“Halestorm” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

I have never wanted to be the guy that would yell at other people’s taste in music and say that their choice was a bad one or ‘that isn’t music’.  As much as I reach into the past in my musical tastes, I am always looking to the future and the new as well.

I discovered the band Halestorm early in 2018 and they became the band I would listen to a lot for well into the Fall.  Given all that was going on at the time, they kind of also set a thematic tone in some ways. Some of there songs are now associated with some memories both good and bad.  But that is the way music is.

Halestorm reminds me of a time of Rock and Roll that is hard, edgy and definitely rebellious. A female lead is always something interesting and the guitar work is first rate. Mostly though the topics of songs hit you right where you live.  I like them still and I find that Halestorm’s songs always have part of the message that hits me hard as their music. Lizzy Hale has that voice and the passion when she sings that does that.

Of course, all the songs are performed by Halestorm today.

Personal Significance:

Amen:

This is really for me a loss of faith song, but more than that it is a ‘you need to mind your own business song’.  The world is hard enough without busybodies and gossips. One of my anthems last year when shit was going down and it still is one of those songs that gets me in that same department of – “My Business, Fuck Off”

All I Want to Do (Is Make Love to You):

This is a cover but this is definitely one of those covers that is better than the original. The story of a one night stand that was deep and meaningful is one of the best ‘making love’ songs ever.  It is also one of those songs that never happened to me but sometimes you wish it had.

Familiar Taste of Poison

This one is a harder one because this is m break-up song with Miss Salty.  My last words to her if you will. It was definitely one of those relationships where I didn’t want to be saved or sober.  I didn’t want to wake up and then bam; it was over.  The hard cold reality of falling over dead.  I should have paid attention to the sweat taste of poison the whole time. Not her, not me – the relationship itself.

Ms. Hyde

Featured this one a couple weeks ago in Hard Rockin’ Girls. I think there is a certain part of me that likes the woman who is the perfect angel in public, but behind closed doors, she is a freak of sexual energy. That is what this song is about, the duality of the woman singing is just that: public – sweetheart, private – sexual freak. That’s when she is the monster in your bed.

Apocalyptic

As Breakup songs go, this one is kind of interesting. She is so done with the relationship but there is one thing she thinks the guy is good at – fucking.  She gives him one more night to make her miss it later.  But that this the apocalyptic part of it all – going out with a fire of passion and then it is over for good.

Playlist:

Amen:

All I Want to Do (Is Make Love to You):

Familiar Taste of Poison:

Ms. Hyde:

Apocalyptic:

Bonus Tracks:

“I Get Off”

So let me get this straight  You know a guy is watching you at night, but you like it?  You get off on it. Ok,

Here’s To Us

One final toast.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Hard Rockin’ Girls” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

I need a female voice that sings in my life.  I am fairly much a sucker for it.  I find myself drawn to women who can sing and it has always been an interest of mine to listen to bands and solo artists that are female. I have lost track of how many times and female voice singing has calmed me down. I have also lost track of how many times a female voice has caught my attention when singing and I have to go see who it is.

Now if you add that said female is involved in hard rock or metal then there is definitely a bonus attraction.  Girls that Rock are a rare breed as it is unusual or at least it was in rock and roll’s past to see it.  Not so much today but the selection has gotten better as women have basically said this is one stage where we can play just as well as the boys may be better and they are right.

Below are some of the girl front women and actual female groups that have made my playlist from time to time. Most of them are definitely a representative of the rebellious female that screams that rebellion, lust, anger, love or rage into a microphone.  I think emotion is probably a stronger thing in women and it comes out in their music.  There is, of course, the attraction fo being female and showing us that you can rock in a feminine way that still rocks.

Personal Significance:

I Hate Myself for Loving You – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:

One of my teenage crushes was Joan Jett.  Sorry I was never into the prom queen type.

Rock Me Like The Devil – Crucified Barbara: 

Women singing a song about how they like good sex and want the man in their life to fuck them like a pro. Too bad this band was short-lived.  They definitely had some super good rifts and attitude.

Mz. Hyde – Halestorm:

Halestorm is one of my newer discoveries and I love the band as a whole.  This song is catchy in that it is well done, has a great rift and seeing we are talking about female rockers is one of Halstorms that actually has the title ‘Mz.’ in it.  The fact that women have multiple personalities is no surprise to any man, other than in this case she has so few.

Zombie – Pretty Reckless:

This song about being dead to others who have wronged them is really good and I find myself humming it to myself when I think of certain people at times.  Pretty Reckless has some good tunes other than this, but this one I feel in my soul at times.

Edge of a Broken Heart – Vixen: 

Vixen was a girl hair metal band.  I know back in the 80s the achieved a level of popularity among teenage boys that was legendary and I am sure it was for the quality of music they produced.  Yeah, right.  They were good but I think it was that 80s look that we liked seeing on four women rocking it out.  I mentioned before that prom queen types don’t appeal to me before right?

Headbanger – Babymetal:

‘Babymetal is going to ruin metal’ is what people thought when they first came out. My response is that ‘if metal can’t handle three Japanese girls, then metal music is in sorry shape’. I do have to give a shout out to the musicians that are behind the group, they are skilled. The whole thing with this group for me is that they brought pageantry and spectacle – imagery – back to metal.  They have a lot of good songs. Metal music and cute Japanese girls, I wonder what the attraction to people was? Headbanger is probably a solid song of theirs but you should check out Karate too.

Play List:

I Hate Myself for Loving You – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:

Rock Me Like The Devil – Crucified Barbara: 

Mz. Hyde – Halestorm:

Zombie – Pretty Reckless:

Edge of Broken Heart – Vixen:

Headbanger – Babymetal:

Bonus Track: Karate – Babymetal:

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Covers Better Than the Orignal” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day 

Musical Journal:

Cover Songs are something  I like to hear from time to time.  It is what causes me to remember that music is something that can connect with other people other than the original artist that did the song.  It also reveals from time to time that the emotions that the cover performer has are more closely connected to the song than the original artist.  When that happens the cover is often ‘better’ than the original. It is better in the sense that it speaks louder than original in terms of the strength and power of the message.

I have to say that a few covers have meant a little more to me than the original. So today’s List is cover songs that I find better than the original for the reasons outlined above.

Personal Significance:

Hurt – Johnny Cash: (Original – Nine Inch Nails)

You know a cover is better than the original when the original artist basically says: “That song is a Johnny Cash song now.”  For me, the whole idea of a man who has lost all that is really important to him but still has the other stuff, ‘my empire of dirt”, is a powerful metaphor.  One that I try very hard to remember.

Am I Evil – Metallica: (Original – Diamond Head)

I doubt very much people look up this song to hear Diamond Head play it.  It’s the live performances Metallica did when they were in their prime that people like to listen to.  you might even refer to the live performance of the big four of metal as well, but it is Metallica’s performance of this cover that makes my day these days.

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed: (Original – Simon and Garfunkel)

Now, I am not diminishing Simon an Garfunkel’s performance at all.  It is very haunting and wonderful and is one of those songs that you can’t get it out of your head.  What Disturbed does to this song si give it grit and power on top of all that.  They don’t take away from its wonderful quality, they add to it.

I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (Original – The Arrows)

Yeah, nobody has ever heard of the Arrows.  Joan Jett takes this to a new height of performance.  You believe her when she says it and it was a 1980s anthem.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston (Original – Dolly Parton)

Dolly’s performance is memorable.  Whineys is unforgettable and it is her one of a kind voice that does it.  Yes, I know this song made the list last week, but that is just how good this cover is compared to the original.

Playlist:

The playlist this week is a little different in that each song will first have the original and then the cover.  You can listen for yourself.

Hurt:

Original – Nine Inch Nails:

Cover – Johnny Cash:

Am I Evil:

Original – Diamond Head:

Cover – Metallica:

The Sound of Silence:

Original – Simon and Garfunkel:

Cover – Disturbed: 

I Love Rock and Roll:

Original – The Arrows:

Cover – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:

I Will Always Love You:

Original – Dolly Parton:

Cover – Whitney Houston:

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Iron Maiden – Epic Metal Poets” – The Skald’s Lyre

 

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

This week has been an interesting trip down memory lane as regards to music.  I have been revisiting an old but new friend – Iron Maiden.  In my teenage years, I found my journey through the metal bands of the day difficult for a lot of reasons but most notably was there were so many of them and secondly my religion was openly hostile to anything that looked evil.  Iron Maiden was just one of many great metal bands in the 1980s and I have to say must have listened to them a lot for a couple months back in the day but had to walk away.  I guess it is hard to tell greatness when things are new and back then metal music was still very new. But mostly there was no way a good ‘Christian boy’ was going to slap Iron Maiden posters on his wall with their mascot Eddie grinning back at you on them.

See the source image

I reflect a lot on this, as my musical choices these days have a large dose of “I don’t give a fuck what people think about what I am listening to”. One of the things I have toyed with is getting copies of some of those old posters and lining the wall with them in my new ‘man cave’ someday when I get one.

As for Iron Maiden themselves, I think they are one of those bands that reflects a musical genius that still resonates today.  The music itself is multilayered and skilfully done.  While not speed metal per se, they do have rifts that keep going and a fantastic drummer who does not stop. It is relentless metal you might say. Their lead vocalist is legendary.

See the source image

But it is not just the music but two other factors that make Iron Maiden a great metal band.  Firstly, their lyrics are top notch with intricate poetry.  I challenge anyone to pull up just the lyrics and read them and not think about how deep they can be.  Many of their songs are based on literature both books and poems so there is that connection whether it is Edgar Allen Poe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, or Frank Herbert.

The poetic part I can appreciate much more now that I understand it better. I suppose I have to thank in part Miss Salty for that, ironically.  The fact that I now can go back an look at lyrics as poetry and see them a little deeper I have her to thank for that. At the same time, some of the pain associated with that relationship is why I listen to more music these days so…

Secondly, they understand that metal is a spectacle. They are one of those great concert bands that sounds better ‘live’ and puts on a real show for their fans.  Deep poetry, well done musical rifts and heavy metal theatre in one great package.

See the source image

Personal Significance:

Run to the Hills – This is probably for me the most known song of Iron Maiden.  The song is a commentary on the whole western settlers vs. Native Americans conflict.  Being a British band their criticism is scathing in some regards and to be honest, they have a good point.

See the source image

The Trooper – Based on Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Charge of the Light Brigade, This song is a high energy, which is also a social commentary on the soldier’s thoughts during battle and war in general.

Hollowed Be Thy Name –  The Lord’s Prayer line coupled with the story of a man condemned to execution.  Classic deep lyrics actually make this my favorite Iron Maiden song. The song is not so much about capital punishment as it is about death and facing it bravely, no matter what is on the other side of it.  Which the song basically asserts the truth of – no one knows.

See the source image

The Number of the Beast – Another Biblically based song.  One of the reasons I couldn’t have this band’s posters on my wall as a teenager. I am fairly sure it wouldn’t have been appreciated.

Murders in the Rue Morgue – Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” it is another classic.

See the source image

I would like to say more but Iron Maiden speak as a band speak for themselves every song they write. For the playlist, I have tried to find live performances as much as possible because that is the best way to listen to them.  IMHO.

Playlist: 

Run to the Hills – Live 1985: (with band introduction)

The Trooper – Live 2013:

Hallowed Be Thy Name – Live 1982

The Number of the Beast – Live 2008

Murders in the Rue Morgue – Live 2005 – with introduction

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Weightlifting with Disturbed” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

My weightlifting routine is filled with music.  It is the only complaint I have with my new gym is that their music is less than motivational and inspiring. Maybe it is to those who like soft Christian rock but being a deist/pagan in spiritual orientation and needing something a little more forceful to get me going, I find the need for my own playlist when I hit the weights and true to form it is metal.  Heavy Metal.

This last year I discovered Disturbed.  Now they have been around for a lot longer than my discovery of them and I have heard their songs several times without knowing who they were.  This last year I have listened to them a lot.  Mostly in the context of weightlifting as I find their music intense and motivational.  The subject matter of some of the songs resonates with some emotional states I have had over the years.  I find that their music was one of the go-to choices as I struggled through last year’s crisis and as we have now come full Circle that same time of year, I find myself listening to them again and it is still therapeutic.

Personal Significance:

The Skald’s Lyre is simple in its execution.  Journaling the significance of the band in my life overall and then talking about some of the songs as far as their personal significance to me.  Then I will give a playlist.  Do with that as you will.  Mostly I am writing this to myself.

  1. Down with the Sickness is probably the Disturbed signature song and represents their music overall the best.  For me, it is the constant call to not be caught up in the sickness of society. It is also a great way to start a weightlifting session.
  2. Stricken is a song that resonates with my hurts and pains about a relationship of a year ago. It reflects the part of my heart that can’t seem to let go of this relationship and I hear it and remind myself of that.  I have found a lot of acceptance of part of who I am in this song.  A guy who falls in love and never completely gets over it regardless of how long it has been.
  3. Ten Thousand Fists – Great rebellion song.  A Good Jam too. For me, it is a solidarity song for all of us that have left the Christian faith.
  4. Voices – I have actually learned to sing the fast-paced lyrics to this song. Combined with the message of the video, I like how even though the voices talk to the guy, he doesn’t act on them ultimately.  He just goes to a concert and burns the rage off having a good time.  A simple lesson I have had to remind myself of often this last year.
  5. Prayer – Speaking of leaving the faith, this was a theme song for me this last year.  “This is how we pray.  Living just isn’t hard enough. Burn me alive inside. Living Just isn’t hard enough.  Take everything away”  How you say that last line makes all the difference.  Is it a statement of information or a request?
  6. Sound of Silence – I love Simon and Garfunkel’s version don’t get me wrong but this one is straight up haunting.  The vocals are off the chart. The message is something I am familiar with and it will probably start to creep back into my playlist for walking after the second of August as it represents that time very well.

When music gets into my life it tends to crop back up at times of memory. Certain times of year reflect certain music. Mostly they are connected to things that have happened to me and the music I was playing at the time. These next few months are going to suck for this, but I feel Disturbed will help me pull through The Grey of it.  They were after all pulling me through it at the time.  It also doesn’t hurt that they are high energy and get me through a weightlifting session faster than anything.

Playlist: 

Down with the Sickness

Stricken

Ten Thousand Fists

Voices

Prayer

Sound of Silence (cover)

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Me and Mozart to Metallica” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

I am currently planning on doing a lot of research on Norse Mythology in order to do a few Crossing Bifrost posts with a little more knowledge behind them.  I am instead going to implement one of the changes I proposed which is to create a series of posts on music.  This will be subtitled The Skald’s Lyre and will most likely appear with Crossing Bifrost on Saturn’s Day.  I miss discussing music and I want to get back to it.  The one effect this will have on other posts is that the Pagan pulpit will probably only have one song now on Sun’s Day.

I find music to be far more spiritual the older I get.  It has always had an emotional effect on me and I can’t go for too long before I find myself looking for something to listen to either motivate men or calm me.  I have also discovered over the years I am far less devoted to a particular kind of music or a particular era.  I am most interested in musical discovery; that is the discovery of new music from any era that I can enjoy and from which I can draw inspiration.

My musical journey like most people started with my parent’s music.  They both grew up in the 40s and 50s so that music was a regular part of what was on the radio.  My mom was a band member in high school and so she focused on classical music; so I cut my teeth in understanding music as a child on Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms.  I liked it, particularly Mozart. I don’t if she realized it but she sowed the seeds for my metal baptism later.

Dad was more of an eclectic guy when it came to music. He liked the 50s do whop groups, country (and by country I mean old country, not this new stuff that is more pop with a country twang) and he was the one that introduced me to Johnny Cash.  Both my parents were young adults during the 60s, and so that music was also around too. My dad must have had a thing for Janis Joplin and Iron Butterfly as he had their albums.

Of course, we went to church and the old hymns and gospel were there as well as some new fangled worship music later.  My problem was as I went through school, I never settled on anything.  Until my first day in high school.

I entered the doors as a freshman full of fear.  I have been introverted all my life. I was tall and skinny.  I had started playing football, but I had no real athletic talent. I was nerdy and kept to myself except for the few friends I would keep close because of church or school.  That first day though I walked in and half the school as wearing Def Leppard “Pyromania” t-shirts.  I bought the album a few days later and listened to it. My parents had gotten cable so I hit MTV and saw all kinds of what would be later known as Hair Metal.  It was not this that drew me, but I would close my eyes and hear Mozart, just played very fast and with electric power.

After that metal was a part of my life. We played it in the locker room before a football game so I began to understand the emotional power of music.  ‘Back in Black’ by ACDC became the unofficial school song as ‘red and black were our school colors and our home uniform for football was black, head to toe. Hard Rock, Metal and 80s Pop were aa part of the equation for me as a teen of the 1980s. When I hit young adulthood a band called Metallica would dominate my music in the 1990s.

Now you need to understand I lived a double life with music from my Freshman year in high school on.  I had an extensive Chrisitan Rock and Metal collection; which while it irritated the fundamentalist pastors I had at the time, they wouldn’t completely tell me to knock it off because of the lyrics.  That was my public music.  When I was away from the church and in my own room, there was a collection of devil worshiping secular music and Playboys under my bed.  It was this music, and perhaps even the Playboys, that brought out in me the side that was true to a part of me that church told me to repress.  I just never could shut that off and so I became a headbanger. A Christian one in public and a secular one in private.

I have always listened to what I want since becoming an adult. I like and prefer things with strings and multiple part harmony.  I like a lot of things my parents liked and since then I have a lot of very eclectic tastes.  I have never really gotten to be the old man shouting at the kids around – “That isn’t real music.”  Even as a metalhead, my only gripe is other metalheads who start decrying different types of metal as not real metal. What a bunch of noize.  If I like it, I like it and these last ten years I don’t think there is a genre of music that I don’t have at least one song in that I can enjoy.  That said. if I want inner peace, some form of metal, alternative music or a sappy love song hits my playlist.

The Skald’s Lyre will have different kinds of posts.  Sometimes I will focus on an artist or band. Sometimes I will focus on a particular song or group of songs. Sometimes I might focus on a particular genre of music.  I might follow a theme in music or even reactions to some songs that I have loved for years but some other person is hearing for the first time. The subject will be basically music I am listening to at the time and what I feel and think about it.

To close this week though I will leave you with a historically significant song.  This song was the first song to ever be played on MTV: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles:

Perhaps it will be as equally prophetic for me.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!