Posts Tagged ‘Wasted Years’

2003-year-of-the-spiderThere was once a time in the world when Nu Metal was a genre that was ruling the airways and video play on MTV with bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit competing with the likes of The Backstreet Boys and Nsync. Some say that it was a glorious time to be alive while others are very troubled by it’s mere existence. For me, it was a time when I was discovering my love of the metal sub-genres all over again after a brief falling out period. At one point, Flip/Interscope thought it wise to hire Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit as an A&R man and his signings were hitting it big in the industry like Puddle Of Mudd, Staind, and today’s band of focus in Jacksonville, Florida rock act Cold. Cold was made up of Scooter Ward (Vocals), Terry Balsamo (Guitar), Kelly Hayes (Guitar), Jeremy Marshall (Bass), Howard Benson (Piano/Keys/Produced The Album), and Sam McCandless (Drums). Together in 2003, the band would release their most commercially successful album of their careers in Year Of The Spider which peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 charts even featuring a top Hot 100 track as well.

cold1.Remedy– A real driving riff starts off the song before this amazing bass riff takes over the verses before the band comes back in. The song seems to be about someone with issues who pushes people away and know this, but doesn’t anyone to really change it. 5/5

2. Suffocate– A clean channel guitar drives the song for the most part before the chorus. The song is about a relationship that is just toxic. The song features former Dollshead/Black Eyed Peas singer Sierra Swan and Sam McCandless’s drum laying is awesome on this track. 5/5

3. Cure My Tragedy (A Letter to God)– a touching track that Scooter wrote about the struggles his sister went through with her battle against Cancer while the band was recording the album. 4.5/5

4. Stupid Girl– This was the band’s lead single and the only single they ever wrote that cracked the Billboard top 100 that was co-written by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo. 5/5

5. Don’t Belong– A bass driven track until the band comes in for the chorus about feeling like you just don’t belong or you can’t do anything right. 4/5

6. Wasted Years– a cool track with violins in the beginning and some acoustic guitars that compliment them. It is said that Scooter described the track as, “this song is basically about how I let little things take away the things I needed in life.” 4/5

7. Whatever You Became– A slowered tempo track whose melody/structure reminds me a little of first track Remedy. The track seems to be about how people have changed because of his fame, but he hasn’t changed. 4/5

Cold-Year_Of_The_Spider-CD8. Sad Happy– a very eerie track about a someone who is stuck in a very abusive relationship and cant get out of it. A sad reality that is too true in the world we live in. 4.5/5

9. Rain Song– A cool track about someone close to Scooter who may have harmed herself in some way and when it rains it reminds him of her. 4/5

10. The Day Seattle Died– A great track on the album that is the band’s tribute to Seattle’s music icons Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. 5/5

11. Change The World– The track starts with a drum cadence before the band comes racing in with a killer riff on a track that is basically about relationships. 4/5

12. Black Sunday– A track that starts with some acoustic and clean guitars in a track that is about loss of someone close to Scooter, a reoccurring theme in a lot of songs. 4/5

13. Kill The Music Industry– The bands response to the music industry who were constantly telling them that they were going to fail. It also features the track Gone Away at around the 2:55 mark or so. 4/5

My Final Thoughts: Despite the success of the album, the band would soon go through it’s own troubled times as the label refused to promote any more singles from the album and Terry Balsamo would exit the band in 2004 to replace Ben Moody in Evanescence. I am going to give the album 4.4 stars out of five for a final grade because it was a kick ass album.

File:Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time.jpg

I’m not sure exactly how many people were a big fan of this album and what the initial reception was because I was only four years old when the album was originally released. As a child with significantly older brothers that were into metal, I could name the beast on the album cover because we shared the same first name, but I couldn’t name any of the members at the time. I remember it was the summer of 1990 and I went with my mother to a flea, hoping that she was going to buy me something cool. Instead of wanting a toy at the age of 8, I asked her to buy me three cassettes. She bought me Kiss’s Asylum, Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood, and Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time. I was a huge nut for Motley Crue (believe it or not) when I was a little kid, but there was something about this album that just amazed me when I placed it in the tape deck.

The Full Album Cover
Courtesy of Weareprivate.net

The album was a little different for Iron Maiden in that it was the first time they had used synthesizers and it was the first album with Bruce Dickinson that he didn’t have one song credit to his name. Bruce, I guess had written some acoustic versions of songs that ended up getting rejected by the rest of the band during the writing process. The album is very notable for having full songs that were written by Adrian Smith, who wrote the albums two singles. It amazing too because the two songs he wrote were my two favorite songs on the album (Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land)It was also the first album not to be released a year after the last one as Harris had stated that he wanted to band to be able to have time to do the record right. Sadly, Iron Maiden pretty much abandoned the album when it came to live shows only playing Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait.

Back Cover
Courtesy of Flickr

The artwork for the album is what really got me interested in buying the album because Eddie was made into a cyborg like hunter. The regular artist of the band Derek Riggs in my opinion made an album cover that could hold a diehard fan’s attention for a longtime as you found all of the goodies that were laid on the cover. I’ll give you a couple of examples. A banner with the words, “This is a very boring painting” is displayed backwards within the lobby of the Bradbury Towers Hotels International. This can be seen to the left of Eddie’s right leg. The last example is An Eye of Horus neon sign at the top of a building, is a reference to the song, “Powerslave”. Those are just two examples of many that can be seen and as an eight year old kid, it sure as heck kept me busy for a long time. One thing that I will say before I get into the songs themselves is that I felt that a lot of Iron Maiden songs were like history lessons and this album had an example of that right in it.

File:Stranger in a Strange Land.jpgAs I had stated before, my two favorite songs on the album were the Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land. Wasted Years starts out with Adrian’s trademark intro riff that displays what a masterful guitar player he is before you hear it kick in to the song about how the last tour had brought so much baggage, but in the end it was a decision the band doesn’t regret. It’s a song that no matter how many times I hear it, I still enjoy playing air guitar to. Stranger In A Strange Land contains some real epic riffs from Smith and even though it doesn’t feature Harris’s galloping bass lines, his playing in the intro of the song is still amazing and it gets you in the mood to head bang. The track is about a man that gets frozen in ice only to be discovered 100 years later by other explorer’s. Caught Somewhere In Time is another great track that starts the album which features some epic riffing and some galloping bass. Sea Of Madness featured more epic and funky bass playing from Harris with an amazing pre-chorus and some blazing  power chords. Alexander The Great starts with the King telling his son to conquer more land for a bigger kingdom before it breaks into the very slow guitar riff with Nicko playing a cadence military style drumming.  Then the epic guitar playing comes in before the madness begins. It’s a great history lesson from the professors.

Deja-Vu starts the same way as Alexander The Great did without the intro and military drumming. It’s a song that is about exactly what the title suggests, feel like you’ve been here before? Heaven Can Wait  is another epic song about realizing that you’re slowly dying, but you fight death because you refuse to die and their’s a part after the chorus that just makes you want to chant along with Maiden. The only song I was never crazy for was The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner because I never felt a song about track was cool enough for Metal. Overall, I give this album a final grade of 4 stars out of 5 as this was the last album from Maiden that I enjoyed from beginning to end until A Matter Of Life And Death.