Monthly Archives: July 2014
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 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
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…
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)
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
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.
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.