Best 16 Rock Songs of 2016

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The year 2016 has been a bumper one in rock music history. So much so that I had a hard time choosing the Top 16, normally there aren’t so many to choose from. We had releases from major bands, like Metallica, Alter Bridge, Skillet and a few newcomers I Prevail and Kaleo. A few songs made the list as 2016 was nearing its demise. A variety of different sounds can be heard and there is something here every rock fan can appreciate. Rock music is alive and well, if anyone needs proof of that 2016 is the evidence.

16. Kaleo – No Good

The relative newcomers from Iceland, formed in 2012, you just can’t deny the foot-tapping deliciousness of this song. JJ Julius Son’s vocals and the bluesy feel that is pulsing throughout “No Good” is sure to garner the band many new fans.

 

15. I Prevail – Stuck In Your Head

A little punk mixed with metal core is how I would describe “Stuck In Your Head” and it just works. The way Brian Burkheiser (clean vocals) and Eric Vanlerberghe (unclean vocals) feed off one another is captivating. I really enjoyed stumbling across this band this year, what a treat.

 

14. The Pretty Reckless – Take Me Down

The Pretty Reckless doesn’t disappoint, but I was surprised to see a tame release as the leading single from their new album. Taylor’s husky and soulful vocals envelop the song along with some solid drumming from Jamie Perkins. The song is infused with that undeniable Mississippi vibe.

 

13. A Day To Remember – Paranoia

A rock-fuelled injection for the aggressive rock fanatic. “Paranoia” doesn’t let up for one moment and A Day To Remember does not disappoint. This will be the song that concert goers live for. I will let the lyrics speak for itself, “I’m like a time bomb ticking in your head”.

 

12. Beartooth – Hated

I love the message of this song about how you should not allow people to belittle and walk over you. It is one of those songs that you want to hear blasted in a stadium to a massive audience. Beartooth hit this one out of the park.

 

11. Gemini Syndrome – Remember We Die

Aaron Nordstrum’s voice really shines on this track, it creates a sonically pleasing ebb and flow to the song and the guitar work is great. “Remember We Die” serves as a reminder to live each day as if it was your last.

 

10. Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth

“Crooked Teeth” is aggressive and hits you like a hurricane through the first listen. The lyrics describe a person who is reliving a terrifying event. I like how they incorporated the electronic sounds into the song and used it strategically. We can look forward to their new album in 2017!

 

9. Of Mice & Men – Real

This song really surprised me when I first heard it, because it is not what I expected from the band. I find it interesting that this is basically a duet between Austin Carlile and Aaron Pauley and the clean vocals surprised me too. The song deals with someone that’s been hurt by someone they love before and is trying to get through it.

 

8. Art of Anarchy – Madness

Scott Stapp took over the role of lead vocalist when Scott Weiland passed away. I love this song as I feel all the members of the band have combined their talents to create something unique. The song is based on Scott’s personal breakdown he had in 2014, which is why I believe the lyrics are so poignant .

 

7. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage

Avenged Sevenfold surprised us all with the release of their latest album “The Stage” which happened unannounced. The title track is an 8 minute long epic journey describing humanity and the way we have treated one another throughout history. The intro slowly introduces each instrument and then they gradually combine until M.Shadows steps in with the vocals. Synyster Gates’ guitar skills will leave you in awe if it hasn’t already. I decided to post the video of their live performance atop the Capitol Records building, because I enjoyed it so much.

 

6. 3 Doors Down – In The Dark

I love the vibe of this song and the subject matter. A good rock song which you can dance to and it is great to have the band back after 5 years between their latest album and the previous one.

 

5. Twenty One Pilots – Heathens

I understand that there might be some dispute about what genre this song belongs to, but I believe that almost each Twenty One Pilots’ song falls within a different genre. Josh’s performance on the drums are impeccable and the bass guitar glues the whole song together. A hauntingly unique song indeed.

5. Skillet – Undefeated

Although this is not one of the singles off their latest album “Unleashed”, it is the heaviest rock song off the album in my opinion. A motivating song that you can definitely add to your workout playlist. The backing vocals add to the power of the song and the talents of Jen Ledger on the drums is undeniable.

 

3. Alter Bridge – Crows On A Wire

My favourite band is back with their first album in three years “The Last Hero”. “Crows On A Wire” is an epic track and the lyrics serve as a warning for all those who believe fame and fortune is a ticket to happiness. Brian Marshall shines on the bass guitar, but the whole band gels together effortlessly on every track.

 

2. Metallica – Moth Into Flame

Normally a Metallica song has to grow on me before I like it, but not this song. I fell in love with this song from the get-go. They really come out of the gates swinging on this one. James has been quoted as saying that “Moth Into Flame” was inspired by the documentary about Amy Winehouse titled “Amy”. Thrash metal at its best.

 

 

 

 

1. Disturbed – Sound of Silence

I was torn when I was picking the number 1 rock song for 2016, because this song was such an obvious choice, which automatically made me not want to choose it. I thought about it some more and I realised how much this one song on its own has done for the rock music genre this year.  I’m sure it garnered Disturbed some new fans and if it didn’t, more people were at the very least exposed to Disturbed’s music. When I first heard the song on the album, I actually went to check the song credits to see if it was really David Draiman’s voice I was listening to. It is one of the best cover songs I have ever heard and I’m sure I’m not alone when I make that statement. There is something to be said for a song that gives you chills every time you listen to it. A musical masterpiece.

2016 was indeed the year for rock fans to revel in, I mean even Guns ‘n Roses reunited!

Here is to a rocking 2017!

Cheers!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

https://twitter.com/MusicMonkey14

 

Best 15 Rock Songs of 2015

 

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The year 2015 had a lot of amazing rock music moments. When I started to compile this list it was easier than it has ever been before!

Please take some time to appreciate the talented musicians featured here:

 

Number 15: In This Moment – “Sex Metal Barbie”

 

In This Moment have their own unique style and niche fan base. The song discusses the prejudice that women in the hard rock/metal music industry face. Maria Brink displays her flair and tenacity in this unique video.

 

Number 14: Apocalyptica – “Cold Blood”

 

Franky Perez joined Apocalyptica in 2014 as a touring member, but I think his voice compliments the band  perfectly. “Cold Blood” delivers a visual feast combined with excellent instrumentalists. A rock performance with class.

 

Number 13: Trivium – “Silence In The Snow”

 

Silence In The Snow hits the ground running and Matt Heafy’s vocal delivery on this track is impeccable not to mention the mesmerizing video the band released.

Number 12: Breaking Benjamin – “Angels Fall”

 

Breaking Benjamin released an enchanting ballad and personally a song that I don’t think many rock fans will tire of.

 

Number 11: We Are Harlot – “Dancing On Nails”

 

In 2015 the metal world lost a talented vocalist and the rock industry gained a fantastic new band “We Are Harlot” with charismatic vocalist Danny Worsnop. I had this video on repeat for weeks after I heard it for the first time. It is a great song to introduce the band to a new fan base and it makes you forget your inhibitions.

 

Number 10: The Fuel – “Revolution”

 

The Fuel got signed to Record Label Suburban Records on the 8th of December 2015. I love discovering new bands that are relatively unknown and delivers quality production and songs I can sink my teeth into. The Fuel is one of those bands and one of my greatest discoveries this year. “Revolution” is a fantastic song and I can’t help lip-syncing every time I hear it!

Check out their Band of the Month feature on The Rock Riff here: https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/band-of-the-month-the-fuel/

 

Number 9: Highly Suspect – “Lydia”

 

This song was nominated for the 58th Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and after the song peaked at Number 4 on the US Mainstream Rock Songs chart I think we all know that this song has made a major impact on 2015. A great rock song that builds anticipation with a unique arrangement and the vocalist’s voice becomes more urgent as the song progresses.

 

 

Number 8: Halestorm – “I Am The Fire”

I had a difficult decision to make when I wanted to make a choice between “Amen” and “I Am The Fire” by Halestorm. The reason I chose “I Am The Fire” is in part due to the escalating notes that Lzzy sings at 2:45 in the video. My jaw just dropped when I first heard that part. We all know that  Lzzy can sing, but she just took it to another level. The band creates a fantastic ebb and flow along with Lzzy’s vocals on this track.

 

Number 7: Bullet For My Valentine – “Venom”

The band’s new material took me by surprise, because I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. A rock song that everyone can relate to about removing toxic people in your life and having no regrets.

 

 

 

Number 6: Nothing More – “Jenny”

This song didn’t strike me at first, but after I learned the story behind the song I was hooked. The song is very personal to lead vocalist Jonny Hawkins about his aunt “Jenny” who has schizophrenia and his sister Jenna who has bipolar disorder. The band partnered with many organisations to bring awareness to people suffering from mental illness. The band partnered with the following organisations:

To Write Love on Her Arms – http://twloha.com
The Jed Foundation – http://www.jedfoundation.org
Bring Change 2 Mind – http://bringchange2mind.org
International Bipolar Foundation – http://www.ibpf.org
Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk

 

Number 5: Papa Roach – “Gravity” ft Maria Brink

The style and variety in this song is appealing. Jacoby depicts his vulnerability in the song’s lyrics. Having Maria Brink from In This Moment perform on this track adds another dimension to the song and I feel it makes the song more relatable. I’m in love with the music video, it matches the title of the song as it adds a surreal quality to the track.

 

Number 4: Pop Evil – “Footsteps (Go Higher)”

An inspiring and unique offering from Pop Evil for their fifth studio album. I love the pop art/comic book look of the video and it is executed flawlessly. A song that you will be singing for the rest of the day! 😀

 

Number 3: Bring Me The Horizon – “Throne”

An epic stadium-sized rock song. I can just imagine the audience going crazy when this song is being performed live. An empowering, electronic lyrical force that will make you believe the sky’s the limit. Prepare to hit the replay button!

 

Number 2: Disturbed – “The Sound of Silence”

I was flabbergasted when I heard this song for the first time. I couldn’t believe that David Draiman was singing, I have never heard him sing like he did on this track. A cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” was the last cover that I expected Disturbed to do. This song will definitely gain Disturbed a new fan base. I have witnessed friends on Facebook share this song and I know they don’t listen to rock/metal music. The art direction for the music video is superb and the viewers can get ready for some serious goosebumps. Enjoy!

 

NUMBER 1: Shinedown – “Cut The Cord”

I was super excited when Shinedown finally made their come back after two years of near silence from the band. Their fifth album “Threat To Survival” made its arrival on the 18th of September 2015. The lead single from the album “Cut The Cord” released on the 29th of June 2015. The song not surprisingly reached No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The song has a positive message that encourages people to let go of whatever is holding them back and a reminder to all that we control our own destiny. This song pull no punches and the video reiterates that sentiment. The band’s performance allows the viewer to appreciate their chemistry and makes you feel as if you have stepped into their private rehearsal space.

 

Here is to 2016 and may there be many more quality rock moments!

Rock Regards,

 

Lauren K

Band of the Month – Disturbed

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Photographer: David Draiman Again by The-Duna-Bug Source: http://the-duna-bug.deviantart.com/art/David-Draiman-Again-123273342

Photographer:
David Draiman Again
by The-Duna-Bug
Source: http://the-duna-bug.deviantart.com/art/David-Draiman-Again-123273342

Disturbed is an American heavy metal/hard rock band from Chicago, Illinois. The band consists of vocalist David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan and drummer Mike Wengren. Former members of the band are vocalist Erich Awalt and bassist Steve Kmak.

The band formed in 1994 originally known as Brawl and was renamed Disturbed after David Draiman was hired as the lead vocalist. Five of the band’s six studio albums consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

Before David Draiman joined the band the line-up consisted of vocalist Erich Awalt, guitarist Dan Donegen, drummer Mike Wengren and bassist Steve “Fuzz” Kmak. Dan mentioned on Disturbed’s DVD “Decade of Disturbed” that the band’s name was supposed to be “Crawl”, but they changed it to “Brawl” due to another band who had the same name. Erich Awalt left the band shortly after the recording of the band’s demo tape. The three remaining members decided to advertise for a lead vocalist. The vacancy was advertised in the Illinois Entertainer, a local music publication in Chicago, to which David Draiman responded after auditioning for 20 other vacancies that month. David Draiman was ultimately chosen, because he was the only singer brave enough to attempt releasing original songs with the band. Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren were drawn to Draiman from the start and realized that there was huge potential. David joined the band in 1996 and the band was renamed “Disturbed”. David had considered Disturbed as the name for a band for years, because it described the state of mind that the band was in at the time and they wanted to push the envelope.

Disturbed recorded two three-track demo tapes, the first having demos for “The Game”, “Down With The Sickness” and “Meaning of Life” and the second consisted of demos for “Want”, “Stupify” and “Droppin Plates”. The artwork featured the band’s recently created mascot The Guy and the band eventually signed with Giant Records. In 2000 Disturbed released its debut album “The Sickness” which launched the band into stardom. “The Sickness” peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and it has sold over 4 million copies in the US alone since its release.

Steve Kmak decided to use the fire escape outside Disturbed’s rehearsal hall in Chicago, he fell and  broke his ankle right before Disturbed was due to join Marilyn Manson’s European tour in 2001. Marty O’Brien replaced Kmak for the European part of the tour, but Kmak performed with the band on the 11th and 12th of January 2001 at Disturbed’s Chicago show.

In February 2001 the band recorded a cover of the song “Midlife Crisis” for a Faith No More tribute album, but the cover was not used. Thankfully a recorded version of the song appeared on the album called “The Lost Children”.

In September 2001 production for the band’s second studio album began. On the 4th of June 2002 Disturbed released a documentary DVD about the band named M.O.L which depicts the band behind the scenes and life on the road. The DVD includes music videos and live performances. Watching the DVD you realize that life with Disturbed is pretty chaotic, but you can definitely feel their energy coming through during live performances. Disturbed’s second album “Believe” released on the 17th September 2002 and the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The music video for the first single “Prayer” was pulled from most television stations due to perceived similarities with the 11th of September 2001 attacks. David Draiman provided vocals for a song called “Forsaken” which was written and produced by Jonathan Davis (Korn) for the movie soundtrack of Queen of the Damned.

In 2003 Disturbed played Ozzfest and went on their own tour for Music as a Weapon II. Chevelle, Taproot and Unloco toured with the band. After the Music As A Weapon II tour Steve Kmak was fired from the band due to some personal differences and he was replaced by John Moyer, the current bassist for Disturbed. On the same night that John Moyer joined the band they performed two new songs “Hell” and “Monster”, both appeared as B-sides on the band’s third studio album “Ten Thousand Fists”.

Disturbed’s third studio album “Ten Thousand Fists” released on the 20th September 2005. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 238, 000 copies the week following its release, the album was certified platinum and shipped 1 000 000 units in the US on the 5th of January 2006. In support of the album Disturbed toured with 10 years and Ill Niño. The band headlined Ozzfest along with System of a Down, Lacuna Coil, DragonForce, Avenged Sevenfold and Hatebreed. Ten Thousand Fists is the first studio album by Disturbed to feature guitar solos. The reason for this is that the band felt that guitar solos are absent in a lot of modern music and they wanted to bring it back. “Stricken”, ” Land of Confusion” and “Overburdened” all feature guitar solos.

In 2006 the band’s European tour was moved twice due to David Draiman experiencing severe acid re flux, which affected his voice. Later that year David underwent surgery for a deviated septum which affected his voice. After a succesful operation David reduced his alcohol intake while touring. In late 2006 the band headlined another tour called Music As A Weapon III and Nonpoint, Flyleaf and Stone Sour toured with Disturbed. The band completed one leg of the tour and decided to go back to the studio to work on their fourth studio album.

In July 2007, a new track titled “This Moment” appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Transformers. Disturbed mixed their fourth studio album “Indestructible” in Los Angeles in late 2007. “Inside The Fire” the first single off the album was made available on digital distribution services for purchase on the 25th of March 2008. The band toured in the United States during April and May 2008 with Five Finger Death Punch and Art of Dying. The music video for “Inside The Fire” released on the 2nd of May 2008 on the band’s official website. A second single titled “Perfect Insanity” became available on iTunes on the 6th of May 2008 and “Indestructible” could be pre-ordered for the release date on the 3rd of June 2008. The album became the third consecutive number-one debut on the Billboard 200. The band played their first live online concert on the 29th of May 2008 in Las Vegas. Disturbed toured in support of the Mayhem Festival alongside Slipknot, Dragonforce and Mastodon during summer of 2008. The band toured in Australia and New Zealand from August to September 2008. In May 2008 Harmonix , the developers of video game Rock Band reached a deal with Disturbed and Best Buy to offer two tracks from “Indestructible” to play on Rock Band when the game is pre-ordered via Best Buy’s website. Harmonix later released an extra three songs from their fourth album namely “Indestructible”, “Inside The Fire” and “Perfect Insanity”. On the 12th of May 2009 Harmonix released “Stricken” and “Stupify” to the Rock Band music store. On the 30th of September 2008 Disturbed released an iTunes exclusive live album entitled “Live & Destructible”. The band toured Europe where they started in London during October 2008, finishing in Helsinki in November 2008 and later toured the United States during November and December 2008.

“Inside The Fire” was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Hard Rock Performance” category. In March 2009, Disturbed released a music video for the single “The Night”. The Music as a Weapon IV tour started in March 2009 and culminated in May 2009. The tour featured Lacuna Coil, Killswitch Engage and Chimaira on the main stage. Disturbed released an impressive second cover version of the band “Faith No More”‘s song “Midlife Crisis” on the album “Covered, A Revolution In Sound” which included bands such as “Mastodon”, “The Used” and “Avenged Sevenfold”.

A reissue of the band’s debut album “The Sickness” was released on the 23rd of March 2010 with more B-side songs “God of the Mind” and “A Welcome Burden”, updated artwork and a remastered track list. “The Sickness” became available on vinyl for the first time.

On the 8th of February 2010, Disturbed entered the studio in Chicago, Illinois to begin recording for their fifth studio album. The band released a superb cover of heavy metal band Judas Priest‘s song “Living After Midnight” for the Metal Hammer Presents… Tribute to British Steel album. The band finished recording the album “Asylum” and planned to start mixing it in Los Angeles, California. The self-produced album “Asylum” was released on the 31st of August 2010. On the 9th of July 2010 the official track list became available on the band’s official website. Asylum was the fourth consecutive album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, an achievement only earned by two other rock groups Metallica and the Dave Matthews Band.

Disturbed headlined the first “Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar” tour along with Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Hellyeah and Halestorm among others in late summer 2010. In October 2010 David Draiman was diagnosed with a serious throat condition and the band’s US tour was canceled as it was estimated that David’s recovery could take up to four weeks. Close to the end of 2010 Disturbed announced that they would leave for their tour of Music As A Weapon V in 2011, co-headlining with Korn and guests Sevendust, In This Moment and Stillwell. In January 2011 they announced that Disturbed would be headlining the Mayhem Festival along with Godsmack and Megadeth for summer 2011. In February 2011 it was confirmed that the band would be playing Download Festival and in May 2011 Disturbed co-headlined the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio.

A previously unreleased song “3” became available for download on their website. All proceeds from the song would go towards benefiting the Damien Echols Defense Fund, a foundation supporting the release of the West Memphis Three.

In July 2011, Disturbed confirmed that the band would go on hiatus after completing their US tour and during an interview in the same month David Draiman dismissed rumors that the hiatus came about as a result of conflict between band members. Disturbed went on hiatus in October 2011. They released a b-side compilation album, titled “The Lost Children” on the 8th of November 2011. The song “Hell” became available for digital download on the 11th of October 2011. The track listing and release date for the album was announced on David Draiman’s Twitter profile. On the 21st of April 2012 to commemorate Record Store Day, Disturbed released “The Collection”, a box set featuring the band’s five full-length studio albums in 140g vinyl LPs.

On the 20th of June 2015 on Disturbed’s official Facebook page and website, posts were made hinting at the band’s return. The website displayed a new Disturbed logo and a video of the band’s mascot on life support, still breathing. On the 22nd of June 2015 a video was posted by the band of The Guy awakening from life support along with an 18-hour countdown on their official website giving speculation to a definite reunion. On the 23rd of June 2015, Disturbed officially announced the end of their hiatus and the title of their new album titled “Immortalized”. A music video for their song “The Vengeful One” released on the same day. “Immortalized” released on the 21st August 2015. All bass tracks on the album was performed by Dan Donegan and not John Moyer. However John Moyer still remains an official band member appearing in promotional material and performing during live performances. On the album’s release day, the band played their first show in four years at the House of Blues in Chicago. “Immortalized” is Disturbed’s fifth consecutive number-one debut on the United States Billboard 200 chart.

Disturbed is a monumental force in the rock music industry and has walked the line between becoming successful and still catering to the die-hard hard rock community which is no small feat. I discovered the band on a compilation of rock music videos. I had never heard of the band, but didn’t think it would hurt to give them a try. I was pleasantly surprised and I was a fan since I watched the music video for “Land of Confusion”. I admire the band for experimenting with sounds and lyrics, but essentially staying true to their roots. My favourite album thus far (excluding “Immortalized”) has been The Lost Children, I can’t believe that most of those songs are b-sides!  I hope the fans can look forward to many more years of Disturbed.

Follow Dan Donegan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanDoneganGtr

Follow John Moyer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMoyerBass

Follow Mike Wengren on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeWengren

Follow Disturbed on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Disturbed

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

5 GREAT Cover Songs by Rock Musicians

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I love listening to great covers of great songs, but hearing it being performed by a rock band that I like is fantastic. Bands do cover songs for various reasons, to prove to their fans that they are versatile, for marketing purposes, to show their talent or to appeal to a different fan base. Whichever the reason I know I’m always interested to see what a band will be able to do with a popular song or a song that is in another genre. It lets the fans see the band in a new light and it captivates fans of other genres of music.

In no particular order here are 5 of my favourite cover songs that I would like to share with my readers.

Number 1 : 30 Seconds To Mars – Where The Streets Have No Name orginally by U2

Jared Leto really impressed me with the quality of his voice on this song and the elegant way in which the band performed the song. I get goosebumps every time I listen to their version. One of my favourite cover songs for sure!

 

 

Number 2: Smith & Myers – Someone Like You originally by Adele

Smith & Myers, vocalist and guitarist for the rock band Shinedown did a variety of cover songs for their fans that are available on iTunes, but this is my favourite one as I was wondering where they would go with a song as big as Adele’s Someone Like You. It’s really interesting to hear the male vocal on this song in particular and they made it their own which is quite difficult to do with such an iconic song.

 

 

Number 3: Halestorm – Get Lucky originally by Daft Punk

When such a radio-freindly mainstream song gets a makeover it is really refreshing.I love the rock version of Get Lucky. Its gives the song new life. Halestorm have released EPs featuring some great covers, but this one stood out to me, because it was in a genre far-removed from what the band normally does.

 

Number 4: Device ft Lzzy Hale – Close My Eyes Forever originally by Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford

What an intimidating song to cover, but no need to worry it was absolutely effortless for David Draiman and Lzzy Hale. They didn’t just do the song justice they dominated it. The combination of Lzzy and David’s voices are impeccable and so is the production of the song.

 

 

Number 5: Santana ft Chris Daughtry – Photograph originally by Def Leppard

In my opinion Chris injects some vigour into the song which some might consider as a classic song that is better left untouched. I truly enjoy the combination of Santana’s flawless guitar solos and Chris’s powerful, belting voice. To me this version catapulted the song into the 21st century.

 

Have your say below, which cover song featured here is your favourite?

 

Have a fantastic week!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

The 13 Best Rock Songs Of 2013

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Photograph owned and taken by Richard Booth

Photograph owned and taken by Richard Booth

The past year has been great for hard rock music and as a hard rock music lover, I will like to share my Top 13 best hard rock songs of 2013. Thank you for supporting The Rock Riff this past year and I hope we will share many more years together. My list will start at Number 13 and lead up to my Number 1 song of 2013.

13. Love Sick Rock ‘n Roll – Taxi Violence

I had the pleasure of seeing South African band Taxi Violence perform at Kirstenbosch this year supporting Seether on their semi-acoustic SA tour. I love the pureness and the groove of the song, it’s really refreshing.

 

12. Here’s To Us – Halestorm

Halestorm’s crowd-favourite, hard rock anthem comes in at Number 12, the band has had a bumper year with a promising future. They kicked off the year with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performed at the Bandit Rock Awards, Lzzy Hale sang a duet with David Draiman on Device’s cover of “Close My Eyes Forever”. They supported Alter Bridge on their UK and European tour, the highlight of Halestorm’s year was winning a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Category.

 

11. Never Never – Korn

From their latest album The Paradigm Shift comes ” Never Never” a song about relationships and the feelings we as people experience when we have been hurt by loved ones. The video for this song was one of my favourite music videos of the year.

 

10. Adrenalize Me – In This Moment

The provocative and sexy single from In This Moment comes in at number 10. The dark, gritty guitars combined with Maria’s powerful vocals topped with a great chorus is a great combination. the music video for this song is creepy, sexy and very entertaining.

 

9. Live It Up – Airbourne

Everyone’s favourite Ozzie rockers delivered an adrenaline pumping track sure to tantalise and entertain their audience at any of their live shows. The band never cease to deliver some head-banging tracks and “Live It Up” was no exception.

 

8. Going To Hell – The Pretty Reckless

The Pretty Reckless returned in a big way last year after Hurricane Sandy destroyed their studio mid-recording, wiped out the majority of the band’s gear as well as a slew of demos and near-completed recordings for their new album. They had to rebuild, this song addresses the tragedy and how the band struggled to regain their footing.

 

7. Slow Suicide – Scott Stapp

Scott Stapp’s solo career continued in 2013 when he released his second solo album “Proof Of Life” on the 5th of November 2013. After reading Scott Stapp’s 2012 Memoir Sinner’s Creed, the listener understands the song and music video so much better. I really admire Scott for using his own life and experiences as a method of educating others who face the same challenges. The music video for the song depicts time periods in his own life and how he was saved by music and his family. It’s a powerful song and it has a powerful message to convey.

 

6. Conquistador – Thirty Seconds To Mars

An upbeat song of defiance and courage with an infectious beat underlined by the chill-inducing backing vocals of Knights of the White Shadow. Thirty Seconds To Mars are an innovative band and this song just seems to verify that. Despite not being released as a single the song has been featured in the “Become Immortal” trailer for the video game,WWE 2K14 & Need For Speed Rivals.

 

5. Vilify – Device

2013 saw the debut of a new industrial metal band named Device, fronted by David Draiman of Disturbed. “Vilify” was the first single released off of their self-titled album. The powerful and potent single was a great introduction to the album. The music video features David Draiman’s wife Lena as the android/robotic figure.

 

4. Adrenaline – Shinedown

Shinedown released Adrenaline as a single off of their 2012 album “Amaryllis” in 2013. The title for the song is self-explanatory and it is a straight-up hard rock song. Powerful, pounding drums and roaring guitars dominate the song and it does not disappoint.

 

3. Do Me A Favor – Stone Sour

Stone Sour released “Do Me a Favor” as a single on February 12th, 2013. The first time I heard the song I was hooked. I listened to it about 5 – 10 times the same night I heard it. It’s an aggressive song, but it has a really fantastic chorus which creates a nice contrast. “Do Me A Favor” comes from “House of Gold and Bones – Part 2”.

 

2. Hail To The King – Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold released their sixth studio album Hail To The King on the 27th of August 2013. The title track and lead single off the album was released on the 15th of July 2013. The song has , in my opinion, one of the best intro’s I have ever heard, combining the guitars and drums in a sinister way. M.Shadows enters the song 1 minute and 10 seconds into it, with some powerful and threatening lyrics. The song has a unique dynamic and takes the listener on a medieval journey. The music video is one of the best videos I have seen this year. All in all a fantastic delivery from A7X. Enjoy!

NUMBER 1 : Addicted To Pain – Alter Bridge

I suppose it’s no secret that I’m a HUGE Myles Kennedy/Alter Bridge fan, so this might not surprise dedicated The Rock Riff readers. Although I’m well aware that this might make me seem biased, but I’m sure that almost everyone will agree that the Number 1 spot is well-deserved. Addicted To Pain gets in your face and doesn’t let up for 1 second. A fast-paced, aggressive song heightened by Myles Kennedy’s vocals. The song is about a person who is being used in a relationship and is too blind to realise it. The song is written from the perspective of the “witness” /friend who can see what is happening but has no power to stop it. Alter Bridge made a triumphant return from their 2010 album ABIII with the release of “Fortress”. They will continue their tour in support of “Fortress” in  2014, which will include Sweden, Japan, UK, Australia, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and the US.

Fortress has received critical acclaim. It currently holds a score of 81 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic, indicating ‘universal acclaim'” – Quote obtained from Wikipedia

Thank you for reading and supporting The Rock Riff in 2013, I hope 2014 will be even better!

Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – Device

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David Draiman captured by the talented Mr Rob Fenn during his performance with Lzzy Hale at the Golden God Awards.

David Draiman captured by the talented Mr Rob Fenn during his performance with Lzzy Hale at the Golden God Awards.

Source: http://www.metalinjection.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Device-David-Draimans-new-band-604x406.jpg

Source:
http://www.metalinjection.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Device-David-Draimans-new-band-604×406.jpg

As Disturbed entered their hiatus in late 2011, the lead singer of the band David Draiman announced a new side project called Device in May of 2012. He subsequently revealed that Geno Lenardo will be working with him. From the start David Draiman made the direction the project very clear. He stated that Device will have an electronic sound combined with industrial metal comparing it to Nine Inch Nails’ and Ministry’s sound.

The idea for the band was born when Geno Lenardo approached David Draiman about writing a song for the Underworld soundtrack for the latest Underworld film that was going to be released. Together they created a powerful song and the partnership came very easily for both. Due to circumstances beyond their control the song never became part of the soundtrack for the film. David suggested that they hold on to the material and continue writing songs, soon they had a whole album’s worth of content. Together they created a sound that was unique to Device and what David dubbed as futuristic rock.

Their first single “Vilify” is very personal to David, because the lyrics refer to the skewed perception that the “haters” and people in general have of him. David Draiman called upon his many friends in the music business and created a dark, enchanting album that will plague your mind for hours after you’ve listened to it. Black Sabbath’s bassist Geezer Butler joins the trio on “Out of Line”while Serj Tankian added his vibrant vocal melodies. Tom Morello’s guitar wizardry casted a spell over “Opinion”, which is by far my favourite song on the album. Avenged Sevenfold’s frontman M. Shadows adds his signature wail to “Haze”, Glenn Hughes adds to a hauntingly beautiful song called “Through It All” which was dedicated to David’s stunning wife Lena. Rock chick Lzzy Hale showed off her impressive vocal chords on a cover of Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford‘s song “Close My Eyes Forever” which shows off another side to David’s voice.

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the album, because I didn’t know what to expect. I really liked “Vilify”, so I decided to buy the album after I listened to David Draiman and Lzzy Hale’s rendition of “Close My Eyes Forever”. The music is heavy, but feels fresh and I believe the reason for that is the electronic sound that has been incorporated. The use of technology on this album adds a new dimension to the music. The lyrical content reflects upon our responsibility as human beings, our behaviour and the effect that has on our environment.

The band entered the studio at the beginning of June of 2012 and by the 6th of June vocal demos had already been completed for 5 songs. Device’s debut album was released on the 9th of April 2013. Their first single “Vilify” was released on the 18th of February along with a fantastic music video featuring David Draiman’s wife, Lena (Yada) Draiman. David Draiman married Lena on the 25th of September 2011 and the couple are currently expecting their first child!

You can follow Device on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/DEVICETHEBAND

You can follow David Draiman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DAVIDMDRAIMAN

You can follow Virus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndreTheVirus

You can follow Will Hunt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WillFnHunt

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Credits to Chad Lee Photography

Credits to Chad Lee Photography

Device – Vilify

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Device just debuted the Official music video for their first single “Vilify”!!

I love the electronic vibe combined with David’s voice, its a fantastic combination!

 

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Rockstar Art

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I’m a great lover and supporter of the arts. I really wanted to combine two of my favourite hobbies music and art. I have been a Deviantart member for 4 years and I never knew how many talented artists there are in the world. Some of the pieces of art on deviantart literally made my jaw drop, these artists have talent and patience in bucketloads.

Please enjoy this feature and please remember to respect these artists’ works and not to pass them off as your own or distribute these pieces illegally. I don’t own any of these pieces that are featured here.

Enjoy!

Division will unite - Jared Leto by ~Ilojleen

Division will unite – Jared Leto by ~Ilojleen
Source: http://fav.me/d4uvt0g

Jared Leto - Pencil Drawing by =D17rulez

Jared Leto – Pencil Drawingby =D17rulez
Source: http://fav.me/d5ko2dr

Maria Brink Progressionby ~avengedxdeathbat

Maria Brink Progressionby ~avengedxdeathbat
Source: http://fav.me/d5lqzec

Myles Kennedyby ~BlackCherry17

Myles Kennedyby ~BlackCherry17
Source: http://fav.me/d34a9n4

Slash by *CristinaC75

Slash by *CristinaC75
Source: http://fav.me/d2wutd2

James Hetfield by ~BartekLauri

James Hetfield by ~BartekLauri
Source: http://fav.me/d36tdhi

Shannon Leto by ~LochaSnejpa

Shannon Leto by ~LochaSnejpa
Source:http://fav.me/d4ex9em

Passionate singing by ~masterklep

Passionate singing by ~masterklep
Source: http://fav.me/d4oalzg

Disturbed by ~FredrikEriksson1

Disturbed by ~FredrikEriksson1
Source: http://fav.me/d28cbpd

David Draiman by ~ShinyMarine

David Draiman by ~ShinyMarine
Source: http://fav.me/d38p5xf

Nickelback by ~Silver-Strife-Angel

Nickelback by ~Silver-Strife-Angel
Source: http://fav.me/d4ljf8n

Sully Erna - Sinner's Prayer by *Ilojleen

Sully Erna – Sinner’s Prayer by *Ilojleen
Source: http://fav.me/d4xn0mn

Adam Gontier by ~whispers-Dai

Adam Gontier by ~whispers-Dai
Source:http://fav.me/d4lf0ig

Amy Lee by ~Tunaferit

Amy Lee by ~Tunaferit
Source: http://fav.me/d8nwon

All These Lives by ~LittleBitzOfArt

All These Lives by ~LittleBitzOfArt
Source: http://fav.me/d3bhyls

Shinedown by ~Arhtan

Shinedown by ~Arhtan
Source: http://fav.me/d2xtqzy

Shaun Morgan by *steven0560

Shaun Morgan by *steven0560
Source: http://fav.me/d1k0c8l

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month: Nickelback – In defense of the Dark Horse

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Nickelback

Nickelback in concert
Source:http://www.nickelback.com/media/photos/21721/650491
Photo credit: Barry Brecheisen Photography

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this blog post has been years in the making. I’ve been a Nickelback fan since about 2006 and I have always had a strong opinion about their position in the rock/ music industry. Over the past few years I have read countless reviews and articles concerning Nickelback which are almost always negative or are written from a positive point of view, but still cops out towards the end of the article by saying something nasty or negative about the band. Just in case that writer gets some heat from so-called haters. I’m here to comment on what I have witnessed on social media and to give my opinion on the band.

Nickelback has proven time and time again that they don’t take themselves too seriously for example in the video they made in response to the Detroit petition that was started as an attempt to have Nickelback replaced as the halftime act for the Thanksgiving game. Many interviews of the band support this statement, because they are always joking around.

You can view Nickelback’s response to the petition here: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/5166240802/nickelback-responds-to-NFL-petition

I will be honest, musically I can’t really comment on the structure of their songs, because I don’t have the necessary knowledge (music-related qualification) to form an objective opinion.

Being labelled mainstream in the rock music industry is like admitting that you have swine flu at a party. Everyone tries to stay away from you and you will eventually be teased/taunted about it. I support Nickelback as a mainstream rock band, because they are the only rock band that have managed to top the charts on a regular basis. Do rock fans rather want pop/tween acts topping the charts? Through their efforts they are almost single-handedly waving the flag for rock music. Even David Draiman from Disturbed admits to this fact:

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter
Source: http://celebjuicer.com/DAVIDMDRAIMAN/and/Nickelback

As for those who have said that “How You Remind Me” and “Leader of Men” was pretty decent, but they haven’t made good music since then. I beg to differ, obviously these people forgot to listen to The Long Road Nickelback’s fourth album released September 23, 2003. Its one of my all-time favourite albums, because it covers a wide variety of topics and included on the album is their awesome cover of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting featuring Kid Rock and Dimebag Darrell. My favourites off of that album are “Should’ve Listened” which is a pleasant surprise when you listen to the album for the first time and “Yanking Out My Heart” is another fave with its angry lyrics and fantastic chorus. Listen to “Should’ve Listened” here:

I just want to make clear that I’m not a Nickelback fan who only like the tracks that they release as singles. I love their whole discography and I especially like the tracks that aren’t released as singles. I believe there are two types of Nickelback fans those who like them for the ballads/popular singles and then there are the rock music fans that love all of their songs.

There are some rare jewels to be discovered when you listen to their entire music catalogue, for example “Worthy To Say“, “Woke Up This Morning”, “Midnight Queen”, “Just To Get High”, “Fly”, “Follow You Home” and “Next Contestant” to name just a few. Then there are some hard rock tracks which I always look forward to with every album they release like “Side of a Bullet” dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell from Pantera which just proves what Nickelback are capable of.The song includes a guitar solo by Dimebag from his Pantera days, and was used with the blessing and cooperation of Dimebag’s brother and Pantera/Damageplan drummer, Vinnie Paul. “This Means War” is another crowd pleaser and its best played extremely loud, the same goes for “Burn It To The Ground”. “Figure You Out” is another solid rocker with slightly different subject matter and I think its just one of those songs that will never get old. In my opinion their most meaningful ballads on one album was from All The Right Reasons. Those songs might have entered the U.S. Hot 100 top 20 singles, but they still carried so much meaning especially “If Everyone Cared” and “Savin’ Me” which was rumoured to be about a childhood friend of Chad’s who was incarcerated and died in prison. I heard about this rumour a few years ago, but I’m not sure if its true.

Nickelback have never been subtle in their choices for supporting acts such as Seether (from South Africa!), Bush, Three Days Grace, Buckcherry, Daughtry and Shinedown. You have to be pretty famous and confident to take these massively successful bands on tour with you. Nickelback have always managed to cultivate friendships with the bands they tour with, so as people they are pretty likeable if you ask me. On numerous occasions I have witnessed (on the internet) their tour mates only having nice things to say about them. It takes a lot of confidence in your own abilities as a band to keep such famous company.

Aside from all the success that Nickelback has had, Chad Kroeger started his own record label 604 Records in 2002 and holds the position of Executive Producer. Here are the list of artists signed to the label: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/604_Records

Official website of 604 Records: http://www.604records.com/604/home/

Nickelback was discovered by Roadrunner’s Artists and repertoire (A&R) Ron Burman who travelled to Vancouver to see the band perform live, the then unknown venue was packed. It took Ron Burman three months to convince his label bosses’ to approve the signing that would mark Roadrunner’s first move into mainstream rock. They have never looked back since, even though Roadrunner fans are constantly complaining about the fact that Nickelback are included in their list of signed artists.

Many a rock band has covered Metallica at some point in their career, but no one has done it quite like Nickelback. I just wish I could hear the song in its entirety. Nickelback started out as a Led Zeppelin and Metallica cover band called “Village Idiots”.

Watch it here:

At the start of their career Nickelback’s sound was a little ruff around the edges and gritty, but I suppose that is what made them so appealing back in 1995 and since then their sound has become more polished and controlled. I believe this change occured due to years of experience and adapting to what the fans wanted. The earlier Nickelback albums are more acceptable to rock music lovers, because it wasn’t as polished and that was the appeal. In my opinion The Long Road was the best combination of both worlds and after that album was when Nickelback departed from the minds of hard rock lovers and entered the mainstream music industry. I listen to and support both sides of the coin(/nickel) and I will always remain grateful to Nickelback for introducing me to rock music. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t know who most of the modern rock bands are, my love for rock music started with Nickelback and branched out to the bands that supported them on tour. I looked up bands like Shinedown on the internet just because they started touring with Nickelback.

The band has sometimes been critiscised over their use of themes such as strippers, sex, prostitutes, drugs and drinking. People will drink, regardless of the fact that Nickelback is singing about it and the same goes for the rest of the content for their songs. Most rock bands cover these subjects at one point or another in their career, I also believe that its Nickelback’s way of being risque and not remaining safe in their subject matter.

Here are some great photos of each band member:

Source: http://www.nickelback.com

Daniel Adair

Daniel Adair
Source:Marcus Chacona Photography

Mike Kroeger

Mike Kroeger

Ryan Peake

Ryan Peake

Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger

Nickelback in concert

Nickelback in concert
Source:http://www.guardian.co.uk/music

Follow Nickelback on Twitter here:https://twitter.com/Nickelback

If you would like to connect with fellow Nickelback fans you can follow Nickelbackers here: https://twitter.com/Nickelbackers

Nickelback just finished the European leg of their Here & Now tour with Daughtry. You can check out the rest of their tour dates here: http://www.nickelback.com/events

Thank you for reading!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Frontman of the week – David Draiman

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David Draiman

Original photo can be viewed here: http://www.clubzone.com/events/485798/las-vegas/chateau-nightclub/david-draiman-official-after-party

So today I put the spotlight on David Draiman lead vocalist from Disturbed. Last year I discovered a discounted compilation of music videos on dvd at a music store. I watched it and while going through about 30 videos I went back to Disturbed’s Stricken video, I fell in love with the song and David’s unique vocals. Disturbed is probably the “heaviest” band I listen to and I’m very proud to call myself a Disturbed fan. As a rock music fan I like structured music/songs with rhythm, Disturbed combine heavy guitar riffs and drums in a way that is still pleasing to the ears of a music lover, that is not necessarily a metal music lover.

After I started listening to a few samples of their songs on the web, I decided to purchase The Lost Children which is my favourite album of theirs thus far. After The Lost Children I purchased Asylum and their M.O.L dvd. There is a live performance of “Fear” on the dvd and it shows Draiman jumping up and down on  stage in sync with the audience which makes me want to join in and be part of the experience.

Disturbed has been on hiatus since July of 2011. Hopefully we will still enjoy some more of their work. I love David’s honesty and how he will stand up for what he believes in no matter what. He has a great love for animals which I share. He regularly interacts with his fans on Twitter which I admire, because Twitter is a great communication tool if you use it correctly and can generate even more interest in the band and Draiman’s other projects.

If you are interested in following David here is his Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/DAVIDMDRAIMAN

David is currently working on an industrial rock/metal project and this project is called Device. For more information check out the Facebook page for Device.  http://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf#!/Devicetheband

I’m looking forward to hearing what this new project is all about.

I have to praise Disturbed’s music videos they have released over the years, all of them are quite creative and creepy without making the viewer turn away from the screen in disgust. The  viewer can still appreciate the artistry that went into creating the videos even if it contains dark content/themes.

The way David distorts his voice differently in almost every song never ceases to surprise and amaze me. In my opinion Disturbed is probably one of the most unique bands out there.

You can like their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf#!/Disturbed

I will end off this post with a picture of “The Guy”, Disturbed’s mascot.

Original photo can be viewed here:http://s612.photobucket.com/albums/tt204/daryl889/?action=view&current=Disturbed_Indestructible_Guy.jpg&newest=1&call=1

Cover art from Disturbed’s Indestructible Album.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K