Love Letter to a Record: Reliqa on The Living End’s ‘Modern Artillery’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, Benjamin Knox, drummer for Sydney alt-metal band Reliqa, raises a glass to The Living End’s Modern Artillery (2003).

The name Reliqa was a mystery to many prior to the alt-metal band’s recent appearance on the Monolith festival tour, headlined by Karnivool and Cog. But by the tour’s end, Reliqa, a Sydney four-piece led by vocalist Monique Pym, were on the playlists of heavy music fans around the country. The band’s latest EP, I Don’t Know What I Am, is out now.

Reliqa’s Love Letter to The Living End’s Modern Artillery

Benjamin Knox: I first heard Modern Artillery by The Living End when I was six. It was 2007. My dad had a collection of CDs that would cycle in and out of the family car, so the music rotation would normally consist of a variety of jazz and blues records. One day Modern Artillery was in the car ride rotation and I was instantly hooked.

The combination of catchy vocals, tasteful guitar work and a super tight rhythm section had me listening on repeat. This album will always bring back memories of spending time with my family as a kid, riding around in the backseat, requesting ‘Who’s Gonna Save Us?’ My love of this album also resulted in The Living End being my first concert – I had the pleasure of seeing them in 2008 at the Enmore Theatre.

This album certainly influenced my music taste and drumming style from an early age. I was learning the drums during my period of obsession with this album. I found rock drumming to be very fun to play, which sparked my overall enjoyment of drumming. The drum work on Modern Artillery is very engaging all the time, which definitely drew me closer to the album.

I didn’t get drum lessons, so practising drums for me was playing along to songs that I really enjoyed. ‘Tabloid Magazine’ was the first song I can recall learning. I would later progress from rock to metal, such as ‘Psychosocial’ by Slipknot and ‘Nightmare’ by Avenged Sevenfold.

The Living End – ‘Tabloid Magazine’

There is not a single bad track on Modern Artillery, each song offering something very different from the next. Tracks such as ‘Tabloid Magazine’ and ‘Who’s Gonna Save Us?’ are uplifting rock songs – groovy riffs, catchy choruses, tight drumming with interesting fills. These two songs were my favourites during my childhood. I’ll forever remember jamming to ‘Tabloid Magazine’ as a kid yelling, “It’s just a tabloid magazine,” heading into the final four-beat snare section of the song.

‘The End Of The World’ has a darker, more chaotic style, with a very interesting song structure. It starts off on a double time beat with wild lead guitar and Chris Cheney belting, “Last night I had me a dream son / The end of the world could be seen.” I recall being lost in the tempo drop off, followed by an incremental tempo increase. Overall, the musicianship in this song is on another level.

Modern Artillery was a very influential album for me, in both my music taste and drumming style. I very much latched onto rock drumming from an early age as a result of this album, which eventually progressed into heavier music and more technical styles of drumming. It is a masterpiece.

Reliqa – ‘Safety’ feat. Sean Harmanis

  • Reliqa’s I Don’t Know What I Am, is out now.

Further Reading

Monolith Festival Review – Karnivool Lead Prog Rock Masterclass in Melbourne

For Fans Of: Evanescence | Introducing: Sydney’s Reliqa

Jack White Leads Lineup For Adelaide’s Newest Festival, Harvest Rock

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