Unsung Masterpieces

Unsung Masterpieces: Will Haven- Carpe Diem


If there is one thing that has always been mind blowing to me is that the bands that are huge influences on so many “Bigger” bands are often overlooked by the masses. The strange reality of all this justifies my thoughts that those in charge really don’t have a clue what is good and isn’t. There is a band from the Sacramento area that really left a huge mark on the bands like Deftones and Far. That band is Will Haven. In 2001, Will Haven unleashed what I consider to be an unsung masterpiece entitled Carpe Diem. Clocking in at just over 45 minutes, the ten songs on the album are honest, emotional and chaotic with dashes of atmosphere. There are so many things about this album that have rubbed off on other bands from the guitar tones, song structures, vocal delivery and style, and even lyrical content. Songs like “Bats,” “Carpe Diem,” “Dolph Lundgren,” “Dressed In Night Clothes,” “Finest Our,” and “Moving To Montana,” have been my absolute favorites on this album and still hold up over 15 years later.

If you are a fan of heavy music and you’ve never heard this band or album, I urge you to stop what you are doing for the next hour and listen to this. And if it’s been a while since you’ve listened to Carpe Diem, stop what you are doing and take a trip back to 2001 and rediscover a great album.


Will Haven- Carpe Diem:

Unsung Masterpieces: Red Hot Chili Peppers- One Hot Minute


The year is 1995 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to release their follow up to Blood Sugar Sex Magik. John Frusciante left the band and was replaced by Dave Navarro. By adding Dave Navarro, the Chili Peppers sound changed rather drastically. The lyrics grew darker, exploring the perils of drug use, depression, grief and many other themes along those lines. Navarro also added a heavier approach with his style of guitar playing. Granted this album was a bit of a detour from what the band had put out with Blood Sugar, One Hot Minute has become an album that with age, has become a true unsung masterpiece in the bands catalog. The history of the making of One Hot Minute is quite the story. Anthony Kiedis had relapsed, thus causing a slow down in the writing and recording of the album. But the end result was something special. Songs like “Warped,” “Aeroplane,” “My Friends,” “Tearjerker,” “One Hot Minute,” and “Transcending” are stellar compliments to a very underrated album.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years listening to the album is that Dave Navarro really brought something  special and different to the band. He brought a different style to the band than what John Frusciante did, leaving a signature mark on the one album he did with the band. Interestingly, One Hot Minute isn’t an album that the Chili Peppers visit often. In fact they have even come out to say that “We don’t really feel that connected to that record anymore. No special reason, not to say we would never play those songs but we don’t feel that emotionally connected to that music right now.” Which is quite sad, considering how good the album really is. Hopefully there will be a time again that they revisit some of these songs.

What do you think of One Hot Minute?


Red Hot Chili Peppers- One Hot Minute:





Unsung Masterpieces: Thrice- Vheissu


Making a statement through music and art is always a complex thing to do. On one hand you know that this is the best and most fulfilling thing you can do. So much so that the direction and influence you feel at that point is going to define you. On the other hand, there is a sense that people out there won’t get it and thus give up on you. But for those that understand and really pick up on, know that this is the album that needed to be made and up till this point, it was only a matter of time. Ten years ago, Thrice released their masterpiece called Vheissu. At first it was met with a bit of hesitation but as time settled, the album began to take on a life of it’s own. Vheissu was a dramatic and experimental departure from the bands more post hardcore roots. Thrice took chances to make an album with more substance and meaning. Not to say that their previous releases weren’t up to par, but this album just had to push past all those to leave a mark. They took a chance with adding different elements including different instruments, time signatures, and the use of electronics. All of these things really helped to ensure a true artistic approach in the writing and recording process. There are so many standout songs on this album, it’s hard to pick the absolute best. My personal favorite “The Earth Will Shake,” is a perfect example of the bands progression and how well it worked out. “Red Sky,” “Atlantic,” “For Miles,” “Like Moths To Flame,” and “Image Of The Invisible” are all standout tracks on the album. The entire record as a whole is beyond anything in the bands catalog. Take a trip back ten years ago and listen to Vheissu again.

Thrice- Vheissu:

Unsung Masterpieces: Smashing Pumpkins- Adore


The process of following up a career defining album is a very serious task. The amount of pressure that is put on a band to follow that up with a great deal of success is overwhelming. The Smashing Pumpkins follow up to Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, Adore is one of the most daring and intriguing albums in the bands discography. Recorded following the death of Billy Corgan’s mother and his divorce, this was a significant change of style from the bands guitar driven albums. Adore saw the band venture into more electronic territory. This was in part to drummer Jimmy Chamberlain being fired from the band before the recording process. Instead the drums on the album were cut from drum machines and the assistance of drummer Matt Walker who toured with the band following Chamberlains release. During this time as well, the bands image shifted toward a more darker gothic sensibility.

Adore is the type of album that when you first listen to it, you are taken aback by it. There is a purity and solemnness to it, that delves even deeper than the bands previous works. Songs like “To Sheila,” “Crestfallen,””For Martha,” exhibit this notion. The more electronic driven songs like “Ava Adore” and “Perfect” show some similarities to classic Pumpkins material. Then there are songs like “Tear,” “Appels & Oranjes,””Pug,” “Behold! The Night Mare,” that show an added maturity to Billy Corgan’s writing.

Adore was obviously not the album that fans of the band wanted, but it was necessary to reinvigorate the band to come to terms with their issues. Over time, Adore has been one of those albums that with time and age has truly become a wonderful album. It really has a sense that if you’ve lived life and been through hell to an extent, then this album will really hit the mark. Take it for another listen, and you’ll see what I mean.

Smashing Pumpkins- Adore:

Unsung Masterpieces: AFI- Sing The Sorrow


AFI is a band that has gone through a lot of changes stylistically throughout their career. They started out as a punk band with hardcore roots, then shifted more to the Horror punk side of things. As time went on and the band evolved they found a balance of their roots of punk and added a more goth element to their music. So in 2003, AFI released their most ambitious album up till that point, Sing The Sorrow. Their die hard fans were caught off guard by the departure of their original sound, while at the same time finding a new audience. Sing the Sorrow was produced by Butch Vig and Jerry Finn, allowing the album to be more experimental. Lyrically, the album is darker and more poetic than their previous material. I for one, when I first heard the album wasn’t really in to it at all. It just wasn’t the AFI I was a fan of. Fast forward a few years and I revisited the album and really grew to love it. There is something truly intriguing about it. The depth of the songwriting really took things to another level for the band with the use of synths, strings and the all around lyrical content. Songs like “The Leaving Song Pts. I & II,” “Bleed Black,” “Death Of Seasons,” “But Home Is Nowhere,” really show the maturity of the guys in the band. There are some songs that are a little more radio friendly like “Girls Not Grey,” “Silver and Cold,” and “Dancing Through Sunday,” but that doesn’t change the fact that the songs are really good.

This is one of those albums that with time you really come to love. There is something about Sing The Sorrow that really hits home. Sure the production on it is a little too slick and AFI has completely changed from what they once were, but the growth on this album is truly astounding. Give it another shot if you gave up on them.

AFI- Sing The Sorrow:

By: Brian Lacy

Unsung Masterpieces: One Side Zero- Is This Room Getting Smaller


The early 2000’s were a very interesting time for music. There was an explosion of different genres and people were still buying music. Amongst the influx of bands to come out around this time, there was one that really stood out. One Side Zero is who I’m talking about and their stellar debut album, Is This Room Getting Smaller is an album that went unnoticed by the masses, but had a great impact on those that did hear it. Is This Room Getting Smaller was released in 2001 and produced by Jim Wirt and mixed by David Bottrill. The band toured relentlessly with bands like Incubus, 311, Sevendust, Soulfly and many others. They even appeared on the classic HBO show Reverb. The album itself is one of those listen in its entirety experiences. It really tells a story and captivates your range of emotions. Songs like “Instead Laugh,” “Holding Cell,” “New World Order,” “Eight,” “Never Ending,” and my personal favorite “Tapwater,” deliver in a harmonious melodic hard rock nature. The music really fits perfectly with the lyrical tone and voice of singer/guitarist Jasan Radford. His voice has the range of smooth and sultry to ravenous. Guitarists Levon Sultanian and Brett Kane really shine on their playing and tone. Bassist Cristian Hernandez plays perfectly in the pocket with drummer Rob Basile. I could really go on and on talking about this band. I’ve seen them so many times live and they never disappointed. Perhaps this will help get them to play shows again!!!

Sadly they were lumped into the “nu metal” genre, even though they are far from that.  Had that not have happened and their label really dug their feet in the ground to push One Side, they could have gone on to a very illustrious career. Their debut album is still stands as a perfect testament to the time it came out. The way it connects with the listener and what it carries on from there. Do yourself a favor and listen to this album start to finish. You won’t be sorry!


One Side Zero- Is This Room Getting Smaller:


New World Order on Reverb:

Instead Laugh on Reverb:


Shed The Skin on Reverb:




By: Brian Lacy