Hard Rock Daddy’s HRD Radio Report provides a weekly look at the Top 50 songs on the Mediabase Active Rock Chart. Using the actual spins that each song in the Top 50 has received in the second quarter of 2016, we have compiled a ranking of the songs by spin totals. It should be noted that this recap is based solely on spin totals, not editorial opinion. Below the Top 50 Active Rock songs of the second quarter of 2016, you will find the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs for the same time period.
|Q2 RANK||ARTIST||SONG TITLE||TOP 50 SPINS|
|1||VOLBEAT||“The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”||21,853|
|3||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“My Nemesis”||17,693|
|4||DISTURBED||“The Sound Of Silence”||16,335|
|5||BRING ME THE HORIZON||“Happy Song”||15,419|
|6||RED SUN RISING||“Emotionless”||14,044|
|7||GHOST||“From The Pinnacle To The Pit”||13,065|
|8||RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS||“Dark Necessities”||12,558|
|9||SHINEDOWN||“Asking For It”||12,445|
|11||3 DOORS DOWN||“In The Dark”||10,492|
|13||PAPA ROACH||“Falling Apart”||9,458|
|14||A DAY TO REMEMBER||“Paranoia”||8,922|
|16||ASKING ALEXANDRIA||“Here I Am”||8,025|
|17||SICK PUPPIES||“Stick To Your Guns”||7,917|
|20||POP EVIL||“Take It All”||6,315|
|21||DEVOUR THE DAY||“Lightning In The Sky”||6,149|
|23||ROB ZOMBIE||“Get High”||5,222|
|24||FOALS||“Mountain At My Gates”||5,049|
|25||ADELITA’S WAY||“Bad Reputation”||4,731|
|26||BLINK 182||“Bored To Death”||4,572|
|27||HOLY WHITE HOUNDS||“Switchblade”||4,211|
|28||AVATAR||“The Eagle Has Landed”||4,163|
|29||THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH||“Running With Giants”||4,039|
|30||KILLSWITCH ENGAGE||“Hate By Design”||3,824|
|31||FROM ASHES TO NEW||“Through It All”||3,511|
|32||CHEAP TRICK||“When I Wake Up Tomorrow”||3,283|
|34||MONSTER TRUCK||“Don’t Tell Me How To Live”||3,004|
|36||LIKE A STORM||“Break Free”||2,632|
|37||TWENTY ONE PILOTS||“Ride”||2,575|
|38||BREAKING BENJAMIN||“Ashes Of Eden”||2,571|
|39||SHAMAN’S HARVEST||“In Chains”||2,445|
|40||BLACK STONE CHERRY||“In Our Dreams”||2,438|
|41||TRIVIUM||“Dead And Gone”||2,255|
|42||ESCAPE THE FATE||“Remember Every Scar”||2,186|
|44||ONE LESS REASON||“Where Were You?”||1,927|
|45||THE STRUTS||“Kiss This”||1,679|
|47||FOO FIGHTERS||“Saint Cecilia”||1,600|
|50||STITCHED UP HEART||“Finally Free”||1,333|
Because SiriusXM’s Octane is the most influential Active Rock station in the country, we are also including the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs of the second quarter of 2016. This recap was compiled using a unique ranking system created by Hard Rock Daddy. This ranking system is based on a formula that awards points for each position on the weekly countdown. Like the Active Rock Chart, these rankings are based solely on numbers, not editorial opinion.
|Q2 RANK||ARTIST||SONG TITLE|
|2||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“My Nemesis”|
|3||VOLBEAT||“The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”|
|4||KILLSWITCH ENGAGE||“Hate By Design”|
|5||SHINEDOWN||“Asking For It”|
|6||RED SUN RISING||“Emotionless”|
|7||A DAY TO REMEMBER||“Paranoia”|
|10||AVATAR||“The Eagle Has Landed”|
|11||PAPA ROACH||“Falling Apart”|
|12||SHAMAN’S HARVEST||“In Chains”|
|13||DISTURBED||“The Sound Of Silence”|
|14||NOTHING MORE||“If I Were”|
Hard Rock Daddy’s HRD Radio Report provides a weekly look at the Top 50 songs on the Mediabase Active Rock Chart. Using the actual spins that each song in the Top 50 has received in the first quarter of 2016, we have compiled a ranking of the songs by spin totals. It should be noted that this recap is based solely on spin totals, not editorial opinion. Below the Top 50 Active Rock songs of the first quarter of 2016, you will find the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs for the same time period.
|RANK||ARTIST||SONG TITLE||TOP 50 SPINS|
|1||SHINEDOWN||“State Of My Head”||22,441|
|2||POP EVIL||“Ways To Get High”||18,342|
|3||FOO FIGHTERS||“Saint Cecilia”||16,789|
|4||NOTHING MORE||“Here’s To The Heartache”||14,934|
|6||DISTURBED||“The Sound Of Silence”||13,995|
|7||3 DOORS DOWN||“In The Dark”||13,047|
|8||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“Wash It Away”||12,538|
|11||BRING ME THE HORIZON||“Happy Song”||11,021|
|12||SAINT ASONIA||“Let Me Live My Life”||9,918|
|13||RED SUN RISING||“Emotionless”||9,504|
|15||FROM ASHES TO NEW||“Through It All”||9,251|
|16||TRIVIUM||“Until The World Goes Cold”||8,790|
|17||CAGE THE ELEPHANT||“Mess Around”||8,051|
|18||PAPA ROACH||“Falling Apart”||7,815|
|19||SHAMAN’S HARVEST||“In Chains”||7,668|
|20||ADELITA’S WAY||“Bad Reputation”||5,578|
|21||THREE DAYS GRACE||“Fallen Angel”||5,434|
|22||THE STRUTS||“Kiss This”||5,426|
|23||HALESTORM||“I Am The Fire”||5,154|
|25||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“My Nemesis”||4,806|
|26||THEORY OF A DEADMAN||“Blow”||4,531|
|27||STITCHED UP HEART||“Finally Free”||4,277|
|30||PARKWAY DRIVE||“Vice Grip”||4,025|
|32||ARANDA||“We Are The Enemy”||3,498|
|33||ROB ZOMBIE||“Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO”||3,357|
|35||ESCAPE THE FATE||“Alive”||3,018|
|36||ALL THAT REMAINS||“Victory Lap”||2,940|
|38||DEVOUR THE DAY||“Lightning In The Sky”||2,676|
|41||FOALS||“Mountain At My Gates”||2,138|
|42||ANDREW WATT||“Ghost In My Head”||2,110|
|44||GHOST||“From The Pinnacle To The Pit”||1,973|
|45||DROWNING POOL||“By The Blood”||1,915|
|46||NATHANIEL RATELIFF / NIGHTSWEATS||“S.O.B.”||1,623|
|47||KILLSWITCH ENGAGE||“Hate By Design”||1,545|
|49||BLACK STONE CHERRY||“In Our Dreams”||1,390|
Because SiriusXM’s Octane is the most influential Active Rock station in the country, we are also including the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs of the first quarter of 2016. This recap was compiled using a unique ranking system created by Hard Rock Daddy. This ranking system is based on a formula that awards points for each position on the weekly countdown. Like the Active Rock Chart, these rankings are based solely on numbers, not editorial opinion.
|YTD RANK||ARTIST||SONG TITLE|
|1||Bring Me The Horizon||“Happy Song”|
|2||Trivium||“Until The World Goes Cold”|
|3||Red Sun Rising||“Emotionless”|
|4||Saint Asonia||“Let Me Live My Life”|
|5||Shaman’s Harvest||“In Chains”|
|6||Five Finger Death Punch||“My Nemesis”|
|7||Parkway Drive||“Vice Grip”|
|8||Shinedown||“State Of My Head”|
|9||Pop Evil||“Ways To Get High”|
|10||Five Finger Death Punch||“Wash It All Away”|
|11||From Ashes To New||“Through It All”|
|12||Nothing More||“Here’s To The Heartache”|
|13||Killswitch Engage||“Hate By Design”|
|15||Papa Roach||“Falling Apart”|
By Adam Waldman
The words under my high school yearbook photo read…“Dream on, dream until your dreams come true.” It never dawned on me when I used that famous Aerosmith lyric that I didn’t really know what my dreams even were. When you’re graduating high school, the world is your oyster and the possibilities are endless.
It wasn’t until I started working in the music industry that my dreams started to take shape, and even then, it was several years later that I found my true calling. To quote Aerosmith once again…“Life’s a journey, not a destination, and I just can’t tell, just what tomorrow brings.”
Truth be told, when Hard Rock Daddy launched three years ago on this date, there were no maps for the path ahead. It was, for all intents and purposes, a road trip with no planned destination. Over the past three years, there have been moments of triumph and moments of defeat, all of which helped to shape the site into what it is today.
By no means has Hard Rock Daddy reached its destination. It’s a work in progress, and I suspect that it always will be. As the saying goes…“If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.” Anniversaries are the perfect time to take a moment to reflect back on the journey so far, while at the same time, planning for the road ahead.
Over the past three years, Hard Rock Daddy has become a destination for hard rock music fans around the world to keep tabs on Active Rock radio with the weekly recap of the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown and the HRD Radio Report, and the top selling hard rock albums with weekly Billboard reports. Most importantly, Hard Rock Daddy has become a resource for those looking to discover hard rock and metal artists who don’t otherwise get the attention that they deserve on Music Discovery Monday.
2015 was a breakthrough year for Hard Rock Daddy, as the site eclipsed 1,000,000 annual page views. Looking back to March of 2013, I never would have imagined such a fast growth trajectory. While the journey so far has been amazing, it is the future that has me so energized.
Starting this month, Hard Rock Daddy will be introducing some exciting new features, with more planned to be announced in the coming months. On Friday, March 5th, we will be launching a new monthly column called “The Inferno Of Rock Report.” This new feature will take a look at hard rock news, industry news and trends, and offer up some challenging hard rock trivia questions. Written by Ian Liberman (creator of the Inferno Of Rock trivia game), this column promises to be something totally unique.
Also making its debut this month is a new feature that will give Hard Rock Daddy readers a backstage pass into the lives of a number of hard rock artists. The details of this new feature will be revealed in an upcoming announcement. Suffice it to say that this is the biggest undertaking on the Hard Rock Daddy journey so far, but it is well worth it.
To the readers of Hard Rock Daddy around the world, I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude for your continued support. Without you, the site never would have been able to make the impact that it has. I also want to give special thanks to Jon Loveless, Rob Dell’Aquila and Chris Herzegovitch for the weekly contributions that they each make to give our audience an even greater breadth of music to discover.
Stay tuned for more announcements to come in the near future…
HRD RADIO REPORT
The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by AllAccess.com), and appears every Tuesday on HardRockDaddy.com. The HRD Radio Report digs deeper into the weekly Active Rock charts, providing commentary, reviews, recommendations and predictions. It also features opinion pieces on chart action and the music business in general.
Many of the artists featured on the Active Rock charts have already been reviewed on HardRockDaddy.com.
Click on the hyperlinked song titles to read song reviews, and the hyperlinked artist names to read album reviews.
The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 4/25/15. All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:
|CHART POSITION THIS WEEK||CHART POSITION LAST WEEK||ARTIST||SONG TITLE||RADIO SPINS THIS WEEK|
|1||3||ZAC BROWN BAND (f. Chris Cornell)||“Heavy Is The Head”||1995|
|2||2||PRETTY RECKLESS||“Follow Me Down”||1797|
|3||1||OFFSPRING||“Coming For You”||1782|
|5||6||SLASH||“Bent To Fly”||1331|
|6||8||THEORY OF A DEADMAN||“Angel”||1230|
|8||9||BRING ME THE HORIZON||“Drown”||1123|
|9||13||THREE DAYS GRACE||“Human Race”||988|
|10||11||ROYAL BLOOD||“Little Monster”||933|
|12||14||TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT||“Take It Back”||850|
|13||15||WE ARE HARLOT||“Dancing On Nails”||796|
|14||16||AWOLNATION||“Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”||775|
|16||18||OTHERWISE||“Coming For The Throne”||570|
|18||17||LIKE A STORM||“Wish You Hell”||545|
|19||21||THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH||“Unraveled Road”||479|
|20||22||DEVOUR THE DAY||“Faith”||462|
|26||19||ALL THAT REMAINS||“This Probably Won’t End Well”||323|
|27||26||IN THIS MOMENT||“Sex Metal Barbie”||318|
|28||31||AMARANTHE||“Drop Dead Cynical”||280|
|29||29||FALLING IN REVERSE||“God If You Are Above”||271|
|30||27||MARILYN MANSON||“Deep Six”||239|
|31||33||SONS OF TEXAS||“Baptized In The Rio Grande”||216|
|32||38||ARANDA||“Don’t Wake Me”||213|
|33||34||OF MICE & MEN||“Never Giving Up”||211|
|35||37||STARS IN STEREO||“Fair-Weather Friend”||189|
|36||35||CAGE THE ELEPHANT||“Cigarette Daydreams”||172|
|38||36||KID ROCK||“First Kiss”||151|
|39||48||CROBOT||“Legend Of The Spaceborne”||149|
|40||56||MUMFORD & SONS||“The Wolf”||148|
|41||44||ADELITA’S WAY||“I Get Around”||147|
|43||41||BRIDGE TO GRACE||“Bitch”||141|
|46||53||YOUNG GUNS||“Rising Up”||107|
|47||55||KILL IT KID||“Blood Stop And Run”||97|
|48||47||DANKO JONES||“Do You Wanna Rock”||94|
|49||58||RIVAL SONS||“Electric Man”||85|
PUBLISHER’S PICK OF THE WEEK by Adam Waldman
SONIC X – “Pray”
Thanks to SiriusXM’s Octane, bands like Sonic X have an opportunity to be exposed to an audience that is hungry to discover new music, but doesn’t get the chance to in most cases on traditional Active Rock radio stations. Although “Pray” is far from being in heavy rotation, at least it is getting some attention from Octane. Active Rock radio programmers would be wise to follow Octane’s lead and jump on this track to add a spark to playlists that have a tendency to remain stagnant at times. This intense track hits you like a ton of bricks with its heavy bottom and driving rhythm, pulling back at times to add to the dramatic effect of its heavier moments. Highlighted by nice vocal harmonies and guitar parts that are reminiscent of Five Finger Death Punch’s “Lift Me Up,” this track is a perfect fit on Active Rock radio. If Sonic X was already a household name, there is no doubt that “Pray” would make a significant impact on Active Rock radio, while also making its presence felt on the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown.
THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless
KING OF THE HILL
As expected, Zac Brown Band (f. Chris Cornell) reaches the top of the Mediabase Active Rock Airplay chart this week with “Heavy Is The Head,” which received a sizable boost in spins this week, while the former #1 (Offspring) slipped a bit, and The Pretty Reckless remained essentially flat. All of this made what appeared likely in recent weeks come to pass. A strong jump in airplay for Breaking Benjamin now clearly marks them as the next likely successor to the throne with “Failure.”
NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT
Format core artist (Three Days Grace) and relative newcomers (Royal Blood) both crack the Top 10 this week, while Thousand Foot Krutch and Devour The Day climb into the Top 20…
The curious case of Muse continues this week, as they oddly have two different singles both climbing the chart simultaneously…
A total of six new arrivals in the Top 50 this week might suggest a major turnover to freshen the playlists as aging hits exit, however, appearances can be deceiving. Only two of the departing songs were clear-cut “hits,” while the other four were only marginally (or barely) notable in terms of airplay nationally. Still seven songs on the chart for 20 weeks or more, including one that’s now remained in play for 26 straight weeks, and another for 25 weeks. Thankfully one of the departures finally exited after 30 weeks!
THREE UP & THREE DOWN
Zac Brown f. Chris Cornell – “Heavy Is The Head”
Breaking Benjamin – “Failure”
Nothing More – “Jenny”
Foo Fighters – “Congregation”
Halestorm – “Apocalyptic”
Incubus – “Absolution Calling”
A lengthy stay at the top seems likely for the current #1 song, with only the rabid radio support for the return of Breaking Benjamin to threaten it. If not for that detail, a Foo Fighter-esque extended stay at the top seems like a distinct possibility, and even now, I might not rule that out.
That’s all for this week. Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/
The Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2014 takes the place of the regular countdown as the year comes to a close. Hard Rock Daddy will be publishing the Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of the 2014 later in the week, including a handful of songs from this list, and many others as well.
The Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2014 video playlist (below) can also be found on www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived weekly playlists from 2013 (including the Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013).
Click on the hyper-linked song titles below the video playlist to read the reviews that were featured on Hard Rock Daddy during the year.
- “This Is The Time (Ballast)” – NOTHING MORE
- “The Devil In I” – SLIPKNOT
- “Wrong Side Of Heaven” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
- “My Demons” – STARSET
- “Words As Weapons” – SEETHER
- “Breaking Skin” – NONPOINT
- “Room To Breathe” – YOU ME AT SIX
- “Torn To Pieces” – POP EVIL
- “Something Different” – GODSMACK
- “Drop Dead Cynical” – AMARANTHE
- “Moth” – HELLYEAH
- “Moving On” – ASKING ALEXANDRIA
- “The Last One Alive” – DEMON HUNTER
- “Villainy Thrives” – TRIVIUM
- “Painkiller” – THREE DAYS GRACE
- “Take The Bullets Away” – WE AS HUMAN (featuring Lacey Sturm)
- “Stars” – SIXX: A.M.
- “This Means War” – AVENGED SEVENFOLD
- “Darker Side Of The Moon” – OTHERWISE
- “Hater” – KORN
- “Would You Still Be There” – OF MICE & MEN
- “Sick Like Me” – IN THIS MOMENT
- “Drown” – THEORY OF A DEADMAN
- “Reincarnate” – MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
- “Wish You Hell” – LIKE A STORM
- “Respect” – DEVOUR THE DAY
- “Take Out The Gunman” – CHEVELLE
- “Doc Holliday” – VOLBEAT
- “Hail The Apocalypse” – AVATAR
- “Drown” – BRING ME THE HORIZON
Do you loathe injustice? Do you hate seeing innocent people suffering at the hands of unspeakable evil? Trivium’s latest single, “Villainy Thrives,” perfectly captures the feelings of rage that build up inside all of those who long for justice, and seek retribution to evil doers.
The follow-up single to “Strife” has been justifiably climbing up the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown in recent weeks. An incredible, modern-day anthem of rage, the rising popularity of “Villainy Thrives” happens to be coinciding with the disturbing news of recent times.
Everyone has their own injustices that they are passionate about, although the most heinous ones tend to be shared by the vast majority. The beauty of “Villainy Thrives” is that offers a cathartic release to listeners who may connect with the song on different levels.
“Villainy Thrives” features aggressive guitars, thunderous drums, haunting verses and melodic, anthemic choruses. The powerfully intelligent lyrics are disconcerting at times, especially when they are torturously growled, but that is part of what makes the song impactful. Invoking a visceral response to thought-provoking lyrics is a defining attribute of many great metal songs, “Villainy Thrives” included.
To paraphrase Aerosmith, “half the year is in books written pages,” so the time has come to look back on the Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs for the first half of 2014.
2013 was a stellar year for hard rock music, and 2014 is shaping up to be just as good, if not better. While a number of the top Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown songs for the first half of 2014 were actually released in 2013, in recent weeks, songs released this year are starting to make a real impact, and should have a big presence in the year-end recap.
Each week, Hard Rock Daddy features a recap of the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown. Since its launch in March of 2013, HRD has become the go-to destination for Octane fans to track both current and archived recaps of the countdown, in addition to each week’s playlist, which is also featured on the Hard Rock Daddy Network.
Tracking the Big ‘Uns Countdown from the first week of January of this year to the last week of June, HardRockDaddy.com has created a unique formula to rank the songs heard on the countdown.
The following 15 songs have made the biggest impact in the first half of 2014. Click on any hyperlink to read Hard Rock Daddy reviews of the song/band.
 “Stardust” – Gemini Syndrome
The top song of the year has had a somewhat puzzling run on the Big ‘Uns Countdown. It was featured on the countdown for the first 20 weeks of the year, spending several weeks at #1, and never dropping below #4, before inexplicably dropping off the countdown entirely and never returning.
 “My Demons” – Starset
In recent weeks, Starset’s song “Carnivore” has started to make an impact, however “My Demons” is the song that put them on the Octane map, having spent the first 22 weeks of the year on the countdown. Aside from the first few weeks of the year, the song was a mainstay in the top 5, peaking at #1, before also having an inexplicable drop off of the countdown entirely.
 “Love The Way You Hate Me” – Like A Storm
It’s safe to say that Like A Storm is the only band on the list with a song that features a didgeridoo. Then again, they are also the only band from New Zealand making an impact on the countdown. “Love The Way You Hate Me” has been a mainstay on the countdown. Before dropping off this week, the song had spent 24 consecutive weeks on the Big ‘Uns Countdown, peaking for several weeks in the #1 position.
 “Torn To Pieces” – Pop Evil
Onyx has been a huge album for Pop Evil when it comes to being represented on the countdown. Following in the footsteps of “Trenches” and “Deal With The Devil,” “Torn To Pieces” is the latest song to become a Big ‘Uns Countdown fixture. The song has spent the past 14 weeks on the countdown, peaking at #1 and spending several weeks in the top 5.
 “Shepherd Of Fire” – Avenged Sevenfold
Saying that Avenged Sevenfold is revered on Octane would be a tremendous understatement. The title track off of Hail To The King basically owned the Big ‘Uns Countdown in 2013, and the two follow-up singles have spent significant time on the countdown in 2014. During the first 14 weeks of the year, “Shepherd Of Fire” took over for “Hail To The King,” peaking at #1 before yielding to “This Means War” in the 15th week of 2014.
 “Strife” – Trivium
“Strife” has had perhaps the most puzzling run on the countdown. After its initial 4-week run, it dropped off for a week then returned for a five-week run before dropping off for two weeks. Making a striking re-entry, the first week back on the countdown (after a two-week hiatus), “Strife” reached its peak position at #1. It spent three more weeks on the countdown before dropping off permanently.
 “Would You Still Be There” – Of Mice & Men
The first song in the Top 15 from a 2014 album release, “Would You Still Be There” has been a juggernaut in recent weeks. With the exception of one week, the song has been featured on the Big ‘Uns Countdown for the past 18 weeks, reaching its peak position this week at #3.
Anyone who has listened to Octane in the past week or so has definitely heard the push that they are making for Nothing More (an Octane Accelerator band). In addition to replaying their fascinating interview throughout the week, the station has also been playing several songs off of the band’s self-titled label release, which just came out last week. “This Is The Time (Ballast)” has come on like gangbusters, spending the past six weeks in the top 5, and the past three weeks in the #1 position. Unless the song gets replaced on the countdown by a follow-up single, this may end up being the song of the year on the Big ‘Uns Countdown by the time December rolls around.
 “This Means War” – Avenged Sevenfold
As was previously mentioned, “This Means War” took over where “Shepherd Of Fire” left off. After an 11-week run, the last six of which were spent in the top 5, A7X finally dropped off of the countdown. The song spent two weeks in the #1 position during its run. As the only band with two songs in the Top 15, A7X and Big ‘Uns Countdown have become synonymous. This week is the first week in a long time that they weren’t represented on the countdown at all.
 “House Of The Rising Sun” – Five Finger Death Punch
Like a handful of other bands, Five Finger Death Punch has been well-represented on the Big ‘Uns Countdown over the past year or so. “House Of The Rising Sun” enjoyed a 13-week run over the course of 14 weeks on the countdown. While it didn’t dominate the countdown the way that “Lift Me Up” (featuring Rob Halford) did, the song peaked at #5, a similar path to the one taken by the second single (“Battle Born”) off of FFDP’s epic double album – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell (volumes 1&2).
 “Immortal” – Eve To Adam
“Immortal” finished 2013 strong and carried the momentum into 2014 with a 13-week run on the countdown, peaking in the #3 position.
 “Dead But Rising” – Volbeat
Volbeat is another band that always seems to be represented on the Big ‘Uns Countdown. While not as impactful as the previous singles off of Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (“Hangman’s Body Count” and “Lola Montez”), “Dead But Rising” enjoyed a 14-week run over the course of 17 weeks, peaking in the #2 position.
 “Weak” – Seether
In a somewhat unorthodox move, Seether featured “Weak” (from their new release Isolate and Medicate) on their “best of” album 2002-2013 in the fall of last year. The first “official” single from the new album, “Words As Weapons” has been making a big impact on the countdown as of late, but before it entered the Big ‘Uns Countdown, “Weak” had a 14-week run and peaked in the #4 position. “Words As Weapons” looks to have an even stronger run, and will likely be one of the top songs of the year when all is said and done.
 “Always” – Killswitch Engage
Like Eve To Adam’s “Immortal,” Killswitch Engage’s “Always” carried its 2013 momentum into a 12-week run at the beginning of 2014. The follow-up song to “In Due Time” peaked in the #4 position.
 “Painkiller” – Three Days Grace
In one of the most surprising band departures in recent memory, Adam Gontier (Three Days Grace’s former frontman), parted ways with the band just as they were about to embark upon a tour in support of their hit album, Transit Of Venus. With the tour already booked, Three Days Grace turned to My Darkest Days frontman, Matt Walst (TDG bassist Brad Walst’s brother) to front the band. Shortly after the tour, Matt was named the permanent replacement for Gontier. The band will be releasing a new album later this year. The first single off of the album, “Painkiller,” has spent 9 of the past 11 weeks on the Big ‘Uns Countdown (peaking in the #3 position).
Check out 6 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs to Watch as we move into the second half of the year (below the Top 15 Playlist – January 2014 – June 2014)…
- “Pittsburgh” – The Amity Affliction (8 consecutive weeks, peaked in the #8 position)
- “Sangre Por Sangre (Blood For Blood)” – Hellyeah (6 out of 7 weeks, peaked in the #7 position)
- “All Rise” – Wovenwar (3 consecutive weeks, peaked in the #11 position)
- “Room To Breathe” – You Me At Six (3 weeks total, peaked in the #4 position)
- “1000hp” – Godsmack (past 2 weeks, peaked in the #6 position)
- “Bloody Angel” – Avatar (past 2 weeks, peaked in the #13 position)
Seether’s much-anticipated sixth studio album – Isolate and Medicate – will be released tomorrow. Ahead of the release, the first single – “Words As Weapons” – has already been making a radio impact. For the past six weeks, the song has been steadily rising towards the top of the Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown.
Despite the fact that their sound deviates from the “norm” of modern hard rock, Seether is one of the most popular bands featured on Octane, and with good reason. Shaun Morgan’s instantly-recognizable vocals help Seether to stand out amongst other alternative, post-grunge acts; his ability to harness his smoldering rage into catchy, melodic songs is unique, and the trio’s undeniable chemistry gets better with each album.
Like the rest of the songs on Isolate and Medicate, which was recorded over a 16-day period, “Words As Weapons” has a mature, stripped-down quality to it. Because the album was recorded so expeditiously, any temptation to “smother the tracks with overproduction” was resisted. The end result of this approach is a song that is as memorable for its spacing as it is for its melody or Morgan’s delivery of very personal lyrics (he describes the entire album as a “collection of diary entries”).
“Words As Weapons” is a shining example of what a power trio can accomplish when each members’ parts contribute equally to a song. Dale Stewart’s strong bassline holds down the rhythm; John Humphrey’s tribal drum beats build intensity while letting the song breathe, which allows Morgan’s dynamic guitar playing to set the tone and ideally accent the mental picture that he creates with his hauntingly emotive vocal delivery.
Seether has released some stellar songs throughout their career, but “Words As Weapons” might be their best one yet!
If you listen to SiriusXM’s Octane, you have undoubtedly heard Nothing More’s “This Is The Time (Ballast).” The song has been sitting atop the Big ‘Uns Countdown for the past two weeks, and before emerging onto the countdown, Nothing More was featured as an Octane Accelerator band (designed to help break new artists). To call Nothing More a “new artist” is a bit misleading, given that the band has actually been together since 2003. However, the self-titled album that just came out this week is the band’s first label release after a long and arduous journey that began in the suburbs of San Antonio, TX in middle school.
Getting to this point in their career would not have happened if the band didn’t have the fortitude to buck conventional wisdom and ignore the admonitions of those close to them to stay in school when they reached college-age. According to frontman extraordinaire, Jonny Hawkins, “staying in school would have been ‘settling,’ and having a ‘plan B’ was a recipe for failure, so we decided to ignore everyone’s advice and totally dedicate ourselves to being in this band.”
People tend to throw around terms like “dedication” and “commitment” so loosely nowadays, that the words often times ring hollow. However, the members of Nothing More literally have the scars to prove that their words are not just lip service. When the band first started, they branded themselves on the arm after each tour as a reminder of their commitment to each other. They would need this commitment to persevere through less-than-ideal conditions.
Their first “tour bus” was fashioned from a dilapidated, raccoon-infested RV, and they made their own stage rigs to use during their dynamic live shows, taking the DIY concept to an entirely new level. Hawkins credits Nothing More’s early struggles for the band’s evolved spiritual and philosophical outlook…“it made us a lot more open to other ideas and gave us a deeper faith in our own instincts. I think that reflects in our music.”
With self-awareness, wisdom and a philosophical mindset that goes well beyond their years, Nothing More has channeled their early struggles into a musical and lyrical masterpiece with their debut label release.
If the term “thinking man’s metal” (which has been associated with the likes of bands like Rush, Queensryche and Dream Theater) enjoys a renaissance in modern times, it isn’t hard to imagine Nothing More being at the forefront of the movement.
The band’s debut album certainly has its “metal moments,” but what makes them rise above the din is a unique style which is an amalgam of a variety of genres that doesn’t adhere to any preconceived notions of what hard rock should be, and thus, they cannot be pigeon-holed into a neat, marketable package. Yet, it is easy to see how this complex collection of songs will have as much appeal to the masses as it does to audiophiles and fellow accomplished musicians.
The album begins with the familiar refrain from “This Is The Time (Ballast)”…
When did we become these sinking stones?
When did we build this broken home?
Holding each other like ransom notes
Dropping our hearts to grip our brother’s throat
The moody, psychedelic opening lines are actually from the first track, “Ocean Floor.” It isn’t until the refrain repeats with Hawkins’ impassioned delivery that “This Is The Time (Ballast)” actually begins, though there is no separation between the two. The song about being enlightened enough to know that change happens from within has generated a nice buzz for the band, but it is merely the tip of the iceberg of a musical journey that takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and makes you think deeply about the world that we live in today.
It doesn’t take long for Nothing More to turn conventional wisdom on its head by questioning those who speak in absolutes about what is right and wrong in the eyes of structured religions. “Christ Copyright” may anger those who believe that there is no room for gray areas in religion, but it will give food for thought to those who believe that questions serve a greater purpose than unquantifiable “absolute truths.” With influences that range from the electronic style of The Prodigy to the soaring vocals and progressive sound of Coheed and Cambria, “Christ Copyright” shows that Nothing More is not confined by other peoples’ boundaries, musical or otherwise.
Back when MTV was relevant to rock artists, few (if any) bands would ever speak out against the channel and what it represented. “Mr. MTV” is a theatrical song that features Hawkins’ incredible vocals and a powerful, enlightened message that is often times lost on the “me generation”…happiness comes from within, not from buying material things to “keep up with the Joneses.” This song offers the first glimpse that Nothing More is ready to carry the anti-establishment torch that was held by Queensryche for so many years before the original members parted ways.
Life is filled with good days and bad days, but the bad days always seem to come in waves. “First Punch” is about surrounding yourself with positive people to help you weather the inevitable storms that come your way in life. As the saying goes…“life is not about waiting for storms to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” The message is complemented by an infectiously melodic chorus that leaves you feeling uplifted.
The subdued, textured “Gyre” provides a beautiful, acoustic interlude beneath the calming voice of Alan Watts, allowing you to catch your breath before the intensity of “The Matthew Effect” kicks back into high gear. Once again, Nothing More seamlessly blends a variety of influences and musical styles to create something unique. Mark Vollelunga’s guitar versatility shines through as he vacillates between mood-setting airy notes and dirty, crunchy chords that hit you like a punch to the gut.
“I’ll Be OK” is emotive, passionate, melancholic and energizing all at once. Hawkins’ vocal range is on display as he effortlessly transitions from a smooth, lower register to soaring high notes and back, just as Geoff Tate did in Queensryche’s halcyon Rage For Order days.
One of the most straight-forward songs on the album, “Here’s To The Heartache” would make an ideal follow-up single to “This Is The Time (Ballast).” Beautiful vocal harmonies, an infectious melody and nuanced layers give the song depth while being easily accessible to the listener.
Many people spend their lives bemoaning the mistakes that they’ve made and wishing for a “do-over,” instead of treating the mistakes as teachable moments. “If I Were” once again shows a maturity beyond Nothing More’s years as they embrace past mistakes as a valuable part of life. This powerful, melodic anthem would also make a good future single.
Paul O’Brien was the one drummer that met the incredibly high standards set by Hawkins (Nothing More’s original drummer). Even though he turned over the drumming duties to O’Brien, Hawkins still uses technology to create drum parts while writing. On “Friendly Fire,” Hawkins created drum parts that no human could replicate, but rather than relying upon machines to produce the sound, the band embraced the imperfection of the human element, resulting in one of the most intense songs on the album.
“Sex & Lies” features an eclectic mix of genres and influences that most bands would never think to combine. The band shows off their prog rock chops with an incredibly tight song that fuses Daniel Oliver’s heavy groove bass (reminiscent of “Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers) with the unique vocal structure of Queen’s “Bicycle Race,” and the overall sound of classic Queensryche mixed with Coheed and Cambria.
Just when you think that Nothing More couldn’t possibly get any tighter, they take it to another level with “Jenny,” a song about a drug addict’s downward spiral to rock bottom. A layered guitar sound (a la Stanley Jordan) provides the backdrop for Hawkins to deliver the emotional opening verse that sets up Jenny’s story. Textured electronics increase as the intensity starts to build before the song reaches a climactic crescendo of anger and frustration with crushing guitars and Geddy Lee-esque bass lines. The driving rhythm fuels Hawkins’ heartfelt vocals, which are nothing short of brilliant. Lyrically and musically, “Jenny” is like a kick in the teeth, yet you can’t help but feel a rush of adrenaline as you crank it up to maximum volume.
The intensity is dialed back a bit at the outset of “God Went North,” a song about the loss of a mother. Anyone who has suffered a similar loss will feel the pain all over again, but also take solace in the fact that others can empathize with their plight. If ever there was a song that encapsulated every stage of grief, “God Went North” is it. From the melancholic opening to the tortured pinnacle moment in the middle to the calming chant at the end, the song runs the gamut of emotions felt by anyone who has sustained a painful loss. The abrupt end to the chanting is symbolic of the abrupt ending that comes with life’s final breath.
The musical journey that is Nothing More’s self-titled, debut album ends with “Pyre,” a 10-minute, electronic soundscape featuring the voiceover of Alan Watts sharing his philosophies. It is not necessary to buy into Watts’ philosophies to appreciate his contribution to the album, which is both painfully real and cathartic at the same time. His influence on Nothing More contributed as much to the brilliance of the record as the musical influences that permeate each song.
Is there another band out there that would end an epic debut album the way that Nothing More did? Is there another label like Eleven Seven Music that would give a “new” artist the creative freedom to do so on their debut album? The answer to both of these questions is…probably not.
Albums like Nothing More’s self-titled debut are few and far between. It may sound hyperbolic, but with the passage of time, it will likely be considered one of the greatest hard rock debut albums in the history of the genre.