 

 

MUDVAYNE

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 7-19-14

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Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 7-19-14.

The 7-19-14 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived playlists dating back to 2013.  Links to reviews of songs from the countdown are featured at the bottom of the page.

#15 –  “Drown” – THEORY OF A DEADMAN

#14 –  “World On Fire” – SLASH (Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators)

#13 –  “Skeletons” – HEARTIST

#12 –  “Carnivore” – STARSET

#11 –  “1000hp” – GODSMACK

#10 –  “Would You Still Be There” – OF MICE & MEN

# 9 –   “Bloody Angel” – AVATAR

# 8 –   “Sangre Por Sangre (Blood For Blood)” – HELLYEAH

# 7 –   “The Last One Alive” – DEMON HUNTER

# 6 –   “Pittsburgh” – THE AMITY AFFLICTION

# 5 –   “Take The Bullets Away” – WE AS HUMAN (Featuring Lacey Sturm)

# 4 –   “Painkiller” – THREE DAYS GRACE

# 3 –   “Room To Breathe” –  YOU ME AT SIX

# 2 –    “Words As Weapons” – SEETHER

# 1 –    “This Is The Time (Ballast)” – NOTHING MORE

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs: January 2014 – June 2014

Slash (Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators) – “World On Fire”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Nothing More – “Nothing More”: Hard Rock Daddy Album Review

Seether – “Words As Weapons”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Three Days Grace – “Painkiller”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Avatar – “Bloody Angel”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Archives

Wayland – “Get A Little”:  Hard Rock Daddy Video Review

Wayland - "Get A Little"

For many workers, the happiest time of the week is Friday afternoon, and the most dreadful time is Monday morning.  Since the 1980s, Loverboy’s “Working For The Weekend” has been the unofficial anthem of the working man, but with Wayland’s latest release – “Get A Little” – it looks like there may finally be a challenger to Loverboy’s decades of dominance.  If radio stations are smart, they will start to push this catchy, Def Leppard-esque song as the new anthem of the working man on Friday afternoons.

Though they don’t punch a clock, the members of Wayland understand hard work, touring over 300 days per year and doing whatever it takes to build their fanbase.

One of the biggest changes that has happened as a result of the social media revolution is the direct connection between bands and their fans.  Nearly every band has a social media presence to some degree, but a handful of bands go above and beyond to connect with their fans on a much deeper level.  These Michigan rockers definitely fall into the latter category.

Wayland takes great pride in using social media (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and especially Facebook) to connect with their fans.  The band has dubbed their Facebook fans the Wayland Warriors, and features a “Warrior Of The Day” on their page.  They have also designated “Wayland Wednesday” as the day of the week that they release new content and have online merchandise sales.

Because they are so connected to their fans, Wayland understands the plight of the average (Monday-Friday) worker, which is why “Get A Little” comes across as a genuine anthem that will undoubtedly be a fan-favorite when performed live.  To showcase the energy of the song, in a stroke of creative brilliance, the band transitions from the studio version to a live performance half-way through the video.

At this point, Wayland remains somewhat under the radar, but if this song becomes the new anthem of the working man, the band should start to “get a little” more of the recognition that they so richly deserve.

Lucky 13! – Alter Bridge Closes Out 2014 with 13-City Fortress Headlining Tour

Alter Bridge 2014 Fall Tour Dates - United States

 

Tickets and upgrade packages went on sale today for the final 13 dates of Alter Bridge’s U.S. headlining tour in support of their incredible album, Fortress.

Because of their various side projects including: Myles Kennedy fronting Slash’s band and Mark Tremonti’s solo work, Alter Bridge only comes around every three years or so.  If you live anywhere close to any of the 13 cities on the tour, don’t miss out on the chance to catch this vastly underrated band’s live performance.

This final 13-city run comes on the heels of their sold-out tour this past spring that had critics deservedly raving about their performance.

Before kicking off their headline tour on October 7th in Louisville, KY, Alter Bridge will be performing alongside the likes of Judas Priest, Korn, Limp Bizkit and Stone Temple Pilots at the Louder Than Life Festival (which also takes place in Louisville) on October 4, 2014.

Diehard Alter Bridge fans will not want to miss out on the VIP upgrade package that is being offered by the band which includes the following:  Meet & Greet, Photo Op, Autograph, Visit to Soundcheck, Exclusive AB Merchandise (lithograph, tour item, VIP laminate, VIP ticket).  The upgrade also includes a priority check-in, crowd-free merchandise shopping and an on-site host.

Click here for a list of dates and places for this 13-city tour.