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Two underated bands I consider the best ever...

Discussion in 'Katagory V' started by Dustin, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin C-C-Cool Beans!!!

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    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]After listening to music for decades, and being raised on radio (no pun) thanks to my father being a radio DJ for half of my young life, I was exposed to a lot of different style at music.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]My list of favorite bands has changed and still changes overtime, in fact it has become damn near impossible to nail down one, two or even three bands I hail as the absolute best band ever. There is so many good acts, but also so many good bands with fragmented, hit-n-miss albums, it's seems impossible to say who is my favorite.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Well, at this time today, I feel there are two underrated bands that deserve the "greatest band" award, but for different reasons. Ironically, neither band is considered metal, but I feel both have a strong influence on metal in one aspect or another, depending on how you look at it, and how open minded most metal fans and/or musicians are.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Band #1 - TOTO [/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]I know some of the fans of our music, or the general metal fan will probably think I'm up in the night admitting to this, however, every musician must have roots, and I consider TOTO to be the Beatles of my generation. When you consider all the hit's they had/have and the level of integrity amongst the songwriters, and the constancy of their album releases and growth, they are one of the best bands of the past 20 years. It is sad they usually get written off as has-been pop drivel dinosaurs amongst most of today's generation and media. For shame. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]It all started with their greatest hits collection that I picked up in 92', which took me back to my youth. I forgot how cool they were after hearing them again. It's interesting, but sometimes when I would go back and hear bands or songs from my youth, I would say to myself, "I can't believe I actually liked this poppycock!". Not true with Toto, they are one of the few that stand the test of time. I started picking up album after album, one at a time as they were released from that point, and picking up the back catalauge. Every album is perfection, in both songwriting and production. No fillers, and the material sounds fresh with each release. For me, a band that has existed as long as them, deserves high accolades.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]If I ever did a solo album, (and could afford it) I would do anything it took to collaborate with David Paich, the man is a songsmith genius. I think I obviously gave away the direction I would take with my own material outside of Katagory V. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Band #2 - GENTLE GIANT[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]How these guys slipped under my radar up until a few years ago is beyond me. I think it's due in part to only knowing of more well known prog rock acts like Yes, Genesis and ELP. After exhausting my reserves on these bands, I needed a bit "more" from this genre, I started digging for other bands, and this was one that I stumbled across via a best-of compilation entitled "Edge of Twilight". At that time, their albums were nearly impossible to find, but what I heard from the compilation (which entailed almost every song from the first 4 albums)absolutely blew my mind.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]This band was head of it's time, pioneers in the genre. They were multi-instrumentalists, extreme showmen (check out the Xylophone solo on their live DVD!!!), and the songwriting is jaw dropping. Here's the best part, not only would Gentle Giant create songs with disjointed structures and mathematical orchestration's, (2 - 3 decades before the days of metal acts like Watchtower or Spiral Architect), the songs were also melodic and more memorable than their popular piers. They would play off the Celtic, jazz, folk and classic influences, incorporate a bit of the Cantbury sounds, rock, and then often times borderline heavy metal.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]There is far more variety and intensity in their music than most of their progressive rock counterparts combined. It is nearly a crime that they never saw the success that many of the other bands of the genre received in the early-mid 70's. Often times, I feel they were far ahead of the game, musical savants, pure genius. Their album "The Power and the Glory" would probably be the best example of all of this, absolute brilliance. Even though the band took a more commercial side step with their latter two albums, there is no faulting them, as even those album still retain a good slab of musical integrity. A shame the band broke up in the early 80's, but thankfully left a legacy of amazing albums that get played consistently by yours truly.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]A few other notes: The bass playing on the earlier material is over the top, and is upfront in the mix, very raunchy and raw. I love it! These guys were doing the face-melting a capella vocals far before Spock's Beard or Kevin Gilbert... Where do you think these guys go the idea? I cannot tell you how underrated Gentle Giant is not only in their genre, but just in general. I only wish I could orchestrate like these guys; they were, excuse me...still are, over the top.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Even thought a reunion/new album is highly unlikely (According to Derrick Shulman) we can only hope.... Just one more go at it would be nice though. Damn good think Derrick re-released and remastered a majority of there back catalauge for some of us younger and newer fans![/FONT]
     
  2. MattSnakepit

    MattSnakepit Member

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    Dustin: I have no problem admitting I am an AOR fan and Toto is one of my favorite groups of all time as well. I remember hearing "Hold The Line" as a child growing up, buying the self-titled album and being enthralled from the opening instrumental to the end of the album. They truly are first class performers and songwriters in every sense of the word. Sure most people know them mainly for the "IV" album with "Rosanna" and "Africa", but I've yet to hear them make a dull album to date. I wish they would regain some foothold in the US to tour here, but they are still revered in Europe and the Far East, so I guess I'll have to trek overseas if I ever want to experience a live Toto show outside of their DVD's...

    Matt
     
  3. Dustin

    Dustin C-C-Cool Beans!!!

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    Hey Matt! good to see you over here!

    I know you've mentioned it before to me, and with someone with your background it really shouldn't come as a surprise. But your also known to be one of the biggest metal magazine scribes in the biz, so some metal fans might find it to be a bit of a shock.

    It's interesting, but (especially with the self-titled album) there are many progressive rock and near-heavy metal elements, rolled into Latin, pop, jazz and who knows what else... it's really a huge mix of several genres! I guess that is one big draw for me, it's the extreme variety with their albums, and they are not afraid to flex their muscles concerning that. Bravo!
    Again, I agree with you, most people only know the major radio hits, and at best, maybe the less played chart toppers like "Pamela", "I'll Be Over You" and "can't Stop Loving You", or strolling through the grocery store and hearing "99", which is where I ALWAYS hear that song! Sadly, there is WAY more to Toto than those hit songs....those don't even scrape the surface of what that band can really do, and a crime that is all they are known for.

    I haven't seen them live yet. They played Salt Lake last year... I missed it due to my job and working in the studio; I was NOT happy about it. The lame part is, they played our State Fair (somehting that usually get's swiped by the band Kansas) and not a real venue.



     
  4. MattSnakepit

    MattSnakepit Member

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    Dustin: I would dream of Toto playing a local fair out this way in the summer time. Just for your sake I ended up digging out Hydra and listening to that album front to back a few times yesterday- everyone of course knows "99" but there are some killer progressive/jazz fusion rock songs on that album which expand upon their known radio friendly sound. They really honed their chops playing as studio musicians through the years...

    I even like "Kingdom Of Desire" which is probably their heaviest album through the years. My wife is one who is amazed that I still seek out all of their albums to try to complete my collection, but that's the way I am when I really love a band.

    I'm not afraid to admit I'm an AOR hound, I started listening to rock radio in the late 70's and getting into Foreigner, Boston, Toto, REO Speedwagon and all those other acts... before I discovered Def Leppard, AC/DC and Iron Maiden to take me into the wonderful metal world.

    Matt
     
  5. Dustin

    Dustin C-C-Cool Beans!!!

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    I totally agree!!!

    This album easly thier most heaviest, guitar-oriented album ever. However, it also has some of those really classic Toto ballads on it too, and even the progressive rock insturmental, "Jake to the Bone". Steve Lukather easily has one of the thickest and heaviest guitar tones on this. Kingdom of Desire was the first non-complation Toto album I bought, back when it came out around 93' Lots of memories with that album... lots of memories.

    For me, another one of thier heavier, and most overlooked albums is probably Isolation, with Fergie Fredrikson on vocals. Oddly enough, when I listen to this album, Fergie almost souds like he could be singing for a metal band, his range is incredable, and he has total precence and a commanding power in his style. Songs like "Angel Don't Cry" and the chorus in "Endless" are proof of this. The progressive rock/metal begning of "Mr. Freindly" Ruels! Also, Let me add that Mike Porcor's Bass playing on this one is top notch! Totaly in the pocket.
     

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