Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Queensryche and Armored Saint review

Queensryche playing with Armored Saint was a great tour combination. Both fans have strong vocalists. If you are a person who appreciates vocals, as in vocalist who actually have talent, then you could appreciate this lineup.

Both vocalists have an amazing range. They both have a talent that is not found very often, so pairing  these two with each other, is like adding hot fudge, melted peanut butter,  whipped cream and cherry on top of an ice cream treat, that winning combination in perfect synche: Hot and cold, liquid melting the solid, sweet and salty peanut butter cup melting on frozen goodness. Devour the music.

 It’s one of those shows where it’s not just about the vocalist. Both bands have amazing musicians all the way around supporting a wonderful thing. It’s a night of skilled musician, not people that are just learning how to play, but people better get one with your instruments to the point where it’s almost like second nature.

 It’s the coming together of these individual parts that made for an awe inspiring whole. Both bands have proven their longevity in the music industry, both having hits. It’s hard to pick a favorite of which one put on the better show…

Armored Saint recently released Carpe Noctum, and they have teamed up with PledgeMusic, www.pledgemusic.com/armoredsaint, to offer fans a new live album.  They have been around since the early 80’s, but some fans might remember the lead singer John Bush from the early 90’s when he subbed in as lead singer for Anthrax, being featured on the highly acclaimed album Sound of White Noise, which had radio hits like “Black Lodge” and “Hi Pro Glo.”

I would have been turning 13 in 1993 when that album was released, and I’m not going to lie, John Bush definitely made me more of an Anthrax fan.  His vocals were a little more melodic that some of the previous scratchy screams found in other metal bands at the time, so the lyrics could actually be understood, and not only that, the lyrics actually had meaning.  As a writer, I was impressed by the messages in the songs, such as “Potter’s Field,” which is a throwback to a field of unmarked graves: some say this is a conversation from a man who should have been aborted, and some say the guy grew up to be a killer, but other say the song is about Judah.

Black Lodge is another concept that can be found in the show Twin Peaks, so regardless of what you actually take from the lyrics, I don’t think anyone can argue that they were well thought out.  There is actually meaning behind the writing, and as a writer, that is something I have always highly prized, even before I became a professional.  Yes, John Bush’s lyrics and vocal range were influential in my life as a teenager, but I was too young to catch them during they heyday; I have seen Anthrax, but not with John Bush, and now I’ve seen John Bush, but not with Anthrax – better than nothing, so I can’t complain.

Armored Saint is Bush’s original band, which he founded with friends back in the day.  It is rumored that when Metallica first formed, James Hetfield was unsure of his ability to be a vocalist, and he had asked Bush if he was interested in singing for Metallica.  Supposedly, Bush turned it down to stay with the band that he had formed, Armored Saint, so there’s more than a few people out there that agree that Bush has more than a little talent in that department.

Bush is not the only person in the band with talent, as lyrics are not the sole reason that a band has staying power for a few decades.  The rest of the band can control a crowd through their music, and if you’ve never seen them, do yourself a favor and watch them live.  You will not be disappointed.

Queensryche headlined the show, a band that has had so many hits throughout the years that you nearly forget how many hits they’ve had until you see them live and realize you know every song they played.  They hits keep coming, too, as they continue to produce new music.  Frontman Todd La Torre talked about their video for “Hellfire,” which is about the Malaysian passenger flight crisis in 2014:

“'Hellfire' is a depiction primarily based on the tragic events surrounding the Malaysian airline flight MH17. Despite the storyline's foundation, the lyrical and visual narrative transcends into other pertinent, global subject matters. Civil unrest, guerrilla warfare, media propaganda, and social inequalities are just some examples of the multifaceted issues marbled throughout 'Hellfire'. A poignant illustration of an unfortunate yet timeless reality.”

Another recent video release was for “Bulletproof,” which La Torre also explained.  "Bulletproof is a journey through a relationship gone bad, however painful the relationship is you still find a way to persevere. We elected to present the song in a live setting as a sharp contrast to the videos we've done for the "Condition Human" album to help bring this chapter to a close and start the next journey."

Again, this is coming from a vocalist that actually has talent, a phenomenal range as a vocalist, but the songs actually have meaning and are not simple-minded chants, like songs that are all too often heard on the radio nowadays.  The lyrics are backed by a powerhouse of musicians that create an unearthly musical effect that can transport listeners to whatever time, place and ambiance the band so chooses.  More musicians should take note of these bands.

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