Great Debut Albums

Great Debut Albums: Silverchair- Frogstomp

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I know I keep going back to the 90’s but, it truly was a magical time. Just like the 60’s and 70’s for our parents (well most of ours), the 90’s was a revolution musically for a generation and then some. The sheer amount of groundbreaking and legendary albums from this time is astounding. The legacies that those bands have to this day are beyond what many of them ever expected and the influence and inspiration that those bands and albums have had on countless other bands, well, that’s the gift. There was a band that came out during this time, made up of three teenagers that really left a mark. That band was Silverchair and their debut album Frogstomp, was quite the exceptional record and one that, to this day, still excites people.

Recorded in 9 days in December 1994, Frogstomp would go on to put Silverchair on the map. At the time of recording, Daniel Johns (vocals/guitar), Ben Gillies (drums) and Chris Joannou (bass) were all 15 years old. John’s would later comment on the recording “The songwriting might not be genius, but I think sonically, the performances are really good. It’s really honest; it’s just three Australian kids thrashing it out in the studio and that’s exactly how it sounds.” I couldn’t agree more. Some critics wrote the band off as Nirvana/Pearl Jam wannabes but, they were not some flash in the pan copycat band. These kids had depth and substance to what they were writing. The song “Tomorrow” is a great example of the power and intensity they had. I will admit, when I first heard this song, I thought it was Pearl Jam but, after it was done and they announced who it was, I knew I had to go buy the album. Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke had said about the album  “Truly shameless wanna-be’s like Bush should be so lucky to have the hard smarts that Silverchair – particularly the band’s main writers, singer-guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies – show on such Frogstomp-ers as “Pure Massacre” and “Israel’s Son.” When these guys turn 18, they’ll really be dangerous.” Which is quite interesting because by the time they were 18/19, they had released Neon Ballroom, and that album is an Unsung Masterpiece.

Frogstomp is to this day one hell of an album. Everything from the songs, tones, style, grit, and so much more have made this an everlasting album. Songs like “Israel’s Son,” “Pure Massacre,” “Tomorrow,” Shade,” “Suicidal Dream,” “Findaway,” and “Leave Me Out” have stood the test of time and continue to influence and inspire. One of the songs that always grabbed me besides the ones above was the instrumental track “Madman.” The energy of this track is exhilarating and I’ve always wondered what the lyrics and vocals would have been for this song.

This album laid the groundwork for what was to come for this three piece. The strong songwriting ability of Johns along with the powerful tenacity of Gillies and Joannou made this band what it was. If it were anyone else, this band wouldn’t sound the way they did. Throughout their career, they would constantly push themselves to get better and mature. And they did with Freak Show, Neon Ballroom and Diorama. Their album Young Modern, was a strong departure from what the band once was but, it still showed how great of a band they were. Now, if only they would get back together and celebrate what they created, that would be amazing.

Silverchair- Frogstomp:

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Great Debut Albums: Mudvayne- LD 50

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Back in the year 2000, there was an album that was released that left a mark on heavy music at the time. We all know about the albums by Korn, Deftones, Slipknot and more. Those bands really left a lasting impression with their debuts and helped steer the course of the heavy music genre. The album and the band that I’d like to delve into is Mudvayne and the album I’m speaking about is their debut album L.D. 50.

After releasing their Kill, I Oughtta EP, Mudvyane signed to No-Name Records/Epic Records. Their debut for the label would be produced by Garth “GGGarth” Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, The Melvins). Recording took place up in Vancouver, Canada. The recording process for the album was excutively produced by Steve Richards (No-Name Records/Management) and Shawn Crahan aka Clown aka #6 of Slipknot. The sessions for L.D. 50 would prove to be very intensive. The band would be working around the clock as Garth Richardson ran a very tight ship. There were a couple songs that weren’t completed till the 11th hour like “Nothing To Gein” and “Pharmaecopia.” Stylistically, L.D. 50 was much more than just your run of the mill heavy record. Mudvayne incorporated a lot of different styles including death metal, hardcore punk, speed metal, prog rock and bits of jazz. Critics began referring to the bands as “Math Metal” due to their intricate time signatures.

 

L.D. 50 is one of those albums that still holds up to this day and is still praised by fans of the band and genre. For example the song “Dig” is still one of those songs when you hear it today, you can’t help but get excited. Plus the scream of vocalist Chad Gray in the beginning has become a sort of legendary scream. The video for “Dig” also won the MTV2 Awards for best video. Other songs that have always stood out to me on this record include “Internal Primates Forever,” “-1” “Death Blooms,” (which is my favorite song on the album. And when I saw them live many moons ago, this song was so damn good live), “Cradle,” Nothing to Gein,” “Severed,” “Pharmaecopia,” and “(K)now F(orever).” The album itself feels like an album. The songs are separated by interludes that pull all the songs together. These interludes also provide an extra amount of atmosphere that is needed to break up the pummeling of riffs and rhythms.

 

L.D. 50 was more than just a “metal” record. It was also a showcase of how talented each individual in the band is and how well they worked together. Drummer Matt McDonough and bassist Ryan Martinie are an absolute force of a rhythm section.  Guitarist Greg Tribbett had a knack for writing interesting riffs to compliment the off time of Matt and Ryan. The three of them working together created something that has stood the test of time. Then when you add vocalist Chad Gray into the mix it all comes together. Chad’s lyrics and vocal delivery on this album were superb. His ability to go all out guttural with his screams and then quickly deliver genuine melodic vocals was stunning, especially on “Death Blooms.”

This album is a classic among the albums released since the turn of the century. If you ever read the comments section on any music news site that Mudvayne is mentioned in, you’ll most definitely read a slew of comments of fans of L.D. 50. It’s one of those albums that people pine for due to the rawness and aggression. Just like fans of bands like Metallica pine for the sound of their first 4 albums. It’s a shame that Mudvayne isn’t around at the moment. They were always a top notch live band. Their follow up albums seem to be hit or miss with a lot of their fans but, there are still some very excellent songs among those. I personally really dig on the follow up to L.D. 50, The End Of All Things To Come as well as their “final” album which is technically untitled. I genuinely hope that the four of them can put away any ill will and get back to making great tunes again as Mudvayne. Until then, at least we still have the music and the great debut album in L.D. 50.

 

 

Mudvayne- L.D. 50:


Mudvayne Accepting the MTV2 Award at the VMA’s:

 

Great Debut Albums: Oasis- Definitely Maybe

 

 

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It always seems to go back to 1994. That year is like a fine aged wine or a wonderful scotch, there is just something magical about 1994. We all know how many legendary albums came out at this time but, there is one that is often overlooked. The album I’m talking about is Oasis’s, Definitely Maybe. When you have songs like “Supersonic,”Rock N Roll Star,” and “Live Forever,” on your debut album, not only are you going to hit it out of the park but also really leave a lasting mark. Definitely Maybe is often regarded as “the” album that started the “Brit-Pop” movement. The songs on the album were all written by Noel Gallagher, and he really cemented his legacy with these songs. The album is full of classic rock n roll, pop, glam, and a bit of psychedelia. There really isn’t a bad song on this record. “Shakermaker,” “Up In The Sky,” “Bring It On Down,” “Cigarettes And Alcohol,” and “Slide Away” have always been the deeper cuts that have stood out to me. Noel’s songs really came to life courtesy of the band as a whole. Liam Gallagher’s voice put the guts in to the songs. Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs and Noel’s guitar work really added a brightness and edge to the record. The rhythm section of Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan on bass and Tony McCarroll on drums gave the album the pulse and heartbeat.
Something else about Definitely Maybe that stands out is that this album was a beacon of light in the music world. Before this album, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were dominating the airwaves. Those bands vibes and realism made a deep connection to those out there that were looking for something, lost or feeling helpless. Oasis addressed those elements but provided a sense of living and fun. The Gallagher brothers antics alone helped to usher in this new sense of life.
Definitely Maybe is and always will be one of the best debut albums. A lot of people think that this was the bands pinnacle but, that just isn’t the case. If you take the time to delve into the Oasis catalog you will find that this band is truly great. Noel Gallagher is one of the most underrated and prolific songwriters of all time. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes out of your day and let Definitely Maybe start your day off right.

 

Oasis- Definitely Maybe:

 

 

Great Debut Albums: Buckcherry- Buckcherry

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I was originally going to make a giant list of the best debut albums of all time but, I thought doing an individual series would be more fun and frankly more interesting. There are zillions of great debut albums out there. Some of which are legendary and influential while others are just plain awesome. Some of you reading this might not agree with all the ones I pick and that’s ok. I just really want to showcase some great albums, some that you might have missed and some you probably haven’t listened to in a long time.

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