Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer is one of the most eclectic musicians/performers around these days. In addition to his music, wine making, and books, Maynard has been known to dabble a bit in film and TV. The following are a few of the times you might have seen Maynard on screen.
I know I keep bringing this up but I really and truly miss the days when music videos actually meant something. In a way they were short films and the music was the inspiration and guide. I’ll never forget being 7 years old, watching MTV, and seeing the video for Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy.” What a terrific piece of art this video is. Director Mark Pellington really hit a home run with this one. The depiction of the original story of Jeremy to the lyrics of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, are masterful. Eddie has and always will be one of the best lyricists of all time. His connection to the story and pain through his vocals is astounding, just like the video.
A few months back I was introduced to an instrumental band that really hit home with me. Their music is full of lush sonic landscapes, thoughtful rhythmic structures and an all around vibe that is hypnotic and psychedelic but with a hook. The band I’m talking about is called Zaius, and they are excellent. Their debut full length album Of Adoration (released by Prothetic Records), is one of the best instrumental albums I’ve heard in a long time. There are moments while listening to the album that are akin to the likes of the band Explosions In The Sky as well as The Ocean. Zaius has a real knack for creating songs that hit from the inside out. While listening you can feel the emotions pouring out of each member of the band by the way they are playing their instrument as well as how the songs shift. Zaius are the perfect band for a late night drive or an evening with your favorite beverage and your headphones on, just escaping everything.
Back in 1999, Nine Inch Nails performed on the MTV Video Music Awards. It was pretty unexpected, especially since NIN never performed on TV. Quick Side Note, It wouldn’t happen again until 2013 when Trent and company performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Which actually is the first time the band has ever performed on a late night talk show. The performance of “The Fragile” on the VMA’s was something hauntingly beautiful, dark and one of the best VMA performances. Plus it featured my all time favorite line up Nine Inch Nails has ever had.
Nine Inch Nails- The Fragile on the 1999 MTV VMA’s:
As you’ve read before, there is a soundtrack/compilation being put out by DC Comics for their upcoming Dark Nights series. Tyler Bates is the mastermind behind the soundtrack. He’s been able to get some really great guests to contribute like Chino Moreno of Deftones and Brann Dailor of Mastodon. Now, Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains is a part of this project. His song “Setting Sun,” is classic Jerry and it’s fantastic. Sounds like it could be a part of the Alice In Chains repertoire as well.
Back in 2003 director Tim Burton approached Pearl Jam to write a new song for his upcoming film Big Fish. After a screening of the film, Eddie Vedder went home after being blown away from what he just watched and wrote “Man Of The Hour” and brought it to the band the next day. The song itself is one of those true gems that when it’s played at Pearl Jam shows, the audience really digs in. Interestingly, back in 2006 while performing in New Jersey, Eddie mentioned to the audience that “Come Back” from the band’s 2006 self titled album (also known as The Avacado album) is set with the same young man from “Man of the Hour” talking to the departed two months later. To me, I love that he continued the story of what he started with “Man of the Hour.” Something else that I found interesting is, this song has been used as a dedication to those who have passed such as Johnny Ramone, Lou Reed and Layne Staley.
There are many reasons to start a side project, perhaps you are not being creatively fulfilled in the band/project you were in or you’ve written a batch of songs that just don’t fit within the band that you’re in. Sometimes its just to explore a different side be it musically or to try something else. There was a side project that came out a few years back that has really stuck out to me since I first heard it. The name of the band/project I’m talking about is Call Me No One and it’s mastermind is Clint Lowery of Sevendust.
The debut album, The Last Parade was released back in 2012 and it’s a bit different than Sevendust. Joining Clint in Call Me No One was his Sevendust bandmate Morgan Rose on drums. Musically the songs are a bit more melodic. Clint described the project as “kind of Nine Inch Nails meets Foo Fighters but with a dark spooky twist to it.” I definitely hear the Foo Fighters side of the equation. CMNO (as the band was referred to at times) really does explore a different side of things for Clint and Morgan. Clint handled all the vocals on the album which really showcases how great of a voice he has. The guitar work on the album is top notch, again showing just how damn good Clint is as not just a guitarist but, as a songwriter as well. Even Morgan’s playing steps outside the Sevendust box and shows just how versatile he really is behind the kit. The songs are pretty solid as well. Tracks like “Thunderbird,” “Soapbox,” “All’s Well,” “Broken Record,” and the closing track “Last Parade,” are stellar. The entire album is pretty damn good. Each song on the album is meant to be there. It’s a full “album” that is full of rocking songs and lyrics that hit home for those listening.
It seems like this was a necessary project for Clint and Morgan to do together. They really got to deviate from what they had been known for and show that they can do more than just the Sevendust style. Though when Clint left the band in the mid 2000’s to do Dark New Day, he was able to spread his wings a bit but, Dark New Day, didn’t really go too far from what Sevendust was doing. No matter what though, Clint Lowery is to me, the secret weapon in Sevendust. He adds so much to the band from his writing, guitar playing and presence. So if you haven’t checked out Call Me No One, now is a good time to do just that.
It always sucks when a band you dig breaks up. In this case the band I’m referring to is Fight Amp. They were one hell of a rad band, and I had hoped that when they announced their end they would be back soon with something new. Well my hoping has been answered in the form of Low Dose. Hailing from Philadelphia, the members of Fight Amp have teamed up with Itarya Rosenberg to bring about some crushing heavy rock tunes. So far only one song has been released, “For Sure,” but it sure is badass. It’s got that “grungy” 90’s vibe to it and some really great punk attitude. While the band has an album done and ready to go, they are looking for the right home to release it. So that might be a minute till we hear more from Low Dose. In the meantime though, I’ll be jamming “For Sure” a lot!
A couple weeks back I introduced you all to Del Judas and showcased a couple songs from his debut album Deity. Over the course of a few weeks I’ve had the chance to really delve into this album and I have to say it’s magnificent. The gothic vibe along with post-punk nature, and classic country style of Johnny Cash really makes this album a standout of the year. As a music fan, this is one album that not only deserves to be in your collections but also played on repeat for a great deal of time.
There is something magical about this record. For all the darkness that surrounds the songs, there truly seems to be a sense of optimism brewing underneath the songs. Each song has a way of pulling you in and allows you to get lost in the music and lyrics. The general vibe from the album itself is layered with dark and dreary tones but, is soothing and at the same time a bit mysterious. Those moments also help to really bring the material to life. When you have songs like “Dancing With The Dead,” “Touching Fire,” “Through The Glass,” “Of Love and Death,” and “Deity,” to name a few, it’s not hard to see and hear just how mesmerizing this album truly is. Every song on this record plays a vital role in creating not just a soundscape but a dark romantic sensibility.
Deity is an album that will and should be on top ten lists at the end of the year. This is one of my absolute favorite albums I’ve heard this year. I can’t stop listening to it. Even while driving I tend to get lost in the songs and wish the album didn’t have to end. Do yourself a favor and really take some time and get into this album. Not only will you thank me later but, you’ll fall in love with just how good this album is. I really hope there is more to come from Del Judas, because this is only just the beginning of something great.
Overall Rating: A
I’ve said it many times before and I stand by it, heavy music and melody go together like peanut butter and jelly. They both come from different places but when they are combined the end result is perfect. There is a band out right now that does melodic heavy music perfectly, and that band is Light The Torch. You might recognize them originally as Devil You Know but, due to a former band member causing some issues, the remaining members opted to change the name and continue on albeit on a slightly different path. The first two Devil You Know albums were more in that “djent” style but now with Light The Torch, they have gone more melodic without losing the “heavy.” Singer Howard Jones (formerly of Killswitch Engage) sounds great and just as good as he did on the Killswitch album The End Of Heartache. The riffs courtesy of guitarist Francisco Artusato aren’t over complicated, instead they have a really subtle ebb and flow of clean and distorted tones.
Their album Revival is exactly the type of melodic heavy record that you’d want to hear from this band and Howard. When you have songs like “Die Alone,” “Calm Before The Storm,” “Raise The Dead,” and “The Safety Of Disbelief,” it really shows a different side of each member and allows Howard to showcase his pure singing voice. Then you have a song like “The Sound Of Violence,” which sounds a bit like Howards pre-Killswitch band Blood Has Been Shed. Closing the album is “Judas Convention” which is a great summation of what the album has to offer.
Revival isn’t reinventing melodic heavy music but it sure gives it a shot in the arm. Having Howard Jones in this sort of shape both vocally and lyrically gives Light The Torch the guidance needed to really leave their mark on the scene. I’m just putting this out in the aether but, a Killswitch Engage/Light The Torch tour sure would make a lot of sense and would be HUGE!!