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, 21 November 2014

Bailey - Long Way Down Album Review

Earlier in the year I reviewed the Three Lions cd, and incurred the very polite wraith of Mr. Bailey when I suggested that the 3L album started off as a solo project for Nigel Bailey. That was not the case, and I now publically apologise.

Now the wait is over…for it is time for Bailey – Long Way Down to be let loose on a melodic / classic rock loving crowd.

This time last year I doubt any of us have heard of Nigel Bailey. Thankfully, what a difference a year makes - the 3L album is a peach, and if you loved that little nugget then Bailey, “Long way Down” is a little gem that will be cherished like Gollum’s ring (F’narr! F’narr!). Based on the fact that Mr B isn’t exactly a young whippersnapper, perhaps Long Way Up might have been more appropriate?

Thankfully he has the very influential ear of Serafino Perugino, Head of Italian label Frontiers, and is a man on a mission to bringing classic rock/ melodic / AOR back to the forefront of a genre that’s needed right kick up the arse for a few years now. With Perugino comes the ‘go to’ guy for production, twiddling, occasional keyboards and backing vocals, Alessandro Del Vecchio. As you would expect it is mostly an Italian affair with Mario Percudani (Guitars), Alessandro Mori (Drums), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keyboards), and finally a British/Serb Bailey (brother Andy) providing backing vocals.

What do you get? Well, if a well crafted, polished and crafted set of songs is your delight, then look no further than “Long Way Down”. If anything it’s a slight side step from 3L, but only a small step. Nigel has a love of a bridge and a chorus that few can muster. Couple this with a heavier / rockier edge than the Lions and hopefully you get my drift. “Feed The Flames” accentuates NBs vocal talents, and what with Perducani’s guitar, it makes for a song that will have many a soon to be fan rocking in their living rooms. “In The Name Of The King” comes out of the starting blocks like a fighter jet. Not only does it have a great riff, the whole thing makes it one of the tracks of the year. “Dirty Little Secret” is standard AOR fare (not in a bad way), but now’t new either; the chorus lifts it above the standard. “Bad Reputation” is obviously where Bailey gets its kicks, as BR gives it some welly in the heavy department. Throw in some funk like Extreme and a kick ass solo and enjoy the groove. If a bigger band had written this, we’d be waxing lyrical, such is the quality.

“Stay” and “Somewhere In Oslo” are something akin to what pretty much every band wrote in the late 80s, and are charming enough in a FM kind of way. Title track “Long Way Down” with its muscular riff again puts the pedal to the metal and rises to the top of the pile. “Spend The Night’ with its acoustic intro signals its ballad intent right from the off; but throw in some emotional vocals and a tad of guitar and is no doubt a rock sonnet to Mrs. Bailey. The next couple of songs “Love Falls Down” and “Ticket To Yesterday” could easily have been written for Three Lions. The highlights for me is when Bailey lets loose and goes for the heavier end of melodic / classic rock, and “Dirty Angel” is the Ronseal guarantee - it does what it says on the tin. Its an ‘in your face, kick you in the nads, thank you and goodnight’ song and a very good way to finish off the album.

All in all it fits in well with Frontiers roster of high quality, polished, well-produced artistes. Bailey has used his experience of playing the pubs and clubs, and honed his craft to become one of the rock highlights (as 3L and Bailey) of 2014.

Like the Guinness tagline of the 90s, ‘Good things come to those who wait’. I sincerely hope this is the case for Nigel Bailey.

Score 85/100

Bailey is...

Nigel Bailey – Vocals (Lead and Backing), Bass, Guitars
Mario Percudani – Electric, Acoustic, and slide guitars
Alessandro Mori – drums
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards

Additional backing vocals by Andy Bailey and Alessandro Del Vecchio

Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio

Release date
EU 5.12.14
NA 9.12.14 (that’s December if you are reading this in the US!) 


Tracklisting (recommended)

Feed The Flames
In The Name Of The King
Dirty Little Secret
Bad Reputation
Somewhere In Oslo
Long Way Down
Spend The Night
Love Falls Down
Ticket To Yesterday
Dirty Angel

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pain Of Salvation - Falling Home album review

Daniel Gildenlöw is a very driven man. Pain Of Salvation is his baby, his life, and most likely it well end up killing him! That said, when I met him a couple of years ago, he has a steely determination for how he wants Pain Of Salvation to look, sound and feel. Constantly driving (and striving) forward with every passing year and album.

2014 makes no exception. Probably lucky to still be with us after contracting necrotizing fasciitis (don’t consider looking it up if you’re squeamish!) DG wanted to give the fans a bonus by recording an acoustic gig from Germany in 2012. As the Pain Of Salvation train never runs smoothly, this gig was never recorder. However DG still didn’t let it go and decided to bring the recording equipment to the rehearsal room, play the songs through and record it as if it were a live gig.

After all the effort DG admits that he may well have made this a studio album instead. As he puts 100% into everything, these reimagined acoustic versions are very close to his heart. Also included are two cover versions, Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’, and Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’. There’s also a new song, the title track ‘Falling Home’.

So, what’s it all like….?

Well, ‘Stress’ becomes a jazz-swing fusion with a bit of rockabilly thrown in for good measure. It’s as if Pain Of Salvation are undergoing a split personality as the songs have become something new and far removed, which, lets face it is what you want when you hears bands doing covers, only in this instance its Pain Of Salvation covering themselves. One of my fave songs of theirs, ‘Linoleum’ is hardly recognizable from the original – you have to wait to hear the lyrics to kick in before it becomes familiar. ‘To The Shoreline’ is one of those that I wonder why acousticize (?) it, when it’s already a delicate and haunting song? I similar thing can be said of ‘1979’. Both were solid contenders of my fave songs from ‘Road Salt Two’, and though slightly stripped down from the originals, both are too close to the originals.

Moving on from that comment ‘Holy Diver’ couldn’t be anymore further away from the original if it wanted to. Dan Reed did an acoustical, and superb version a couple of years back, so whilst not the first reimagining, Pain Of Salvation have raised the bar when it comes to an original cover version of what is an undoubted metal classic; part lounge, part reggae, and part jazz, its definitely going to divide people, but I think its fantastic.  I’ve never got (or understood) Lou Reed, and Perfect Day is one to avoid for me. I would like to have heard this one metalled up, rather than toned down. ‘Mrs. Modern Mother Mary’ becomes something completely new from the original – now it’s a quite a compelling ballad. ‘Flame To The Moth’ comes across as if covered by Breed 77, a Spanish flamenco guitar oriented version. ‘Spitfall’ is a lot more accessible to these ears from the original and is a lot more delicate and enjoyable especially with the Hammond in the background. Last song ‘Falling Home’ is just delightful. If (as a fan of TV show Nashville) this were on said TV show, Pain Of Salvation would have an undoubted hit on their hands, and if this is a possible new direction then it has me hooked even more,  as it is 3 minutes of pure bliss and also my fave song on the album.

There was a time in the 90s when everyone who was anyone or no one did an acoustic album or tour and it pretty much (for me anyway) became a form to avoid in the end. However, when something is done as majestically and thoughtfully as this, it becomes a whole new format and wonderfully enjoyable listening experience.

Whether or not Pain Of Salvation garner any new listeners remains to be seen. ‘Falling Home’ certainly makes some of their music a lot more accessible and that’s a great thing indeed. I expect it will still be for Pain Of Salvation die hards. If you are a die hard fan, there is a digipak version, which includes the songs ‘She Likes To Hide’ and ‘Kingdom of Loss’.

SCORE 85/100

Pain Of Salvation are

Daniel Gildenlöw – lead vocals, acoustic guitars
Ragnar Zolberg – acoustic guitars, vocals
Léo Margarit – drums, vocals
Daniel D2 Karlsson – Rhodes, organs, vocals
Gustaf Hielm - acoustic basses, upright bass, vocals

Tracklist –

To The Shoreline
Holy Diver
Chain Sling
Perfect Day
Mrs. Modern Mother Mary
Flame To The Moth
Falling Home

Pain Of Salvation - 1979 (Falling Home)