Blog Archives

Top 10 Metal Albums of 2016


By Andy Cheung


1 – DEATH ANGEL – The Evil Divide

I haven’t stopped listening to this album since it came in May.  The Evil Divide is thrash metal at its finest, and one of the band’s albums since releasing Act III in 1990.  The guitar work is phenomenal, the rhythm section is heavy and grooves, and Rob Cavestany’s vocals soar and growl…providing the emotions portrayed in each song.




The fathers of metalcore impress once again with their release of Incarnate.  Jesse Leach’s passionate lyrical musings and delivery are top-notch, with his clean vocals and death growls throughout the album.  The Killswitch recognizable sound is there with Adam D’s and Joel Stroetzel’s guitar mastery, rounded out with bassist Mike D’Antonio and Justin Foley’s pounding rhythm section.  Incarnate is a great album released by a great band.



3 – ANTHRAX – For All Kings

This member of “The Big Four” released one hell of an album this year.  For All Kings might very well be one of Anthrax’s best releases to date.  The album is heavy and polished, something to be expected from veterans of the thrash metal scene.  Joey Belladonna sounds just as good now as he did back when the band first started 35 years ago, as does Scott Ian, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante.  Jonathon Donais (ex Shadows Fall) is a great addition to the classic lineup of a classic thrash metal band.



4 – GOJIRA – Magma

These environmentalist metallers from France released their 6th album this year.  The band has always made their own rules (as far as sound goes), and Magma is no different.  It’s atmospheric at times, brutally heavy at other times.  One of Gojira’s best releases to date.




Another album that I have not stopped listening to is Twelve Foot Ninja’s Outlier.  This album is so eclectic and unique – heavy with a mixture of djent, folk, and jazz – that dissecting each song would take years to do.  Their musical compositions have impressed me and made me an instant fan.



6 – AMON AMARTH – Jomsviking

Brutal and melodic, two reasons why Jomsviking is one of the best releases of 2016.  Their 10th studio album is the band’s first concept album, and probably one of their strongest to date.  This melodic death metal band takes the Viking/Norse mythology and dials it up a notch.  Raise your horns!



7 – OPETH – Sorceress

Metal fans will always gripe about Opeth’s change in direction from death metal to progressive rock/melodic metal, but at the end of the day, the band’s 12th studio album is a great one.  Sorceress is chock-full of imagery, ranging in sound from folky prog-rock, to bluesy to heavy.  The album is an overall excellent addition for all progressive metal fans.



8 – KATATONIA – The Fall of Hearts

In the realm of emotional metal, there is none better than Sweden’s Katatonia.  Each song on The Fall of Hearts drips with passion and emotion as the band laments on love and loss, while backed with beautiful, haunting melodies and gorgeous music.



9 – LACUNA COIL – Delirium

“The House of Shame” was the first single I listened to when the album was first released in May.  From the eerie intro, to the death metal growl of Andrea Ferro, and the operatic voice of Cristina Scabbia, I knew right away that this was going to be one of their best albums yet.  The rest of the album is just as heavy and dark (even more than their previous releases).




Classic crossover hardcore/metal band from Venice Beach, CA, Suicidal Tendencies released a highly-anticipated album this year.  The addition of Dave Lomabardo on drums is awesome!  The classic Suicidal sound is there, with Mike Muir’s vocals, the funky bass and heavy guitars are all accented with the ex-Slayer’s pounding drumming.

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 9/17/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 9/17/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.


      1. MICHAEL SWEET – One Sided War
      2. PROPHETS OF RAGE – The Party’s Over (EP)
      3. SKILLET – Unleashed
      4. TWELVE FOOT NINJA – Outlier
      5. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      6. DELAIN – Moonbathers
      7. TESLA – Mechanical Resonance, Live!
      8. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      9. VOLBEAT– Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie
      10. SABATON – The Last Stand
      11. SYLAR – HELP!
      12. PLINI – Handmade Cities (EP)
      13. CHEVELLE – The North Corridor
      14. DEFTONES -Gore
      15. SHINEDOWN -Threat to Survival


Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2014

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2013

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums Archives

Music Discovery Monday – 9/5/16

Music Discovery Monday - Sons Of Texas - September

Music Discovery Monday – 9/5/16

Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.

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



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

SONS OF TEXAS – “September”

“September reminds her of how things used to be…”  This slower, more melancholic side of Sons Of Texas, tackles the struggles that define the lives of many single parents.  The lyric highlighted above struck a chord with me, even though I am not a single parent.  September also reminds me of how things used to be (before September 11, 2001).

Although I suffered a painful loss just before that date, I didn’t become a single parent as a result of 9/11.  I didn’t suffer the loss of anyone close to me that day, but I know many who did.  On that day, I suffered a loss of innocence forever, having watched the tragic events unfold right in front of my eyes (see full story).  Many people became single parents on that fateful day.  Many others have joined those ranks in less publicized, more personal ways since then, but it doesn’t lessen the pain or make the void any smaller.

Years ago, John Cougar Mellencamp famously sang…“oh yeah, life goes on…long after the thrill of living is gone.”  Sons Of Texas has poignantly brought that concept to life with “September.”  Perhaps there is no more telling lyric in the song about what life is like for struggling parents than…“I’ll take the pain to preserve their joy.”  No matter the heartbreak and challenges that any loving parent faces in life, we all do what we can to take away the pain for our children.

In this song, “September” is a reminder of how things used to be, but it is really just symbolic of any trigger that reminds you of a painful loss, or makes you long for days gone by.  Between the guitars that seem to cry out in pain, and Mark Morales’ emotionally stirring vocals, this thought-provoking song will deeply touch those who can relate to the story in any way.

PRETTY MAIDS – “Face The World”

American metal fans have had very little exposure to Denmark’s Pretty Maids.  Aside from the title track to the band’s sophomore album, Future World, a good portion of American metal fans are unfamiliar with the band’s storied career and lengthy discography.

This November, these Danish rockers are going to be releasing their 15th studio album, Kingmaker.  Admittedly, I am among the American metal fans who was unaware Pretty Maids’ longevity, but thanks to Frontiers Records (the Italian metal label that bridges the ‘80s to today), I discovered the band’s most recent single, “Face The World.”

Nearly 30 years have passed since the band’s sole American hit, so it’s understandable that they would be coming from an entirely different “world” (so to speak) this time around.  “Face The World” is rooted in ‘80s metal, but isn’t quite as in your face as “Future World.”  It’s more along the lines of the melodic AOR sound of bands like Night Ranger and Whitesnake.

Although they have understandably had lineup changes throughout their history, founding members Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and Ken Hammer (guitar) have stayed together since 1981.  A pretty amazing feat given the splits that seem to happen with most bands with any kind of staying power.



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout


One of the hardest working (and most talented) musicians is back with a new album entitled Transcendence. “Failure” is the first single from the album.  If the rest of the album is anything like this song, fans are in for a real treat.  Known for his extreme, heavy, death metal overtones in his other band (Strapping Young Lad), the Devin Townsend Project is much more ambient and progressive hard rock that showcases his songwriting composition and guitar wizardry.  The guitar solo tones are reminiscent of Steve Vai, while the rest of the song boasts complex keyboard compositions, as Townsend wails and sings with emotion and finesse.  This is an album not to be missed!



This experimental metal band from Australia is back with “Invincible” from their new album, Outlier.  How do you describe a band like Twelve Foot Ninja?  You can’t.  These guys are labeled experimental for a reason.  Their song compositions are all over the place, ranging from hard rock and jazz one second, to extreme screaming death metal the next, and then back to a progressive metal feel.  Despite the eclectic musical compositions, their songs are oftentimes catchy.  Listening to Twelve Foot Ninja is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.




POWER QUEST – “Face The Raven”

British power metal band Power Quest returns with a new vocalist, Ashley Edison (Dendera), and a new guitarist, Dan Owen (ex-Hunted). They merge well with the rest of the lineup, firing on all cylinders on this first single from their upcoming three-song EP (due out September 10th).



This progressive metal band out of Detroit lives up to the expectations stirred up by its intriguing name.  The band glides easily from tip-toeing keyboards to pounding riffage and a sense of doom. This driving, complex arrangement is from their just-released sophomore album, Triumphia.




EARTHSIDE – “The Closest I’ve Come”

Earthside’s self-described “Cinematic Rock” style exudes coolness, mixing ethereal themes with heavy rhythms and chords that blend together seamlessly.  Bordering on progressive metal, this instrumental piece highlights the band’s musical skills.  “The Closest I’ve Come” is the lead track from the band’s debut album, A Dream In Static.


DRAGONHARP – “Eternal Moon”

DragonHarp is a unique symphonic power metal band from Italy.  The band was founded by harpist Rossina Monico, who incorporates the harp into their songs (in a subtle way, akin to keyboard accompaniment).  Nicole Masselli’s excellent vocals lead “Eternal Moon,” a hard-rocking track from their just-released debut album, Let the Dragon Fly.  You’ll also hear heavy drums (Andrea Lentini) and rich, powerful chords with excellent bass (Roberto Como) and lead guitar work (Paolo Albergoni).



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

Music Discovery Monday – 6/6/16

Music Discovery Monday - One Less Reason

Music Discovery Monday – 6/6/16

Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.

This week’s Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with One Less Reason’s Cris Brown, who discusses the inspiration behind the band’s latest single.

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



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

ONE LESS REASON – “Where Were You?”

When you think of Memphis music, the first thoughts that come to mind are probably Elvis and the blues.  If you’re a fan of Iron Maiden, hearing the words “tattooed millionaire” together undoubtedly conjures up memories of Bruce Dickinson’s first solo album.  So, what do these seemingly unrelated things have in common?  Tattooed Millionaire Records is the name of a relatively new label that is positioning itself to be the next major record label out of Memphis.  The company, which also serves as a recording studio, is located in a building that was most recently House of Blues (until 2001).

Music Discovery Monday has never focused on a record label or recording studio before, but it is relevant in this case since One Less Reason and Tattooed Millionaire are both the brainchild of Cris Brown.  

One Less Reason has recorded five independent albums since their inception in 2003, and has racked up impressive digital sales, yet still flies below the radar to some degree.  The band’s upcoming release, The Memories Uninvited, is the result of a painstaking process that was not constrained by budgetary or studio concerns which, according to Brown, allows the listener to “hear exactly what I heard in my head.”

“Where Were You?” – the debut single from the band’s upcoming album – features huge hooks and bright vocal harmonies, which gives the song an upbeat feel (though the lyrics tell a different story).  This track has been gaining some traction on Active Rock radio as of late, but it deserves even more.  If I were programming a station, this song would absolutely be in heavy rotation.
In an exclusive interview with One Less Reason’s Cris Brown, he discussed the meaning and inspiration behind this killer tune…

‘Where Were You?’ is a song about how there are people in your life that share the same blood as you, but they are the first ones to give up on you when things are going wrong.  They’re also the same people to stand next to you and take credit for all of your wins.  At the same time, there are people in your lives that share no blood relation that will back you all the way no matter how crazy or out of reach something seems.  Blood doesn’t make family…. the ones that love you and care about you (no matter what) do.”

JORN – “Hotel California”

Jorn’s latest album, Heavy Rock Radio, features several of the power vocalist’s favorite songs that meant something to him when he was younger.  This interesting mix of covers ranges from pop to heavy metal.  Of course, once Jorn makes it his own, all of the songs become heavy.

One of my all-time favorite songs is “Hotel California” by the Eagles.  I’m always leery about hearing classics re-interpreted, but Jorn does not disappoint.  At its core, this version stays true to the original, albeit with a much heavier vibe, shredding solos and thunderous drums.  Jorn’s perfect vocal blend of melody and dark intensity makes this cover one of the more memorable ones that I’ve heard in recent times.



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

TWELVE FOOT NINJA – “One Hand Killing”

One of the more interesting and new metal/progressive bands to have come out recently is Melbourne Australia’s Twelve Foot Ninja.  “One Hand Killing” is the first single from their sophomore album, which oddly enough, has no release date since they are still currently campaigning to raise funds for the completion of the album.  In the meantime, listen to their first album (Silent Machine) to get a better taste of the band’s wide spectrum of influences.  “One Hand Killing” has elements of metal, hard rock and jazz fusion with a heavy dose of Faith No More-like choruses and musical arrangements.  All in all, this band is chock full of talent and is a fun listen.


KATATONIA – “Old Heart Falls”

Most people do not associate heavy metal music with an adjective like “beautiful”…a word that is rarely used to describe a band or the songs that are written by metal bands.  Then, a band like Katatonia comes along, and writes a beautiful song like “Old Heart Falls” (from their tenth studio album, The Fall of Hearts).  The song is classic Katatonia; strings, soft pianos, melancholy, dark and brooding moods, heavy piercing guitars for sporadic accents and overall gentle (yet powerful) songwriting.  Turn off the lights and give this band a listen.





Trick Or Treat is a power metal band out of Modena, Italy that was founded in 2002 as a Helloween tribute band.  A few years later, they were signed to a label and began releasing their own material.  This newly released single – from their upcoming fourth album, Rabbits’ Hill, Part 2 (due out July 8th) – features guest vocals from Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica.  The album continues the story from Rabbits’ Hill, Part 1, a 2012 concept album based on the novel Watership Down.  Vocalists Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) and Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) will also appear on the new album.


TOXICROSE – “World Of Confusion”

Swedish glam metal band Toxicrose has a hard-hitting new album entitled Total Tranquility.  They have laid down the driving riffs and pounding rhythms for a heavier sound than your typical glam metal, while retaining the melodic elements, and it works gloriously.




MYSTIC PROPHECY – “10,000 Miles Away”

Bavaria’s Mystic Prophecy just released their 9th full-length studio album called War Brigade“10,000 Miles Away” is a deep track that puts the “power” in power ballad.  The emotional and dramatic vocals from Roberto Dimitri Liapakis are perfect for this song of regret.  The heavy rhythm line and excellent lead guitar work from Laki Ragazas completes the song.


LEO MORACCHIOLI – “Eye Of The Tiger”

Here’s a tremendous reboot of the classic Rocky III theme by Survivor, amplified perfectly to bring it into the metal sphere.  Leo Moracchioli, the zany one-man-metal-band, knows just where to apply the horsepower.  Joining Moracchioli on this track is Rob Lundgren (Baroque of Dante, Chronicles Project, Scientic) who captures the right tone, just as Dave Bickler did with the original.



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

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 1-9-16

Octane Logo

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 1-9-16.

The 1-9-16 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived playlists dating back to 2013.  Links to reviews of songs from the countdown are featured at the bottom of the page.

**Many of these artists were featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

#15 – “One Hand Killing” – TWELVE FOOT NINJA

#14 –  “Bloodfeather” – HIGHLY SUSPECT 

#13 –  “The Wolf” – SLEEPWAVE

#12 –  “Here’s To The Heartache” – NOTHING MORE

#11 –  “Inside Yourself” – GODSMACK

#10 –  “Let Me Live My Life” – SAINT ASONIA 

#9 –    “Bad Reputation” – ADELITA’S WAY

# 8 –   “Strength Of The Mind” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

# 7 –   “Ways To Get High” – POP EVIL

# 6 –   “State Of My Head” – SHINEDOWN

# 5 –   “Until The World Goes Cold” – TRIVIUM

# 4 –   “The Light” – DISTURBED

# 3 –   “Vice Grip” – PARKWAY DRIVE

# 2 –   “Wash It All Away” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

# 1 –   “Happy Song” – BRING ME THE HORIZON



Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2015

2015 Mid-Year Recap: HRD Radio Report Active Rock and Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown


Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2014

Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2014

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

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Archives

HRD Radio Report – Week Ending 9/7/14

HRD Radio Report Logo


The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by, and appears every Tuesday on  The HRD Radio Report digs deeper into the weekly Active Rock charts, providing commentary, reviews, recommendations and predictions.  This weekly report also features quotes from radio and record industry people on a regular basis, in addition to talking directly to a variety of hard rock artists about their music, tours and more!

Many of the artists featured on the Active Rock charts have already been reviewed on

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 9/7/14.  All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:

1 3 LINKIN PARK “Until Its Gone” 1739
2 2 PRETTY RECKLESS “Messed Up World” 1688
3 1 NOTHING MORE “This Is The Time (Ballast)” 1525
4 6 RISE AGAINST “I Don’t Want To Be Here…” 1344
5 7 YOU ME AT SIX “Room To Breathe” 1333
6 4 SEETHER “Words As Weapons” 1271
7 9 SLASH “World On Fire” 1233
8 8 STARSET “My Demons” 1206
9 5 GODSMACK “1000hp” 1192
10 11 WEEZER “Back To The Shack” 1189
11 10 CHEVELLE “Hunter Eats Hunter” 1185
12 13 NICKELBACK “Edge Of A Revolution” 1068
13 12 KORN “Hater” 1055
14 14 SIXX A.M. “Gotta Get It Right” 820
15 15 CROBOT “Nowhere To Hide” 801
16 16 ROYAL BLOOD “Figure It Out” 755
17 18 SLIPKNOT “The Devil And I” 747
18 17 SKILLET “Rise” 536
19 20 BLACK KEYS “Gotta Get Away” 532
20 21 DEVOUR THE DAY “Respect” 490
21 23 OTHERWISE “Darker Side Of The Moon” 489
22 22 FRAMING HANLEY “Criminal” 459
23 25 ISLANDER “Coconut Dracula” 453
24 19 THEORY OF A DEADMAN “Drown” 443
25 29 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “Wrong Side Of Heaven” 406
26 24 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Can You Feel My Heart” 373
27 26 A DAY TO REMEMBER “End Of Me” 356
28 28 ASKING ALEXANDRIA “Moving On” 354
29 31 HELLYEAH “Moth” 312
30 33 POP EVIL “Beautiful” 299
31 32 NONPOINT “Breaking Skin” 275
32 34 THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH “Born This Way” 255
33 35 DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 “Trainwreck 1979” 253
34 30 FOZZY “Lights Go Out” 253
35 27 LIKE A STORM “Love The Way You Hate Me” 248
36 41 KONGOS “I’m Only Joking” 226
37 36 SLEEPWAVE “Through The Looking Glass” 210
38 38 FUEL “Cold Summer” 179
39 43 FLYLEAF “Set Me On Fire” 176
40 37 EVE TO ADAM “Locked & Loaded” 173
41 45 TRIVIUM “Villainy Thrives” 132
42 46 SHAMAN’S HARVEST “Dangerous” 116
43 86 VOLBEAT “Doc Holliday” 103
44 47 RIVAL SONS “Open My Eyes” 97
45 55 TWELVE FOOT NINJA “Coming For You” 91
46 49 STARS IN STEREO “Leave Your Mark” 91
47 52 ADELITAS WAY “Save The World” 86
48 57 BLACK STONE CHERRY “Remember Me” 85
49 53 HEARTIST “Skeletons” 84
50 54 YOUNG GUNS “I Want Out” 82



There is a lot of great stuff this week in Bam-Bam’s Breakdown, but before we get to that, we have a break-in from Hard Rock Daddy.

This week, Hard Rock Daddy announced that there will be a number of special features throughout the month of October to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month (Click here for details).  Look for special messages and more from the artists that are featured on Hard Rock Daddy and the HRD Radio Report.

While bullying is an ongoing issue that tears people apart, this week marks the 13th anniversary of a tragic event that, once upon a time, brought the entire population of the United States together…9/11.  Having experienced 9/11 in a very up-close-and-personal way, I know firsthand how painful this day is for many people.

In times of tragedy, sometimes the best therapy comes from the escape that music can provide and the unity that it promotes through shared experiences.  Nothing will ever erase the memories of 9/11 for those who were directly (or indirectly) impacted by it.  No words can ever ease the pain or sense of loss that people feel on this anniversary every year.





By Craig “Bam-Bam” Stegall

In a jolt that literally left me speechless, we’ll discuss the shakeup at the top of the charts, predict what songs are poised to break out and talk about a hard rock radio stalwart that has rocketed up the chart this week with their latest single.

We uncover a few cool tracks that need to be permanent fixtures on your iPod with Bam-Bam’s Big Ones, and we get an exclusive look into the life of Munsey Ricci, a seasoned Indie-Promoter who is the President and Owner of the famed Skateboard Marketing.

Munsey will be sharing a peek into his philosophy of artist promotion, and you won’t want to miss his thoughtful insight and advice to new artists.

Let the games begin….




Linkin Park rallies from a #3 position last week to totally knock off the reigning 3-week chart toppers, Nothing More, in a battle that simply had them both “flip-flop” this week in a nail-biter.  While Pretty Reckless stays comfortably at #2, the stage is set for some new names to start making a play at the Top 10 in the coming weeks.

Nothing More slipped from the #1 slot this week, but I don’t think that we’ve seen the end this year’s tour de force though.  Look for a new single to be released very soon from this amazing band.  I predict that they will rise to the top of the charts again before long.




Two weeks ago, in our exclusive interview with Roadrunner VP Of Marketing, Mark Abramson, we discussed the excitement surrounding the new Black Stone Cherry single.  Clearly, this wasn’t just hype, as the good ol’ boys from Edmonton, KY have already cracked the Top 50, coming in at #48 with “Remember Me.”

Just like the reigning Program Director’s dream artist, Shinedown, these guys are just radio gold.  I’m predicting a rapid rise into the Top 20 for BSC’s latest single!

I’m very excited to see the boys from down under, Twelve Foot Ninja, making a show at radio as they roll headfirst into their debut week on our countdown with “Coming For You”.

After winning this year’s Revolver Magazine Golden Gods Award for Best New Talent, they’ve started hitting programmers’ radar in a big way.  I predict that “Coming For You” will jump up at least 10 spots next week from their current #45 slot.

Adelita’s Way, the once mighty machine for Top 10 singles, makes another run at the game entering the Top 50 at #47 with the third offering from their latest album, Stuck“Save The World” is a decent song, but not one that is likely to have staying power.  Don’t get too attached to this one, because it looks like it may be nothing more than a “one-night stand” on the Active Rock Radio Top 50.




What’s to say about Volbeat that every other critic hasn’t already said?  They’ve made a connection with listeners both at radio and on the live stage, so it’s no surprise that we see them jumping from the deserted island of #86 last week, to a jaw-dropping #43 this week.  While “Doc Holliday” is far from my favorite song by the Danish dynamos, I think that, like Metallica, listeners just don’t care.  It’s Volbeat…nuff’ said!




Get your minds out of the gutter!  “Bam-Bam’s Big Ones” is not about my nether region.  This weekly feature is simply one man’s opinion on the music that you SHOULD be listening to if you like the music that is regularly featured on Hard Rock Daddy and the HRD Radio Report.  You dig?  No payouts, no bias…just killer music that I get the chance to hear before others because I’m cool like that! J


This week’s “Bam-Bam’s Big Ones!” are:

Twenty12Tribe – “Stranded”

A very cool track from this Virginia band with a hot female guitarist.  Produced by Sevendust’s Clint Lowery, “Stranded” is tailor-made for radio, and listeners will totally dig the melodic progressions that straddle the fence between Gemini Syndrome and Sevendust.  Get this band on your radar immediately.  Follow them on Facebook for album release date details and their tour schedule.


Anti-Mortem – “Wake Up”

The band does everything right on this track from their debut album, New Southern.  Highwire vocal theatrics that summon Pantera-era Phil Anselmo and Mudvayne’s Chad Gray, this little gem is Active Rock bliss!  While the whole album is on constant rotation in my iPod, this song seems to be my go-to fave!  Follow them on Facebook, purchase the album and check them out live when they come storming through your area.  But beware, their live show is LOUDER than f#ck!


Munsey Ricci - Skateboard Marketing

BAM-BAM’S BANTER: Featuring Munsey Ricci (Skateboard Marketing)

This week, we bring you a cool exclusive with one of Metal and Hard Rock Music’s hardest working Indie Promoters around!  To those in the industry, Munsey Ricci needs no introduction.  His office walls are adorned with gold and platinum albums from artists that he took from the streets to major stages around the globe while working in high-level, major label positions throughout the 80s and early 90s.  Seeing a need for artists to get a proper “leg up” in the industry, he focused his efforts on what is now one of the most revered Metal Radio indie promotions firms in the U.S.

Starting out as a college radio jock in the 80s, Munsey was also a Metalhead musician.  When things didn’t work out for his band, he made note of his collective “hits” and “misses” and used that knowledge to land jobs at CMJ (College Music Journal) and Polygram Records (as the head of their Metal Radio Department A&R).

As the founder of Skateboard Marketing, Munsey shares his daily ration of phone calls to programmers around the map with positioning strategies for bands like Judas Priest, Motorhead, Overkill, Slash and countless others.  He is always on the cutting-edge of working new bands to radio, and was one of the promoters responsible for slugs like me at radio back in the day getting their first listen to bands like Godsmack, Disturbed, Static-X, Dope and many more. To say he comes with commanding respect is the understatement of the year!

HRD Radio Report sat down with Munsey to get his take on the state of radio, album sales and what up-and-coming bands can do to properly place themselves in the game to garner the attention that they need to get to the next level.  This is one interview that you’ll want to save and share with your buddies who have been banging their head against immovable objects to open doors in their music career.  Sit back, pour a tall one and don’t expect to get a word in edgewise because this guy has seen it all!  I give you, New York’s Metal Guru – Mr. Munsey Ricci



HRD:  “The tape’s rolling, my friend, I had that thing cued up before you answered the phone!”

Munsey:  (laughs) “What’s going on Bam-Bam?”



HRD:  “A crazy week at radio, that’s what.  (laughter)  C’mon, man, what’s the secret?  How the heck does a new band break into this crazy, money-hungry business of radio?  I mean, I know if they’ve got money, anything, (including a #1 hit) is possible.  What do the majority of them do, man?”

Munsey:  “Well, Bam, look…it’s different for every artist.  When I was working Kid Rock to Metal Radio [yes, you read that correctly…Kid Rock was first worked to Metal Radio] back before anyone knew who this kid from Detroit was, throwing rock music over rap and everything in between, I knew it was going to be a different approach.  Every artist is different, and so every campaign that I do is different. 

The first step is listening to the record.  Once I know where the music is headed, then I can come up with a way to build their story.  That’s one of the most important things that I think most new bands miss with their attempts these days.  You have to build a story that will attract peoples’ interest and make them WANT to listen to your music. 

I wish young bands would just quit asking advice from local bands that have been doing it for ten plus years and are still playing local clubs.  There’s a reason that they are still playing local clubs with no results.  Why are you going to ask them for advice? 

When you hire an indie promoter, you’re not only getting their knowledge of the business, how it works and what to avoid, but you’re also building a story that’s much larger and more interesting than the bands around you that aren’t even able to have their call returned from a local radio station.  Why?  Because they don’t have a story to lead in with.  Indie Promoters have established relationships with program & music directors at radio, media & promotions people within the industry, and most importantly, they hear what’s going on in and around the music business 24/7.”



HRD:  “Try pulling that information out of your stars of the local bar scene!”

Munsey:  “Exactly!  That’s my point, Bam.  I think there’s a majority of new artists out there these days that say, ‘I’m a hard rock band, so why would I want to work my music to Metal radio?’  Well, like I said before, Kid Rock wasn’t really a ‘metal’ artist, but the metal stations are more likely to spin a new hard rock artist (especially one as different as Kid Rock was) than a commercial rock station.  That’s not to say that it won’t play big on commercial radio, but it’s got to get a start and help build that story. 

A lot of the college metal stations have incredible programmers who are willing to take a chance on a new rock artist because the music is good rather than whether it fits the typical ‘metal’ profile.  We did that early on for bands like Disturbed.  No one had ever heard of them when we first took it to metal radio, and look…their debut album caught on and couldn’t be denied at commercial radio.  Now, we’ve got a huge, multi-platinum record on our hands! 

Korn was the same way back in’94.  They were a metal band that got worked to Metal/College Radio and now they’re always on the Active Rock Radio charts. 

Another example of how it works (in reverse) is Islander.  Here’s a good band that’s not metal, but they appeal to both the metal and hard rock listeners.  Ron over at Victory Records did an incredible job with this band.  He worked it to Metal/College Radio, got it played, and then used the spins to build his case for playing it at commercial Active Rock radio and now look….you’ve got a Top 25 single on the charts this week! 

It doesn’t take a ton of money like most new bands think.  You have to have a good record with good songs and then you need to build that story.  Metal radio has built MANY good stories, trust me!  Just look at what Mark Abramson and Amy Sciarretto did with Slipknot if you don’t think Metal radio is a great sounding board!”



HRD:  “So, for any bands out there reading this who are sitting on a solid recording, good songs and a decent social media and local following; where do they begin and how do they pitch their music to you?”

Munsey:  “Well, just Google me or Skateboard Marketing. (laughs)  You’ll get about three pages of my contact information.  It’s simple; I listen to the music first.  If it’s good, it’s good.  We go from there and start building the story.  Now, keep in mind, no matter what anyone says to you, you will never see the end of physical product in the music business.  Digital downloading just doesn’t work for a lot of guys.  They have to have the physical product with album art, liner notes, photos…the whole bit.  You will never fully get rid of physical product in this industry, so bands need to pay attention to things like their album art and liner notes. 

With a band like Motorhead, you know what you’re getting.  You look at the album cover and you say, ‘Oh, this looks cool’ and you get what you expect.  Nowadays, you get artists with a crayon drawing of a sunrise or some shit like that and you’re like, ‘What the hell is this?’ 

You’ve got to have a full package that represents the band.  It’s not rocket science, but obviously a lot of bands miss the mark. Then, we work it to the proper channels.  If it’s a metal track, we go straight to College/Metal Radio.  If it’s more of a hard rock track, we hit a few of the stations that kind of bridge the gap with it and get it spinning.

We then concentrate on some of the specialty and syndicated radio shows like Roxy and Lou over at HardDrive or Full Metal Jackie’s show and try to get it exposure with listeners who fit the overall genre.  Sometimes, it takes off immediately.  Most of the time, we have to work it for a bit to develop its legs and ease it up the charts week by week. 

Now, not every artist wants to concentrate on album sales as much as they want to tour.  It happens.  Every band is different and that’s why I say I want to hear the music first, and then develop a marketing plan based on the band’s sound and their goals.  For bands that don’t have a budget for tour support, sometimes they want to concentrate strictly on one region or area so that they can tour and build their story and press.  In cases like this, I’ll utilize the syndicated shows and push hard on the stations in that region to help the band build a name in that area, which helps with them getting the gigs to tour. 

It’s different for every artist, as I said.  But the one thing you never want to do is listen to advice from someone who is in the same position you are.  There’s a reason they’re still just a local band after playing clubs for 10-years!”



HRD:  “So, just to clarify, bands can’t afford NOT to hire an indie if they’re interested in airplay and/or touring these days, right?”

Munsey:  “It certainly doesn’t hurt, and here’s the thing, Bam, it’s not out of range in a band’s budget to do it! Every campaign is built with that in mind.”



HRD:  “So, there’s a package for every budget?”

Munsey:  “That’s right.  It starts with me hearing the music, the track, the album..whatever, and then we build the campaign based on the music and the band’s desired results.”



HRD:  “Any parting tidbits of knowledge, advice or gripes?”

Munsey:  (laughs) “You know, Bam, I’m not one to preach, really I’m not.  I guess I just keep going back to the same thing which is don’t listen to, and copy, what everyone else is doing.  It’s obviously not working for them, so why would it work for you?  Build your story as a band.  Give what you do some meaning to the listener beyond just what the lyrics to your song are saying.  Use that story to promote what you’re going to do in the future, and then just make killer music!  That’s really where I start.  If the music isn’t there, the audience won’t be either.  Make good music and ignore shitty, worn-out advice!”


Our thanks to Munsey and Skateboard Marketing for the time this week, and for giving us an inside look at how the game is played.  For those who are interested in contacting Munsey about developing their band, and/or looking for information on a promotional radio campaigns, head over to for all the details.  Tell him HRD sent ya!




Each week (for reasons unknown) there are songs on the chart by bands that don’t belong on Active Rock Radio.  Hard Rock Daddy launched the HRD Radio Report to showcase and report on hard rock bands on radio.  Rather than edit these bands off the chart, we decided to add an “I CALL B#LL$HIT!” feature to this column to point out the bands that have no place on Active Rock Radio.

Here are this week’s “I CALL B#LL$HIT!” bands:

  • Weezer
  • Black Keys
  • Death From Above 1979

Yawn!  Go away already!!  Please!!!




Thanks again for following us this week.  Tune in to every Tuesday to check out the HRD Radio Report and Bam-Bam’s Breakdown.

Please be sure to share the link to this column on your social media outlets, and email it to anyone you think may have interest in what we’re spearheading here.  I think after a few more weeks, you’ll see a common theme and start to realize that HRD Radio Report and Hard Rock Daddy are all about discovering and sharing new music.  We plan on being the catalyst to affect change on radio so that fans get to hear what they want to hear on radio.

Our special thanks again to Munsey Ricci for spending time with us, and sharing some well-versed knowledge about the biz.

Next week, we’ll see if Linkin Park has what it takes to stay atop the countdown, we’ll examine any new entries to the charts and as always, we’ll bring you a special guest to help us break down what makes this business so undeniably tough to predict, and as usual, I’ll give you some artists to put on your radar.  Until then….