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!!!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Ben Wells of Black Stone Cherry Interview, Wrexham Central Station

Apologies for the quality after a few mins. The twat of a drum tech kicked in good style. You might need to be a bit of a lip reader to appreciate the interview. Last time I agree to help a Tour Manager by turning up early!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Wig Wam - Wall Street

The Norwegian Glam Kings ( I prefer to label them the Spice Boys!) Wig Wam are back with their anticipated new album. Once again the band almost present their classic blend of melodies & catchy choruses, blowing your speakers with full blown rock’n roll‘n in yer face anthems! When they get it right they do so in droves!

Wig Wam enjoyed their major breakthrough in 2005 when they presented their single "In My Dreams" to the Eurovision Song contest, beating all rivals and going straight to #1 on the national charts, where it stayed for over 21 weeks and sold platinum!

In 2006 Wig Wam went straight from the road to the studio and recorded their follow up, ''Wig Wamania'' and the band went immediately back on the road on their Wig Wamania tour, which hit Japan for the first time.

In 2009 the band released their third studio album ''Non Stop Rock N Roll'', the first ''Wig Wam'' album to be released simultaneously in whole World. The album was a huge success for the band sold to Gold Award in Norway and again saw the band tour heavily in support of the release.

Immediately you can tell they have gone for a slightly different direction, and tried to adopt a more mature and added depth to their repertoire. Gone are that party titles like ''Wig Wamania'' and ''Non Stop Rock N Roll'', and in come ''Wall Street''. Based on the current economic world crisis, Wig Wam could require bailing out! Or do they…..?

The first couple of tracks on ''Wall Street'', kick off in exactly the same vein as previous WigWam albums, both the Title track and ''OMG! ( I Wish I Had a Gun)'' are chock full of riffs, extremely catchy choruses. They then go and spoil the flow with an average slower tempo number in ''Victory Is Sweet'', and is a bit to monotone and laboured for my liking, and  slower still is ''Tides Will Turn''. Stick to the anthemic formula guys! The old 'Wig Wam return for ''The Bigger The Better'', but it’s not on the same level as the first two tracks.

The eighties electronica rock of ''One Million Enemies'' makes for a nice change from the usual fare from the boys as does ''Try My Body On''.

All in all though it’s a hit and miss affair. The hits are of high quality, and the misses (for me) are way off the mark. I would hope that existing fans of Wig Wam won’t be disappointed, but its not going to bring many new ones knocking on the teepee.  


Glam: Vocals
Flash: Bass
Teeny: Guitar
Sporty: Drums

Buy from Amazon UK here,

Jorn - Bring Heavy Rock To The Land

Considered by many fans and critics as one of the finest voices (and vocal impersonators!) in Hard Rock, Jorn unleashes upon the world his seventh original studio album "Bring Heavy Rock to the Land": another slab of classic Hard Rock with 80’s Metal elements!
Staying with the ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’ approach (a formula applied by many, but mastered by so few)  Jorn has worked again with Tommy Hansen at Jailhouse Studios in Denmark who worked on the mix of the album, ensuring the right edge to the rich guitar and vocal sound that is now trademark to all Jorn releases. The line-up sees the return of Jimmy Iversen on guitar who appeared on “Spirit Black” but could not commit to touring for personal reasons. The pairing with Tore Moren works really well and gives Jorn sound the usual depth and solidity.
Jorn Lande’s strong and diverse voice and solid songwriting skills have now become legendary in the Hard Rock world. In a career spanning over 30 albums releases (all done in the last 18 years, a feat that would take Axl 2000 years to complete)and as frontman for Millennium, Ark and Masterplan, Jorn was recently featured on projects such as Tobias Sammet’s “Avantasia” and Ayreon.
“If you buy a Jorn album today, you know what you will get. This new album is more Hard Rock oriented than Metal I would say, but as usual it's not just one type of musical expression all the way through the album, but a variety of landscapes within the categories of rock and metal” states Jorn Lande! You are guaranteed to get your adrenaline going, with a riveting sound that has solid roots in classic hard rock/heavy metal music, such as Dio, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Whitesnake.  Known to me David Dio-dale!

I must admit that I’ve not been too overly fussed in the past with Jorn’s solo offerings, (except his excellent Dio tribute) as his best work has come from a band collaboration, such as Ark, Millenia, Mundanus, Masterplan etc

Last time I saw him (Firefest 07) I was a little disappointed as he seemed to be there to entertain himself and not the crowd by playing none of his more popular songs from his extensive collection.

However I must admit that I’m very pleasantly surprised with this collection on ‘Bring Heavy Rock To The Land’ (great title by the way!). The title track shows Jorn at his best, melodic, hard rock. The epic length ‘A Thousand Cuts’ (a tad over 8mins) is more powerful metal than norm, more in the Dio/Sabbath style, and combines heavy chugging riffs with Jorn’s complementary and stong vocals. Like Saxon before, Jorn has chosen to cover the Chris Cross classic ‘Ride Like the Wind’ a song well suited to me made into a rock classic. Jorn (like Biff) doesn’t disappoint on this version either. ‘Chains Around You’ gives more than a passing nod to classic Rainbow (more JLT era than Dio or Bonnet) / Malmsteen, and as a fully fledged member of the Rainbow fan club (‘80-‘84), it’s nice to hear what Rainbow would sound like in 2012 and proves to be the highlight of the album.

For some reason Jorn has reprised the Masterplan track, Time To Be King, which is OK, but I’d prefer another original please. ‘Ride to The Guns’ reminds me of the flash Sykes era Lizzy, particularly the track Thunder and Lightning. ‘Black Morning’ is a US Southern style Whitesnake meets Skynyrd bluesy ballad.

So Jorn Lande proves why he is one of rocks finest vocalists with this strong solo album. Definitely its  his best solo to date. As he enters the 30’s (no.of albums) he proves that its never too late to pull a great album out of the bag

Tracklisting : My Road; Bring Heavy Rock To The Land; A Thousand Cuts; Ride Like The Wind; Chains Around You; The World I See; Time To Be King; Ride To The Guns; Black Morning; I Came To Rock; Live And Let Fly (bonus track).

Jorn Lande: vocals
Willy Bendiksen: drums
Nic Angileri: bass
Tore Moren: guitar
Jimmy Iversen: guitar

Produced by Jorn Lande

Buy Here -

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Firewind - Few Against Many

Now then rock fans (Shit! I went all Jimmy Saville for a minute then), we all know that the current EU economic climate is seeing Greece ‘on its arse’ financially. One band trying to singularly get Greece ‘Back In Black’ is Firewind. Based on the amount of people that saw them play the UK last year, it will prove to be a tall order, but on the balance of hearing Few Against Many, Firewind can give the Greek people some hope!

It’s been a busy few years for Firewind and their talismanic leader, guitarist Gus G. With the critically acclaimed “Days Of Defiance” record and subsequent world tour under their belts (as well as Gus’ arena-filled tour of the world as Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man), the band headed straight back into the studio to begin work on what would become the band’s latest, and definitely their heaviest, album “Few Against Many”.

Firewind originally formed in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1998 but started in earnest after Gus moved to the United States and put out a demo. The demo was well received and Gus signed with Leviathan Records who put out the band’s first records, “Between Heaven And Hell” and “Burning Earth”. The band began touring the world, including a Japanese run and a worldwide deal with Century Media Records was soon signed.

The first album as part of that deal (“Forged By Fire”) further established the band but it was the follow up “Allegiance” that really put the band on the international map. Gus had finally found the right members (with the arrival of Time Requiem singer Apollo Papathanasio) and the subsequent two years of touring in support of “Allegiance” (opening for Dragonforce and All That Remains) saw the band hit three continents and clock up thousands of miles. The hard work paid off as both "Allegiance" and the acclaimed follow up "The Premonition" albums made it to the Top 10 in Greece and the "Mercenary Man" single became a Top 5 hit. "The Premonition" also charted in Japan, a territory that has majorly embraced and supported the band since their inception.

“Few Against Many” marks a clear next highlighting step forward in the band’s stellar career and showcases 10 extremely versatile and entertaining new songs, which amalgamate the undeniable musical chops of all the involved players with truly effective and always catchy song-writing, featuring of all the band’s trademarks.

Opening track ‘Wall Of Sound’ (the album’s first single) has a furious opening riff, one that will certainly blister the wallpaper in your living room and shows that Gus G’s soloing seems to have gone up a notch if that’s at all possible. Also vocalist Apollo Papathanasio has never sounded better. ‘Losing My Mind’s’ opening section has a slightest hint of Dream Theater thrown in for good measure. ‘Glorious’ is more classic rock oriented than everything else on the album, I half expect Klaus Meine to kick in with vocals. The other notable highlights are the strong and very aggressive album’s title track as well as the infectious and soaring chorus on ‘The Undying Fire’, and the atmospheric ‘Edge Of A Dream’, which features a special guest appearance from Finnish cello-masters Apocalyptica. Gus G’s playing on this album is exemplary. The reason, he’s not taken this time to guitar frippery and wankery and keeps his playing strong and within the confines of the songs. Couple this with Apollo’s very strong performance and some of the best Power Metal this side of the Acropolis, and “Few Against Many” is a monster of an album waiting to be unleashed upon the Metal masses.

The first half of the album is definitely stronger than the second, but Firewind still have a strong album in ‘’Few Against Many’’. At just 45 mins and a mere 10 tracks, Firewind have the flow nailed down. Just because a CD can hold 80 mins doesn’t mean you have to fill the thing. It’s the quality that counts. Without doubt ‘’Few Against Many’’ is the best Firewind album to date. Production quality is top notch.

I doubt if sales will cure the Greek economy, but Firewind are certainly out to put Greek culture on the map. Make sure you come out and support them on tour in September. I’ll be at MoHo in Manchester where you’ll get the chance to be within 6 feet of the guitar god that is Gus G. How often does that happen?


FIREWIND – Few Against Many
1. Wall Of Sound
2. Losing My Mind
3. Few Against Many
4. The Undying Fire
5. Another Dimension
6. Glorious
7. Edge Of A Dream
8. Destiny
9. Long Gone Tomorrow
10. No Heroes, No Sinners

FIREWIND online:

Apollo Papathanasio - Vocals
Gus G. - Guitars
Petros Christo - Bass
Bob Katsionis - Keyboards, additional Guitars
Jo Nunez - Drums

Between Heaven And Hell (CD, 2002)
Burning Earth (CD, 2003)
Forged By Fire (CD, 2005)
Allegiance (CD, 2006)
The Premonition (CD/LP, 2008)
Live Premonition (CD/DVD, 2008)
Days Of Defiance (CD/LP, 2010)
Few Against Many (CD/LP, 2012)

Hartmann - Balance

Oliver Hartmann first appeared on the international music scene during the late 90s as the front man of the Heavy Rock outfit AT VANCE. During his successful time with the band they recorded 4 albums and Oliver became an internationally well-known and highly respected singer. Since then his powerful voice has been heard on rock operas such as AVANTASIA, AINA and GENIUS and on many productions by international Rock acts like HAMMERFALL, EDGUY, HELLOWEEN, LUNATICA, RHAPSODY, SOUL SELLER and EMPTY TREMOR.
After leaving AT VANCE he started to focus more on the song-writing for his new band Hartmann. Frontiers Records signed them in 2004 and the first album ‘’Out In The Cold“  was released in 2005. The Hartmann debut was the positive surprise of the year for many people, it received rave reviews and was rated “Album Of The Month“ in many Rock magazines all over the world. Among the most notable achievements was being elected as “Debut Album Of The Year” on melodicrock.com, the song ‘’What If I“ becoming Song Of The Year and ‘’Into The Light“ coming in 2nd on the ‘’Ballad Of The Year“ poll of the same webzine.

2008 saw Oliver Hartmann touring as guitarist/singer for Tobias Sammet’s AVANTASIA, the internationally successful DVD / CD set “The Flying Opera” documents these live events. European shows with Hartmann as support for EDGUY followed in spring 2009. In late 2009 the next Hartmann studio album followed. With the aptly titled CD ‘’3“  the band again delivered the goods with songs of their unique brand of Melodic Rock with a modern twist, including the outstanding duet ‘’Brothers“ with EDGUY / AVANTASIA’s Tobias Sammet.
During the past two years, the band Hartmann played numerous shows as support of bands such as MOTHER’S FINEST, URIAH HEEP and Y&T and in January 2012 Oliver Hartmann joined the line-up for the very successful ROCK MEETS CLASSIC tour on vocals and guitars which I was desperate to see as the line up was stupendous. The concerts showcased the impressive cast of Rock legends by the likes of Ian Gillan/ DEEP PURPLE, Jimi Jamison/ SURVIVOR, Steve Lukather/ TOTO, Chris Thompson/ ex-MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND and Robin Beck.

A few people slagged off ‘’3’’ but I myself thought it was a pretty good album. Well people, Hartmann, one of Germany’s finest musical exports has a new album out in June and I have to say that it’s as good as the excellent debut (Out In The Cold).  If anything Oliver Hartmann’s voice sounds bigger and better than anything I have heard previously.

Highlights include the irresistible mid-tempo opener “All My Life”, one of the catchiest and melodic songs he’s ever penned in his solo or past band life, and sets out his stall for the rest of the album. ‘’Fool For You’’ has a riff that Billy Duffy would be proud of and again has an instantly sing-able chorus. If Hartmann were a scientist he has found the formula for consistent AOR/melodic rock song-writing. ‘’After The Love Has Gone’’ is a moody mid paced ballad which again has its standard set to ‘Quality’.  “You Are The One”  is a song of pure pop/rock calibre and has ‘single’ written all over it. The first half of the album is absolutely superb and will have existing fans of Hartmann in an AOR orgasm. The second half the standard drops but still remains strong compared to other artists. The relaxed “Dance On The Wire”, for some reason blatanly steals the opening riff from Skynyrd’s ‘’Sweet Home Alabama’’.  In addition to the original material, “Balance” includes a cover version of the Tears For Fears smash “Shout”. Not the first time this song has been covered (Disturbed), and Hartmann’s version is not too far removed from the original, just heavier as you’d expect from a bloke of this calibre.

“Balance”was once again mixed by Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Edguy, Epica, Kamelot) at Gate Studios, Wolfsburg, Germany and will be released on the 1st of June 2012 on the always excellent AVENUE OF ALLIES label.

For fans of Oliver Hartmann it’s a no-brainer, Balance will be lapped up. For others who have never dipped their toes in the Teutonic waters of Harmann’s albums, ‘’Balance ‘’ is a great place to start.


1.All My Life
2. Like a River
3. You Are the One
4. Fool for You
5. After the Love Is Gone
6. Save Me
7. Fall from Grace
8. From a Star
9. Dance on the Wire
10. Shout
11. Time to Face the Truth
12. The Best Is Yet to Come

Oliver Hartmann – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Mario Reck – Guitars
Armin Donderer – Bass
Dario Ciccioni – Drums 

Record Label: Avenue of Allies