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!!!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Dokken - Broken Bones Album Review

To be honest with you, I doubt there was a bigger fan of Dokken in the NE Wales area in the mid-late 80s than me. I f*ckin' loved this band. I followed the trials, the tribulations, the arguments played out between Don Dokken, and the hugely talented and insanely great guitar god George Lynch, in what was the musical equivalent to TMZ which was Hit Parader. This feature ran for what seemed like years at the time (and still does). Unfortunately, one of the best metal bands was always doomed to failure as Dokken v Lynch was the 80s equivalent of The Avengers v Loki, only this time there would be no winner, for either the band, or more importantly the fans

Reformations came, and most unusual, went! Slight hint of sarcasm there, but the true potential was ruined just as they were hitting their stride after the sublime ‘Kiss of Death’. They came close in 2009, but (surprise) it all fell apart. It’s a shame as the other half (or should that be, three-quarters in Lynch/Pilson & Brown) are releasing an album of new songs and some old Dokken classics with various vocalists. For someone like me, this is both a pleasure, but also a pain, as I’m sure most Dokken fans would love the various hatchets to be buried (and not in each members heads). I’ve heard the recent Dokken Greatest Hits reworked songs and it was slightly painful to hear classics, down tuned to suit Don Dokken’s vocal register

But, we are where we are. 2012 sees Dokken release their 11 studio album, Broken Bones. Despite my reservations, Broken Bones is the type of album that someone like David Coverdale should be doing. Stop pretending it’s the 80s, and deal with the hand you have now! Surprisingly the end result is pleasant and more importantly, decent enough. Gone are the high pitched vocals and screams, and in comes DD of the 21st Century, a mellower and more monotone version. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all, as Dokken has his voice, and it’s still a good one to have! It just has none of the trademark Don Dokken wail!

‘Empire’ kicks off proceedings, and yes, the Dokken flame still burns, but not with the same intensity. The sound of Dokken is courtesy of Don, even down to some of the riffs, unless Jon Levin is being forced at gunpoint to play in the style of George Lynch. ‘Broken Bones’ is straight out of 80s Dokken  and with riffing like what’s on ‘Blind’, I can’t tell the difference. It’s like I’ve loaded up MrFusion and headed back to 1985. ‘Waterfall’ is a fairly bland effort by DD’s standards, but the songs leading up to that point make the point that Dokken in the current age is a viable prospect. ‘Fade Away’ is very reminiscent of ‘Stop Fighting Love/Will The Sune Rise’, and Levin sets his stall out with a steamroller of a riff on ‘Burning Tears’. It’s more ‘Dysfunctional’ era than ‘Unchain the Night’, and I can understand DD for not wanting to try to recreate the past like other bands have recently tried to do. ‘Broken Bones’ both starts and finishes strongly with a bit of a blip in the mid-section.

All in all it’s the best of the bunch so far from any of the 80s bands trying to recapture some of their youth in 2012. Dokken’s got the mix just about right. It may struggle to appease the hard core fans, but I for one am still glad to be hearing music from the pen of Don Dokken.

Not reviewed here is the Deluxe Edition CD+DVD. That's the version I'd plump for if I were you!!


Dokken are- 

Don Dokken (vocals)
Mick Brown (drums)
Jon Levin (guitar)
Sean McNabb (bass)

Cd edition (jewel box)
Label: Frontiers Records Music Style: Melodic Rock
Cat #: FR CD 567 Cod: 8024391056721

Deluxe edition (Cd+DVD digipak)
Cat #: FR CDVD 567 Cod: 8024391056745

Release date:
EU: September 21st
NA: September 25th

Tracklisting: Empire; Broken Bones; Best Of Me; Blind; Waterfall; Victim Of The Crime; Burning Tears; Today; For the Last Time; Fade Away; Tonight.

Bonus DVD: “Making of The Album” documentary (length approx 40 minutes)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Stealing Axion - Moments

Pacific Northwest’s Stealing Axion was formed in the winter of 2009 by guitarists Dan Forbrich, Josh
DeShazo, and Phil Willmarth. By early 2010 they self-recorded and released their EP which rapidly
spread across the net and garnered them tons of praise from fans and critics alike. With these songs
as a solid foundation, the band maintained a steady regiment of writing and developing their sound
and soon had enough material to serve as a full length album. The band was then contacted by Acle
Kahney (TesseracT guitarist and producer) about mixing and mastering the songs. Working closely 
with him on the sounds and textures of the album, Moments (the title of the band’s debut full
length) developed into a dynamic and immense listening experience. The album uniquely combines
the ferocity and rawness of modern metal with delicate and expansive atmospheres. The result is a sound  that is accessible while maintaining a detailed and complex framework.

One thing for certain, and that all off the songs offer up a different tale for the listener. But is one of those 50% Marmite moments for me. Musically the album is ‘most excellent’ (insert your own Wyld Stallyns GUITAR RIFF HERE), with some pretty ferocious riffs that will stir up many a mosh pit, then  segueing into an atmospheric passage which almost takes you by surprise, but it’s the mix of two contrasting vocal styles, screamy and grunty one minute, and calm, collected, and (normal) melodic the next that I struggle with. Me? I prefer the latter style, obviously. 

As prog bands go, they have all the attributes of making a success for themselves. They've been signed by Inside Out Music, a label that knows a thing or two about prog music and truly spans the generation of prog – from Kansas & Pallas, to Devin Townsend & Riverside. They are in good company.

With the ‘good cop/bad cop’ vocalisation, Stealing Axion are doing nothing new, but the music sets them apart from their competition. Influenced by the likes if Dream Theater, SA have a decent foundation. The album unusually has a much stronger second half, and, thankfully for me, Stealing Axion get a grip, and find their mojo. The reason being that there’s more of a melodic metal influence in songs such as 'Eventide' and 'Collapse', and none more so than on the mighty fine 'Sleepless' (complete with minimal growly, grunty moments than the rest!). Even 'Too Late Now', a prog ballad of sorts has its defining moments.

So, the second half of the album has a bit more in its locker than the first, with Stealing Axion finding more of their progressive feet. Whilst it’s not my cup of tea, no doubt Moments will have many a prog fan rushing and possibly gushing after it


 Track Listing:

1 Mirage Of Hope
2 Solar
3 Everything Or Nothing
4 47 Days Later
5 The Unwanted Gift
6 Eventide
7 Collapse
8 It's Too Late Now
9 Sleepless
10 Moments Part 1
11 Moments Part 2

Line up:

Dan Forbrich – Vocals, guitar
Josh DeShazo – Vocals, guitars
Phil Willmarth – Vocals, bass
Blake Ferris – Drums

Moments (2012)


Monday, 27 August 2012

Vega - New Album/Tour Update

Don't want to say too much, or more importantly, can't say too much, but after hearing a snippet of their soon to be released 2nd album, the highly accomplished Brit rocker's Vega have a stunning set of songs that will take them to the top of the pile, and make their peers weep into their cornflakes. I'm almost tempted to offer a money back guarantee myself, I'm that confident of its success. My money's safe!

Make sure you catch them on tour in November



York Fibbers            Nov 2nd
Nottm Rock City     Nov 3rd