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Top Live Performances of 2016

Joe Lynn Turner - Revolution - Amityville, NY - 2-27-16 - Hard Rock Daddy

By Adam Waldman

The calendar has finally flipped to 2017, but the scars of 2016 remain.  2016 may be remembered for the deaths of several musical icons, but there were some truly memorable live performances that proved that rock and roll is very much alive and well, most notably, Joe Lynn Turner’s stellar solo show.

As rumors swirled that Ritchie Blackmore was ready to step back into the rock arena for a “Rainbow reunion,” JLT seemed like a slam dunk to take center stage once again.  Not only was he the frontman featured on some of the band’s biggest hits, but he also is the only singer to have also fronted Deep Purple.  If Blackmore was ready to rock again, the first call should have gone to JLT.  Inexplicably, it didn’t.

JLT didn’t let Blackmore’s misguided decision stop him from giving the people what they wanted.  His show at Revolution on Long Island is everything that you could have asked for in a Rainbow show (even without the enigmatic guitarist present).  Not only did JLT deliver brilliant performances of the songs that he made famous with Rainbow, he also did so with the songs that pre-dated him joining the band (while throwing in Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen classics for good measure).

JLT didn’t get nearly the hype that Blackmore got for his Rainbow/Deep Purple live performances, but he deserved it.  Amazingly, JLT’s vocals are as strong today as they were over three decades ago when he rose to fame.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.




Jeff Scott Soto has a tremendous resume, but he still manages to fly under the radar.  In an intimate show on a cold winter night, JSS and his band SOTO delivered an inspired performance, showcasing chemistry that you usually find in bands that have been together for decades.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.



The first time that I heard “Baptized In The Rio Grande” on SiriusXM’s Octane, I was instantly hooked.  With a seasoned sound that goes well beyond their years, the boys from a small Texas town near the Mexican border live up to the saying…“everything’s bigger in Texas.”  One of the best newcomers onto the hard rock music scene, Sons Of Texas showed that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.



Anthrax’s inclusion on this list comes with an asterisk because it wasn’t actually a concert, rather a four-song, show-stealing performance at the recent Epiphone Revolver Music Awards.  It’s a testament to the band’s greatness that the crowd was as enthusiastic about the two new songs (“Breathing Lightning” and “Monster At The End”) as they were about the classics (“Caught In The Mosh” and “Indians”).

CLICK HERE to read a full recap of the event.



Top Live Performances of 2015

Top Live Performances of 2014

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 11/24/16: The Year – 1996


Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 11/24/16 – The Year: 1996

Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).

Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs.   On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.

This month’s theme is – The Year: 1996.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

SPACEHOG – “In The Meantime” (1996)

Two decades ago (in 1996), as a result of the grunge movement, rock music was still in something of a transitional period.  Although the pickings were slim for fans of melodic rock, a few beacons of light shined through the darkness.  Perhaps the most interesting one was Spacehog, a band comprised of all British members that formed in NYC in 1994.

What separated Spacehog from the rest of a rather mundane rock scene was the similarity to another British rocker who made NYC his home – David Bowie.  Like Bowie, Spacehog frontman Royston Langdon was flamboyant and charismatic.  Bowie had an alter ego (Ziggy Stardust) as did the members of the band.  Langdon’s alter ego was Ray Sprinkles.

Unlike Bowie, Spacehog never really took off.  They only had one hit song, but it was a great one.  “In The Meantime” got a lot of radio play 20 years ago, but what brought them to mind when looking back to 1996 was the incredible live show that I got to experience at Irving Plaza in NYC.  At a time when “rock stars” looked like everyone else in the audience, Spacehog reminded us all of the value of a larger-than-life persona.

GOLDFINGER – “Here In Your Bedroom” (1996)

Another band that delivered an incredible live performance at Irving Plaza two decades ago was punk/ska rockers, Goldfinger.  As I mentioned above, 1996 was kind of a barren year for mainstream rock, but Goldfinger stood out because of their incredible energy.  At a time when much of what rock had to offer was either bland or depressing, Goldfinger infused a shot of adrenaline into the genre.

Like Spacehog, Goldfinger only had one really well-known song.  Although their whole eponymous debut album was rock solid, the song that captured everyone’s attention was “Here In Your Bedroom.”  Fans of Green Day will definitely dig this track (and the rest of the album for that matter).  Although the band put out several albums, their commercial peak happened with their debut in 1996.  Having seen them live, I have more of an appreciation for how good Goldfinger actually was (especially in comparison to the rest of the rock scene at that time).


 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

SEPULTURA – “Roots” (1996)

Sepultura was one of the biggest bands in the thrash/death metal genre in the ‘90s.  When Roots Bloody Roots came out in 1996 (as an homage to the band’s Brazilian culture), it made a big impact on  the metal community, primarily because no other band had written about pride in their culture like Sepultura had.  The music was tribal (yet heavy), and with Max Cavalera’s screaming growls, it pushed the band a little more into the mainstream.


TYPE-O-NEGATIVE – “Love You To Death (1996)

Another great album released in 1996 was Type-O-Negative’s October Rust.  This goth metal band’s first single from the album – “Love You To Death” – is the eptiome of the Type-O-Negative sound of despair and romanticism.  Peter Steele’s baritone voice and the heavy, slowed down musical accompaniment made this one of the band’s best songs.  Three years prior to October Rust, Type-O’s album Bloody Kisses put the band in the forefront of the goth metal genre.  The band has ceased to exist since Steele’s untimely death.  October Rust remains one of my favorite albums of the ‘90s to this day.



DEEP PURPLE – “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” (1996)

In 1993, iconic guitarist Ritchie Blackmore walked off a Helsinki stage, mid-concert, never to play again with Deep Purple. This was the end of an era, but made way for another great guitar talent: Steve Morse (of Dixie Dregs fame).  Morse shines in this personal favorite from the band’s first album without Blackmore, and he succeeds in filling some very big shoes.


STRATOVARIUS – “Eternity” (1996)

Finnish power metal mainstays Stratovarius put out a winning album in 1996, switching things up a bit and spanning a broader range of styles.  The first two songs from Stratovarius’ Episode album open with the band’s characteristic speed and power, before slowing down just a bit for this darker, more compelling piece.

My Rock and Roll Journey: Nathan Colucci – The Ballroom Babies – Chapter 1


Written by Nathan Colucci (The BallRoom Babies)

It all started in the backseat of my dad’s two-door, 1994 Ford Escort.  It was painted a bright neon green, so you could find it anywhere in a huge parking lot.  For a little car, this thing had some major pep.  Best of all, it had a stereo that you could crank all day.  My dad would get my brothers and me in the car for long drive and blast music the entire time…

Fly By Night (Rush), Relayer (Yes), Machine Head (Deep Purple), Shinin’ On (Grand Funk Railroad).  These were a few of the many records that we would listen to in the car.  This is where my introduction to music took place.

For as long as I can remember, my brother Steve was obsessed with music.  Some of my earliest memories are of him building his own guitar out of a tissue box, paper towel rolls and a few elastic bands.  My parents got him his first real guitar as a Christmas gift, and he played it non-stop.  By the time he was in high school, he was teaching students to play guitar on the weekends.  They were usually just a few years younger than him.  Around the same time, my parents got my brother Mike a drum kit.  He was always parked behind that thing wearing headphones and playing along to Rush, Yes and Deep Purple.  When I was 9-yrs old, my dad bought me my first bass, and just like that, we had a little rock and roll trio.  Playing the bass had never even crossed my mind before then.

I started taking lessons, practicing and eventually playing in a band with my brothers. Learning my instrument and making music with my brothers was inseparable.  We would rehearse in the basement trying to emulate our favourite artists, and I have to say, for a bunch of young kids, we were damn good!  We wrote our own music, and set out to conquer the world under the name White Dove.

For the next five years, we were on and off with the band.  We gigged wherever we could, and practiced together constantly.  We had a little rehearsal space set up in our basement.  If we weren’t in school or at music lessons, we were down in the basement practicing.  We invited various singers to front the band. We even had a Van Halen cover act going for a while.  Neither of the front men worked out, and so we realized that we had to learn how to sing.

By the time I was in high school, we had stopped playing together, and had started playing in separate bands.  The time away from my brothers was really huge for me.  I started listening to a bunch of new music and finding my own kind of sound.  I was listening to more modern bands like The Mars Volta, Protest The Hero, Sydney, Of Montreal, Radiohead, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Lifestory: Monologue and Five Blank Pages.  These bands had a huge impact on me and creep into my writing style to this day.

Around that same time Mike and Steve joined a more established rock group and did some Canadian touring.  Towards the end of high school, the three of us eventually started jamming together again.  It just kind of felt right, so we started the band up again.  The biggest change this time was that we were doing all of the singing.  We weren’t very good at it, so we decided to take singing lessons, and practiced learning more Beatles songs than I care to list.

Singing was an absolute nightmare for me. Nothing about it came naturally, and I could barely get through a tune without getting terribly off key.  I smoked back then, and that made it even more difficult.  But I worked my ass off, and eventually got the hang of it.  We learnt a lot of classic rock covers (just shy of 300), and started writing our own tunes again.

Before I knew it, we were about to start gigging, so we needed a name.  I was trying to think of something that would stick in someone’s head after a night of loud music and drinking.  And so, The BallRoom Babies began.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” where the story of three rock and roll brothers continues…


My Rock and Roll Journey: Tony Housh – Seasons After – Chapter 1

My Rock and Roll Journey: Sal Costa – Smashing Satellites – Chapter 1

My Rock and Roll Journey:  Joey “Chicago Walser” – Devour The Day – Chapter 1 Read the rest of this entry

My Rock and Roll Journey: Tony LaSelva – Ugly Melon – Chapter 1


Written by Tony LaSelva (Ugly Melon)

“My Rock and Roll Journey” started off like most artists, with an inspiration.  As a young child in the ‘70s, I discovered (and quickly became obsessed with) Elvis Presley.  He was in the twilight of his short life and career, but none of that meant anything to me.  I remember running home after school to watch his movies during ‘Elvis week.’  I’m not sure which network decided that would be a good idea, but I loved every minute of it.

Blue Hawaii and Fun in Acapulco were masterpieces in my mind.  There was something about Elvis that just captivated me…his charisma, his looks, and of course, his voice.  He truly was the king of rock and roll to me.  I remember singing “Hound Dog” on a table in front of my grade 1 classmates.  Elvis was my idol. I would wear out his records while singing along to the lyrics I had memorized.  I still have a real fondness for him.  Although the reality of his life has made my image of him less idealistic, in my eyes, he is (and always will be) “The King.”

From ‘50s and ‘60s Elvis tunes, I moved my obsession into classic rock and heavy metal.  The first hard rock song that really moved me was “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas.  Imagine my shock when my 18-year old son recently said to me…“Hey Dad, have you ever heard of this progressive rock band, Kansas?”  I didn’t even know what prog rock was until he introduced me to the moniker.  Rush, Yes, and even King Crimson were just great rock bands to me.

From there, I discovered Van Halen (my first concert was the Diver Down tour) Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.  My friends and I were so enthralled with Dio-era Sabbath, Rainbow, and the Deep Purple family of musicians, that we would quiz each other on the history of every detail of that group of amazing players.  We would ask questions like…

“Who sang backup on ‘Stormbringer’?”

“Name the lineup on Rainbow’s Rising record.”

“What was the first song Ronnie James Dio ever wrote with Sabbath?”

We were obsessed!  And with good reason.  Those were some truly historic recordings.  I still have those tracks on my playlists.  Timeless.

I joined my first real band while in junior high.  A three-piece group performed Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” in our cafeteria.  I was in awe!  Months later, I was the lead singer of the band. The guitar player, Lu Cacioppo, is now my other half in Ugly Melon.

The band was originally called Reign, and then eventually changed to Frost.  We played a bunch of gigs in the Toronto area.  Our parents had to sign waivers in order for us to play some of the clubs in town.  We had a blast!  We were close friends that spent so much time together, and rehearsed every day.

An interesting side note…

The video for Ugly Melon’s “Leave it all behind” brings the original members of Reign back together. Franklyn Wyles is on drums and John Liberatore is on bass.  We hope to perform with this lineup in the near future.

Back to the story…

Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, Aerosmith, and all the great bands of that era were in our repertoire.  We also played some original tunes.  None of them were really fine-tuned or mature sounding, but Lu keeps threatening to revive one of those early songs.

During those formative years, I spent nearly all my waking hours on my two passions, music and martial arts.  I consider myself so lucky to have found my lane(s) in life so early on.  As the saying goes…“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  So true!

Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of “My Rock and Roll Journey” where I share the path that I took in the metaphorical fork in the road, and the story of how Ugly Melon was formed.


My Rock and Roll Journey:  Tony Housh – Seasons After – Chapter 1

My Rock and Roll Journey:  Sal Costa – Smashing Satellites – Chapter 1

My Rock and Roll Journey:  Joey “Chicago” Walser – Devour The Day – Chapter 1

My Rock and Roll Journey:  Adam Troy – Sonic X – Chapter 1

My Rock and Roll Journey:  Shaun Soho – Crash Midnight – Chapter 1


 Inferno of Rock Report – MAY 2016

Inferno Of Rock Report

By Ian Liberman




Prince died on April 21, 2016.  Although his songs don’t fall under the category of hard rock/metal, his guitar playing (particularly on the Purple Rain soundtrack) would have easily fit within the genre.  Perhaps that is why the tributes from metal heroes have been pouring in since his passing, including:  Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Nikki Sixx, Tom Morello, Corey Taylor and more.



Nickelback – The band that critics love to hate

Why do critics and large groups of rock listeners hate Nickelback?  Salli Antonen (of the University of Eastern Finland) comments on this topic in her paper on the critics of the band. She found that that the critics decided that the popularity of Nickelback’s tunes demonstrated a lack of authenticity due to a formulation of songs, which was geared for the charts, rather than as an expression of the band.  However, Antonen offers another perspective…“by nullifying Nickelback’s authenticity, critics are actually authenticating themselves.”  Click here to read Antonen’s article in its entirety.



And in this corner…

The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony had a lot of bad feelings (as usual). Personally speaking, I think that Gene Simmons was right on the mark when he questioned whether NWA should be have inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a hip hop group. However, Simmons was wrong about hip hop’s artistic merit; it is creative and durable.  Ice Cube said that rock is an attitude, not a genre, but he is also totally wrong.  Rock, metal, hard rock, alternative rock are all integrated genres that are part of the same family, but hip hop doesn’t function in the same way.  It has no “rock spirit,” because there is no such thing. Aside from the Simmons/NWA tension, Steve Miller let it be known that he was treated like crap by the RRHOF, and Ritchie Blackmore was discouraged from showing up and playing with the original incarnation of Deep Purple.





The “Metal-tation” Movement

When I was enrolled in York University, in the ’70s, I registered for a comparative religion course that that was rooted in Zen Buddhism.  We had a teacher who indulged us all in the process of Zen meditation and the physical art or, as they liked to label it, hatha yoga.  I knew that that the meditation center around the corner would charge me hundreds of dollars to give me a mantra, and extend the spiritual learning for weeks, while I really only wanted some legitimate info on meditation and stress relief.  I got that info from the coolest teacher that I ever had.  He demonstrated how breathing, and any word, could be the key to spirituality without the supernatural.  This attitude would once again rear its scientific head again in the ’90s under the name of “mindfulness.”

There are two major forces in popular rock culture (meditation and yoga) that are ubiquitous throughout North America: Rage Yoga and Black Yoga.  They may appear, on the surface, to be overbearing or immature, but they are actually highly enjoyable methods to reach “nirvana” while listening to Nirvana.

Rage yoga originated in a pub in Calgary, Canada, where the creator (Lindsay Istace) decided to liven up a particular type of Vinyasa Yoga with metal music, beer and swear words as mantras. The Pied Piper of Yoga attracted many to her web-based cerebral enlightenment, which inspired a Kickstarter campaign to make these classes available everywhere.  The soundtrack to these classes varies from Metallica to Black Sabbath.

Black Yoga is a movement that integrates dark, heavy metal with Vinyasa movements and meditation.  In the U.S., the musicians from the band Black Yoga are members of the movement.  They curate metal and industrial music sets to coordinate with the meditation and yoga.

Their goal is to help people with drug addictions, mental illnesses, family problems and relationships through support and yoga.  As they say…“you cannot appreciate the light until you understand the darkness.”

The first Black Yoga class started off in urban Pittsburgh, PA.  The movement is now spreading out throughout the U.S.   Click here for more information about Black Yoga.

For those of you who already practice meditation, and want to delve into the “dark side,” get a new mantra and a set of curated metal for mindfulness, you can use streaming services Spotify or Slacker and choose your own set.  Apple also offers Yoga for Metal Sets.  I personally meditate to Metallica and the Beatles, and my mantra is really devilish. \m/




If trivia is up your alley, make sure to check out the Inferno of Rock Trivia Card Game available on Amazon or worldwide from Rock From Hell.


May-2016 Trivia Questions

  1. Which 2011 Academy Award Winner for Best Actor loves drumming to metal music since his last movie, which included Pantera, Metallica and Mastodon?


  1. Who pilots the Ed Force One?


  1. Led Zeppelin, Korn, and Metallica are the favourite bands of which pop artist:
  • Taylor Swift
  • Bruno Mars
  • Justin Bieber


  1. What is the common thread between Bad Company and Led Zeppelin?




[1] What was the highest-selling album in the last twenty-five years? Metallica’s Black album

[2] What Hammer Films horror actor had a successful metal music career until his death in 2015?  Christopher Lee

[3] Which late night comedy talk show marked the first television appearance by The Who in North America?  The Smothers Brothers Show in 1967.  

[4]  Disturbed’s video for “Land of Confusion” was animated by a famous artist. Who was he or she?  Todd McFarlane

[5]  Who was the famous artist that created the album cover for Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery?

A. Keith Thompson

B . R. Giger

C. Dado

D. Ito

NOTE:  Answers to May trivia questions will appear in the June Inferno of Rock Report.  If you think that you know the answers, e-mail us at  You may just win something pretty cool!



Next month, I will discuss the viability of the rock collectible business, and delve into whether metalheads have superior intelligence.

Joe Lynn Turner Live – A Rainbow “Revolution”

Joe Lynn Turner - Revolution - Amityville, NY - 2-27-16 - Hard Rock Daddy

By Adam Waldman

Life is filled with missed opportunities that end up in regret.  I’ve missed out on a number of concert opportunities through the years, but the one that has haunted me most was not seeing Rainbow on June 19, 1982 at Madison Square Garden.  As a parent, I can understand why my parents didn’t let me travel into New York City from Long Island to attend the concert.  However, it ended up being one of the greatest disappointments of my teenage years.  Although I got the chance to see Joe Lynn Turner fronting Deep Purple, it wasn’t the same as seeing Rainbow.

When Ritchie Blackmore started dropping hints that he was thinking about playing rock music again, I had no doubt that he would do so with Turner (the only singer to front both Rainbow and Deep Purple).  Like the rest of the rock world, I was shocked when Blackmore announced the members of the band that he put together as a “Rainbow reunion.”

All hope that I had of finally seeing one of my favorite all-time bands seemed to have been lost.  But on February 27, 2016, at Revolution (a Long Island rock club), I finally got the opportunity to see the show that I had missed out on nearly 34 years ago.

Although this was not a Rainbow reunion per se, seeing JLT perform a number of classic Rainbow songs in an intimate setting might have been even better (in some respects) than seeing a full-blown reunion in a large venue.

Steve Brown (Trixter) didn’t try to copy Blackmore’s signature guitar sound, but he nailed every song, and showcased an entertaining stage presence.  “Nailed” would also be an accurate description of Charlie Zeleny’s thunderous drumming, which helped to set the tone for a high octane version of Rainbow.  Rob Demartino’s bass playing provided a heavy bottom, and Paul Morris’ keyboards added another layer of depth to the overall sound.

Of course, the star of the show was JLT himself, who is every bit as good today as he was back in 1982 (when I missed out on seeing Rainbow), and in 1991 (when I saw him fronting Deep Purple).  From the stellar vocals to the engaging showmanship to the deep connection with the fans in attendance, JLT proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that age is nothing more than a number.  He is a true rock star in every sense of the word.  For his sake, I wish that Blackmore’s decision-making wasn’t so misguided, but selfishly speaking, I couldn’t have asked for a better Rainbow concert experience.

Even though the performance took place in a modest sized rock club, this truly was the type of show that made you feel like you were watching an arena concert from the glory days of hard rock.  Had this been an actual arena show, the experience would have been much different.  I certainly wouldn’t have been close enough to get hit with any droplets of spit as JLT belted out a setlist comprised of numerous personal favorites.  But there I stood, dead-center, bellied-up against the stage, singing along with the rest of the frenzied crowd to the collective soundtrack of our youth with JLT only inches away from me.

To my right, was a girl who was noticeably swooning in the presence of one of her rock heroes.  In between songs, we shared our enthusiasm for the show, and she told me that “it was like having an outer body experience.”  Words can’t accurately portray the glow on her face when JLT handed her a copy of the setlist as a souvenir.  I would come to find out later that her husband and 13-year old daughter were standing right behind her.  It’s hard to think of a better family night out than seeing JLT up-close-and-personal.  She too was forbidden by her parents to attend the Rainbow concert in June of 1982.  Imagine, two strangers sharing an incredible bond over the music that we love, and the disappointment of missing out on seeing the same Rainbow concert at Madison Square Garden.

It would be impossible to highlight the best moments of the show because there was never a dull moment.  However, a few moments stood out for me on a personal level.  The first was when JLT talked about all of the recent rock star deaths, and then paid a heartfelt tribute to his friend (and fellow Rainbow alum) Ronnie James Dio, before launching into an energetic version of “Man On The Silver Mountain.”  Having had the opportunity to have lengthy conversations with both RJD and JLT, I found this tribute to be particularly poignant.  After JLT bowed his head and then looked up to salute RJD, he gave me a fist bump.  It was as if he felt the meaning that the song had to me.

One of the things that you have to love about JLT is his willingness to be outspoken about the problems of the world.  Now, more than ever, his introduction to “Can’t Happen Here” really hit home, as our country is in a state of turmoil.  It also happens to be the song that started me on my Rainbow journey, so it had special meaning for me that goes beyond the troubled world of politics.  It was serendipitous that he was introducing this song in a club called Revolution (a point that he made to the crowd).

The show, affectionately dubbed “Boys Night Out” by JLT (to describe playing with the band), not only featured a collection of Rainbow hits, but also some classic Deep Purple songs and a powerful version of “Rising Force” (Yngwie Malmsteen).

Although I had hoped that I would get to see a true Rainbow reunion, it wasn’t in the cards because of Blackmore’s decision to form an entirely new band.  The disappointment of that decision, and the missed opportunity to see Rainbow in 1982, have both been alleviated by seeing JLT deliver a performance that will be remembered for many years to come.  If you’re a true Rainbow fan, do whatever it takes to see this show.

Music Discovery Monday – 12/21/15

Music Discovery Monday - Next To None (2)

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 12/21/15.

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.



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

NEXT TO NONE – “Blood On My Hands”

The current generation of teenagers has grown up in a different world, one with the threat of terrorism on American soil, and mass shootings (particularly in schools) occurring with regularity.  Most bands are either too old or too immature to write about this subject from a meaningful, first-hand perspective.  Of course, Next To None does not fall under the category of “most bands.”

Aside from the familial connection that Max Portnoy (drummer) has with Mike Portnoy, the band is made up of fellow musical prodigies: Ryland Holland (guitar), Kris Rank (bass) and Thomas Cuce (keys and vocals).  Ranging from ages 15-16, these teens are not only skilled beyond their years, but wise as well.

In an interview with Bravewords, Cuce discussed the inspiration for “Blood On My Hands” and the carefully planned writing process for the song…

“At the time [I wrote the lyrics] it seemed like every day there was a different person going crazy somewhere and shooting up a building or whatever, and I would ask myself ‘Why does this keep happening? What was that person thinking? What led them to do this?’ So I tried to put myself in this person’s head. I created a character and started from the aftermath of the event, which is where we first hear about it in the news.”

Of the song’s extended arrangement, he says, ‘It took us months to write this song and then months to learn it. We had a big dry erase board that we used to chart out all the parts with the time signatures until we had them memorized.”

With thought-provoking lyrics and complex song structures, the younger Portnoy and his bandmates are well on their way to becoming this generation’s Dream Theater.


Ghost Ship Octavius is a NYC-based band that describes their sound as “Melodic Progressive Heavy Metal,” an accurate description given all of the elements that they bring to the table.  Whereas some progressive metal can be so intensely chaotic that it only appeals to a very specific audience, Ghost Ship Octavius incorporates enough mainstream components to have more of a mass appeal to hard rock and metal fans in general.  However, this is not to say that their music doesn’t have its fair share of complexities that will appeal to diehard prog fans.

With “In Dreams,” the band has masterfully straddled the fence between catchy, melodic hooks, virtuosity and interesting, unpredictable time changes without ever wandering into the sensory overload territory.  Featuring Matt Wicklund (God Forbid, Warrel Dane, HIMSA) and Van Williams (Nevermore, Ashes of Ares), the band is rounded out by Dagna Silesia (Warrel Dane, The People Now) and up-and-coming frontman Adon Fanion.  The band is currently doing dates with Next To None.






The lead single from TFK’s forthcoming album, Exhale, provides another infectious song for the library of this highly successful crossover band.  While not a complete change in style, there is a bit of a different sound here than their recent songs, keeping the tempo and upbeat nature, but with a little less frenzy.  It’s a promising look at the follow up to the 2014 album, Inhale, likely to both please existing fans and add new ones.


WOLFMOTHER – “Victorious”

“Victorious” is the title track from the forthcoming (February 2016) album by an Australian band that I recently described as being more recognizable to U.S. listeners by sound than by name.  I don’t mean that as criticism, just as the reality that goes with the frequent use of their music in video games, sports arenas and so forth.  Songs like “Woman” and “Joker and the Thief” are now approaching a decade since release. Although the band has had two less successful albums in the interim, this new track feels (to me) like it may be the best chance at another breakout hit, which would be their first since 2005-06.






German keyboardist Malte Rathke (J.R. Blackmore) combed Europe for the right musicians for this progressive power metal project.  What began as a simple YouTube collaboration garnered so much interest, that it snowballed into a full-blown studio project.  The names may be new, but the musicianship is off the charts on this concept album that begins an epic tale from another world that is expected to span several albums.  Unlike some progressive outfits, they have put melody and hooks at the forefront of their compositions, making for some very memorable pieces.



Lethal Steel delivers hard-hitting, traditional-style heavy metal out of Sweden.  Twin guitars, a pounding rhythm section, and strong vocals combine for a familiar (but well-executed) sound.  Their new album, Legion Of The Night, boasts plenty of harmony with some amazing riffs.





LAST IN LINE – “Martyr”

The original members of Dio’s band (Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell) have come together to form Last In Line, rounded out by Andrew Freeman’s (Hurricane, Lynch Mob) unique and powerful vocals.  This driving and passionate track gets right down to business from the start.  Look for Heavy Crown, the debut album from this talented unit, in early 2016.


X JAPAN – “Born To Be Free”

X Japan formed more than 30 years ago, and haven’t made a studio album in 20 years (they were broken up from 1998 – 2007).  Their next studio release will finally arrive in March of 2016.  ”Born to be Free” (the first single from their upcoming release) is an inspiring change-of-pace track formed from a memorable melodic refrain with Toshi’s superior vocals atop a power/symphonic metal sound.  The beautiful piano intro and interlude make this an exceptional overall composition.



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





NOTE:  My Hard Rock Music Time Machine picks this week both pay homage to two bands that finally got elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after years of being inexplicably snubbed.


DEEP PURPLE – “Smoke On The Water” (1972)

Is it ridiculous to include a song with one of the most iconic riffs in rock and roll history on Music Discovery Monday?  Absolutely!  But it is much less ridiculous than the fact that it has taken Deep Purple so long to be recognized by the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” (quotes used to point out that the name is a misnomer).

It’s hard to take any establishment seriously that misses the mark by such a wide margin time and time again.  There is no logical explanation as to why a band that has been active since 1968 (with the exception of a hiatus from 1976-1984), had numerous hits and influenced countless other bands, is being recognized after artists that have nothing to do with rock and roll or its history.  Then again, logic rarely prevails when it comes to the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Had Deep Purple been inducted when the classic lineup reformed in 1984, things would have been a lot simpler.  As iconic as the band is, they are known as much for their lineup changes and internal strife as they are for their music.  Deep Purple’s long overdue induction will be clouded by controversy over which members get inducted, which members are asked to perform and which will even accept the invitation.



CHEAP TRICK – “I Want You To Want Me” (1978)

Like fellow “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” inductees Deep Purple, Cheap Trick also has a storied career.  Although they formed eight years later, they have never broken up, and have only had minor, temporary lineup changes.  Since their formation, this underrated quartet has released 16 studio albums and one of the most iconic live albums in rock and roll history (Cheap Trick at Budokan).

There aren’t many hit songs where the live version is the most well-known, but “I Want You To Want Me” definitely falls into that category.  Like “Smoke On The Water,” this song wasn’t chosen because it is undiscovered; it was chosen because of the place that it holds in rock and roll history, and to point out the absurdity that it has taken so long for Cheap Trick to be inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”





DEAD MAN’S CURSE “Shot To Hell” (2013)

Dead Man’s Curse announced last week that they will disband rather than continue on without their vocalist/drummer Mark Weerts, who got “an offer he couldn’t refuse” from an unnamed other band.  Pity, because this Dutch band made a positive impression on me when I first heard them two years ago, but then never really crossed my radar again.  “Shot To Hell” features a nice heavy groove with clean vocals.  I would have enjoyed hearing more from them, but time has a way of marching on, I suppose.  If you haven’t heard them before, then take a listen and consider what might have been.


NIGHT RANGER – “Seven Wishes” (1985)

I recently saw someone mention that it had been 30 years since the release of the third studio album by Night Ranger, which led me to marvel at how quickly time passes, and also at the fact that I can’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can still remember getting this album (on cassette) after a nearly hour-long drive to the nearest record store.  I also still remember my first listen to the album, with the title track being my favorite of the bunch (both then and now).  Lyrically, “Seven Wishes” is one of my favorites from Night Ranger’s catalog.  It’s an underrated song, from what is probably also an underrated album.





TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – “Christmas Nights in Blue” (2004)

Composer Paul O’Neill recruited members of the metal band Savatage, and the finest musicians and singers for a band whose music and world class tours have become a Christmas staple. Combining progressive metal, symphonic metal, classical music, and too many other elements to name, they have revitalized holiday music.  On this favorite from their third album, they even incorporate some blues.


PRETTY MAIDS – “A Merry Jingle” (1990)

Danish metal band Pretty Maids had some fun with rock legend Ian Gillan (of the finally Hall-of-Fame-inducted Deep Purple) to give us their headbanging take on some Christmas classics. Nothing should be this much fun!  They romp through some familiar tunes with style and playfulness.  Don’t miss Gillan’s sign-off at the end…“I told you I was drunk!”





ASTRAL DOORS – “Child of Rock n Roll” (2011)

“Child of Rock n Roll” – from 2011’s Jerusalem – is a great biopic-styled track from Sweden’s Astral Doors.  Both the music and Nils Patrik Johansson’s fantastic vocals are unmistakably inspired by Ronnie James Dio.  The band simply kicks ass with a traditional heavy metal reverb sound.


DARK NEW DAY – “Taking Me Alive” (2005)

American supergroup Dark New Day broke onto the scene with this track off of Twelve Years Silence back in 2005.  This powerful, raw, gritty track embodies its angry theme…“you’re never taking me alive.”  Brett Hestla’s passionate vocals and Clint Lowery’s wailing guitar work are the stand-out performances.

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…

Music Discovery Monday – 8/24/15

Music Discovery Monday - Joel Hoekstra's 13

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 8/24/15.

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, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Joel Hoekstra.  The Whitesnake guitarist discusses the inspiration and meaning behind “Anymore” – the first single from his upcoming solo project (Joel Hoekstra’s 13).



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

JOEL HOEKSTRA’S 13 – “Anymore”

It may seem a bit surprising that Joel Hoekstra has released a solo project after having joined Whitesnake fairly recently, but this album was in the works long before he joined the band.  The Whitesnake influence on “Anymore” – the first single to be released from his upcoming album, Dying To Live – offers further proof that Hoekstra was the perfect choice to replace Doug Aldrich in the band.  Although it isn’t likely to happen, the song would fit nicely into a Whitesnake set.

On “Anymore,” Hoekstra showcases a songwriting ability that rivals his outstanding guitar work.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have an all-star cast of musicians helping to bring the song to life – vocalist Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob), bassist Tony Franklin (Whitesnake, The Firm), drummer Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Coooper).  “Anymore” also features backing vocals by Jeff Scott Soto (who sings lead on some of the other tracks on the album).

Based on the talent and resumes of Hoekstra and the rest of the band, Joel Hoekstra’s 13 is undoubtedly a supergroup.  Unlike many modern-day supergroups, there is no talk of turning this into anything more than a side project.

“Anymore” offers a taste of what’s to come when Dying To Live is released.  In a recent conversation with Hoekstra, he said that the song falls somewhere in the middle of influences ranging from Foreigner to Dio.

During an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Hoekstra shared the meaning and inspiration behind “Anymore”

“The song is a song about overcoming obstacles in life to arrive where you’re finally meant to be.  Everybody’s got their demons and vices that they’re struggling with, and this is just about battling with them and ultimately winning.  Like the whole album, ‘Anymore’ is based on the theme of people fighting things in their life to get to where they’re meant to be.  I think that It strikes a chord with me. A couple of years ago, I just hit a point where I kind of decided exactly how I wanted to be living.  I made a laundry list of things that I wanted to change and the realistic steps that it would take to get to where I wanted to be.  I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I guess it was a turning point of sorts.  I think that the theme of the song is something that resonates with everyone.”



In 1974, Deep Purple released Burn, the first of three studio albums that David Coverdale recorded with the band.  Born out of a desire to reunite the Mark III lineup of Deep Purple by friend and former bandmate, Jon Lord (before his passing), Coverdale attempted to reach out to Ritchie Blackmore to bring the reunion to fruition.  When Coverdale and Blackmore couldn’t find common ground, and with the work on the songs already in progress, Coverdale’s wife suggested that they move forward with the project under the Whitesnake banner.  All of the members of Whitesnake were very enthusiastic about the prospect of recording updated versions of the songs that Coverdale wrote in his youth, and it shows in this inspired recreation of “Burn.”  If you mixed the colors white and purple, you would end up with a light shade of purple.  However, the blending of Whitesnake and Deep Purple is anything but light.  Quite the contrary!  This mixture offers the best of both worlds…the soulful, bluesy creation of Deep Purple and the energetic, dual-guitar assault of Whitesnake (Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach).  There is an inherent risk with trying to recapture the magic of a classic original, but on “Burn,” Whitesnake has done so with flying colors!





GLOOMBALL – “Blood Red World”

German five-piece that isn’t entirely “new” (having formed back in 2010), but their latest release sees them hit their stride with a heavier step.  I’ve liked several previous songs well enough, but this one does an excellent job of breaking through the clutter of releases out there, demanding that you pay attention.


RUBIKON – “Live That Lie”

The lead single from the just-released album, Delta, is probably the most radio-friendly song in the bunch, but that’s meant as a compliment.  The ability to mix a wide range of influences into something that’s got this much appeal is a definite talent.  There’s bits of ZZ Top in here, no shortage of blues and notable nods to 70s hard rock, yet what comes out is something bigger than any one influence.  They managed to come across feeling organic rather than contrived…just a darned good hard rock song.





POWER THEORY – “Cut And Run”

This week I’ll be focusing on power metal, simply because there are two amazing new tracks out by two amazing bands on the cutting edge of the genre.  In 2006, guitarist Bob Ballinger founded Power Theory in Philadelphia.  The band has gone through some lineup changes since, and today boasts the driving guitars of the founder and Nygil Hoch, the belligerent bass of Angelo D’Angelo, the unfaltering drums of Nick Bunczk, and the powerhouse (yet soulful) vocals of Jeff Rose. This new single roils with aggression, crashing down hard at every stroke.  It promises more great music from their upcoming album, Driven By Fear.  The band will be playing in Europe for the first time on Septemebr 5th, at the Hard Summer Festival in Bavaria, Germany, followed by an appearance in support of Belgian metal stars Fireforce.  Here in the USA, we’ll be waiting for them to come home and announce some new tour dates.


SEVEN WITCHES – “Better Days”

Loud and grooving with an addictive riff, “Better Days” storms the stage to announce these power metal veterans’ new album, The Way Of The Wicked (due out September 18th).  Jack Frost (Savatage, Belladonna, Metalium, Speed) returns, as always, on guitar.  Anthony Cross (Livesay, Shadow Image, Fischel’s Beast, Attacker) delivers some thick, smoky vocals.  Bassist Ronnie Parkes (Farcry, Tango Down, Reece, Bonfire) and drummer Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative, Danzig, Kill Devil Hill) pound out the rhythm section.  They each brandish impressive resumes standing alone; they fire on all cylinders playing here together.





WAMI – “Wild Woman”

WAMI is an acronym for veteran almost-supergroup members Doggie White, Vinny Appice, Marco Mendoza & Iggy Gwadera.  I say almost because Iggy Gwadera is a 16-year old Polish phenom guitarist breaking onto the scene.  “Wild Woman” is their first international release.  You can hear the rock and metal DNA in the thick and rich rhythm lines, wailing lead and licks and the story-line theme.  Iggy sounds like he’s been at this longer than his years.


ARCTURUS “Crashland”

“Crashland” showcases the epic, large scale sound of Arcturus – an avant-garde metal outfit from Norway.  Arcturus was named after the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, a major astronomical body since antiquity.  This track, from their March release Arcturian, features a rousing theme of venturing into the unknown.  Good and powerful vocals from ICS Vortex (not a typo, that’s what he’s called) and standout drumming from the appropriately nick-named Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg.


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





RAINBOW – “Lady Of The Lake”

Although Ronnie James Dio is widely considered to be one of the greatest voices in the history of hard rock and heavy metal, and Rainbow is a legendary band, much of the music that they made together is vastly underrated.  As far as legendary bands go, Rainbow may very well be the most underrated of all-time.  Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, the final Rainbow studio album with Dio, is nothing short of brilliant, yet, aside from the title track, most of the songs are unknown by the masses.  Almost any track off of the album could have been selected for Music Discovery Monday, but “Lady Of The Lake” was chosen because it exemplifies the vivid mystical world that lived inside Dio’s mind.  As is customary on many songs featuring RJD, there is a perfect blend of light and dark, intensity and beauty.  Ritchie Blackmore’s riffs are powerful and driving, as is the drumming of the late Cozy Powell on “Lady Of The Lake.”  If you haven’t delved into the entire Rainbow catalog, you’re missing out on something unique and timeless.


DEEP PURPLE – “Bad Attitude”

While Ritchie Blackmore’s work with Rainbow is underrated, his work with Deep Purple is not (with the exception of the clueless Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters).  Musically, there are few bands that can touch the work that Deep Purple created.  Unfortunately, the musical chemistry didn’t carry over to chemistry between the members of the band.  After a near-decade hiatus caused by internal strife, the band returned in 1984 for their highly-acclaimed reunion album, Perfect Strangers.  The follow-up album, The House of Blue Light, was met with much less fanfare, but still featured some outstanding tracks.  “Bad Attitude” is one of the tracks that received some airplay, but not nearly as much as it deserved.  Opening with the signature sound of Jon Lord’s Hammond organ, the song launches into an up-tempo, driving rhythm, highlighted by Ian Gillan’s distinct, emotive vocals.  Everything that you love about Blackmore’s guitar playing is featured in the song as well.  It’s been nearly three decades since the Mark II lineup of Deep Purple last recorded together.  Time has flown by since then…Gillan celebrated his 70th birthday this week.





POP EVIL “Broken And Betrayed” (2011)

The release of a new album actually sent me back to previous work for what could have easily been a fifth hit single from the War Of Angels album.  It happens that way sometimes; songs just don’t get the exposure as an album runs through its life cycle, so it’s good to go back and revisit now and then.  This one holds up very well, even four years and two albums later.


RATT “Shame, Shame, Shame” (1990)

It’s been 25 years since Ratt released their last gold album, DetonatorTimes were changing so there was only one major hit (“Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job”) from the record, along with a minor hit for the band’s only ballad, (“Giving Yourself Away”).  The best of the rest of the album might well be this track which was released as a promotional single in Japan.  Plenty of vintage Ratt sound in this song, from the final album to feature both Robbin Crosby and Juan Croucier.





FIREWIND – “Tomorrow Can Wait” (2002)

Continuing here in the Time Machine section with the power metal theme I adopted because of those great new power metal releases: Greek band Firewind has gone through numerous lead singers, but always seems to find a great one, and always has the virtuoso guitar and songwriting of Gus G to guarantee the highest quality power metal.  From their debut album, Between Heaven And Hell, this selection highlights the immense talents of everyone concerned, including the power of original singer Stephen Frederick and the passion and insane technique of Gus G.


TRAIL OF MURDER – “I Know Shadows” (2012)

In contrast to Firewind, which has gone through several lead singers but always found a great one, Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound) is one of those talented vocalists who always manages to surround himself with the best musicians.  By doing so, he manages to deliver quality power metal year in and year out, no matter where he finds himself.  Teaming up with guitarist Daniel Olsson and bassist Pele Akerlind to form Swedish band Trail Of Murder, in 2012 he mesmerized fans with this melancholy, yet pounding track.





REDLINE – “The Edge Of Falling” (2012)

Redline is a hard rock band from Birmingham in the UK.  “The Edge of Falling” is great hard rock with infectious, melodic choruses and solid musicianship throughout.  Notables are Kez Taylor’s bright and strong vocals, and Ade Yeomans’ lead guitar work.


FRIAR RUSH – “Voiceless Stranger” (2006)

Friar Rush is a power/prog metal group from Sydney, Australia that has been around since 2003.  “Voiceless Stranger” comes from their only studio album, Alauda Sonare Suavis.  This band has all the elements, which makes you wonder why we haven’t heard more of them.  This track features the articulate guitar work of Andrew Najdek and outstanding vocals from Justin Brockbank, kept in time expertly by Alcides “Seed” Stowe on the skins.

Music Discovery Monday – 3/16/15

Music Discovery Monday - The Glorious Sons

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 3/16/15.

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.

Some of this week’s songs appear on the recently published Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2014.

This week’s featured artist is The Glorious Sons. Check out the story that frontman, Brett Emmons, shared behind the meaning of the band’s latest single, “Heavy.”


 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)


In the early 90s, the Black Crowes (featuring the Robinson brothers) rose to fame with their brand of Rolling Stones-inspired rock.  Fast forward two decades, and it looks as though history is about to repeat itself with Canadian rockers, The Glorious Sons (featuring the Emmons brothers).  Although they are more edgy than either of the aforementioned bands, The Glorious Sons have built their sound upon the same rock and roll foundation.  “Heavy” is not only the title of the song, but also an accurate description of the direction that the band is taking with their sound, due in large part to Brett Emmons’ vocals.  Emmons takes a little bit of Mick Jagger and mixes it with an Ian Astbury vibe to create a vocal style that stands out as unique in the current hard rock landscape.

Brett Emmons shared the meaning behind “Heavy” with Hard Rock Daddy…

“I was going through a time in my life when I’d felt betrayed by a couple of people who were close to me. At the time, I didn’t know how to deal with the way they made me feel. I was watching The Sopranos one day, and Junior said to Tony, ‘Next time you come in, you come heavy or not at all.’ I instantly picked up my guitar and started strumming and singing to the line. The song became a little more violent than I’d expected, but ultimately, it’s about cutting the negative influences out of your life.”


RIVAL SONS – “Open My Eyes”

Unlike The Glorious Sons, Rival Sons do not hail from Canada, although they have inexplicably achieved greater chart success in the Great White North than they have in their native United States.  In the fall of 2014, “Open My Eyes” briefly cracked the Active Rock Top 50 with around 100 total spins, whereas the same song went all the way to the top of the Canadian Active Rock charts.  Although they do it with their own modern flair, this California quartet delivers a timeless, classic rock sound with “Open My Eyes” that is very much in Led Zeppelin’s wheelhouse.




I PREVAIL – “Love, Lust, And Liars”

The music business is a funny thing.  There’s plenty of buzz lately about this post-hardcore band from Michigan, courtesy of their cover of a pop song.   The funny part is that their debut album contains several songs that are simply better than the one that’s generated the attention.  The contrast between their clean/rough vocals is considerable, but that may be what makes it work as well as it does on this tale of a relationship that’s in worse shape than the ruined buildings that provide the backdrop for their video.


FURYON – “These Four Walls”

The sophomore release from this U.K. outfit will likely increase comparisons to a band that’s obviously an influence.  Still, there are certainly worse things to say about a band than “they kind of bring Alter Bridge to mind.”   Certainly not a clone by any means, vocalist Matt Mitchell is a genuine talent, and Rick Beato (Shinedown, Fozzy) helps highlight that with his production.




ARCANE – “Unturning”

A tapping guitar riff introduces this piece, followed by powerful bass riffs and compelling vocals.  The drive slows in the middle, only to return full force in an ending that gradually builds until it finally explodes.  Out of Australia, this is progressive metal with shades of Tool, from Known/Learned, a double disc concept album with breathtaking depth.


INLEGEND – “Threatened”

There is a pop and techno quality to the metal of German band InLegend, with touches of industrial metal, that work wonderfully together.  There are no guitar solos, and unlike most metal, the music is written more around piano than guitar riffs.  This song in particular opens with gorgeous piano and a galloping beat.  The band was formed by the drummer from Van Canto, a metal band with no instruments (except drums), but voices that amazingly mimic the instruments.  Rewarding stuff for those listeners open to something a little different in their metal.




EUROPE “The Second Day”

Joey Tempest and John Norum are back, leading Europe to another solid album, War of Kings.  Tempest shows he’s still got that great, bluesy voice amid Norum’s great guitar work and the band’s trademark sound.


BEYOND THE BLACK – “Running To The Edge”

German metal band Beyond The Black debuts with Songs of Love and Death.  Jennifer Haben shows us yet another outstanding female lead in metal with a great tone (as opposed to sheer power).  She’s supported by a thick, heavy rhythm line, dueling guitars and a slight symphonic touch.  “Running to the Edge” will echo in your head for a bit after it’s finished.





VOLBEAT – “Fallen” (2010)

“Fallen” is a fairly recent track that did receive radio play, but it is included in this week’s Music Discovery Monday because of the lyrical content.  With arguably the most distinct voice in hard rock today, Michael Poulsen brings the song to life with his passionate delivery.  Although “Fallen” has an uplifting vibe due to its catchy melody and hook, it becomes somewhat bittersweet when you realize that the lyrics offer a poignant message to a father who has passed away.  During this time of year, this song has special meaning to me, as another birthday passes for my father without us being able to celebrate together.


DEEP PURPLE – “Child In Time” (1970)

Keeping with the theme of my selections this week, we travel all the way back to 1970 in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine to an epic Deep Purple track.  “Child In Time” is around 10 minutes long, but because it is so powerful and intense, you barely even notice.  They simply do not make music like this anymore.  The song opens with the signature sound of Jon Lord’s Hammond organ before Ian Gillan’s soulful vocals kick in, highlighted by ungodly high falsetto notes drenched with anguish.  Ritchie Blackmore shows why he is one of the greatest guitarists of all-time during the extended jamming in the middle of the song. Gillan was only 25 years old when he hit the high notes in this live video.  Amazingly, he was still able to hit those same notes when I saw the band play just days before his 43rd birthday in 1988.  In a lifetime of rock and roll memories, that one still stands out to this day!




RED LINE CHEMISTRY – “Dumb Luck” (2010)

Sandwiched between their 2013 album, Tug Of War, and the soon to be re-released 2006 album, Chemical High & a Hand Grenade, was a 2011 album entitled Dying For A Living, which provided the first taste of this Missouri band for many listeners.  This track lands somewhere in the still grunge-influenced segment of the post-grunge era.  It’s interesting to look back just a few years and see where the band was at that moment and wonder if it provides clues as to where they may head in the future.



ARANADA – “Break Away” (2013)

With the release of a new album now just weeks away (due May 2015), it seems like a good time to look back at the breakthrough of this Oklahoma four-piece.  While Stop The World produced three solid radio hits, the number could have easily grown to four if this up-tempo rocker had been chosen for a push.  The potential for a strong follow-up release makes their upcoming project one of the more interesting releases on the calendar this year.




VAN CANTO – “Lost Forever” (2010)

Van Canto somehow delivers brilliant metal with no instruments (except drums).  While this is a cappella, the voices do not merely harmonize with each other, but actually mimic the instruments that are missing (but which you’ll swear at times are there!).  With big hooks and an addictive chorus, “Lost Forever” is a wonderful introduction to Van Canto.  Also, check out their covers of classic metal songs such as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, as well as some lesser known (but no less brilliant) metal songs. 



FIREWIND – “Edge Of A Dream” (2012)

The most hauntingly beautiful song of 2012, “Edge of a Dream” gave Greek power metal band Firewind a chance to show their softer side.  The writing is sublime, the execution perfect. They brought in Apocalyptica to provide a cello accompaniment, but it is a tribute to the genius of guitarist Gus G that his guitar solo somehow manages to surpass that haunting addition in emotion and depth.





DRAGONFORCE – “Through The Fire And Flames” (2006)

DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” is one of the fastest, most synchronous metal tracks I have ever heard.  The speed on both lead guitars is amazing (Sam Totman & Herman Li), remarkably kept in time by the unbelievable speed of Gee Anzalone’s machine gun drums.  Great British power & glory metal.


BUCKETHEAD – “Nottingham Lace” (2005)

No lyrics here, just fantastic, all-around guitar talent in a strange wrapper of Halloween’s Mike Meyers and Kentucky Fried Chicken (the bucket).  Buckethead (a.k.a. Brian Patrick Carroll) is as prolific as he is talented (Enter the Chicken is one of over 150 albums to his credit).  Check out the live version of this track to complete the picture and witness his prodigious skill.



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