About Me

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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Top 10s of 2011 - Albums


 10. Anathema - Falling deeper
Their 2nd compilation concentrating on their Doom period. A reimagining of the old results in a new refreshed set of songs that are totally captivating

9. Rival Sons - Pressure & Time
Yes, Led Zep have been on the phone and Jimmy Page wants his riffs back, but who cares! Excellent songs, superb vocals, and more importantly 'if it aint broke, dont fucking fix it'

8. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events

With Portnoy gone, DT still prove theres life in the old dog yet. Complex rhythms and utterly bonkers fret wankery as usual makes the future look very bright indeed for DT

7. Airrace - Back To The Start
Keep it simple? No chance. 27 years between albums, a reformation and a split within a matter of months, but the result is one of the best AOR albums of 2011.

6. Journey - Eclipse
Yes Pineda is no Steve Perry, but this guy can hit all the right notes and proves that he is the right man for the job. The albums not bad either!

5. Chickenfoot - III
Chickenfoot prove that they are now a fully fledged band and the result is one kick-ass album. They truly show the younger generation how it should be done. Hagar never sounded better than this.

4. Lionville - Lionville
Surprise of the year! Totally wicked AOR/Westcoast album. Georgeous vocals, choruses covered in maple syrup and just brilliant. Should have been the best AOR album of 2011, but for this.....

3. Work Of Art - In Progress
With AOR having a renaissance WoA come out and shoot down all contenders. Wonderful melodies, just like Journey and Toto used to write. 25yrs ago it would have sold by the shitload, but its still a great album, 2011 or any other year

2. Mastodon - The Hunter
Total surprise for me, this one! Saw them supporting Tool a few years ago and did nothing for me. The Hunter....Wow! Think more Prog than metal, with a mix of Rush and Dream Theater thrown in for good measure. Brutal in parts, totally sublime, with Dailor surely using a stunt drummer on certain songs. Plus, anyone who can sing 'I killed a man, 'cause he killed my goat' gets my vote any day of the week

1. Opeth - Heritage
Opeth have been working to this point for a number of years and the result is staggering. Im certain fans will be lost along the way, but with Akerfeldt in this form anything is possible in the coming years. 70s style hard rock with more than a bit of Prog thown in

Some others worth considering but just missed out....
Black Country Communion - 2
Shy - ST
Big Life - ST
Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt Two
Issa - The Storm
Bobby Kimball / Jimi Jamison - Kimball Jamison
Rush - Moving Pictures Reissue

Friday, 16 December 2011

Saint Jude - Manchester Academy 3, 15/12/11

Well I have to admit that I have more than a soft spot for female singers, especially rock singers. Pat Benatar, Leigh Matty, Ann Wilson, Amanda Marshall, Grace Potter, Sarah McLachlan, Sam Brown -  and now I have found someone who does not look amiss at all amongst this company, the very impressive (and very gorgeous) Lynne Jackaman.

Imagine if Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin got it on and had a love child, well Jackaman would certainly be it! The type of beauty that you’d walk away from your missus just to spend a night with, but with a voice given by the rock (and Soul) Gods!

Yes, Jackaman is drop dead gorgeous. Yes, she has one of the finest voices I’ve ever heard, but these two (hot properties) don’t cut it if you haven’t got the quality of songs to back it all up, and thankfully Saint Jude have some pretty decent tunes to call upon.

It’s great when you get bands (so young) like Saint Jude and Rival Sons, who proudly have set their styles in the Classic 70s era (think Stones/Faces/Bad Company)  and make no apologies for doing it their way.

Apart from my lad  (16) I doubt there were many around me (apart from one or two) that were below the 35-49 age bracket, which tells you exactly the type of crowd that they are pulling in, the 70s Classic Rock fan.

Saint Jude made a pretty clever move recently, in giving away their current album with Classic Rock. There’s no point in trying to shift an album for a tenner when you can give it away to tens of thousands in a mag. The upshot of which was a pretty decent turnout, which otherwise might not have been the case

Opening with ‘Little Queen’, was played like a band with hundreds of gigs under their belt, assured and professional. The excellent ‘Garden of Eden’ followed, and sums up exactly what Saint Jude are about – bluesy, soulful  and instantly addictive. ‘Leave a Light’ reminded me a little of ‘Northwinds’ era Coverdale (before he went all MTV and Harmony Hairspray on us). The two best songs which highlighted the ‘Diary Of A Soul Fiend’ album were the stunning vocals on ‘Angel’ and passionate ‘Down and Out’. It all felt a bit religious to be honest. I nearly shouted ‘Hell Yeah’ at one point. When Jackaman sings ‘’hold out your hand / let me lead you astray / close both your eyes / I will show you the way’’ I for one was up for anything at this point.

The two new sons ‘Black Rum and White Lies’ and ‘Layhee’ prove that the dreaded ‘second album syndrome’ will not be a problem for Saint Jude. The former being a blend of the Stones and Faces and was one of the heaviest songs of the set

‘Soul On Fire’ probably the bands most heard track by the audience went down a storm, before they came back for their ‘Southern Belle’ encore. Such was the response at the end, they came out for what seemed like an unplanned second encore for the excellent ‘I’m Losing You’

With only one album under the belt it was all over fairly quickly, but what mattered was the quality of the performance. If I have any doubts, it’s not about the music at all, but I’d have liked a little more interaction with the audience. Hardly any of the songs were introduced and there was little banter. This will come I’m sure of it.  Musically, considering it was the first night of the tour, their souls were on fire!

Judging by the new songs, I expect that the success that Saint Jude crave (and deserve) is just around the corner. 2012 to be precise


Setlist -

Little Queen
Garden Of Eden
Pleased To Meet You
Leave A Light
Sweet Melody
Down And Out
In My Head
Black Rum And White Lies
Parallel Life
Soul On Fire
Southern Belles
I'm Losing You

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sons Of Icarus EP

After seeing these guys play a pretty mighty set supporting Rival Sons recently, I wanted to review their up-coming EP, out in December. My lad Harry was so taken by it, he wanted to review it himself. See his debut review....

After winning “Marshall amplifiers ultimate band contest” by fighting their way through hundreds of bands and getting a label, they have done extremely well to start supporting some of the names some people are more familiar with, such as Rival sons, Black Spiders and Black Stone Cherry, which  will definitely help the band with getting a lot more of their own followers. Marry this with their new 4 track EP and they are on track to do exactly that.  

Starting off the EP is a track called “You Want It All” and it kicks off with a great riff and some great small solos going on over the verse and chorus. I don’t think there is anything bad to say about the guitar work, going from the simple but great riffs to the sweeping solos and the great bends and slide over the chorus and verse patter without over doing it like most people would. The vocals are  strong and fit perfectly with the guitar line but giving it a lot more power.  I personal think there should be a bit more of a bridge between the verse and chorus but they have still pulled it off. (can some one please turn up the bass as  the only time you can hear it clearly is when the music goes quite). The drums are faultless, not overplaying and doesn’t go mental with the most ridiculous time signature and keeps it all together with a powerful punch.

My personal favourite on the EP “Not Myself” has a really good up tempo pace to it and has a nippy quick riff and has a great simple verse letting the vocals really shine through.  The solo has a really great funky sound, especially when the ‘wah wah’ pedal is brought out and the beat in the background fits perfectly with the funky tune.

“Cant let Go” has another really solid ‘bang your head’ riff and some really nice small fills in the verse but quietens down to bring the vocals through to shine. The pre chorus is brilliant because the chords are longer but give more of a kick when the guitar has a bit of a run down which should be brought out more. The guitar never has a weak part in the song it flawless and always has a punch. After the second chorus everything goes quiet to show us that the vocals have control and then kick back in with a great beat and riff 

When I heard “Sick to the Teeth” it starts off a lot mellower from their other songs but still sounds just as great with the bass coming through which should happen a lot more. The quiet start definitely helps the bass come through to its full affect. It then builds up to a crescendo and takes the song forward. There is a part where you think the song will end but then picks up again. Yet again SoI give us yet another great riff and pretty tidy drum fill to complement. The solo isn’t over done and is just perfect to fit over the chorus and is very affective

I would say over all I cant find anything wrong with this EP and I think that we should expect great things from Sons of Icarus and everyone should look out for them because these guys should go far.

Score 85 /100

Tracks –
1. You Want It All
2. Not Myself
3. Can’t Let Go
4. Sick to the Teeth

Website – www.sonsoficarus.com

And now below is my take on the EP.....

I had the pleasure the other week of witnessing Sons of Icarus supporting Rival Sons at the intimate Manchester Academy 3 the other week. To say they won over the audience was an understatement and then some. After winning “Marshall amplifiers ultimate band contest” by fighting their way through hundreds of bands and getting major management representation, which in turn has led to some pretty decent opening slots for the likes of Rival sons, Black Spiders and Black Stone Cherry, which  will definitely help the band with getting a lot more of their own followers. Couple this fact with their storming new EP and many more followers will be attained.  Good thing is, they are 100% British. Originally named The Fury they have honed their sound into a heavy rock assault on the lug’oles courtesy of some of heaviest riffs this side of Tony Iommis moustache!

Starting off the EP is a track called “You Want It All” and it kicks off with a heavy as fuck riff reminiscent of some great UK classic rock luminaries, and will have the current batch of rivals shitting themselves.  Andy Masson’s vocals complement Balkwill’s riffs perfectly. As my lad stated elsewhere ‘’turn up the bass!’’ The drumming is not overplayed at all and keeps when all combined, the result is a dynamite track. The 7 minutes just fly buy, which is always a great sign

 “Not Myself” has a really good up tempo pace to it and is something that the likes of Black Country Communion would kill for. “Cant let Go” again has (to quote Quiet Riot) a solid ‘bang your head’ riff and although not the best of the three so far, it still pretty much kicks. Finally all too quickly we’re onto the last track “Sick to the Teeth”. It doesn’t have the mega riff start like the others, but builds its crescendo to prove that they are not all music by numbers (This isn’t a derogatory comment, SoI have a formula and play to its strength). For such a young bunch (average age under 22!) of lads they play with the experience and talent that belies their young ages

After a recent review for Voodoo Six, Sons of Icarus are also contenders for being the future of British rock/metal and they have no need to be afraid of anyone as they will go very far indeed. Sons Of Icarus are already on my list of bands to watch out for in 2012

Catch them whilst they still have a few gigs left in the UK (OK London!) this side of Xmas. If you think the songs are heavy on the CD, the live performances will take your breath away. Just buy the CD!