Guest Column: Five Albums That Will Change You By Steel Prophet’s Steve Kachisky

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A long time ago, we asked a bunch of bands to submit columns on the following topic: Five Albums That Will Change Your Life. Today, we bring you an entry provided by Steel Prophet’s Steve Kachisky.

Will these albums really change your life? I don’t know. They changed my life as a guitarist. Maybe some insufferably happy music like a Doris Day album would change your life more. Or perhaps you’re a well-adjusted music fan and Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain by Cathedral would take you in the opposite direction, making you an unhappy misanthrope? Don’t know. Don’t care. Here’s my list:

Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack
Do you like small orchestras (like a rock band), or large orchestras (like a symphony)? How about a large orchestra of about 15 awesome guitar players? Brian May created the ultimate guitar orchestra on this album. Yeah, he sounds like about 15 guys sometimes. He also hit on this cool idea of using a tape echo in the song “Brighton Rock” to play along with himself and harmonize lines on the fly. It’s the most awesome totally “solo” guitar in the history of guitar solos until “Eruption” comes along three years later.

Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti
Being the fan of the guitar orchestra idea that I am (and check out our newest album Omniscient for my take on how to present the guitar orchestra), Jimmy Page has a special place in the conductor’s pantheon. He is probably the originator of the concept, and the master Brian May apprenticed with. Showing an uncanny intuitive use of 15th century counterpoint in his guitar army, this album is a decadent embarrassment of guitar jewels. “Kashmir,” “Ten Years Gone,” “The Rover,” “Custard Pie.” Do these titles mean anything to you? This is a band unafraid of challenges and genres. Blues, Metal, Rock, Reggae still maintain their “Zeppeliness”. If only today’s heavy metal music bands showed such courage.

Pink Floyd’s Meddle
“Echoes.” Only 23 minute long song I ever loved. It’s a psychedelic journey that takes you through numbness, quiet desperation, fear, elation and then back to resigned social numbness. Beautiful instrumentation and vocals. Maybe the best song ever in the history of rock.

Van Halen’s self titled debut
Did someone say “Eruption?” What did you think the first time you heard that bit of distortion saturated virtuosity? I tried to figure out how to play the tail end of the piece for 6 months before I heard of the somewhat revolutionary, rediscovered guitar technique called “two hand tapping” (which is the way Eddie played it). Coincidentally, Eddie fires up the tape echo on this, probably after he got the idea of using it from hearing Brian May’s “Brighton Rock.”

Black Sabbath’s Sabotage
Experimental Heavy Metal. Yeah! Ozzy doesn’t like this album because Tony was bored in the studio and wanted to challenge himself and make something diverse and musical. Ozzy always was a bonehead, right? “Hole in the Sky,” “Symptom of the Universe,” “Supertzar” are great heavy tracks. What about “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” for the ultimate bit of Mini Moog synth coupled with guitar harmony to create slithery, snakey melody lines? I’ve stolen that trick myself. Heck I’ve stolen everything I know from all these great albums that have truly changed my life and made me into the fine, upstanding man I am today.

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