Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Geoff Tate. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Geoff Tate. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη 11 Οκτωβρίου 2022

Queensrÿche's "Rage for Order": Vampiric obsessions, digital heartbeats and chemical youth - The Order behind the Rage.

RAGE is a word with an exact and specific meaning, while ORDER can be something more. And when ORDER is combined with other words, it can be even more. While there's no "Rage for Order" song in the same-titled album, this title has a deeper meaning, so let's see what lies beyond the words. Let's find out the questions that you need to answer.

Written by Andreas Andreou


 

Rage for Order was recorded and mixed by Neil Kernon under the band's full control since they weren't happy with the label's treatment to the previous album The Warning, where the record label changed the sequence of the songs and remixed it, releasing what we know, without Queensrÿche's approval.

Most of the songs and ideas of Rage for Order were written before Geoff Tate (vocals, keyboards), Chris DeGarmo (guitars), Michael Wilton (guitars), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) enter the studio after the summer of 1985 and the end of the tour supporting The Warning during 1984 - 1985, for more than 100 shows, mainly in the United States but also in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Japan, among a few others.

The world was a cold place. The world was changing and every country was something totally different from another. Everything was very different in the pre-internet world and the digital era, and the members of Queensrÿche wrote stories of the future echoing their present but always looking to the sky. They felt the eyes watching them. The digital and robotic feeling of the production is giving a futuristic vibe to the album while the coldness of the world is all over the sound of Rage for Order despite its emotional depth. The lyrics were always enigmatic and the songs seemed to be linked even if there wasn't a specific and clear concept - story behind it. Or there was?

The previous world tour was an eye-opening experience. Interacting with different people and cultures around the world, visiting the night clubs of central Europe, sleeping in London and walking through its dark and misty alleys, travelling with bullet trains in Japan and watching neon lights making the night a plasmatic day.

Queensrÿche realized very quickly that they weren't just five kids from Seattle starting living their dream; they made the dreams part of their art. But dreams are always uncertain. They echo fears, deep and unknown parts of ourselves and the world, things that can happen and things that would never be. Dreams are watching you. Until you will stop dreaming.


Starting with a relationship and an obsession, "Walk in the Shadows" introduces vampirism, the night and the shadows. "I can cure the hunger that burns in your heart, just come to me, I'll take you home. We'll walk in the shadows, by day we'll live in a dream."

Can love suck your lifeblood? Queensrÿche's approach definitely can since their view on relationships (and love) had the shades of obsession, and intense but short-lived passions. In the end, those relationships left scars you see but don't clearly remember (or don't want to remember) and memories remembered like dreams.

"Our secret's safe for one more night but when the morning comes remember, I'll be with you" [...] "By day we'll live in a dream. We'll walk in the shadows. One day you'll be with me, if only you believe..."

While "Walk in the Shadows" involves an obsession in a relationship and the observation of one you watch from the shadows, "I Dream in Infrared" continues with a relationship and the dark vibe there is in these songs, starting with, "As you awoke this morning and opened up your eyes, did you notice the tear-stains lining your face were mine", as a continuation of the vampiric relationship. Can this song be a different interpretation of someone who deep within doesn't know, or remember, who he is? Someone who can't dream anymore and gave all of his secrets to his obsession "but the time is right" to leave one night.

"The Whisper" seems to continue the previous themes and while the fear of hunger is always there, the observation is stronger and someone or something else is entering and watching. Stalking for innocent victims, a new master who whispers to new slaves that should forget what they've learned in the past. But therein, you don't listen only to whispers and voices, there are also "screams from a new love"...

Choosing Dalbello's "Gonna Get Close to You" to appear on the album as a cover song, one can't think of anything else than just how suitable are the song's lyrics with the rest of Rage for Order, while the video for this song also works nicely and the ending is open to different interpretations. Originally sung by Lisa Dal Bello (woman), then sung by Geoff Tate (man) it also means that the roles can change. And are really things just "as plain as black and white"?

"The Killing Words" sound like a song with a very clear meaning about the end of a relationship, a personal song that's probably based in a real relationship (?) There's a strong pain in this song, so one wonders about the performer's mentality connecting with such songs after years, revisiting them as memories or dreams. "Do you remember the dreams, the nightmares we shared?"

Leaving behind a song that looks very personal and emotional, "Surgical Strike" is the opposite, describing fighters "programmed" and "taught not to feel". The personal feelings, the personal ORDER now becomes something universal. It's the point where the individual forces itself to view the obsessions and the scars of the past as a memory; a dream. It's the point where if it can happen to one, it can happen to all. We can reach the point as a human race where the emotions and feelings can be removed by someone. Who that someone could be? And what's the reason for that? A cause? An act of slavery? "At master control, assessment will not be by humans."

"Neue Regel" is the German for "New Rule", and it certainly didn't come randomly. The word ORDER appears again after "it leads us to order" from "Surgical Strike", to "order of a new kind". What's this ORDER? It is not personal anymore and now it becomes political and technological. The kind of ORDER that can end all dreams and hopes while there appears "a distant wanderer". "It's time for the world to hear, Neue Regel is here."
 
"Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)" sounds like a rebellion to everything that proceeded, still though it needs to be "chemical". However, is this rebellion against technocracy and technological ORDER? Or is it the rebellion of the technological religion? With "the media mouth open wide", humankind can be controlled and enslaved in a digital prison.

What happened in "London", stayed in London. What happened on November 4th? Can hunger be really cured? "You're just a memory now, like all the ones before" [...] They cry remember, blood-red streaks on velvet throats at night".

In "Screaming in Digital" one can say that artificial intelligence and humans have become somehow equal in controlled emotions, controlled freedom, and controlled dreams. But who's the father and who's the good boy?  

And finally, "I Will Remember" serves as a postscript where all memories, dreams and emotions seem that in the end are watched by "distant eyes" (satellites?). What's the star that came that night and the thought that feels the mind? Do we really know what we've done? Do we really live or our lives are within a screen?

Are those vampires (not humans) who walk in the shadows and see in infrared the ones who left every feeling and dream behind becoming the new kind? Or the new kind is the programmed human race? What are really the machines that can steal each other's dreams?

Human evolution does not mean leading by degrees to something superior or going to something better. It means something different. And technology evolves alongside humankind but in the end, human evolution is all about survival while technological revolution can become a revelation.

"Freedom belongs only to those without video screens for eyes and mouth."



Released on June 20th of 1986, Rage for Order still looks relevant, enigmatic and futuristic, even decades later.


 

Τετάρτη 18 Μαρτίου 2020

Metal Nerdism Vol. 3: Five cases of albums that were not meant to be under that BAND name.

"I don't want it" - "You will do it" Vs "I will do it because I can!"

Oh... that name...

written by Andreas Andreou



Part I
Artists: "I don't want it.''
Record label, managers, executives: "You will do it."



BLACK SABBATH - Seventh Star (1986)


To be more specific, the complete "band" name is Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi and that's what you also see on the actual album. That alone is enough to separate it from the rest of the Sabbath catalogue until that point, so let's just see what happened in the mid '80s and the stormy life of Tony Iommi.

After the release of Born Again and the supporting tour for the most disturbing Sabbath album, the band was falling off the edge of the world. Ozzy Osbourne's fame (and sales) were already much higher and in the summer of 1985, the original 4 got back together for a one-off performance at Live Aid Festival in Philadelphia, USA. Black Sabbath performed 3 songs ("Children of the Grave", "Iron Man", "Paranoid") in a day with 100.000 attendants, including also names like Judas Priest, Bryan Adams, Simple Minds, Santana, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Madonna, Led Zeppelin and more... And that's it. Nothing more happened, nothing would happen. After that point, Iommi was left alone without a band and he had the idea to record a solo album with different singers including Rob Halford, David Coverdale, Robert Plant and Glenn Hughes, but there were contractual issues and it couldn't happen, so Iommi started working with singer Jeff Fenholt but after few demo recordings that project also fell apart. However, there were few great ideas and songs written, so Iommi was joined by singer Glenn Hughes, bassist Dave Spitz, drummer Eric Singer, keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, and with producer Jeff Glixman, an album was recorded.

"It was supposed to be a solo album. I certainly didn't want to release it as a Black Sabbath album, because I hadn't written it as a Black Sabbath album", Tony Iommi wrote in his biography, but we already knew it, as mentioned many, many times over the years. Glenn Hughes was also uncomfortable with the idea to sing in a Black Sabbath album. But during an era were record companies were more powerful than you can imagine nowadays, it was said to Tony Iommi, that according to his contract, he owes to the record company another one Black Sabbath album and they wanted this one. And so it happened. Record label executives and managers wanted to name it "Black Sabbath", no matter how it was recorded and who performed. Seventh Star was released in January 1986 under the name Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi, with Tony alone on the cover sleeve; exactly as a solo project.

During the mid '80s, both Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes were on drugs but that wasn't affecting the live presence of Iommi. On the other side, there were times when Glenn was unable to perform, so after just a week of touring as Black Sabbath, supporting the release of Seventh Star, Glenn Hughes was replaced by Ray Gillen and the tour was a commercial failure while many shows were even cancelled. Tony Iommi couldn't do something else, so he continued using the name "Black Sabbath" and the next album (The Eternal Idol, 1987) was the step to something different. Still with great albums, but something different.

Acceptance: The press considered Seventh Star as a Black Sabbath album and Tony Iommi couldn't do something else, so he supported the album that way, since he needed to go on tour. The audience was confused, press details and promotion weren't clear and confusion continued when singer Ray Gillen replaced Glenn Hughes, where many fans were expecting to see on stage (Ian) Gillan and they saw (Ray) Gillen. Many people didn't even know that Hughes performed live with Black Sabbath.

Nowadays, you can see "Seventh Star" in the official discography of Black Sabbath. There are many fans that don't really consider it as a Black Sabbath album.

Highlights: "Seventh Star", "Danger Zone", "Angry Heart".


CANDLEMASS - Dactylis Glomerata (1998)


After the release of the album Chapter VI (1992) Candlemass entered a period of uncertainty and took them a while until the moment where they were really accepted as the Masters of Doom Metal. Candlemass broke up in 1994, so their founder, songwriter and bassist Leif Edling, formed Abstrakt Algebra with an extraordinary line-up including Mats Levén on vocals, Mike Wead and Simon Johansson on guitars, Jejo Perković on drums and Carl Westholm helping with keyboards. The same titled debut album of Abstrakt Algebra was released in 1995 and it is something really different; something you could label as a progressive power doom metal release. Two years later, Leif Edling wrote the second Abstrakt Algebra album and started recordings with Mats Levén, Jejo Perković and Carl Westholm, while guitar duties were handled by Patrik Instedt. That second album took a long time to be completed and the band had problems with the studio and the producer. Lot of money was spent and no album was completed, so at one point, Edling was contacted by a record label and he was told that they will finance the album and help him, only if he will release it under the Candlemass moniker instead of Abstrakt Algebra... So Edling got in the studio again and reworked the songs with Jejo Perković and Carl Westholm, added by Björn Flodkvist on vocals and Mike Amott on guitars, plus few guests. And another Candlemass album is released.

Acceptance: The press considered Dactylis Glomerata as a Candlemass album and so did the audience, but a few years later, when Messiah Marcolin, Lasse Johansson, Mappe Björkman and Jan Linh got together again with the Doomfather, this was presented as a reunion, and the late '90s years was something like a break time, despite the fact that two albums were released under the Candlemass moniker.

Nowadays, you can see Dactylis Glomerata in the official discography of Candlemass. There are many fans that don't really consider it as a Candlemass album. The band doesn't perform live songs from that period.

Highlights: "I Still See the Black", "Dustflow", "Abstrakt Sun".


MANILLA ROAD - The Circus Maximus (1992)

 
After the release of the album The Courts of Chaos (1990) and the poor reception and distribution at the time, Mark Shelton decided to disband Manilla Road and started working on a new band under the name The Circus Maximus, a new collective effort with Aaron Brown (drums, vocals) and Andrew Coss (bass, vocals, keyboards). When their debut album was completed, The Circus Maximus tried to shop a record deal but in the end, the project ended again with Black Dragon Records, the label of Manilla Road. But Black Dragon Records, pressed and released the album as "Manilla Road" without asking the band and that led to confusion and mess, since the band was performing live as The Circus Maximus at that time...

Acceptance: The press considered The Circus Maximus as a Manilla Road album but the promotion and the reception was very poor, while the band known as "Manilla Road" wasn't even active at that time since Mark Shelton and his new bandmates were performing locally as The Circus Maximus. Many fans at the time, didn't even know about the release of that album.

Nowadays, you can see The Circus Maximus in the official discography of Manilla Road. There are many fans that don't really consider it as a Manilla Road album. Mark Shelton also never considered it as a Manilla Road album and he only allowed to be re-released keeping the Manilla Road moniker in order to avoid further confusion.

Highlights: "Throne of Blood", "Spider", "No Sign from Above"


Part II
Artists: "I will do it because I can!"


QUEENSRYCHE - Frequency Unknown (2013)


The previous Queensrÿche album Dedicated to Chaos (2011) is the strongest candidate for The Worst Album ever released by a major act. Up to that point and over the last few years after the departure of guitarist and songwriter Chris DeGarmo in 1998, Queensrÿche seemed to "evolve" as a Geoff Tate Band until that day in April 2012 before a show in São Paulo, Brazil.

Jason Slater who produced Frequency Unknown, also produced the 'rÿche albums Operation: Mindcrime II (2006), American Soldier (2009), Dedicated to Chaos (2011) and was one of the main songwriters of the band during that period, where many of the ideas of other 'rÿche members were rejected or changed. The other members looked like "session musicians" to Tate, the management (Tate's wife, Susan) and the producer, who were using the Queensrÿche name for years.

In a band meeting during April 2012, while Geoff Tate wasn't there, the other members decided to fire the manager (Susan, Geoff's wife) and the person who was running the Queensrÿche official fan club (Miranda, Geoff's stepdaughter). Tate was angry with them when he learned about it and before a show in São Paulo, Brazil, on April 14 of 2012, he had a strong argument with few of the rest members where Tate assault and spit them, even on stage during that night's show. Geoff Tate was off the band and both parties used the "Queensrÿche" brand. The rest of the members were supposed to start the project Rising West where they could play live shows based on older material of Queensrÿche, so eventually, with the addition of ex-Crimson Glory live singer Todd La Torre, they continued performing as Queensrÿche and in 2013, they even released the Queensrÿche album with new material.

Guitarist and producer Kelly Gray, and producer Jason Slater, who also had writing credits in various 'rÿche songs that period, continued working with Geoff Tate and just two years after the events of April 2012, a settlement was reached on April 2014, where the brand name "Queensrÿche" would belong to Micheal Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson, who along with Todd La Torre and Parker Lundgren will be the touring and recording Queensrÿche band, while Geoff Tate solely has the right to perform both Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II in their entirety.

Queensrÿche continued releasing more albums and performing tours supporting them, focusing on them and the early material of the band, while Geoff Tate released his second solo album Kings & Thieves (that was recorded around the events of April 2012), the albums The Key (2015), Resurrection (2016), The New Reality (2017) under the band name Operation: Mindcrime, and also performed selected shows with Queensrÿche material and albums like Operation: Mindcrime with success, while the last years he looks in great shape, living a happy life.

Acceptance: The press and fans lightly approached Frequency Unknown as a Queensrÿche album in 2013 since it served as a normal continuation to what the band was releasing back then, but the Queensrÿche album that was released by the rest few months later, was held higher. However, many 'rÿche fans stopped following the band and the latest albums, many of them also pushed the events of 2012 back in their head in order to forget them... Frequency Unknown was a better album than the previous two Queensrÿche albums and Tate gathered a team of great musicians surrounding him during the recordings, including guitarists Brad Gillis, KK Downing, Dave Meniketti, bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummers Paul Bostaph and Simon Wright, among others.

Nowadays, you can't see Frequency Unknown in the official discography of Queensrÿche and it is considered as a "side release" or a Geoff Tate solo project, while it is nearly forgotten and the albums that followed by Queensrÿche are considered much better.

Highlights: "Cold", "In the Hands of God"


TANK - War Machine (2010)


War Machine is a great album. I was writing for Rockway zine when I got the promo of that album and couldn't believe that this is actually a Tank album. It was a completely different band but still great. The dirty NWOBHM sound of the previous albums was absent but now you had something different reminding later Saxon, even Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath, including also the great vocals of Doogie White. I remember presenting the album to a few friends that didn't like the older Tank material but loved War Machine. The "original" Tank disbanded in 1989 and there was a reunion in late '90s, followed by the studio album Still at War in 2002. War Machine was the first Tank album not including singer/bassist Algy Ward, where he also return with his "Tank version" in 2013, as a one-man band, performing all instruments in the album Breath of the Pit following the style of older Tank.

Acceptance: Upon its release the press considered War Machine as a Tank album; no question about it. And that band was considered as "Tank" for a few more years until the studio return of Algy Ward using also the Tank name but with a very poor acceptance from media and fans. Fans were confused and you have two "Tank" versions releasing albums.

Nowadays, a few people separate Algy Ward's Tank and Tucker/Evans's Tank from the old "original" Tank, while both parties claim the continuation of the classic NWOBHM act. A few fans accept only one version over the other but Tucker/Evans's Tank have a more reliable presence with more albums since War Machine and live shows, even if none of Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans was "there" in 1982 when Tank released the first studio recordings. Tucker/Evans's Tank include singers ZP Theart (Dragonforce, Skid Row) and David Readman (Pink Cream 69, Adagio) in the latest studio albums, so vocally, the connection to the past keeps the distance.

Highlights: "Judgement Day", "Phoenix Rising"



So what?

So, what's more important or valid? When a label releases an album using a specific band name of a main member despite the will of that member-composer, or when a member of a band is using the brand name despite the will of other members he was working with?

According to "history" and the cases above, most of the times, the choice of the labels is what is taken for granted in the future. If a NAME is printed on the cover, it stays there forever. Sometimes it is wrong, sometimes it is correct, sometimes it is connected to the past with a band member or a continuation of the music, sometimes there isn't any connection, or just a small link.

Music industry has always had its own rules and decisions. Decisions that many times were above the will of the artists. But the music industry is also changing and the "names" are irrelevant nowadays: READ MORE