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2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q2

Active Rock Radio Quarterly Report - Hard Rock Daddy

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
2 SIXX: A.M. “Rise” 17,947
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
10 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 11,360
11 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 10,492
12 HELLYEAH “Human” 9,759
13 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 9,458
14 A DAY TO REMEMBER “Paranoia” 8,922
15 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 8,031
16 ASKING ALEXANDRIA “Here I Am” 8,025
17 SICK PUPPIES “Stick To Your Guns” 7,917
18 MUSE “Reapers” 7,570
19 CHEVELLE “Joyride” 7,531
20 POP EVIL “Take It All” 6,315
21 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 6,149
22 KALEO “No Good” 6,018
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
33 THROUGH FIRE “Stronger” 3,084
34 MONSTER TRUCK “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” 3,004
35 SEVENDUST “Death Dance” 2,957
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
43 DEFTONES “Phantom Bride” 2,028
44 ONE LESS REASON “Where Were You?” 1,927
45 THE STRUTS “Kiss This” 1,679
46 BEARTOOTH “Aggressive” 1,610
47 FOO FIGHTERS “Saint Cecilia” 1,600
48 BARONESS “Shock Me” 1,370
49 THRICE “Black Honey” 1,343
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
1 HELLYEAH “Human”
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”
8 THRICE “Black Honey”
9 BREAKING BENJAMIN “Defeated”
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”
15 BEARTOOTH “Aggressive”

 

2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q1

Active Rock Radio Quarterly Report - Hard Rock Daddy

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.

YTD YTD
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
5 MUSE “Reapers” 14,665
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
9 DISTURBED “The Light” 11,834
10 HIGHLY SUSPECT “Bloodfeather” 11,832
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
14 SEETHER “Save Today” 9,446
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
24 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 5,115
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
28 SLIPKNOT “Goodbye” 4,120
29 FAILURE ANTHEM “Paralyzed” 4,091
30 PARKWAY DRIVE “Vice Grip” 4,025
31 GHOST “Cirice” 3,521
32 ARANDA “We Are The Enemy” 3,498
33 ROB ZOMBIE “Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO” 3,357
34 LACEY STURM “Impossible” 3,029
35 ESCAPE THE FATE “Alive” 3,018
36 ALL THAT REMAINS “Victory Lap” 2,940
37 MEGADETH “Dystopia” 2,697
38 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 2,676
39 WOLFMOTHER “Victorious” 2,630
40 SIXX: A.M. “Rise” 2,617
41 FOALS “Mountain At My Gates” 2,138
42 ANDREW WATT “Ghost In My Head” 2,110
43 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 2,064
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
48 PUSCIFIER “The Remedy” 1,398
49 BLACK STONE CHERRY “In Our Dreams” 1,390
50 BARONESS “Shock Me” 1,385

 

 

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”
14 Highly Suspect “Bloodfeather”
15 Papa Roach “Falling Apart”

 

Hard Rock Daddy’s 3rd Anniversary – A Look Back…A Look Ahead

Hard Rock Daddy's 3rd Anniversary

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 – Week Ending 4/25/15

HRD Radio Report - Sonic X

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
4 4 BREAKING BENJAMIN “Failure” 1613
5 6 SLASH “Bent To Fly” 1331
6 8 THEORY OF A DEADMAN “Angel” 1230
7 5 FOO FIGHTERS “Congregation” 1187
8 9 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Drown” 1123
9 13 THREE DAYS GRACE “Human Race” 988
10 11 ROYAL BLOOD “Little Monster” 933
11 7 HALESTORM “Apocalyptic” 916
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
15 12 INCUBUS “Absolution Calling” 716
16 18 OTHERWISE “Coming For The Throne” 570
17 20 HELLYEAH “Hush” 566
18 17 LIKE A STORM “Wish You Hell” 545
19 21 THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH “Unraveled Road” 479
20 22 DEVOUR THE DAY “Faith” 462
21 28 NOTHING MORE “Jenny” 448
22 23 MUSE “Dead Inside” 385
23 24 10 YEARS “Miscellanea” 374
24 25 APOCALYPTICA “Cold Blood” 353
25 30 HIGHLY SUSPECT “Lydia” 332
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
34 39 FLYLEAF “Thread” 197
35 37 STARS IN STEREO “Fair-Weather Friend” 189
36 35 CAGE THE ELEPHANT “Cigarette Daydreams” 172
37 42 MUSE “Psycho” 170
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
42 43 TREMONTI “Another Heart” 144
43 41 BRIDGE TO GRACE “Bitch” 141
44 45 PERIPHERY “Alpha” 135
45 51 RED “Darkest Part” 117
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
50 54 ACIDIC “Chicago” 84

 

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

MOVING UP

Zac Brown f. Chris Cornell – “Heavy Is The Head”

Breaking Benjamin“Failure”

Nothing More – “Jenny”

 

 

DROPPING DOWN

Foo Fighters “Congregation”

Halestorm – “Apocalyptic”

Incubus“Absolution Calling”

 

 

FUTURES REPORT

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.

 

 

WRAP-UP

That’s all for this week.  Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2014

Top 30 Octane Big 'Uns Countdown Songs of 2014

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.

  1. “This Is The Time (Ballast)” – NOTHING MORE
  2. “The Devil In I” – SLIPKNOT
  3. “Wrong Side Of Heaven” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
  4. “My Demons” – STARSET
  5. “Words As Weapons” – SEETHER
  6. “Breaking Skin” – NONPOINT
  7. “Room To Breathe” – YOU ME AT SIX
  8. “Torn To Pieces” – POP EVIL
  9. “Something Different” – GODSMACK
  10. “Drop Dead Cynical” – AMARANTHE
  11. “Moth” – HELLYEAH
  12. “Moving On” – ASKING ALEXANDRIA
  13. “The Last One Alive” – DEMON HUNTER
  14. “Villainy Thrives” – TRIVIUM
  15. “Painkiller” – THREE DAYS GRACE
  16. “Take The Bullets Away” – WE AS HUMAN (featuring Lacey Sturm)
  17. “Stars” – SIXX: A.M.
  18. This Means War” – AVENGED SEVENFOLD
  19. “Darker Side Of The Moon” – OTHERWISE
  20. “Hater” – KORN
  21. “Would You Still Be There” – OF MICE & MEN
  22. “Sick Like Me” – IN THIS MOMENT
  23. “Drown” – THEORY OF A DEADMAN
  24. “Reincarnate” – MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
  25. “Wish You Hell” – LIKE A STORM
  26. “Respect” – DEVOUR THE DAY
  27. “Take Out The Gunman” – CHEVELLE
  28. “Doc Holliday” – VOLBEAT
  29. “Hail The Apocalypse” – AVATAR
  30. “Drown” – BRING ME THE HORIZON

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2014

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2014

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013

Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013

 

Trivium – “Villainy Thrives”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Trivium Villainy Thrives

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.

Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs: January 2014 – June 2014

Octane Big 'Uns Countdown - Top 15 Songs - January 2014 to June 2014

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.

 

 

[1] “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.

 

 

[2] “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.

 

 

[3] “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.

 

 

[4] “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.

 

 

[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.

 

 

[6] “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.

 

 

[7] “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.

 

 

[8] “This Is The Time (Ballast)” – Nothing More

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.

 

 

[9] “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.

 

 

[10] “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).

 

 

[11] “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.

 

 

[12] “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.

 

 

[13] “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.

 

 

[14] “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.

 

 

[15] “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)…

 

  1. “Pittsburgh”The Amity Affliction (8 consecutive weeks, peaked in the #8 position)

 

  1. “Sangre Por Sangre (Blood For Blood)”Hellyeah (6 out of 7 weeks, peaked in the #7 position)

 

  1. “All Rise”Wovenwar (3 consecutive weeks, peaked in the #11 position)

 

  1. “Room To Breathe”You Me At Six (3 weeks total, peaked in the #4 position)

 

  1. “1000hp”Godsmack (past 2 weeks, peaked in the #6 position)

 

  1. “Bloody Angel”Avatar (past 2 weeks, peaked in the #13 position)

Seether – “Words As Weapons”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Seether Words As Weapons

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!

Nothing More – “Nothing More”: Hard Rock Daddy Album Review

Nothing More

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.

Like A Storm – “Gangster’s Paradise”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Like A Storm Gangster's Paradise

The worlds of rock and rap have collided in recent years in the form of sub-genres such as rap metal and rapcore.  And though rap artists have sampled rock songs for several decades, rock acts rarely cover rap songs.  In recent weeks, SiriusXM’s Octane has been playing a cover version of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Like A Storm (a trio of brothers hailing from New Zealand).

The Kiwi hard rock act has been a dominant force in recent months on SiriusXM’s Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown with their hit song, “Love The Way You Hate Me.”  The song, from their album Chaos Theory: Part 1, was also included on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013.

Although hard rock cover versions of rap songs are few and far between, it should come as no surprise that Like A Storm is the band to try something different.  After all, they are likely the only band to ever have a hit hard rock song that features a didgeridoo.

The band has taken a few poetic liberties with the song title (“Gangster’s Paradise”) and some of the lyrics, but other than that, it doesn’t deviate very far from the structure of Coolio’s original for the most part.  It should be noted that Coolio’s version from 1995 is actually an adaptation of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” from 1976.

Like the Stevie Wonder and Coolio interpretations, Like A Storm’s version features a dramatic undertone throughout, however they took it up a notch with an epic crescendo of guttural, tortured growls at the pivotal moment of the song…

“They say I gotta learn, but nobody’s here to teach me…if they can’t understand me, how can they reach me?…I guess they can’t, I guess they won’t…I guess I’m f#@ked, that’s how I know my life is out of luck!”

Whether it is the use of an unusual instrument or the innovative interpretation of a classic rap song, one thing is certain, Like A Storm is a band that is willing to take chances and march to the beat of their own drum.

“Gangster’s Paradise” gets better with each listen.  If and when “Love The Way You Hate Me” falls off of the Big ‘Uns Countdown, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see this song take its place.  Check out the lyric video below…