Music Discovery Monday – 6/29/15

Music Discovery Monday - Red Sun Rising

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 6/29/15.

Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.

In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the 70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.

This week’s Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Red Sun Rising frontman, Mike Protich, who discusses the fascinating inspiration for the band’s debut single, “The Otherside.”    



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

RED SUN RISING – “The Otherside”

Some songs take a while to grow on you, while others grab you from the first note.  Red Sun Rising’s debut single – “The Otherside” – falls into the latter category.  And though it instantly stood out when I first heard it on Octane, “The Otherside” keeps getting better with each listen (the mark of a great song).  Straddling the line between the darkness of Alice In Chains and the bright, soaring melodies of Shinedown, Red Sun Rising has something unique to offer.  Having heard the rest of the album already, I can tell you that there is much more to come from this band beyond their debut single.


In an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, frontman Mike Protich talked about the inspiration and meaning behind the song (including the reasoning behind making “otherside” into one word)…

“The cool thing about the song is that Ryan (our guitar player) and I both wrote it together, so the lyrics have a different meaning for both of us.  For me, it’s about overcoming obstacles in your life and coming out stronger.  That’s the general message.  There are some other meanings as well, such as the insignificance of life on earth.  It doesn’t really matter what you do here because it’s a spec of time that will pass.  You can either make the most of it, or live carelessly through it.  It’s up to you how you want to live.

Making the title one word was a conscious decision.  We wanted it to be its own thing, like “the otherside” was a place that you’re striving to reach, or that you’ve already reached.  So, “the otherside” can be a mental or physical destination.  For each person, it’s about finding that place…whatever it is.

The song was written together as we sat in a room with acoustic guitars and let the ideas flow.  We loved the vibe of it right away; it reminded us of Alice In Chains.  We kind of went in that direction because they are a huge influence of ours, and it was nice to kind of tip our hat to them a little bit.  The reason that we led with this song was because of the vibe.  It really set the tone for the rest of the record.”



Like Red Sun Rising, Blacktop Mojo builds upon a grunge foundation and adds in their own flavor.  In this case, the flavor is a gritty, southern sound.  If Soundgarden and Black Stone Cherry got together to write a song, the end result would likely be something very similar to “I Am.”  Frontman, Matt James reveals the following about “I Am” on the band’s Facebook profile…

“…‘I Am’ makes a statement about who we are as a band, which is taking a crazy group of scatterbrained guys, with different writing and playing styles, sitting down in a room together with all of our separate thoughts and approaches to writing songs, and turning that into a singular energy, that we can all be proud of.”  Based on this track, their approach is working like a well-oiled machine.




DISTURBED – “The Vengeful One”

They’re baaaaack.   The first new music from Disturbed in nearly five years delivers one of the themes they do best (vengeance), and quickly re-establishes the band as one of the preeminent hard rocks acts of the modern era.  It isn’t brain surgery; it isn’t groundbreaking, but it provides a badly needed jagged edge to the rock landscape without sacrificing musicality to do so.  A welcome first glimpse into what could easily be a serious album of the year contender.


THE PROTEST – “Vicious Cycle”

I’ve noted numerous times just how many bands from the Christian rock niche seemed ready to break through into the mainstream, and the latest single from this Indiana band appears poised to do just that, based on the early interest being shown by numerous rock/active rock stations.  A modern sound combined with lyrics that are admittedly written from a Christian point of view (while remaining extremely relatable to a broader audience) makes this a solid candidate for airplay across multiple formats, none of which matters so much for its selection here.  The simple fact is that it’s a rather rockin’ tune.





VIRGIN STEELE – “Persephone”

Virgin Steele is a New York band that has been producing quality metal for over three decades, starting in their early years with a more classic sound, and adding plenty of symphonic elements over time.  David DeFeis, the mastermind behind the band, who covers all vocals, keyboards, and synth bass, has described their music as “barbaric romantic metal.”  “Persephone,” a favorite from their latest album (released just last week), boasts the theatrical style that his description implies. 


ASCENDOR – “Fear Of God”

I am generally not a fan of death metal-style vocals, though they can work for me where they’re integral to the mood of a piece, and where they play well off of the rest of the music.  Ascendor, a metal quintet from the island of Malta, meets those qualifications with “Fear of God,” a bleak piece that spirals downward into despair.  There’s intense drumming, some intricate guitar work, and enchanting Middle Eastern influences.





VIATHYN – “Edward Mordrake”

Edward Mordrake was reportedly a man who had an extra face on the back of his head.  As the story goes, Mordrake referred to the extra visage as a “demon face” which drove him quite mad before committing suicide at the age of 23.  Viathyn puts this creepy (yet compelling) take to music with great progressive, heavy metal skill.  Powerful and dramatic as the story line, it features stand-out guitar work by Jake Wright and Tomislav Crnkovic (who is also on vocals).  This track is from their latest release, Cynosure.


H.E.A.T.  “Eye For An Eye”

Swedish hard rock/AOR band, H.E.A.T gives us “Eye For An Eye” – a solid, melodic track from their last album, Tearing Down the Walls.  Frontman Erik Grönwall’s vocals are effortlessly powerful – similar to fellow Swede, Erik Mårtensson of Eclipse.  The tune has a good, heavy strut throughout and some nice harmonies backing Gronwall.



To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to –




My selections for this week’s Hard Rock Music Time Machine were inspired by this week’s featured artist – Mike Protich of Red Sun Rising.  If you haven’t checked out the band’s debut single (“The Otherside”) yet, make sure to do so, especially if you are a fan of Shinedown and Alice In Chains…


SHINEDOWN – “I’ll Follow You” (2012)

Shinedown singles really don’t fly below the radar for the most part, and to some degree, “I’ll Follow You” is no exception.  While the song has a massive amount of views on YouTube, it was something of a flash-in-the-pan when it came to radio play.  From their hit album, Amaryllis, this song takes a turn in a different direction than the more high energy tracks.  Brent Smith brings poetry to life with his impassioned delivery on this ballad that is reminiscent of classic Elton John.  After what seems like an endless wait (3 years), Shinedown will be releasing the follow-up to Amaryllis in the coming months. (see full Hard Rock Daddy review)


ALICE IN CHAINS – “Would?” (1992)

Like Shinedown, Alice In Chains is well-known, as is “Would?”…but I chose to include it this week because it was the song that introduced me to the band, and because of the Alice In Chains influence in Red Sun Rising’s music.  Nirvana may be the Seattle band that is most widely-known for the grunge movement, but the contributions of Alice In Chains cannot be understated.  While Nirvana’s sound was raw and angst-ridden, Alice In Chains took the grunge sound in a more haunting (yet melodic) direction.  Dark, but with just enough light to keep it from falling into the depressing sound that defined many of their brethren at the time.





SOULICIT – “Parking Lot Rockstar” (2011)

From a band residing in the “Didn’t Get Nearly The Recognition They Deserved” file comes this tune that mixes rock with a southern rock vibe and a fair bit of realistic lyrical grit to produce easy-to-sing-along enjoyment.  This Kansas-based outfit made some noise with several tracks in 2011 and 2012, but this gem wasn’t one that seemed to break out very much.  Sadly, there hasn’t been a lot of coming from the band’s official sources in recent months so their current status is somewhat murky, but songs like this make me hope that we’ll eventually hear from them again.  There’s good rock here.


DEVICE – “Penance” (2013)

During the Disturbed hiatus, frontman David Draiman was far from quiet, not only producing several albums, but also delivering a solid dose of rock with his own side project.  Working with former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo, Draiman aimed for a more electronic / industrial sound, but still managed to come up with two solid radio hits and a third song that got notable airplay.  There was also a fourth worthy candidate that holds up well as a hard rock track and could have easily been a hit as well.





MASTEDON – “Nowhere Without Your Love” (2009)

Mastedon – a melodic rock band not to be confused with the metal band Mastodon – released this stirring (but criminally unknown!) ballad in 2009.  There is a heavy Kansas influence, which is no surprise, as the band is the creation of their former frontman (Jon Elefante) and his brother Dino.  In fact, they are joined (at least on this album) by Kerry Livgren on lead guitar.  The piece enters on a plaintive guitar and then layers in the harmonies for an overwhelming chorus.





WOLVERINE – “Your Favourite War” (2011)

Wolverine is a rather dark and brooding melancholy hard rock/metal band from Sweden.  Their sound is fraught with gloom from haunting chords, and interludes that create the mood and tension of their music.  “Your Favourite War” has plenty of this, but adds terrific, cathartic break-outs from the gloom with driving and appropriately crying guitars (Jonas Johnson) and arrangements (Per Herniksson) that make the track remarkable.  This song is from their fifth studio album, Communication Lost.


TONY MACALPINE – “Sacred Wonder” (1987)

I first heard the great Tony MacAlpine back when Maximum Security debuted in 1987.  This gem, “Sacred Wonder,” showed me just how tremendous his talent is.  The enormous range, variety of skills and music composition is incredible.  He’s still shredding after more than 30 years.



About AW

Hard rock journalist and father of two amazing rock and roll children.

Posted on June 29, 2015, in Hard Rock Music Time Machine, Music Discovery Monday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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