Great Rock Albums released in 2018…so far

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Due to studying and life running away with my time I have not been diligent in keeping the blog updated, but hopefully this won’t be a problem any longer. In the past few months I have listened and discovered new music by some talented artists and I even discovered artists that are in a different genre. I absolutely love discovering new bands/music, it makes me want to share it with the world.

Shinedown – Attention Attention

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Shinedown – Attention Attention Album Cover  Copyright: Shinedown / Atlantic Records

Released on the 4th of May 2018, this is a concept album depicting an individual who is overcoming negativity and being reborn as a new person with a healthier mindset. Shinedown always provides us with hard-hitting, in-your face rock music with honest lyrics. They don’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths. Shinedown is able to craft songs that blend different techniques seamlessly. I was blown away the first time I heard their first single from this album “DEVIL”. The drums shine on this track as well as Brent’s intense vocals. “PYRO” is stellar. It builds up through the intro to launch into full on mayhem, especially that chorus! Zach’s guitar riffs provides the basis for this track which is a treat. “HUMAN RADIO” is an interesting commentary on the current state of the world we live in, which I found fascinating. The concept for the video is thought-provoking in the best way possible and memorable. I highly recommend this album as there is not a song on here that I didn’t enjoy.

 

Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

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Year of the Tiger – Myles Kennedy Album Cover Copyright: Napalm Records

I have wanted to do an album review of YOTT for such a long time. I have to admit that it has been something that I have found quite daunting. As most of you know by now, Myles holds a special place in my heart and mind, as a human being and as a musician. I was in awe the first time I heard the title track, I was surprised by how much I loved it. This might sound strange, but I had no idea what to expect from Myles’ solo album. I would struggle to categorise this album in a specific genre, which to me is actually a good thing.

The day the album was released I was already well acquainted with the title track already. First off, I have to mention that I’m very reserved when it comes to expressing my emotions, except if something gets me really excited. I sat in my car, listening to the album and when “The Great Beyond” came on, my jaw literally dropped. The intro is very theatrical and I was in absolute awe. If you want to know the calibre of the musician that Myles is, then that is the track you need to listen to. His skills on guitar is impeccable and the note that Myles hits in that chorus amazes me every time I listen to it. You can hear the passion in this song and it reminds me a little bit of Spanish guitar combined with theatrics.

“Devil on the Wall” has a great storyline and it has some country swagger to it. “Ghost of Shangri-La” was a neat little surprise tucked away amongst the other songs and despite the lyrics, it has an uplifting feel to it. “Haunted by Design” will haunt your ear, that is for sure. An easy listening song where you can appreciate the lyrics. “Love Can Only Heal” takes you on a sonic, atmospheric journey encapsulated by Myles’ ethereal vocals. This song is definitely a fan favourite.

I had the privilege of seeing and meeting Myles on the first show of his solo tour, read my review here: Myles Kennedy in Cape Town 2018

Tremonti – A Dying Machine

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Tremonti – A Dying Machine Album Cover No copyright infringement intended

It is pretty apparent that this band improves with every album they release. I think there is more variety on this album and the guitar technique/skills always stand out, but that isn’t the only focus. The band has grown and incorporated solid lyrics, vocals and diversity in their sound compared to their other releases. The timing on “A Dying Machine” creates a good contrast to make the chorus stand out, with a more subtle guitar solo in the bridge. “Throw Them To The Lions” is a hard hitter of note and that signature Tremonti sound shines on this track. “The Day When Legions Burned” is a masterclass in drumming, Garrett’s technique on this track is undeniable. I absolutely love “The First The Last” and this track took me by surprise. Mark’s vocals on that track really makes you sit up and take note. This shows how much Mark’s vocal ability has grown these past few years. “The First The Last” tugs at my heart-strings.

“You are the heart that beats within my dying core” – What an incredible lyric.

A solid album for the hard rock/metal lover with a few pleasant surprises in between.

 

Bad Wolves – Disobey

Disobey

Bad Wolves – Disobey Album Cover

I probably don’t have to tell you that I heard about Bad Wolves the first time I heard their now extremely popular cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie.

What I didn’t expect was how hard I was going to fall in love with this band. I love the melodic verses surrounded by some serious heavy metal screams/distortions. They have managed to create something that is pleasing to the ear, even if you are not a heavy metal fan. They manage to get the combination just right. “Disobey” and “Learn To Live” are quite heavy and punchy, but they are lifted by melodic choruses. “Remember When” tells the story of Tommy Vext’s childhood and the tragedy that caused him to land up in a hospital bed. I would like to elaborate on this story on the blog soon. It is a powerful song and one of the stars on this album. The bass line on “Better The Devil” reels you in and takes you on a journey that attack your senses. “Hear Me Now” is a tender moment on the album and features hard rock chick DIAMANTE. It is a stellar performance and even the version with only Tommy on vocals is outstanding.

 

Pop Evil – Pop Evil

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Pop Evil Album Cover

Pop Evil knocked it out of the park with this album. This is a hard rock fan’s dream come true. Solid song writing, utilising instruments in a balanced mannner complimented with powerful vocals. The Rock Riff ranked “Waking Lions” as the Number 1 song of 2017, which means the expectations were high for this album. “Art of War” and “Be Legendary” are lyrically captivating and melodic.  “Nothing But Thieves” starts with an interesting intro which incorporates an electronic sound, but you can’t help being intrigued and waiting to hear what will happen next. The inspiring track “When We Were Young” will make you reminisce and have hope for the future. Leigh’s smooth vocals have the ability to transport you to another place, the best example of this is on the track “Rewind”. Hayley Cramer is magic on the drums, especially on “Colors Bleed”, this girl doesn’t need to stand back for any drummer.

 

Honourable Mentions

Turnstile – Time & Space

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Turnstile – Time & Space Album Cover

The intro to “I Wanna Be Blind” is stellar and it is an energizing song with elements of classic rock and funk thrown together. The album is an interesting mix of various styles. The band didn’t hold back on this album and they are not afraid to take risks. They maintain an intense tempo throughout the entire album. This album is more suited to the average punk rock fan.

Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree

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Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree Album Cover

I love this band! I love their sound, because I find it so refreshing. Chris Robertson’s southern drawl is unmatched. This album had some surprising tracks on that I was a little surprised about. “Bad Habits” is the first song off the album and I think it represents the signature Black Stone Cherry sound perfectly. I feel that there needs to be a track on an album that is a classic representation of that specific band’s sound. They have incorporated a slightly more dominant country sound, especially on songs like “Carry Me On Down The Road” and “I Need A Woman” and even some blues on “James Brown”. The album does seem to take on a slower pace overall, but I think the band is developing their sound and trying new things. You have to admire that.

The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut

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The Temperence Movement – A Deeper Cut Album Cover

A fantastic band that I discovered on the airplane on my trip back from London to Cape Town. A British band that embodies the groove of true Rock ‘n Roll. You can’t help but be caught in the infectious beat and groove they emit. Their songs inspire me and instantly improves my mood. “Built-In Forgetter” is the one that got me hooked in the first place. “Backwater Zoo” really makes me feel like I have heard this song before, a few decades ago, it is like the song pays homage to classic rock bands in the 70s. The smooth guitar chords layered on top of “Love and Devotion” makes you want to grab someone to dance with. “Beast Nation” is an emotional song that soothes your soul with gritty vocals in the verses and THAT guitar solo in the bridge! The passion of the band members are evident on every track. “The Way It Was and The Way It Is Now” is another standout, the guitar hook on this track is incredible.

Hopefully I have more time to share more music with you.

I can’t wait, I’m excited!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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The Rock Riff Throwbacks!

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I thought sharing some of my favourite rock songs would be a neat idea, up until I started drafting this post…it is so daunting! I know that each rock fan’s list would look very different, but you never know you might find something here that tickles your fancy. That is the biggest payoff for me as a blogger, sharing great music with people who would never have heard it any other way.

Godsmack – “I Stand Alone”

When I was younger I wasn’t into rock music that much, but even I couldn’t deny the power that this song had. The build up to the chorus that hits you like a wave is undeniable. It is a song that defines a generation and what ultimately got me listening to the Godsmack.

Staind – “So Far Away”

This song has a way of creeping under your skin and making you listen. Aaron’s voice is mesmerizing, it grabs your attention and piques your curiosity. The song has an unassuming quality to it which is why I think it took the rock world by storm at the time.

Creed – “My Own Prison”

“My Own Prison” lyrically paints a picture and is incredibly introspective which is quite rare. I hold this song in high regard even though I discovered it when Creed had already disbanded. It has a slow progression, but I find it captivating with enough aggression added in the right places.

Seether – “Remedy”

“Remedy” can be described as gritty, entertaining and features the most head bang-inducing chorus ever! All of us knew a Seether song would feature on this list at some point and I had a lot of trouble deciding which one. If an up and coming rock band were looking for a rock song formula or inspiration, they can’t go wrong with this one.

We As Human – “Strike Back”

I discovered the band when I watched this music video for the first time. They released one of the most impressive debut albums I have ever heard. I need them to release new music as soon as possible! This song has a powerful rhythm, but is still quite heavy in certain sections and I find their style very refreshing.

Apocalyptica – “I’m Not Jesus” ft Corey Taylor

This song is very dark lyrically and the collaboration for this song is just too powerful to ignore. It addresses an important matter in our society and its a great way of getting the message across. The cellos, drums and Corey’s voice is an incredible combination.

Shinedown – “45”

The soft, acoustic intro on this song doesn’t give anything away, until Brent catapults his voice into the chorus with aggressive restraint which ends in reckless abandon. A fantastically crafted rock song that helped the band achieve the success that they have experienced up until this point.

Disturbed – ” Stricken”

I was fascinated by this song when I heard it for the first time. The lyrics, the melody and David’s voice layered on top of that is a winning formula. The song haunted me for weeks after that. I know that it is not their most famous or memorable song, but it struck a chord with me.

Nickelback – “Leader of Men”

Yes, you read that right I added a Nickelback song to the list, because they served as my gateway to rock music. Judge if you must, but this song has so much going for it you can’t deny its brilliance. A slow, steady intro that builds into a crescendo of guitars and Chad’s gritty voice creates a perfect combination for some good old grunge music.

Theory of a Deadman – “Invisible Man”

Tyler just captures your attention from the minute he opens his mouth. I think this band has been compared to so many others in their genre, but I feel with this song they have been able to make their mark. It was actually featured on the first Spiderman’s soundtrack. This song is from the band’s debut album, which says it all.

The more I learn about music, the more I realise how powerful nostalgia can be.

At first I planned to do this type of post as a once-off, but now I realise how many songs have had an influence on me when I was younger.

Feel free to comment with some suggestions!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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

Artistic Rock Music Videos

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Artistic Rock Music Videos

Personally I am addicted to watching music videos, I can spend hours watching music videos from any genre of music. I’m always in search of music videos that impress, shock or inspires the viewer. Quality production and concept for a music video is key. I decided to share my passion with you by compiling a short list of recently released artistic music videos.

Three Days Grace – Human Race

This video depicts a controversial view on the daily struggles of humanity. It is a brutally honest way of depicting natural human behaviour and the different kinds of people that inhabit our planet.

Papa Roach – Gravity featuring Maria Brink

I love the honest introspective lyrics of the song and the dark theme of the video. The emotion in Jacoby and Maria’s performance adds another dimension to the video.

Amaranthe – Digital World

I like the clinical and modern take on this video. It depicts the power of technology and how it can create powerful imagery by simply focusing on a singular subject (the band).

In This Moment – Sex Metal Barbie

I love Maria’s fearlessness as a performer and In This Moment never disappoint when it comes down to visual artistry. Maria directed the video and in my opinion it is a sarcastic look at popular culture and how unrealistic/twisted these images can affect our perception of ourselves.

Apocalyptica – Cold Blood

Apocalyptica always deliver artistic-inspired videos with an unmatched flair. Their videos succeed in combining rock music, dark themes and classic images.

Shinedown – Cut The Cord

SHINEDOWN IS BACK! This video has made every Shinedown fan even more excited for their new album which is rumoured to be released in September. I believe that it takes an extremely talented director to make a performance-based music video entertaining which Darren Doane succeeded in doing. The video is an energetic performance by Shinedown, but it is shot in such a way that you feel part of the performance. I can’t wait to see what else Shinedown has in store for us.

Thank you.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – Eve to Adam

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This month we are featuring a band that knows what it means to be driven with a decade of touring and four studio albums added to their resume, I thought it was about time to learn more about this band.

The band’s story starts back in 1997, Taki Sassaris developed the name Eve to Adam and he established the idea for the band. He recruited his brother Alex and they started working on the group together. Taki went to school in Florida and discovered the enigma of music at early age. He started playing the guitar at the age of 13 and he hasn’t stopped playing or singing since then.

Alex Sassaris was born in New Orleans where he used to visit the French Quarter often, taking in all the sounds and sights around him. Initially Alex thought he was going to become a guitar player, but after one lesson he felt that the drums would be his calling. Alex studied various rock icons’ technique(s) and every beat they played on the drums. This includes Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses/Cult), Sean Kinney (Alice in Chains), and Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters). Alex featured on Modern Drummer Magazine for the album Locked and Loaded which you can read here: http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2013/09/eve-to-adams-alex-sassaris-drummer-blog/#.U3pRHoGSySr

The duo partnered with Desmond Child and signed with his company in 1998. Desmond Child had his own vision for the group and wanted to groom the duo to become pop stars performing his material. This didn’t gel with what Taki Sassaris had in mind for the direction his career would take. The brothers decided to move to New York City in late 1998 and begun by expanding the band. They started recruiting new members, writing material and playing gigs in 1999.

Unexpectedly the band got a big break, by being signed to the Maximum Rock tour. Summer of 1999 passed and suddenly the floor dropped out from underneath their feet, they lost their original bassist, their management company along with the deal they signed with Desmond Child.

Guitarist Guarev Bali was born in New Jersey into a musical family. He was playing guitar at the age of 10, inspired by guitarists Randy Rhoads and Edward Van Halen. The trio immediately started writing songs together for their first album “Auburn Slip” in 2001. Gaurav is officialy endorsed by the Fender/EVH guitar company, Morley Pedals, GHS strings and In Tune Guitar picks.

By the year 2000 the band had decided to start rebuilding the band. They recruited bassist AJ Pappas adding him to the trio which included guitarist Guarev Bali and the two Sassaris brothers.

In the year of 2000 they had signed with Mystic Music a division of Warner Bros. , they were busy working on their debut album when problems with financing arose. The group eventually found another source of financing and the band managed to finish recording the album. “Auburn Slip” was the result of that recording and it was released in 2001. The five-track EP Antidote arrived in 2003, followed in 2007 by Queens to Eden, the group’s major label debut. Banquet for a Starving Dog was released in 2011, followed by their fourth album Locked & Loaded in 2013.

Adam Latiff comes from Orlando, Florida. He is an accomplished rhythm guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. His influences are Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, David Gilmour, Kurt Cobain, BB King, and Eric Clapton. He is a versatile musician and stands out in any genre, whether its  progressive rock, rockabilly or reggae.

Adam has been part of various bands(Devereux, S.W.A.T.T. (Smoke Weed All The Time), Drunk Horses Make Slow Gateways) which has allowed him to hone his skills. He is now a full-fledged member of Eve to Adam.

Aaron Baylor (bassist and backing vocals) joined the band in February of 2014.

The band has toured with Halestorm, Creed, In This Moment, Escape the Fate to name a few.

Eve to Adam reached out to Mark Tremonti, because they liked the production on his Tremonti album so much that they wanted to get in touch with famed producer Elvis Baskette. He was difficult to get hold of initially, because he was working on other projects at the time.

Mark’s recommendation and vote of confidence, convinced Elvis to take on another project even though he wasn’t planning on doing so.

‘Straightjacket Supermodel’ was co-written by Eric Bass of Shinedown.

Eve to Adam is an extremely energetic band and they don’t hold anything back delivering adrenaline-fuelled rock songs that will make you want to head-bang in public…. with your earphones on…. without a care…. 😀

Check out their music video for “Immortal”:

“Immortal is dedicated to those whose accomplishments and influence will last way beyond their living years. It’s about those people that everybody else wants to emulate and strives to be like.”  – Quote by Eve To Adam front man Taki Sassaris. (http://www.evetoadam.com/about.html)

You can follow the band on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EVETOADAMMUSIC

Have a great week!

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

 

Band of the Month – Skillet

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Skillet is a Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996 and the band is based in the USA. The band now consists of husband and wife couple John (Lead Vocals & Bass) and Korey Cooper (Rhythm guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), along with Jen Ledger (drums, vocals) and Seth Morrison (Lead Guitar). Founder John Cooper is the only remaining original member in the band.

Skillet was formed in 1996 by two members John Cooper (former vocalist for Tennessee progressive rock band Seraph) and Ken Steorts, former guitarist for Urgent Cry. The two bands met while touring together, but the bands disbanded soon after, so the pair’s pastor encouraged them to form their own band as a side-project. Both of them came from different styles of rock music, so they named the band Skillet. According to John Cooper the initial reason Skillet was formed, was to do outreach for his church. He thought they would do a couple of outreachactivities and that he would still play in his other band. Trey McClurkin joined the band as a temporary drummer. Skillet was only together for a month before they piqued the interest of major Christian record label ForeFront Records. In 1996 they released a self-titled debut Skillet. It was well-received and the trio continued to write new material while touring through the USA. Apparently the band members still joke among themselves about the band’s name, John still claims that he does not like the name. Skillet recorded the follow-up to their debut album throughout 1997 titled “Hey You, I Love Your Soul” which was released in April of 1998. With the second album the style of the band changed from their first release, abandoning their post-grunge style and changing to a lighter alternative rock. John’s wife Korey was recruited to play the keyboard to lighten John’s live performance duties.

Shortly before the band started recording for their third album, Invincible, Ken left the band to be with his family and he launched the Visible Music College, a modern music ministry college located in Memphis. Kevin Haaland joined the band as the new lead guitarist. Korey Cooper joined the band permanently and played keyboard for the recording of the third album. This caused the third studio album to have a more electronic sound. Soon after the release of Invincible in 2000, Trey McClurkin parted ways with the band and Lori Peters assumed the position of the drummer.

The band released their fourth album and first live album titled “Ardent Worship” in late 2000. The band had little time left between recording and touring, Skillet released “Alien Youth” on the 28th of August 2001, retaining the same style and sound from “Invincible”. It was John Cooper’s first time taking over production duties. Before Alien Youth was released Kevin Haaland left the band and Ben Kasica took over on guitar. The first single the title track was a major hit in the Christian market and allowed Skillet to headline their own shows for the first time.

On the 18th of November 2003, the band’s sixth studio album “Collide” was released by Ardent Records. The album became extremely popular and grabbed the attention of Andy Karp,  the Head of A&R of Lava Records. In 2004 Lava Records, an imprint of “Atlantic Records” bought the rights to Collide. On the 25th of May 2004, Collide was re-released by Lava Records with an added track called “Open Wounds”. The album was nominated for “Best Rock Gospel Album” in 2005. John Cooper cited P.O.D as the inspiration on the band’s musical shift on “Collide”.

Skillet’s seventh studio album “Comatose” was released on the 3rd of October 2006. This was the band’s first album to become gold certified. On the 7th December 2007 the album received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock or Rap Gospel album. In January 2008, it was announced that Lori Peters will be retiring from the band, as she felt it was time to start a new chapter in her life. She performed with Skillet for the last time on the 31st of December 2007. During the 2007 Christmas season she took time to train Skillet’s new drummer Jen Ledger. On the 21st of October 2008, “Comatose Comes Alive” was released, a CD/DVD combo featuring live recordings of the band’s May 9, 2008 concert in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Skillet announced that they will be entering the studio on the 12th of January 2009. They entered the studio with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. They added two songs from their new album to their setlist (“Monster” and “Hero”) on the 2nd April 2009 in Evansville, Indiana as part of their “Comatose” tour 2009. Skillet’s eighth album “Awake”, has 12 songs and was released on the 25th of August 2009. It charted at a staggering No 2 on the Billboard 200 selling around 68, 000 units in its first week. “Monster” was released as a single on the 14 July 2009. “Awake” was one of only three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, along with the  Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. They later released a deluxe version of the album with bonus tracks “Dead Inside”, “Would It Matter” and a radio edit of “Monster”. “Monster” and “Hero” were used many times in the media by the WWE, Football stadiums, TV shows, video games etc. Skillet was nominated for six Dove Awards for the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards. “Awake” was certified Gold on the 2nd of July 2010.

On the 14th of February 2011, Skillet announced that lead guitarist Ben Kasica would be leaving the band. Up until that point Ben had been part of the band for 10 years. Ben planned to play his last concert with Skillet on the 20th of March. The band announced that they had chosen solo artist Jonathan Salas to be their new lead guitarist, but Salas confirmed via Twitter that he had left the band on the 9th of April. Ben returned and continued touring until a new guitarist had been trained. On the 16th of April Seth Morrison replaced Kasica as the lead guitarist.

Skillet announced the release of Awake and Remixed EP in early March 2011. The remixes were mainly done Korey Cooper and Ben Kasica. The four-song EP was released on the 22nd of March 2011.

“Awake” was nominated and won the “Top Christian Album” Award at the Billboards Music Awards 2011.

On the 21st of June 2011 John Cooper posted a tweet saying that the band had been busy rehearsing new music for the first time and preparing for a new album. The band planned to start recording in January/February 2012, but the band was scheduled to headline the Winter Jam tour. In January 2012, the band announced that they will not be touring for the most of the summer so that they can record the new album.

During an interview with on the 18th of July 2012 with RadioU, John Cooper stated that the band now had written 61 songs and would be heading to the studio in October to record the album with Howard Benson for an early 2013 release.

In an interview on the 26th of January 2013 in Beaumont TX, John Cooper announced that the new album “Rise”, would be coming out in May 2013, but was later scheduled for a 25 June 2013 release. In an interview with Noisecreep, John Cooper stated that the first single and music video “Sick of It” is scheduled to be released late April.  The album debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on the Top Rock Chart and Christian album charts selling 60, 000 copies in the US alone during the first week of release. “Rise” received critical acclaim, despite some negative reviews, the general consensus seems to be that the band had improved on their earlier release “Awake”.

Skillet was nominated and won a Dove Award for Rock Song of the Year for their sing “Sick Of It”.

The bands’ fans are humorously and affectionately called “Panheads”.

The band’s main goal is to write songs that speak to people about what they were going through and encourage them. John has always been deeply affected by Christian music and he knew that this would be his calling since he was 15. In an interview with CMCentral John says that the best thing about his job is to write a song which could change somebody’s life.

It’s refreshing to see a Christian band do well, despite the history of rock bands that has been ridiculed for their Christian label in the past. I think the key ingredient to Skillet’s recipe is the way they convey their message and the presentation of their material. Most people who listen to the band’s material for the first time will probably not even realise that they are a Christian inspired band. The listener can take from their music what they need without feeling like they are being preached to.

You can follow Skillet on Twitter: https://twitter.com/skilletmusic

You can follow John Cooper on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnlcooper

You can follow Jen Ledger on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenLedger

You can follow Korey Cooper on Twitter: https://twitter.com/koreycooper

You can follow Seth Morrison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorrisonSeth

Rock Regards,

Lauren Kruger