Category Archives: Songs and Videos

Flashback Friday?  Not Exactly, but Metallica’s “Hardwired” Feels Like Going “Back to the Future”

Metallica - Hardwired

By Adam Waldman

“Hey Doc, what year are we in?”

“The calendar says 2016, Marty, but the guy on the radio just said that this is NEW Metallica.  The Delorean must need a tune-up.  This can’t be 2016…I think that we somehow ended up in 1984!”

If Doc Brown and Marty McFly make you nostalgic for the mid-‘80s, you ain’t seen…er…heard nothing yet.  Metallica’s release of “Hardwired” – the first single from their upcoming album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct – took millions of Metallica fans on a journey back in time to the raw, blistering thrash days of Ride The Lightning.

In a day and age where everything seems to be leaked, “Hardwired” was a welcomed surprise that had people buzzing about Metallica in a way that hasn’t happened in quite some time.  That’s not to say that they haven’t remained one of the top metal acts around, because they have, but they started to feel like something of a legacy act in recent years.  With their place in history more than secured, Metallica has proven once again that they can be a disruptive force with “Hardwired.”  Over two million YouTube views in less than a day is proof positive that Metallica has delivered something that their fans have been craving.

If you didn’t discover Metallica until “The Black Album,” you better buckle up before you crank up “Hardwired,” because it will knock you on your ass.  Lars Ulrich rains down frenzied thunder with a drum intro that kicks your heart into overdrive, and never lets up as the thrash guitars of yesteryear hit you like a freight train.  James Hetfield has become a much more polished singer in recent years, but the raw beast that lives inside of him is back in full force with a rapid fire delivery that once defined him (and the thrash genre for that matter).

“Hardwired” is fast, loud, aggressive and filled with adrenaline-fueled rage.  Headbangers rejoice!  Metallica’s back with a song that is certain to cause some serious cases of whiplash once again.

Max Impact – The United States Air Force Band – “Send Me”

USAF Band Max Impact

By Adam Waldman

Memorial Day is meant to remember the fallen heroes of the United States military.  Each Memorial Day weekend, my family and I remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom as we witness the awe-inspiring precision of fighter jets at the annual Jones Beach Air Show.  You can’t help but appreciate the teamwork that it takes to master these amazing feats that are born out of supreme dedication and bravery.

We all enjoy the freedom that comes with being an American, but our freedom wouldn’t exist if not for the members of the military whose sacrifices make it possible.  As the saying goes…“all gave some, some gave all.”  Memorial Day is about honoring the military members who gave all, and for me, about paying respect to those who are willing to do so.  Having never served, it isn’t possible for me to explain the mindset of those who are willing to sacrifice their lives for our country, but I gained some valuable insight after watching the video for “Send Me,” a powerful song by Max Impact (The US Air Force Band).

There are many bands pro-military artists in the hard rock genre, the most well-known being Five Finger Death Punch.  While you have to admire the incredible support that FFDP gives to the military, there is something that is even more special about hearing inspired, thought-provoking music performed by members of the military.  Seeing the members of Max Impact performing in military fatigues makes the the video for “Send Me” even more poignant.

Max Impact is a special band that deserves recognition, and “Send Me” is the perfect song to listen to today when you are remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Radio Exile – “No Pity On The Highway”: EXCLUSIVE Video Premiere

Radio Exile

Hard Rock Daddy is excited to present the exclusive video premiere of “No Pity On The Highway,” the first single off of Radio Exile’s upcoming debut album.

You can feel the groove from the opening drum beat of “No Pity On The Highway.”  When the rest of the band joins in, the groove kicks into high gear, leaving you powerless to refrain from bopping along to it (even if you’re listening to it on headphones in a public place, as I was when I was hearing the song for the first time).  After numerous subsequent listens, this track remains fresh and grows on you even more.

‘80s hard rock is often times lumped together under one generic hair metal umbrella.  What gets lost when this happens is the fact that it is also the decade that featured some of the best musicianship in the history of the genre, with many of the songs being as relevant today as they were back in the day.  While there’s no shortage of great hard rock today, it isn’t often that a song feels like an instant timeless classic.  By adding a modern touch to a classic rock sound, Radio Exile has written just such a song.

Ironically, this killer track may fall into the category of “radio exile,” which is an indictment of the state of radio (at least in America) and a sign of the times, not the music.  This is why it is so important to help spread the word to other hard rock music fans virally.  Music this good deserves to be heard, and not be at the mercy of a medium that rarely gives bands like this the attention that they deserve.

Radio Exile is a powerful unit, featuring some veteran rockers with vast experience.  The band lays the foundation for frontman Chandler Mogel to deliver some impressive old-school, blues-rock vocals.  At times, you’ll hear shades of Joe Lynn Turner, Michael Sweet and Dennis DeYoung, but Mogel’s sound is definitely his own.

If you’re a fan of classic, blues-rock, make sure to check out the video of “No Pity On The Highway” below…

25 Years Later – Joe Lynn Turner Conquers All

Joe Lynn Turner - Love Conquers All - Acoustic Performance - Glasgow

For nearly four decades, Joe Lynn Turner has been delivering inspiring vocal performances.  Although he is most widely known for his time with Rainbow, he also enjoyed a successful run with Yngwie Malmsteen and an abbreviated stint with Deep Purple where he recorded one studio album (Slaves And Masters).  The album (released in 1990) features one of the best power ballads of that era, “Love Conquers All.”

A quarter of a century has passed since the release of the “Love Conquers All,” but it is still as powerful today as it was in 1990, as evidenced by the acoustic version of the song recorded recently in Glasgow, Scotland.  These days, the legendary frontman spends much of his time performing overseas, no longer grabbing the spotlight that he once did in the United States.

Aside from being moved by this inspiring performance, the other emotions that come to mind when listening to this version of “Love Conquers All” (several times over) are jealousy of overseas audiences and sadness that America has dropped the ball when it comes to supporting transcendent talents like JLT.

We have become a country that celebrates mediocre singers who rely upon technology like Auto-Tune just to stay in key in the studio, and then lip sync their “performances” of songs that are average at best.  Even more disheartening is our reliance upon reality television to discover new “talent.”  Meanwhile, overseas audiences embrace true talents like JLT.

The vocal performance on the acoustic rendition of “Love Conquers All” is nothing short of brilliant.  There is no need to rely upon technology to enhance the vocals because, even as he approaches his mid-60s, Turner is still as great as he ever was in his heyday.

We can only hope that Ritchie Blackmore’s recent overtures about playing rock music again will come to fruition in the form of a Rainbow reunion with Turner at the helm.  Maybe then, JLT will get the attention that he so richly deserves here in America.  Until then, enjoy the incredible moment that was captured in Glasgow, Scotland recently…

Operation: Mindcrime – “Reinventing The Future”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Operation Mindcrime

After an illustrious career with Queensryche, and an unfortunate court battle with his former bandmates, Geoff Tate has taken the first official step on his next path with “Reinventing The Future,” the debut single from Operation: Mindcrime.

From the forthcoming album, The Key, “Reinventing The Future” is one of 12 tracks included in the first installment of an epic musical trilogy.  Finally able to write without the constraints of other band members or the expectations of fans, Tate truly is free to “reinvent the future.”

It can be argued that Tate might actually be better off making a fresh start under a new moniker.  His last album, Frequency Unknown, would most likely have been met with much more enthusiasm if it was released as Operation: Mindcrime, rather than being one of two Queensryche albums released within a few months of each other from different bands.

Although you can never say never when it comes to band reunions, there is likely too much water under the bridge for the original members of Queensryche to share the stage again, much less record.  It’s probably for the best, since Tate and his former bandmates are no longer headed in the same musical direction.

Understandably, “Reinventing The Future” features shades of Queensryche, but there are also enough unique elements to show that Operation: Mindcrime is an entity unto itself.  The song features Tate’s signature vocals and unique writing style, heavy guitars nicely complemented by keyboards, a solid rhythm section and interesting time changes.

Queensryche fans who love immersing themselves in Tate’s incredible storylines and characters should be eagerly awaiting the release of The Key on September 18th.

It should be noted that Operation: Mindcrime is not actually a band, but rather “a musical project of like-minded people uniting to achieve a common goal.”  All of the contributors have added their own influences to help shape the sound of the project.

While the songwriting falls mainly on the shoulders of Tate, Kelly Gray (guitars) and Randy Gane (keyboard), a number of other musicians are featured as well, including:  bassists, Dave Ellefson and John Moyer, drummers Simon Wright, Scott Mercado and Brian Tichy, guitarist Scott Moughton and vocalist, Mark Daly.

Rather than trying to recapture the past, Tate should be commended for “Reinventing The Future” with Operation: Mindcrime.  The countdown to September 18th begins…

Bullet For My Valentine – “You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Bullet For My Valentine Band Photo

Bullet For My Valentine is back with a vengeance with their latest single, “You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)” – off of their upcoming album, Venom.  This song is the perfect anthem for the downtrodden and the underappreciated who have reached their “breaking point” (not coincidentally, a track off of their previous release, Temper Temper).  Clearly, BFMV has no trouble tapping into their inner rage, but they do so in such a melodic and inspiring way that it never comes off as bitter.

“You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)” begins with acapella gang vocals and quickly transitions into a powerful musical intro that is reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s “Aces High.”  Frontman, Matthew Tuck delivers tortured growls of anguish over intense guitars that border on thrash, before pulling back to a more subdued verse supported by the heavy bottom of the rhythm section.  The pounding, driving rhythm helps the song to build to a crescendo into the chorus (which features thunderous double-bass drumming beneath Tuck’s melodic vocals). 

It’s easy to imagine an arena filled with BFMV fans singing the gang vocals in unison on this anthem for the ages. This empowering song will undoubtedly connect with those who have suffered any form of abuse, as well as those who feel underappreciated or enraged by those who abuse their authority and disrespect others.

With a “taste” of Venom this good, the release date of the full album (August 14th) can’t come soon enough!

Seether – “Nobody Praying For Me”: An Inspired Interactive Video Experience

Seether - Nobody Praying For Me

As one of the most popular rock acts today, Seether gets attention when they release a new single.  Although frontman Shaun Morgan has recently questioned why the band (inexplicably) no longer receives any support from Alternative radio stations, Seether’s music is well-represented on Active Rock radio.  While the band eventually releases YouTube videos, it isn’t always done when the single impacts at radio.  Their latest single, “Nobody Praying For Me,” is a good example of their approach.  The song has been a mainstay on Active Rock stations for some time now, but the video was just released yesterday.

As the saying goes, anything worth having is worth waiting for, and Seether has proven this to be true with their inspired, thought-provoking, interactive video for “Nobody Praying For Me.”

It is commonly believed that there are three sides to every story, but that isn’t exactly true, especially when there are multiple parties involved.  In the interactive video for “Nobody Praying For Me,” Seether tackles the sensitive subject of police brutality, which is often times slanted by media coverage that fans the flames of an already combustible situation.

With five videos of a virtual crime scene, Seether allows viewers to see the same story from different perspectives (two news outlets, bystander footage, the police and the victim).  There is no bias towards which storyline is the most likely to be true.  This is probably because truth is in the eye of the beholder, which is the point that Seether is trying to make with a series of videos that favor contemplation over knee-jerk reactions.

Because the videos are so compelling, the song – which happens to be another brilliant one by Seether – becomes secondary.  Perhaps Seether anticipated this when deciding to release the video long after the song was already making an impact at radio.

This interactive video should be watched by those who have an open mind and believe that there is much more gray in the world than black and white.  You don’t have to be a Seether fan to appreciate what the video has to offer, but if you’re not, you probably will be by the time that you finish watching all of the different perspectives of a tragic (yet all too familiar) story.

CLICK HERE to view the “Nobody Praying For Me” interactive video.

The V – “Again”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

The V

From his legendary releases with Stryper, to his collaboration with George Lynch, to his solo work, there is one thing that you can count on when Michael Sweet is involved – outstanding songwriting.  While Sweet was the one delivering the vocals on all of the aforementioned work, this time around his song is being brought to life by Benedictum vocalist, Veronica Freeman.  Sweet wrote, produced and played guitar on a track entitled “Again,” which appears on the debut album from The V (Freeman’s solo project).

Often times, fans of 80s metal favor the “glory days” for nostalgic reasons.  While some of the music may not be as relevant today as it was back then, the truly great songs with depth have a timeless sound.  Sweet and Freeman have achieved that with “Again,” a song that gets better with each listen.

You could easily see “Again” being released as a Stryper song, but if Sweet wasn’t going to sing it himself, it’s hard to imagine him finding anyone that could have done it better than Freeman.  In fact, with a delivery very similar to Sweet’s, you have to wonder if Freeman will be considered to front Stryper if Sweet ever steps back and focuses on guitar because of his admitted challenges with hitting all of the high notes…

 “So I can’t hit all the high notes like I used to.  I try and ‘choose my battles,’ but unfortunately, gravity as taken its toll.  How would it go over if we found some young lad who can hit all the high notes and I just play guitar and sing from time to time?  Don’t go crazy, just wanted to ask out of curiosity…”

Sweet never mentions a possible female singer, so this suggestion is pure conjecture on my part, but Freeman would be an interesting choice just the same.

Much like Slash’s early solo work, The V is a project that features numerous contributors.  Of course, the undeniable chemistry between Slash and Myles Kennedy eventually led to a more permanent situation.  It’s way too early to speculate about future collaborations between Sweet and Freeman, but based on this song, you have to imagine that the two will work together…“Again.”

Outlaws & Moonshine – “Whiskey”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Outlaws & Moonshine

The rise of grunge in the early 90s is often credited as the death knell of 80s hair metal.  However, few people talk about the collateral damage that happened around the same time…the decline of Southern Rock.  Although southern influences can be found in some modern hard rock bands, pure Southern Rock bands are few and far between these days.  Enter Indiana’s Outlaws & Moonshine – a trio that aims to blend the past with the present with their brand of “back beat boogie woogie” infused Southern Rock – with their debut single, “Whiskey.”

As the acoustic guitar intro fades, Outlaws & Moonshine launch into a down home, southern sound that takes you on a journey back in time.  The twang of the guitar and the blue-collar gritty vocals of the verses build up to an anthemic chorus that will undoubtedly have fans singing along as they hoist a few in a live setting.  There’s a beauty to the simplicity of this feel-good party song and the overall stripped-down, straight-ahead sound of Outlaws & Moonshine (think AC/DC with Southern Rock sensibilities).

The band is still in the process of completing their still untitled debut album, but “Whiskey” gives a nice “taste” of what we can expect from a band at the forefront of “new Southern Rock.”

Red Sun Rising – “The Otherside”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Red Sun Rising Band Photo

It’s rare to find a current hard rock band that seamlessly blends the dark, grunge influences of Alice In Chains and Nirvana with the bright, soaring melodic influence of Shinedown.  Perhaps that is why “The Otherside” – the debut single from Akron, OH rockers, Red Sun Rising – immediately stood out as unique from the first listen.  Based on frontman, Mike Protich’s comments, it’s clear that Red Sun Rising’s unique sound is by design…

“Red Sun Rising is what rock was built on, but is not today’s rock, but a new rock alternative.  Subtle touches of blues mixed with the dark minor tonality of today.  Our music allows the listener to travel through a song that is anything but linear.  With soaring vocals, we strive to find melodies that convey the passion of our thought-provoking lyrical content, and push the boundaries that rock has somewhat forgotten.”

“The Otherside” grabs you right away with a haunting, grunge-influenced verse and never lets go as it crescendos into the soaring melodic chorus.  The more you listen to the song, the more you begin to peel back the layers, revealing a seasoned sound that rivals artists who have made several albums together.

It’s no surprise that the band has spent a considerable amount of time on the road supporting artists such as Shinedown, Seether and Pop Evil (to name a few).  The band is being produced by Bob Marlette, who has worked with both Shinedown and Seether.  It’s also no surprise that Red Sun Rising is signed to Razor & Tie, a label that continues to discover talented up-and-comers and rising stars (All That Remains, Nonpoint, The Pretty Reckless, Starset, Sons Of Texas, and many more).

SiriusXM’s Octane has already jumped on the song.  Based on the impact that Razor & Tie artists have had on Active Rock radio, you have to imagine that it’s only a matter of time before “The Otherside” starts to climb the Mediabase Active Rock chart, and deservedly so.