Best 18 Rock Songs of 2018

2018 has been another bumper year for rock music. I have discovered so many new bands and new music, it has been a privilege to experience it all.

I’m extremely passionate about music, as you know. It is something that is always there when you need it. It helps me process my feelings, it lifts my mood, it inspires me on a daily basis and it expresses what I’m feeling at any given time.

Music, to me is a magical force in my life and I’m grateful for its existence on a daily basis. My passion for rock music runs deep and people who know me well are reminded of this regularly. I’m open to experiencing other genres of music, but I tend to turn back to rock music every single time I need a crutch to lean on. 

My favourite post of the year entails reflecting on the music that featured in my life this past year.

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18. Three Days Grace – Infra-Red

This song off Three Days Grace ‘s “The Mountain” album describes the passion that two people have for one another and the connection that they have. This connection is described as something that only these two people share, so much so that they forget about the people around them. The guitar hook on this song is addictive and fast-paced, which suits the lyrics perfectly. You can feel the intensity of the passion these two people share.

 

 

17. Twenty One Pilots – My Blood

I’m so passionate about the lyrics of this song. It is a declaration of dedication and loyalty from one person to another. It can be towards a friend, significant other or family member. It describes unquestionable commitment, that some people can only dream to experience in their lifetime. 

The melody of the song is tender and it is delivered in a heartfelt way. The layered drums, electronics and background vocals create an ethereal experience like only Twenty One Pilots can deliver.

 

16. Amaranthe – Countdown

Amaranthe combines female and male clean vocals with unclean vocals effortlessly. A fast-paced song that serves as an introspective commentary on the person’s own well-being. The heavy drums and guitar just adds such an enjoyable melody to this song. The combination of all these elements become quite addictive. An adrenaline injection if you ever need one. Henrik shines on the unclean vocals, adding just enough grit to this already up-tempo song.

 

15. While She Sleeps – Haunt Me

The intro already tells you that this song is one to take note of. The song deals with the themes of regret and betrayal. The track is epic in scale, the drumming and rhythm guitar elevates it to the next level. The chorus is perfect for head banging, which isn’t surprising at all. The transitions happen quickly and it creates a unique sound from the band on this track.

 

14. Our Last Night – Soul Speak

I got to know more about OLN by listening to their cover songs, but they have really come into their own since they started. “Soul Speak” made my ears prick up. The guitars on this song stand out and the vocals are on point, as is to be expected. I can relate to the topic that is being dealt with lyrically. It speaks about trying to find your own voice, while being surrounded and overwhelmed by the people around you. It speaks to the frustration of trying to find yourself amidst all the chaos in your life. The narrator doesn’t want to be affected by other people’s opinions, but he feels like he is losing the battle.

 

13. Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators – Driving Rain

This song is in my opinion a true reflection of the band and embodies their signature sound. A groovy rock song that doesn’t shy away from utilising every instrument in the band’s arsenal. The lyrics describe a man’s determination to get to the love of his life, no matter which obstacles are in his way. This is a song to party or dance to and it has meaning to it. The combined guitar work on this track makes it shine.

 

12. Palaye Royale – Teenage Heartbreak Queen

I think this is one of the catchiest rock songs that I have heard in a while. The narrator is mourning his high school sweetheart. The theme of this song is somber, but this song always cheers me up due to its catchy melody. Slather some of Remington Leith’s grainy, passionate vocals on top of that and this is a recipe for success. 

 

 

11. Thrice – Only Us

This song deals with the fact that the human race are all connected, yet we continue to fight one another and despise one another’s differences when we are from the same species. We continue to wage wars, build walls and try to solve our problems with violence. The song poses the question….When will it be enough?

Dustin Kensrue‘s moody, subtly powerful vocals carry the importance of this message perfectly. The synth sounds create a nostalgic throwback to the 80s and the bass line leads the song throughout.

 

10. Beartooth – Afterall

The lyrics of this song are quite dark. It describes a person that has completely lost the will to live. It deals with the narrator’s despair and the feelings he or she is experiencing to such an extent that being alive has become a chore. The drumming from Connor Denis is impeccable on this track and sets the tone for the intense lyrics of the song.

 

9. Shinedown – The Human Radio

This song/video serves as a commentary on our society today. We continue living through our phones and social media, forever comparing ourselves with others. This video is about a person who breaks free from our modern societal life. The more time we spend on our phones, the less we live our own lives the way we should be. The backing vocals on this song makes it feel more epic in a sense. The chorus is memorable and I think this is an important topic in this day and age.

 

8. Tremonti – Take You With Me

This was a hard choice to make between “The First The Last” and “Take You With Me”. I have always loved the former, but “Take You With Me” got chosen due to the stellar drumming from Garrett Whitlock and the pace of the song. It has a really positive message in facing difficulties and adversity together with the person you love. Mark’s vocals have really evolved and if you ever wanted proof, here it is…

 

 

7. Bring Me The Horizon – MANTRA

I think there are many ways to interpret this song. Oli said that the inspiration for this song came from a documentary he was watching on Netflix about a cult, called Wild Wild Country. As a society we tend to follow one another blindly. I find that the song and in turn the music video is quite eerie and it tends to creep in under your skin. Oli Sykes has also said that a romantic relationship can tend to act as a little two-man cult. You dedicate yourself to that person, you have to trust and love them unconditionally. This song demonstrates the development of the band and it has all the ingredients for a smash hit.

 

6. Disturbed – No More

First off, no one makes groovy heavy rock songs like Disturbed. David’s inspiration behind the lyrics are the fear-mongers that feed off people and they don’t care about collateral damage in return for profit. David makes it clear that this isn’t about a specific situation or system, but just the way the world operates. The guitar hook gels so well with the drumming that it has a seamless groove throughout. 

 

5. Hands Like Houses – Tilt

This band’s material has really grown on me and this is one of the first songs I heard from them. I heard that they were coming to perform in Cape Town next year, in support of Rhino Conservation and I decided to do some research on their sound. I was pleasantly surprised and felt like an idiot for not discovering them earlier. Tilt is about cycles and how we can go around breaking them. The future, the past and how we are in control of our circumstances to a certain extent. Trenton Woodley’s vocals are delivered with serious intent on this track and it demonstrates how versatile his vocal style can be.

 

4. Coheed and Cambria – The Gutter

Coheed and Cambria produced a concept album which combine the band’s love for comic books and music. I’ll leave it up to the listener to come up with theories regarding the band’s storyline from the album “Unheavenly Creatures”. The song is captivating in its entirety, it is theatrical and progresses to an anthemic tempo. Claudio delivers the story compellingly with his vocal range. The band builds the framework to be theatrically delivered with a beautiful guitar solo towards the end. This is just a masterpiece, to be honest.

 

3. Bad Wolves – Hear Me Now ft DIAMANTE

In my opinion, it is quite challenging to find a good duet nowadays and not to mention a good duet in the rock genre. Tommy kicks off the song with some tender vocals that he doesn’t get to show off on the band’s other tracks. 

The song describes a relationship between two people that escalate due to the emotion, passion and tension that exist between them. The opening lyrics from the male singer is asking the female singer, to help him up from the depths that he finds himself in. The male singer, doesn’t want his life to be meaningless and he wants the other singer to give him something to live for. He wants her to make him grow as a person.

This song describes the moment where a new romance is starting to develop and the implications or importance thereof.

 

2. Deaf Havana – Holy

I literally have not been able to shut up about this band since I discovered them. I can literally relate to each song  on their latest album “Rituals” and their music has been helping me through a tough time. I feel like the songwriter has been going through the same things that I have experienced recently.

James Veck-Gilodi kicks off this track with his honey soaked vocal style. The singer starts off admitting that he was a liar and that he was not as holy as he was claiming to be. He admits to running away from the way he wronged the person in his life. The lies he told haunts him and he finds it easy to hide away from it on his own. The singer finds it hard to break the cycle that he has created. He tends to reach out to this person whenever he needs him/her.

I find that the band is able to deliver heavy emotional topics in a palatable way, which makes the song enjoyable yet still has a powerful effect on the listener.

 

1. Myles Kennedy – The Great Beyond

I know what my loyal followers are thinking, of course I will choose Myles’ song as the number one track of the year. In my defense, there have been many reputable rock publications who named his album as one of the top deliveries of the year. 

This song has always stood out to me since the very first time I heard it. It depicts the type of musician Myles Kennedy is, all in one track. It is epic in its nature with the added instruments of the violin, cello and viola which is the only track on the album to feature this arrangement. It shows off the nature of Myles’ vocal range almost in its entirety. 

It kicks off with some moody drums and soars with the violin, followed by the intricate chords of the acoustic guitar. Myles follows with his soft vocals and soars into an incredibly high note literally into “The Great Beyond”.

The entire album is autobiographical in nature as Myles struggles to deal with the passing of his father at the age of four. Myles father was of the Christian Science religion and it argues that sickness is an illusion that can only be cured through prayer alone.

 

This has been another great year for rock music and I know that it will be the same for next year.

Thank you for reading.

See you in 2019!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

(MusicMonkey14)

 

 

 

Kicking off 2018!

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Welcome to 2018, people!

I think it is going to be a smashing year for rock music as I have seen a lot of exciting things happening already!

New Music

Bad Wolves – “Zombie”

First off I want to share a cover song with you that has captivated me for the past week. I have shared this song with everyone I know, because it pays homage to the original but the band solidified their stamp on it. The late Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) was meant to lend her vocals to this cover, but then news broke that the singer had passed away before that could happen. The band released their version that Dolores had approved of as a tribute and all profits will benefit Dolores’ three children.

This song affects me in ways that I can’t explain and I could probably write essays about this cover. Vext’s vocals are a major highlight for me, every nuance is perfectly placed and that goes for the instrumentation as well.

Major respect go to “Bad Wolves” for this one.

Story of the Year – “Bang Bang”

An energetic offering from Story of the Year and I find their latest song seamlessly combine different genres within one song. It jumps from an electronic-like intro straight to screamo to punk rock over to a rock chorus. The band’s fans are delighted about their return after their hiatus. Their latest album titled “Wolves” was released in December 2017.

Red – “Gone”

The title track from the band’s latest album is a solid rock song with some electronic beats weaved throughout the song. The lyrics question the legacy that we leave behind and the quality of the impact we made, that stay behind when we pass away.

A valid point to ponder.

 

Black Veil Brides – “Wake Up”

Black Veil Brides have returned! A politically charged video and theme run through the band’s latest single with a delicious guitar solo thrown in for good measure. It is an anthem for the majority to stand up against what they believe to be unfair, corrupt or unjustified behaviour. A great message to share considering the power that politicians/leaders wield.

 

Marmozets – “Run With The Rhythm”

An interesting song that I would never have expected to hear from Marmozets. The intro almost has a folk/indie sound to it, up until the chorus kicks in. The video is captivating and the cinematography is amazing. An artistic release in every way.

Pop Evil – “Colors Bleed”

A great concept for a video which leaves the viewer with more questions than answers and a reflection of today’s society or a reality we might still face. I’m loving every second of the heavier direction Pop Evil has taken.

Three Days Grace – “The Mountain”

It is so good to hear Three Days Grace back on the scene again. The lyrics are inspiring and is the best way to get your year started. Three Days Grace’s latest album “Outsider” drops on the 9th of March 2018.

 

Paddy and the Rats – “Join The Riot”

The strangest and most entertaining discovery I have made in recent history. I wouldn’t have taken this band seriously if they weren’t signed by Napalm Records and if I didn’t listen to their other songs. Different, exciting, funny and a carnival to your ears, enjoy me matey!

 

Jonathan Davis – “What It Is”

Surprise, Jonathan Davis just went solo! I think this will be a very interesting venture for non-fans and fans alike. I’m excited to see what is to come from him in the near future. I liked this song from the first listen which is rare for me. Straight-up good, honest rock music.

 

Local Events

There are some exciting concerts heading to Cape Town’s shores.

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There will definitely, without any doubt be a blog post about Mr Myles Kennedy when I meet him on the 6th of March 2018.

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Have a smashing week and I hope everyone had a good start to their year so far!

If not…we will have to take it up a notch next month!

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 – Three Days Grace

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To any rock fan this band does not need an introduction. The band has gone through a drastic line-up change recently and have just released a new record titled “Human” on the 31st of March 2015.

Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1992. Originally the band was called Groundswell and they suffered a breakup in late 1995, when Phil Crowe and Joe Grant decided to leave. Most of the band members were attending High School when the band was originally formed. Groundswell released one full-length album “Wave of Popular Feeling”. The band regrouped in 1997 under their current name, the line-up consisting of guitarist and lead singer Adam Gontier, drummer and backing-vocalist Neil Sanderson and bassist Brad Walst.

In 2003, Barry Stock joined the band as their lead guitarist. Adam Gontier explained the meaning behind the name of the band as a sense of urgency and the concept of changing something in one’s life if you only had three days to do so. In Toronto the band became acquainted with local producer Gavin Brown. TDG offered up years of material to the producer and he chose what Adam describes as  “the golden nuggets” to work with. Through teamwork TDG and Gavin polished the songs into a demo album which they gave to EMI Music Publishing Canada. The record label wanted to hear some more material and the band created the song “I Hate Everything About You” which attracted the attention of several record labels. The band was sought out by Jive Records’ President and was soon signed to the label. After TDG signed to Jive Records, they moved to Long View Farm, a studio in North Brookfield, Massachusetts to record their debut album. They completed the self-titled album in Woodstock, New York and the album was released on the 22nd of July 2003. It was met with mixed to favourable reviews. To support the album TDG released its first single “I Hate Everything About You”, the song which ultimately lead to the band being signed. The song received heavy airplay and became a widely recognizable song becoming the band’s “breakout hit”. After Barry Stock joined the band in late 2003, TDG toured extensively for nearly two years in support of their major label debut release. The album peaked at number 9 on the Canadian Albums Chart, number 69 on the Billboard 200, certified in the US by RIAA in December 2004 and double platinum in Canada by the CRIA. Two more singles from the band’s debut album released namely “Just Like You” and “Home”.

Adam Gontier started developing an addiction to the prescription narcotic analgesic OxyContin. After the band finished their tour in support of their first album they knew they could not continue considering the condition in which Adam was in. In 2005 with the support of his family, friends and band members Adam checked into the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

While in treatment Adam continued to write songs documenting his feelings and emotions. Adam Gontier successfully completed his rehab program at CAMH. The band found a suitable place in the form of a cottage in Northern Ontario where they could experiment, practice and write new material. After three months at the cottage, they had almost wrapped up writing on their second album. The first single from their second album titled “One-X” , called “Animal I Have Become” Adam wrote while getting sober. There are four more songs from the second album that found their origins in the same way, namely “Over and Over”, “Gone Forever”, “Pain” and “Never Too Late”. According to an interview conducted in 2006 with Adam Gontier he said that the second album was much more personal to him because the material originated from his experiences with despondence, drug abuse, and rehab which summed up the past two years of his life.

One-X was released on the 13th of June 2006. Adam performed live at various rehabilitation centres as a “thank-you” gesture to the people who helped him get through his addiction and to serve as an inspiration to others. These performances were solo-acoustic performances called the “Three Days to Change” tour and it took place during the same time when the band was touring in support of their second album. In November 2006 Adam performed with the band at CAMH in Toronto where he went for his own rehab. The audience of about 250 people, included patients, radio contest winners, family and friends of the band and representatives from the band’s label.

One-X received mostly positive reviews with reviewers commenting that they could do more to set themselves apart from their peers. One-X peaked at number 2 on the Canadian album chart. and at number 5 on the Billboard 200, selling 78, 000 copies in the US in its first week of release. Its first single “Animal I Have Become” was the band’s most successful song, becoming 2006’s most played rock song in Canada. The album helped Three Days Grace to become the number one rock artist in airplay in the US and Canada in 2007 with Billboard ranking them as the number one rock artist of 2007. One-X was certified platinum by the RIAA in the US on the 30th of August 2007 and double platinum by the CRIA in Canada in July 2007. Three Days Grace toured the US and Canada throughout the second half of 2006 and 2007 in support of One-X. In early 2008, they toured with Seether and Breaking Benjamin across the US.

From March to August 2008 and again from January to April 2009, Three Days Grace recorded their third album at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles with producer Howard Benson who contributed to their earlier releases. The album titled “Life Starts Now” released on the 22nd of September 2009. According to guitarist Barry Stock the theme of the album centered around “a fresh start” and a more optimistic approach.

The album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, the band’s highest chart position and sold 79, 000 copies in its first week. The album was met with mixed reviews. The first single from the album called “Break” was released on the 1st of September 2009. Three Days Grace embarked on a 20 date Canadian tour that lasted from November to December 2009. They co-headlined a tour of the US from January to February 2010 with Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf. Three Days Grace headlined a US tour with support from Chevelle and Adelitas Way from March to April 2010. The band joined Nickelback and Buckcherry on the Dark Horse Fall 2010 tour. In March of 2011 the band toured with My Darkest Days and later joined Avenged Sevenfold on their “Welcome To The Family” tour in 2011.

RCA Music Group announced on the 7th of October 2011 that it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records moving all the artists signed to these labels to the RCA Records brand which included Three Days Grace. On the 5th of June 2012 TDG announced that their fourth studio album “Transit of Venus” was expected to drop on the second of October 2012. The first single from the album was called “Chalk Outline” and it released on the 14th of August.

On the 9th of January 2013 it was announced, citing health issues that Adam Gontier was retiring from the band. Brad Walst’s brother Matt Walst (My Darkest Days) would act as the replacement as lead vocalist for the upcoming tour. Three Days Grace commenced their 2013 tour  Moline, IL along with Shinedown and P.O.D with Matt as touring lead singer. Matt was a touring member of the band up until a post went up on the band’s official website on the 28th March of 2014 confirming Matt Walst as the official lead singer of the band.

On the 16th of January 2013 the band described Adam’s departure as sudden and unexplained. According to the band they received a letter from Adam’s lawyer on the 21st of December 2012 which stated, “Please be advised effective immediately Adam is terminating his involvement with the band, Three Days Grace. According to this letter Adam had wrestled with a health issue which was outlined in an attached Doctor’s letter (dated 14 December) which would have prevented him from touring with the band in 2013 and wanted the band to continue moving forward in a way that they see fit while not holding them back. TDG added that Gontier made no mention of any health issues during a brief December tour. Brad Walst tried to reach out to Adam via text to find out if his decision was permanent and Adam replied “My decision is 100 percent. My relationship with Three Days Grace is over.”

Later Adam explained that he was ready to start a new chapter in his life after being in an evolving band for twenty years, it has inspired him to move on, on his own terms. Since his departure Adam begun his solo career with a series of gigs called “Adam Gontier Solo Tour” with shows on the Ink Life tour and acoustic sets in venues such as Revolver’s E-Cig Lounge in Ohio. In 2015 it was revealed that Adam had joined a new band called Saint Astonia which could be described as a rock supergroup. The members are  Adam Gontier (vocalist), Mike Mushok (guitarist), Rich Beddoe (drummer) and Corey Lowery (bassist). On the 16th of May 2015 the band released their first single titled “Better Place”.

During an interview with 99.9 KISW in Seattle with Neil Sanderson he confirmed that they are working hard on their new album and they have already recorded half of it. He stated that the new album has got a new energy, it is more aggressive, heavier and has a fresh feel to it. On the 1st of April 2014 TDG released their new single titled “Painkiller” on the iTunes Store. On the 6th of June 2014 “Painkiller” reached number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts making it the eleventh number one single that the band has released. Their second single “I Am Machine” released on the 30th of September 2014. On the 26th of January 2015 it was revealed that the new album will be titled “Human”. On the 23rd of March “Human Race” released as the third single. The album “Human” became available for purchase on the 31st of March 2015. The captivating music video for “Human Race” was released on May 14, 2015. It was directed by Mark Pellington. I love this music video, because it is thought-provoking, creative and raw. Take a look:

Three Days Grace has a long history in the music industry and they have permanently etched their mark on rock music. I feel that the negative comments made about Matt Walst as the latest band member is unfair. I listened to My Darkest Days before Matt joined TDG and I loved their debut album. When I heard that Adam had resigned I thought that the band would never survive past their upcoming tour. I knew that Matt was a talented vocalist, but I had some doubts about how he would fit in with Three Days Grace. After hearing the new material from the band after Matt became an official member, my opinion is that the band has evolved. Their sound is fresh, aggressive and slick. Fans have to accept the fact that Adam resigned and the band was forced to continue with a new member or cancel their tour. The comparisons are inevitable, but unnecessary. Fans may have a preference, but extremely negative comments are best left unsaid. After the release of “Human” I believe that TDG are here to stay and I can’t wait to hear more!

Follow the band members on Twitter:

Matt Walst: https://twitter.com/MattJPWalst

Barry Stock: https://twitter.com/barrystock

Brad Walst: https://twitter.com/BradWalst

Three Days Grace: https://twitter.com/threedaysgrace

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Three Days Grace-Matt Walst by JaredWingate  Source: www.facebook.com/jared.wingate

Three Days Grace-Matt Walst by JaredWingate
Source: www.facebook.com/jared.wingate

Three Days Grace - Brad 2 by xaddictedxtragedyx Source:  http://xaddictedxtragedyx.deviantart.com/art/Three-Days-Grace-Brad-2-154853554

Three Days Grace – Brad 2
by xaddictedxtragedyx
Source:
http://xaddictedxtragedyx.deviantart.com/art/Three-Days-Grace-Brad-2-154853554

Rock That Beat by sollienevina Neil Christopher Sanderson Source: http://sollienevina.deviantart.com/art/Rock-That-Beat-353757951

Rock That Beat
by sollienevina
Neil Christopher Sanderson
Source: http://sollienevina.deviantart.com/art/Rock-That-Beat-353757951

Barry Stock by JaredWingate  Source: www.facebook.com/jared.wingate

Barry Stock by JaredWingate
Source: www.facebook.com/jared.wingate

Eight Acoustic Rock Songs That Will Blow Your Mind!

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In no particular order, here are some of The Rock Riff’s favourite acoustic performance video. These songs were chosen due to the emotion that it evokes from the performer and the listener as well as the quality of the performances.

1) Rival Sons – Open My Eyes (Acoustic)

2) We As Human – We Fall Apart (Acoustic)

3) We Are Harlot – Dancing on Nails (Acoustic)

4) The Pretty Reckless – House on a Hill (Acoustic)

5) Slash ft Myles Kennedy – Bent To Fly (Acoustic)

6) Alter Bridge – Watch Over You (Acoustic)

7) Three Days Grace – Lost In You

8) Seether – The Gift (Acoustic) – in South Africa

(*The Rock Riff was there!!)

I hope you have enjoyed this short, but entertaining article.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Top 14 Rock Songs of 2014

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2014 Highlights

2014 Highlights

So it’s that time of the year again where The Rock Riff choose the best rock songs of the year. I really like compiling the list of songs, because it is a nice way of reflecting on the year that has been. Last year I had difficulty choosing the last few entries on the list, but this year there was an abundance of choices. It was difficult to choose only 14 songs from the past year.

The list is as follows:

Number 14: Set Me On Fire – Flyleaf

Flyleaf has received some backlash regarding comparisons between the band’s ex-vocalist (Lacey Sturm) and current vocalist, Kristen May. This track proves that Kristen May is a very talented vocalist and I believe essentially the material is still representative of Flyleaf’s sound. Flyleaf’s latest album “Between The Stars” is a solid offering from the band.

Number 13: Painkiller – Three Days Grace

Another band who has had to replace their lead vocalist is Three Days Grace after Adam Gontier’s departure. No one could ever really replace Adam, but Matt Walst is a pretty decent replacement considering the success the band has experienced thus far. I had a difficult choice to make between “Painkiller” and “I Am Machine”. The band is still delivering hard-hitting material and they have not lost their momentum.

Number 12: Let The Night In – Prime Circle

I will probably never forget the moment that I heard this song live for the first time. It had a great impact on me and it was the opening track of the concert. Prime Circle hails from South Africa and has made a solid mark on the rock industry in their home country the past few years. Their latest album has a fresh feel to it and I think this song is the reason for the overall feel of the album.

Number 11: 1000hp – Godsmack

When Godsmack decides to do anything they go full-out. I really love the pace of this song and it really gets the adrenaline pumping! There are certain types of songs only this band can pull off properly and 1000hp is one of them.

Number 10: Would You Still Be There – Of Mice & Men

I was really pleasantly surprised by this song and video. Personally I’m not a fan of screaming, but this song combined both clean vocals by Aaron Pauley and screaming/unclean vocals by Austin Carlisle to a degree that I could really enjoy the song. I think this song proves that a band can be creative while still retaining credibility within the industry and with their fans.

Number 9: Words As Weapons – Seether

Seether seem to be one of the most consistent rock bands in recent history and they did not disappoint with their latest release “Isolate and Medicate”. Words As Weapons is an artistic take on deceit in our daily lives and it is one of those songs you will be humming along to in your head long after you have listened to it.

Number 8: Drown – Theory of a Deadman

Theory of a Deadman has really delivered a solid rock album with the release of “Savages” this year. The album offers a diverse range of songs that really proves that the band is not set in their ways. Production has improved and lyrically the content covers a vast array of topics.

Number 7: Heaven Knows – The Pretty Reckless

With a devil-may-care attitude Taylor Momsen serves up an in-your-face rock song with a chorus to match. Accompanied by a somewhat controversial music video, this band knows how to grab your attention. A stellar performance indeed.

Number 6: Dog on a Leash – Adelitas Way

A hard-hitting, edgy rock song, the first single from the band’s latest album “Stuck”. A visually appealing music video accompanied its release and Rick DeJesus vocals are spot-on as always.

Number 5: Million Miles An Hour – Nickelback

Nickelback has always been masters of storytelling and this song really takes the listener on a trip. 😉 The chord progression, guitars and drums combine to deliver a perfectly brewed rock song.

Number 4: Heart of Fire – Black Veil Brides

Believe it or not, but I only started listening or paying attention to this band this year. I was pleasantly surprised by the songs that I heard. The one that stood out to me, though is “Heart of Fire” the song has a really epic feel to it. The melody and chorus take it to another level. “Heart of Fire” would definitely fit in seamlessly on a movie soundtrack.

Number 3: F.E.A.R – Papa Roach

Papa Roach is back! F.E.A.R (Face Everything And Rise) is one of the singles released from their latest album of the same name. The production on this song is great and it delivers a good message in an aggressive manner which creates a unique contrast between the style of the song and it’s subject. The music video plays like a short film and it is fantastic, check it out below.

Number 2: Open My Eyes – Rival Sons

I had to feature this song, because it really took me by surprise this year. A friend mentioned the band on Facebook and I decided to give them a listen. This song was my favourite and it is a rare song to feature in today’s modern music industry. I really enjoyed listening to a different type of rock song. Scott Holiday’s guitar work is impeccable.

NUMBER 1: Avalon – Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators

When “Avalon” grabs you it doesn’t let go! From Slash’s latest album “World on Fire”, this is one of Myles’s stand-out performances on the album (and that is saying something). The fast-pace of this song is infectious. This song automatically puts you in a great mood…FACT!

Thank you for sharing the countdown with us and may 2015 be an even better year for rock music.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – Seether

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Seether- Shaun Morgan by JaredWingate Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether- Shaun Morgan
by JaredWingate
Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether is a post grunge/alternative metal band hailing from my country of birth, South Africa. They were founded in 1999 in Pretoria. Seether consists of Shaun Morgan (lead guitar, vocals), Dale Stewart (bass guitarist) and John Humphrey (drums).

The band got the chance to be a part of Ozzfest and released an EP before unveiling their full-length debut album (“Disclaimer”) in August of  2002. “Disclaimer” featured the single “Fine Again”. A great deal of pre-production took place in South Africa under the supervision of a Wind-Up representative, it continued in New York before the recording sessions took place in Los Angeles. The band began extensive touring in promotion of Disclaimer in July 2002. They performed alongside the likes of Our Lady Peace into the following year.Initially the band emerged with the name Saron Gas (a name taken from the back of a sound effects CD) and they released their debut album called “Fragile” on Musketeer Records. South Africa’s musical tastes are centered around pop, dance and mainstream music. Despite this fact Fragile found impressive chart success, making US-based record label Wind-Up Records sit up and take notice. They signed the South African band mates who changed their name to Seether. Saron Gas was too similar to the lethal nerve agent sarin gas.

A planned follow-up to their first album was delayed by almost a year when Seether was chosen as the support act for Evanescence’s worldwide tour. During this time a romance started to blossom between lead singer of Seether, Shaun Morgan and lead singer of Evanescence, Amy Lee. The tour ensured Seether’s commercial success, but delayed the band’s return to the recording studio. The band reworked their acoustic ballad “Broken” to an electric ballad with guest vocals by Amy Lee. “Broken” along with a new song entitled “Sold Me” featured on the soundtrack of 2004’s movie “The Punisher”.

An alternate version of the original album entitled Disclaimer II was released on the 15th of June 2004, with some songs remixed and reworked, with an extra eight new tracks (in the US).  The major reason for the reworking of Disclaimer was the popularity that the song “Broken” achieved after its release. Seether viewed the album as an opportunity to re-evaluate their debut’s release (whose mix was, according to the band, sub par) and provided fans with material to serve as a holdover until the band’s proper follow-up album.

The band’s follow-up album “Karma and Effect” was released on the 24th of May 2005.  It is certified gold in the US and Canada. Originally titled Catering to Cowards, the name was changed at the record label’s demand. The album debuted at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 album charts. It spawned three singles; “Remedy”, “Truth” and “The Gift”. “Remedy” reached number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Charts, Seether’s first number 1 hit.

Seether released an acoustic CD/DVD set, “One Cold Night” on the 11th of July 2006. Shaun Morgan had suffered from a stomach ailment and decided to do an acoustic set instead of cancelling the show. The concert was recorded in Grape Street, Philadelphia. The record label wanted to exclude any obscenities from the album and that explains why “Needles” and “Burrito” do not feature on the album.

Lead guitarist Patrick Callahan‘s departure was announced  on the 16th of June 2006, an explanation was not provided. Patrick apparently didn’t enjoy Seether’s new music.

In August of 2006, Shaun Morgan entered a rehab program for alcoholism, which forced the band to cancel their tour with Staind and Three Days Grace.

The day that Evanescence released their single “Call Me When You’re Sober” on radio, it was announced that Shaun Morgan was entering rehab. Amy Lee confirmed that the song was inspired by her ex-boyfriend and that the song had become somewhat of a chick anthem. The track leaked to radio on the 30th of July 2006, causing several radio stations to play it early without it being released as a single.

Shaun didn’t want to “lower” himself to Lee’s level, therefore he didn’t really want to react to the song, but stated that he was upset that she had said “those” things. Upon the release of Seether’s 2007 album release “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”, Shaun knew everyone would be looking for an Amy Lee reference on the album. He was desperate not to have one, but did mention that the song “Breakdown” , he considered a lament and not an angry backlash. He further states that the song isn’t about one person, its more universal, vague and respectful.

“Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces” was originally planned for an August release that was delayed until the 23rd of October 2007 due to the suicide of Shaun’s brother Eugene Welgemoed. The album debuted at number 9 in the Billboard 200 album charts and sold 57,000 copies in its first week. The first single off the album “Fake It” reached number 1 of US Mainstream Rock Charts and Modern Rock Charts,  the song held that spot for at least 9 weeks on both charts. “Rise Above This” was written in memory of Shaun’s brother, Eugene. The last single from the album “Breakdown” won Seether their first South African Music Award in the “Best Rock: English” category. The song won them their first MTV Africa Music Award for “Best Alternative Artist”.

A tour in support of the album lasted for most of the year 2008. Troy McLawhorn previously a member of bands such as Dark New Day, Evanescence, Sevendust and doubleDrive was hired as a touring guitarist on the 15th of February 2008. During the tour Seether shared the stage with bands such as Three Days Grace, 3 Doors Down, Skillet, Breaking Benjamin and Red to name a few. After the tour Troy was named as an official member of the band. A cover of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” was made available for purchase as a digital or mobile download. The music video for the song was released on the 15th of June 2009 and the song is included as an extra track on the reissue of the album “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”.

Seether supported Nickelback during March and April of 2009 and it was confirmed by Dale and Shaun that after the Nickelback tour the band would take the rest of the year off from touring to concentrate on recording new content for their upcoming album. Nevertheless the band made their appearances at select shows and festivals.

The band spent several months recording in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Brendan ‘O Brien. Recording was completed in August and the album went into the mixing process. The album was completed in September and “Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray” was released on the 17th of May 2011. Seether reached their highest place on the US Billboard 200 Chart when the album reached the number 2 slot. Billboard named Seether the No. 1 Active and No. 1 Heritage Rock Artist of 2011. Troy McLawhorn left Seether and returned to Evanescence in March 2012.

Seether played the main stage on the Uproar Festival alongside bands, Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Bullet for my Valentine and Escape the Fate. Seether supported 3 Doors Down on their European tour which started in November and lasted till March the following year.

A compilation album titled “Seether 2002-2013” was released on the 23rd of October 2013. It was released as a double-disc album featuring their greatest hits, unreleased demos, soundtrack songs and 3 all-new tracks including a cover of Veruca Salt’s song “Seether” where the band got their name from. Seether carried out a small, semi-acoustic tour of Europe and South Africa. I had the privilege to attend one of these shows and you can read my review of the concert here:

https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/an-intimate-evening-with-seether-kirstenbosch-gardens-parklife-festival-review/

On the 31st of January 2014, Seether posted a video on their YouTube account in which Shaun Morgan stated that the new album is well underway and recording should be completed within a week’s time from the date the video was recorded. In April 2014 the band posted teasers of the album on apps Snapchat and Instagram. Teasers of two of the songs off the new album was posted on YouTube namely; “Words As Weapons” and “My Disaster”. Later on more song clips were teased on the band’s official Instagram account. In late April 2014, it was announced that the new album titled “Isolate and Medicate” was set to be released on the 1st of July 2014. “Words As Weapons” was the first single to be released on the 1st of May 2014. On the 29th of April 2014, the band’s long-time guitar tech, Bryan Wickmann and former Art Director of Schecter Guitar Research was announced as Seether’s new touring guitarist.

Seether has been present in my life, since I can remember. I remember hearing “Fine Again”, mesmerized by the melancholy nature of the song. I really identified with that song at that stage of my life. After having the privilege to see the band perform in November 2013, I was blown away by Shaun Morgan’s vocals. Its like you can hear his whole life story just by listening to his voice. It doesn’t matter how dark the song is, the band delivers the material with a flair which is unmatched. Seether does not like to conform to anyone’s rules, they play by their own. This is a trait which is admirable considering the power that record labels have at their disposal. Seether has proved what determination, ambition, drive and talent can amount to if you make it count.

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

The band recently released their creative video for their latest single “Words As Weapons”. Watch it below:

While promoting their latest album release “Isolate and Medicate” the band stopped by Loudwire’s studios to perform a few songs. Watch them perform the acoustic version of 2004’s hit “Broken”.

Seether by CatCleopatra Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by CatCleopatra
Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS
Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza