My name is Peter and I play guitar for Dividium. While this list doesn’t contain my favourite songs from each of these artists, these songs did have a huge impact on my life. Either through life lessons or setting me on a path (that if I hadn’t travelled) I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
So in some kind of order, here are my 10 songs that changed my life.
Bleed – Meshuggah
I think everyone has the same impression when they first hear Bleed and that is some permutation of “Holy crap!” The song is a master class in technique. From the forearm burning riffs to the calf crushing kick drum it hits the ground like a giant rolling machine. It comes straight out of the gate with no aplomb, no intro and no build up. A sledgehammer of sound the smashes your face off straight out of the stereo. If Hell needed a soundtrack, it would be this song.
Constant Motion – Dream Theater
I’d heard of Dream Theater before this song and even heard a few songs. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was more about Piano and vocal work than anything the guitar ever did. I did know that John Petrucci was a phenomenal guitarist but I had no idea that Dream Theater was anywhere as heavy as they were. Constant Motion was my gateway into Dream Theater’s back-catalogue.
Buttersnips – Periphery
Back in 2010 I was suffering from a deep depression and falling out of love of everything I thought defined me. I believed that there wasn’t anything left that could excite me with music and I came very close to giving it all up. Until I watched this video series on youtube called ‘Monsters of High Gain’ from Premier Guitar. It had this guy called Misha Mansoor playing through high gain amps (Diezel VH4, Peavey 6534+, Mesa Boogie Duel Rectifier, etc). Something about his playing caught my attention and I immediately sought out his music. Just as I’d thought that I wouldn’t feel the same passion for music as I had when I was a teenager, this band shot me full of musical adrenaline.
Die to Live – Steve Vai
I think the first time any guitarist hears Steve Vai it is a life changing experience. They either are so inspired by him that they spend years trying to emulate and learn from him or they decide right there that they hate him and his music.
I’m of the former. I’d never heard a guitarist play the way he played. It sounded so organic. Like he could express everything he wanted out of his instrument. Steve didn’t need vocals and lyrics to tell a story. He could paint out a tapestry of mountains, rushing rivers and warming sunshine with a mere progression.
Technical Difficulties – Racer X
Have you ever heard a piece of music and instantly thought “Yep. That’s exactly what I was looking for!” A friend of mine in college asked me if I was into Racer X (As my picking technique really reminded him of the guitarist). When I inevitably told him that I hadn’t, he pulled out his MP3 Player and showed me a few of their songs.
I didn’t quite make the connection at the time but I had been learning from the guitarist of Racer X for years and never realized. It was only when I went back and looked through my collection of Total Guitar magazines that I saw his name in the magazine. I’d been learning his techniques and exercises for years and never put two and two together. He wasn’t just some cool guitarist in this magazine I got, he was Paul Fucking Gilbert!
Left Behind – Slipknot
I remember skipping through channels one day and I came across this weird scary horror music video playing on MTV 2. It had this terrifying guitar sound, pounding drums and –what looked like- 15 odd guys screaming at me in a field. I loved it. From the kid eating cereal filled with dirty tap water to the creepy clown prodding at his exposed brain, I got behind the whole idea.
The only problem was that it was Slipknot and Slipknot was for losers… Or so I had thought.
I was about 14/15 and deep under the pressures of school life. Everything I hadn’t heard of was crap. It didn’t matter what it was, if I didn’t immediately like it (or if someone I liked said it was bad) then I would hate it and anything to do with it. When I saw the music video for this song, it was as if a switch had been flicked in my head and I realized how much of a hypocrite I had been. Slipknot showed me right then and there that I was fallible and I made a promise to myself that whatever it was, I wasn’t going to immediately dismiss it.
That there was a good chance I would like it, given enough time.
Master of Puppets – Metallica
Back in 2002 I was sat in art class talking about music and guitars with my friend John. We were in the middle of discussing the best things about ACDC and Queen when he said something about Metallica. Now I had heard about Metallica (probably from Otto in The Simpsons) but I’d never given them the time of day and listened to their songs. “You’ve never listened to Metallica?”
The next day, he had made me a CD with three songs on it. Master of Puppets, Enter Sandman and Am I Evil. As soon as I listened to the first stab of that song I knew that this band was special. I’d only been playing guitar for a month but I bought the album and I sat down and learnt every note. I couldn’t do anything else until I had. It formed the basis for everything I am as a guitarist and made me (annoyingly) obsessed with
Metallica for the next couple of years.
By god, I could down pick like a monster though.
Black or White – Michael Jackson
Believe it or not, I originally wanted to be a dancer (Until I realized how horrendously clumsy and arrhythmic I was). I was this little Scottish kid with a love of Michael Jackson and a passion to perform. While my love for dance has diminished to nothing, my love for performing (Showing off) is as strong as ever. If it wasn’t for this song, I may have never known what it was to be creative. I probably wouldn’t have tried acting and art in school and then wouldn’t have picked up any instruments.
In case you were wondering if I’ve retained anything from those ancient Jazz classes. I now dance like a giraffe covered in fire ants
These are the days of our lives – Queen
I was only five when Freddie Mercury died. While I didn’t understand at the time what kind of impact he would have on me as a person and a musician, I did notice the effect his death had on my household and on the British public.
When they released it on double A-side (the other side being Bohemian Rhapsody) it became a song I would listen to constantly. Structure wise it’s one of the most simple of Queens’ discography but it plays out as a poignant goodbye to Freddie (It was the last video he did with the band).
Brian May’s guitar solo showed me than an instrument could provide as much emotion as a human voice. The grandeur, restraint and loss all communicated within just a few bars.
The Transformers Theme – Lion
This song is the most pivotal song of my childhood. It not only set the groundwork for everything I love musically but it also joins a soundtrack that I still visit to this day. It is a perfect mix of nostalgia and inspiration. The Transformers Animated movie came out on the year I was born, so I have had it in my life since I could move. Its songs and tones shaping everything I am as a musician.
The reason I picked this exact song from the plethora of great songs from the soundtrack is because it will have been the first metal song I would have ever heard. Lion may have been a flash in the career of Doug Aldrich but his guitar work left a deep impression on my psyche.
The guitar solo to this track is still one of my favorite solos.
Formed in 2013, Dividium are a four-piece melodic technical metal band from Hull UK, who are about to send shockwaves throughout the metal world with their first official release T.H.R.E.E.
Combining the organic fusion of vocalist Neil Bailey, guitarist Peter Delaney, bassist Joe Haslam and the drums of James Coggin, the band have established their reputation with modern, melodic and technical songs, utilising vocal harmonies and interesting arrangements to engage their audience.
Often compared to their key influences: Tesseract, Protest The Hero, Neil’s unique vocal style has often had the band’s sound as Iron Maiden meeting Dillinger Escape Plan. One thing that’s for certain is that they don’t sound like anyone but themselves.
Having released two records previously which established Dividium as local favourites, the band have stepped up their game with T.H.R.E.E. and are now more than ready to take their music to the rest of the UK and beyond.
Neil explains: ‘It’s definitely the heaviest and most accessible that we’ve ever recorded. We’ve stuck with what we’re good at: catchy choruses and powerful riffs, but this time with added aggression and renewed vigor.
Peter continues: ‘We took the catchy chorus’ and made them more melodic, we took the heavy sections and went heavier and we took the technical moments and made them harder to play. We can’t wait for the world to hear this new record!’
Dividium have supported many acts passing through their hometown including Tesseract, Malefice, Valis Ablaze, and toured the UK with The Colour Line and Exist Immortal, and played Tech Fest 2016, which has enabled them to refine their incredible live show. Tour dates for the summer will be announced soon.