Our Lives In Music… Raised by Raptors

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TRAGEDY WILL FIND US – COUNTERPARTS (Ben Wells: Drums)  I had never heard of Counterparts before we played our second ever show opening for them at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells. I wasn’t really aware of the hardcore scene either. I have been listening to metal for years, but Counterparts have something different. When I first listened to this album I was an instant fan. I was thinking how everything I personally look out for in a song was there and was outstanding. The drums were technical, the guitar was heavy but with soft touches. It’s an overall great album! Their other two albums are also a great listen. You can hear how the band has progressed and moved forward with each release. This album has been a huge influence on how I write drums for the band. I’m hoping to see them live at the end of the year when they tour the UK with Polar and Napoleon. And I know they’re writing new music too so I obviously can’t wait for that either.

VOL. 3: THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES – SLIPKNOT (Ben) I remember that this was the first metal album I ever bought myself. I must’ve been 13 or 14, and I had a friend who I used to get the school bus with. He was really into metal like Lamb of God, Slayer, Metallica and of course, Slipknot. Then I think he played me Duality. Blew my mind! I remember getting a bus into town the next day, with my £10 note from mum, went straight into HMV and bought the album. I used to listen to it in headphones lying in bed, and I used to blast it out and scream the words. This was my wakeup call to metal when I heard the songs on the record. This album also made me want to start getting drum lessons. I’d played drums before but after hearing it I wanted to do the fills Joey Jordison did. I then finally saw them live at Hammersmith Apollo in 2008 after they released All Hope Is Gone with the friend that got me into them in the first place. I really can’t fault this band.

THE BLACK ALBUM – METALLICA (Alex Barnett: Guitar) Probably the first real musical connection I made along with Painkiller by Judas Priest and Destroyer by Kiss. Remember my Dad bringing down his vinyl and putting on Enter Sandman and it completely captivated me and shaped my musical tastes. Even if you hate Metallica there is at least one song on this album that a music fan will love whether that be Nothing Else Matters or Sad But True. As a child this really turned me into a metal fan and made me want to be a musician.

POWERSLAVE – IRON MAIDEN (Alex) When I was around 13 years old I started to properly listen to Iron Maiden after seeing the music video to Run to the Hills. My dad had Powerslave on iTunes and from Aces High I was hooked. It really showed me what a musically outreaching band they were and how talented they were, the riffs and harmonies really inspired me greatly and to this day they are still my all-time favourite band. No metal vocalist can match Bruce Dickinson, the man is a God. Rime of the Ancient Mariner is also in my opinion one of the greatest songs ever written and it actually helped me in a GCSE English exam once so if that isn’t inspirational then I don’t know what is.

SACRAMENT – LAMB OF GOD (Alex) Lamb of God was the band that really got me into more modern forms of metal. I was recommended by them from a friend and was told to listen to Redneck. It blew my fucking mind. Although not quite as technical as some bands for 15-year-old me it was amazing. I listened to Sacrament and then went straight to HMV to buy it and ever since it’s put so much into my playing. The complex breakdowns and singular note riffs made me persistent to play tighter riffs and right songs that are catchy as hell while also brutal. I mean if you can listen to ‘Walk with Me in Hell’ and not want to head bang there is something wrong with you.

VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER – PANTERA (Craig Hills: Guitar) This album, along with most of Pantera’s music, helped shape my playing style and technique. Dimebag Darrell’s ability to write such brutal riffs while still maintaining alot of groove really inspired me. I love the perfect balance he had between heavy and groove, it doesn’t just make you want to mosh you can really feel it you know! And of course he was an incredible lead player as well, which is what he is normally remembered for. Such a shame he was taken away from us so prematurely! He is my biggest idol. The rest of the band, Rex, Vinnie and Phil of course played their part in complimenting his playing. But obviously as a guitarist I can relate a lot more to dime.

WAKING THE FALLEN – AVENGED SEVENFOLD (Craig) This album, although not my first metal album, was the album that got me into scream vocals. I originally just listened to it for the guitar melodies etc. and merely tolerated the vocals. But it didn’t take me long for them to grow on me and that of course lead me down the road of playing the kind of music Raptors play. Synyster Gates was one of the first guitarists that truly wowed me when I first started to play, his lead playing is ridiculous. Made me want to sweep pick up and down the fret board like him! But still maintain a lot of feel. And that’s the key thing I love about this band is their feel, their sense of melody. How the mixture of vocal and guitar harmonies are constructed in such a dynamic way. They inspired my sense of melody with my lead and rhythm playing, when it comes to writing a chorus for example.

 ÆNIMA – TOOL (Joe Perry: Vocals) This album really changed the way I listened to music permanently. It was really the first progressive band I seriously listened to with such a weird and powerful aesthetic, and actually enjoyed their music. I started listening around 2007 but really got into them around 2010 despite their music being so old, it just shows how timeless they really are as a band. To me, no other band sounded like them, they produced these feelings and emotions in me which I’d never felt before and that I couldn’t get by listening to any other band, after that I was much more open minded when I listened to odd and progressive bands, they proved to me how you can really remain catchy and entertaining while having 9 minute songs and being “out there”. Their lead singer Maynard really showed me how a vocalist can have such a big impact on a band’s overall sound, the tone of his voice is unforgettable and you can tell it’s him from a mile off. His lyrics were always so creative as well. It goes to show the less you care about writing about what you think people want to hear, the more people will remember the lyrics and enjoy them, especially on the track Ænema. Emotive, descriptive and sometimes humorous lyrics are so effective, so because of that Maynard remains such a big influence for me and has inspired since I was in like year 6. Songs to note on this album I think are. Ænema, H., 46 & 2 and Hooker with a Penis. It shows you how much versatility you can gain with just a guitar, bass and drums with the right effects and techniques.

PERIPHERY II: THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL – PERIPHERY (Joe) This album legitimately changed my life, I’ve listened to it countless times from start to finish and I still struggle to get bored of it. It displayed to me huge possibilities that can be achieved on a guitar. The melodies that the virtuosic guitarists can play are so out of this world and in my opinion very ahead of their time, especially on this album. I can’t think of a band that sounds like them in all honesty, they have so many influences it creates this concoction of creativity that’s so awesome. They can also be really catchy on songs like scarlet, but really heavy with tunes filled with poly rhythms like Ragnarok and Make Total Destroy. I also love the lyrical themes on this album. Although pretty metaphoric and cryptic, they’re really interesting and that’s why I put this album past their first and their latest. It was such a step up from the first it’s incredible. Also I love the humour on this album the song names are golden. Songs to note are: Froggin’ Bullfish, Face Palm Mute, Make Total Destroy, Luck as a Constant and Masamune – quality album.

SINGULARITY – NORTHLANE (Joe) I’d happily say again this album changed my life and breathed into me this whole new love for modern metalcore. This album was so different and so well written even people I knew who weren’t really into metal absolutely adored songs like Quantum Flux and Dream Awake. The overall ambience and production quality of this album is outstanding. In my opinion it gives metal this whole new colourful, bright sunny vibe but with a hefty amount of shadows and attitude to accompany it. I was listening to this album a lot in my later years of secondary school and it really made the summer of 2014 such a special one for me. Also the guitar tone on this album is fucking killer just listen to Masquerade! The lyrics written by the lead vocalist Adrian are so moving and poetic, it opened up a whole new world for me when it came to writing for heavy music. It showed me that you can get away with writing about pretty much anything even if they’re really personal or abstract topics, like DMT or the beauty of life and the universe, using vocabulary to your advantage that you wouldn’t usually expect to hear in a metal track, like excessive uses of the word “love” and just generally being pretty positive about things. But when executed well, by god does it work to the band’s advantage. And that’s what I think separates this album from their earlier and later work. A lot will say their album prior was the superior one but I disagree. This is the one that I whole – heartedly defined their spacey, post – metal, ambient, heavy sound. It’s Amazing and remains one of my favourites to this day.

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