A little bit of heavy, a little bit of funky and a little bit of country with a metal flavor ...
Amorphis, “Three Words.” From the album The Beginning of Times (2011). I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything Amorphis has done since vocalist Tomi Joutsen joined in 2005. This song hits what the band does best. It’s beautiful, melancholic and dark, and Joutsen is one of those rare vocalists that impresses both with his clean vocals, which are primarily on display in this song, and his growls.
Pinnick Gales Pridgen, “The Greatest Love.” From the album Pinnick Gales Pridgen (2013). The teaming of King’s X’s Dug Pinnick, guitarist Eric Gales and drummer Thomas Pridgen was a stroke of genius, giving us a funky, soulful and bluesy hard rock album. This song is probably the biggest earworm on the album. That funky main riff gets stuck in your head and just absolutely will not go away.
Annihilator, “Criteria for a Black Widow.” From the album Criteria for a Black Widow (1999). The semi-reunion of the Alice in Hell lineup (bassist Wayne Darley declined due to health issues) produced what I consider a comeback record for the Canadian thrashers. The title track opens with a plodding bass line and is one of the slower numbers on the album. Lyrically, it’s perhaps not Waters’ best work nor is it Randy Rampage’s best vocal performance, but I really like it, especially when that big heavy riff on the chorus kicks in.
Dangerous Toys, “Pain Train.” From the album Pissed (1994). After being dropped from Columbia, as so many other 1980s hard rock bands were around this time, Dangerous Toys re-emerged on Austin-based DOS records. The result, Pissed, was a solid, hard rocking album, but didn’t have the production quality of the band’s previous records. “Pain Train” has a great Southern rock-influenced guitar riff and Jason McMaster screeching as only he could.
Bob Wayne, “Driven by Demons.” From the album Outlaw Carnie (2011). One of the many re-recordings on Wayne’s first album for labely Century Media, “Driven by Demons” is a tongue-in-cheek tale of a rough night on the town in which the subject allowed, as the title suggests, his demons to drive. And is that just a little nod to Pantera on the chorus? I’ve always thought so.