Inside The Ears of Bill

Billy says:

What I've been listening to-

Megadeth - Dystopia

The band released their 15th album this past January and is the first since 2004 and 2007 to not feature their longtime drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick. Interestingly enough, the two announced their departure last November and formed a new band altogether. Nonetheless, the album is a fiercely aggressive album with tons of riffs and some might say that it's a return to form by the band after their last album Super Collider. Boosted by killer tracks like Lying in State, The Threat Is Real and Fatal Illusion, the album hosts some atypical tracks you wouldn't normally associate with the band. Tracks like the sole instrumental track Conquer or Die! features plenty of acoustic guitars from new guitarist Kiko Loureiro then rips into a full-blown metal barrage. A very solid album by the band overall.

Dream Theater - The Astonishing

There's a lot of music to listen to with Dream Theater's 13th album The Astonishing; it may even be too much for one single play through all at once. With over a little two hours of material, the band's second concept album features a wide range of styles matched by masterful song writing by guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess with strong lead vocals by James LaBrie. Considering the storyline and the need for many different characters, LaBrie plowed through and delivered a great performance. Songs like Three Days, The Path That Divides and Moment of Betrayal are some of the standout tracks. It will definitely take a few more listens by me to get the full experience.

Trivium - Silence in the Snow

I'm not that big of a fan for screaming/harsh vocals so to hear that Trivium finally did an album without any harsh vocals certainly stirred my interest. Released in October 2015, this album is the band's seventh release. It seems like the band is trying to move away from their traditional niche sound and more towards a deliberate, "popular" sound that was usually devoid from their previous releases. The title track, Blind Leading the Blind and The Ghost That's Haunting You still have crunching riffs but at a more relaxed pace.

Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

After five years from their last album, Iron Maiden released their 16th and first double album back in September. The original release date and subsequent tour were delayed so singer Bruce Dickinson can recuperate from a small battle of cancer but the band is currently on tour supporting the album. Not straying from the band's signature post-2000 sound, the album has plenty of songs that herald as "classic" Maiden including Speed of Light, the title track and The Red and the Black. The album's last track runs at slightly over 18 minutes and can be referred to as a cinematic powerhouse. Another standout track is Tears of a Clown, whom bassist Steve Harris wrote it about Robin Williams' depression and suicide in 2014. The album is great by Maiden's standards and I think it's amazing that Dickinson did his vocals before receiving his cancer treatment.

A Song a Day Will Keep the Therapist Away

Billy says:

For the past seven months, I've been steadily improving my life, both mind and body. A large part of the change was thanks due to the band and their overwhelming and excellent support. In addition, I use music for support; these are three songs which have proved to be very encouraging and supportive.

Dream Theater - The Answer Lies Within

My first pick is taken from Dream Theater's eighth album Octavarium. The song's title "The Answer Lies Within" is pretty self-explanatory on what the song is about: wanting to change yourself begins within and if your mindset isn't ready for change, then you're not ready. Written by founder/guitarist/chief lyricist John Petrucci, the second verse is very powerful and clearly spells out the song's message.

"Life is short, so learn from your mistakes

And stand behind, the choices that you made

Face each day with both eyes open wide

And try to give, don't keep it all inside"

The song itself is very melodic and written as a potential single. Flourished by lush orchestra, the song rings true as my main pick because the message is 100% what I strived to change myself. The chorus reflects this as well:

"Don't let the day go by

Don't let it end

Don't let a day go by, in doubt,

The answer lies within"

Bad Religion - Changing Tide

As the last song on Bad Religion's 16th album True North, "Changing Tide" is a great send-off track and grand finale. Written by lead vocalist and founder Greg Graffin, the song talks about how someone can get stuck in the drudgery of everyday life and eventually commits to a lifetime of the same stagnant routine. Instead, you should recognize one's need to change. It's one idea to just wait for that day to come when change occurs and it's another thing to act and actually change oneself.

"Every day's the same routine of endless chores and boring details.

And you know you're waiting for the perfect condition for your ship to set sail.

But of course, the climate's always changing.

Clinging to the past has got you straining.

Comes the recognition now you're on a mission that is born to fail,

Leave it!"

Graffin's lyrics throughout the band's catalog usually reflect social issues and the idea for positive change in your life. In this song, "Clinging to the past has got you straining," is a strong statement on how one can just always yearn to what has happened in the past without committing to a new endeavor.

Iron Maiden - Wildest Dreams

Featured as the lead single from Iron Maiden's 13th album, "Wildest Dreams" describes the idea of not letting your past troubles drag you down and to pursue your goals (or so called) dreams. Written by founder/bassist Steve Harris and longtime guitarist Adrian Smith, the opening lyrics, "I'm gonna to organize some changes in my life, I'm gonna exorcise the demons of my past, I'm gonna take the car and hit the open road, I'm feeling ready to just open up and go" talks about how one should always strive to do what they want and not be hindered throughout their lives.

The upbeat tempo, distinct guitar solo by Smith and catchy chorus reflects the positive message and attitude exhibited by the lyrics. Guitarist Smith rejoined Iron Maiden in 2001 after close to ten years away from the band and songs like this portray his newfound vision and excitement that he previously shown when he was with the band during its 1980's run.

"When I'm feeling down and low

I vow I'll never be the same again

I just remember what I am

And visualize just what I'm gonna be"