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, 27 February 2016

Inglorious Gig Review - The Old Courts, Wigan, 26.2.16

The Place. Wigan
The time. A little after 9 p.m.
The date. 26.2.16
The band. Inglorious.

The people who attended The Old Courts witnessed something special tonight, as I’m sure all the other venues have on their debut album tour. I’m not a massive fan of the Old Courts, a hall with massive fuck off columns that obscure the stage. That said, this place holds an affinity for the Inglorious boys as it’s where they cut their first video.

All the guys mozied onto the stage one by one to The Who, leaving ‘The Hair’ and ‘The Voice’ (Nathan James) to enter last to the loudest of receptions. Yes he is the focal point of the band, but Inglorious have mustered up something very here as ALL of them contribute to one of the best debut gigs I’ve witnessed, EVER!

 Within the first few bars of ‘Until I Die’ we all knew we were witnessing greatness in the making. Inglorious don’t seem like a brand new band, they play as if they’ve been together for years, tight as a nut with a guy with a flamethrower of a voice. A lot of singers can strip 7 coats of paint off a barn door, but then there’s Nathan James. ‘Breakaway’ just intensified the pace of the set before a superb cover of one of their (and mine) fave bands; Rainbow’s ‘I Surrender’, with the vocal harmonies going off the scale. Special mention here for the non-Brit Andreas Eriksson’s guitar playing especially following Blackmore’s lead and it was well and truly nailed! ‘High Flying Gypsy’ is James’ tribute to Coverdale, and today he is more Coverdale than Coverdale! ‘Bleed For You’ built its pace to a huge crescendo. I hate to harp on about one bloke in particular, but the pitch, tone and huge scale of James’ voice is immense. (Take care of that voice son).

‘Inglorious’ is one difficult song to pull off, especially the beginning with the harmonies that have the potential to be ‘pitchy’ but weren’t, and afterward I thought ‘here we go, another friggin drum and bass solo’ but this was different. It was a reprise of ‘Inglorious’, and Colin Parkinson is obviously a huge Billy Sheehan fan, and the groove laid down was rather cool. Phil Beaver, in accompaniment was also tight. Beaver’s a cross between Ginger Baker, Animal, and Captain Caveman. I put him close to Jerry Gaskill, and that’s some complement.

A mind-blowing cover of Toto’s ‘Girl Goodbye’ came up next. This version was absolutely (well, I’ve said it already), mind blowing. The musicianship and all surround-sound harmonies were nothing short of stunning. I’m not ignoring ‘Holy Water’ (again brill!), but it was sandwiched between two David Cover-version songs, ‘Fool For Your Loving’ and ‘Lay Down, Stay Down” I sware that if they had covered ‘Burn’ I probably would have fainted. In the past I’ve felt that covers are ‘fillers’ for new bands, but in this case, all four songs tonight just increased the excitement level.

The set was over all too quickly with ‘Unaware’ as the encore. It could be a Bond theme song, but it’s our song instead. Just when you think it’s a gentle and subtle ballad, it just rips your ears off your head and leaves you begging for mercy.

James is a whirling dervish of a front man, totally captivating, and waving his arms like he’s landing a Boeing! Couple this with the huge talents that are Inglorious and it will see these guys playing much bigger and better venues in a very short space of time. I expect great things of Inglorious.

Inglorious definitely are the future of British Rock, and possibly Rock in general. Think Wyld Stallyns as a universe-uniting band only with better songs!

If they are looking for tour sponsors, I’d thoroughly recommend Nitromors, and E.A.R. as you are guaranteed to leave with some hearing loss. Unmissable.

Set list

Until I Die
I Surrender
High Flying Gypsy
Bleed For You
Girl Goodbye
Fool For Your Loving
Holy Water
Lay Down, Stay Down
Girl Got A Gun

Encore –

Review by Paul Chesworth

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Mason Hill - EP Review

Mason Hill. An unusual name for a band, but a rather good one I think. From a much earlier interview James states “Eventually, Scott saw the name Dr Mason in the newspaper with an article that was either about a hill or the word hill was in the title. It was a long night. Anyway, he said Mason Hill out loud and it just run with us as it wasn’t the world’s greatest band name but we didn’t dislike it like the others. We felt it naturally and stuck with it.”

Mason Hill has been gigging throughout Scotland for nearly two year playing at venues in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bathgate, Fort William and Inverness. Highlights include packed houses at Mad Hatters in Inverness, Wildfire and Ice festival in Glasgow and King Tuts in Glasgow. The band has played several higher profile shows lined including supporting The Burning Crows and Falling Red on the "Behind the Veil of the Damned" tour, an appearance of the Wildfire Rock and Metal festival in June 2015 in Lanarkshire, and a support slot for Snakecharmer.

The debut EP was recorded at The Foundry Music Lab in Motherwell and was released in late 2015. Lets come straight to the point, Mason Hill are a band that you’re going to hear a lot more about over the coming months and years.

“Survive” comes right out of the starting blocks with a massive bang, and you immediately know that once you hear Scott Taylor’s opening wail that these guys are gonna be good! Its a bricks and mortar, solid foundation of a song. Its short, sweet, controlled and highly effective, its key components are the soloing of James Bird and the paint melting vocals of Taylor.

“Your Memory” reminds me ever so slightly of fellow Scottish rockers Logan. Only, sorry Logan guys, Mason Hill are doing it better. Its got the hallmarks of BSC and Alter Bridge, think Black Alter Cherry and you’re there! This one is driven by the rhythm of Craig McFetridge’s drumming and the pulsating bass work of Matt Ward, before giving the keys of the castle to Bird to let rip with another cracking solo.

“Now You See Me” comes at ‘the rock’ in a different angle from the previous two, but still hits the mark with a very smooth and catchy chorus.  The pace is much different but I can see that it would clearly be a track to be built on live as a fan sing-a-long, with plenty of ‘whoa-ohs ‘ to sing into your hair brush alone in your attic.

The final song “Where I Belong” shows a gentler side to the band, and shows they are not just hard and fast (but effective) rockers. The Les Paul's are replaced with an acoustic,  but the best instrument on offer here is Taylor's vocals, who has a nice ‘rasp’ to his style. The song is wonderfully constructed, just holding back, when they could easily let rip and you all Freebird on our asses. Bird’s solo is a beautiful thing, full of soul and emotion which isn’t bad for a young bloke who has no right to be playing like this at such a young age. The crescendo slowly builds and as a whole its my fave of the bunch. I can see bikers sobbing into their beers in Glasgow!

Mason Hill have packed more quality into 18mins than a lot of bands can manage over an album. For this they should be very proud.Few bands produce an EP that is as strong as these guys have. Its one hell of an impressive start. It bodes well for their (and also for rock fans) future that there’s something new and impressive just appearing over the horizon.

I’d like to see more bands like Mason Hill, Sons Of Icarus, and The King Lot getting major exposure as these kind of bands could become the headliners of tomorrow given half the chance. Check all these guys out as the future of UK rock is in safe hands. Shit, if you don’t like them, I'll refund your money myself!*

* No I bloody well won't! I'm not stupid. But I am confident you'll love them!!

Score - 85/100

Tracklist -

Your Memory
Now You See Me
Where I Belong

Mason Hill are –

Scott Taylor – Vocals
James Bird – Guitar
Craig McFetridge – Drums
Matthew Ward – Bass

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Sons Of Icarus - 'Beyond The Sun' Album Review

Its been quite a while (4 years and 3 months) since I first encountered Guildford’s Sons Of Icarus supporting the then relatively unknown Rival Sons, in the small Manchester Academy 3. Since then Rival Sons have gone from strength to strength, and Sons Of Icarus, not so much, even despite my admiration for them and also tipping them for definite stars of the future in 2012. They were babies back then, and they are still young whipper-snappers today

I’m not saying the boys haven’t been industrious and bone idle these past four years, far from it, and have toured vehemently these past few years. But if a band is judged on its album output then SoI are the musical equivalent of Lord Lucan. Its over 4 years since I reviewed their very good EP, and you can be easily forgotten if you are not in the public’s faces. After a very long wait, their debut album, ‘Beyond the Sun’ drops digitally 12th Feb and will hopefully be for general release in March.

So…has the gap in releases treated them well? Thankfully you’ll be pleased to know that the musical fires have been kept burning and well stoked. The EP was heavy, but ‘Beyond The Sun’ certainly takes the face-melting up a notch or three. Opening track ‘Let It Burn’ matches Steve Balkwill’s crunching guitar with Andy Masson’s shriek and makes it one hell of an assault on the senses. In fact Andy has a voice that could strip 15 layers of paint – think of it as Nitromors for the ears! ‘Make Amends’is the first single and is a great choice (check out the South Park inspired video -  link at the bottom of the page ) and is the musical equivalent of catnip and is instantly memorable. ‘Please Come Home’ highlights the talents of Balkwill, a guitar god in the making and seems to pull riffs out of his arse for fun, none more so than on the massive ‘You Want It All’. Its one of two songs that has made it from the EP. It was good then, and almost 5 years later it is still probably the best song they have written. Established bands would kill for a song like this, and it has one of the best rock riffs this side of Tony Iommi’s moustasche!!!! The (almost) seven minute just fly by, as SoI throw all their tricks into it.

‘Falling’ reminds me of Alice In Chains/Soundgarden/Temple Of The Dog and has its roots firmly planted in Seattle. If they’d have written it at the same time as the grunge movement, their dads would have been credited. ‘R.O.B.’ sees Andy Masson hitting notes that only people with tinnitus and small dogs can hear. ‘Not Myself’ is the other track that’s carried over from the EP and has a great up-tempo pace and borders on funky.  ‘Higher’ is one for the ladies, and more of a softer ballad than anything before, but still with a cutting edge. ‘Find Your way’ has Masson’s vocals akin to Myles Kennedy, and an overall early Alter Bridge vibe. And that people is fine by me. The end comes all too quickly and it’s an acoustically driven ‘Beauty Queen’ that sees them off. It takes its lead from the deep south, that’s Alabama, and not the Isle Of Wight. It shows another side to riff laden young guns and is a surprising change.

If I have one gripe, and its one I stated 4 yrs ago, its ‘turn the fooking bass up!’ That aside, Sons Of Icarus really deserve to be filling 2000 seat venues and not the shit holes they have been frequenting. I certainly hope that BTS gets them noticed and up the ladder and sharpish.

Fuck Iron Maiden, Fuck Black Sabbath. Fuck Metallica. They don’t need your money. Support up and coming bands like Sons Of Icarus otherwise you’ll have no bugger to go and see in 10 years time. Bands like this are the headliners of the future. The album will cost you £8 (2 pints of beer in certain parts of the UK), so do me, and them a favour and check out a superb UK rock band! You will not regret for a second.

Score 89/100

Let It Burn
Make Amends
Please Come Home
You Want It All
Not Myself
Find Your way
Beauty Queen

Sons Of Icarus are –
Andy Masson – Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Steve Balkwill – Guitar
Alex Masson – Bass / Backing Vocals
Mike McQuillan – Drums and Percussion

Live photos courtesy of 'FRISWELL PHOTOGRAPHY'

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The King Lot - ST Album Review

Back in October I excitedly went to see Dan Reed Network for the first time in my history. Id always been a fan, but never caught them in the days when Mr Reed was a bona fide rock god! That aside, up until October Id never heard the words ‘The King Lot’. A support band for Dan Reed Network opened up and to be honest, until I walked out of the gig at the end, THAT was the first time Id heard the words ‘The King Lot’.

They were a band that looked bugger all like they sounded, more biker grunge than a melodic rock band to make your years prick up and attract your attention. If a band I’ve not encountered makes you stop talking and pay full attention then that’s a great thing. The King Lot, I’m glad to say, do this by the bucket load. I watched (and listened) intently, absorbing all I could take in. The CD had to be sought and bought and felt that it deserves a review

The King Lot was only formed in 2013. I guess they have all been around the block a bit, but the current collective seem planted firmly on the right track. Being Scottish there will always be a comparison to the likes of Gun, and rightly so. But also in the mix are bands like The Cult, The Wildhearts, Thunder, FM, Little Angels and even Diving For Pearls.

The album is fairly short by today’s standards at just under 40 mins. That makes it even better, as the dross is binned in favour of 10 quality rock songs that fly by at an astounding speed.

‘As They Burn’ kicks off like a train to the temple, full of GnR style riffs and sounds much bigger than a 3 piece. ‘One Of These Days’ melds The Cult with Diving For Pearls and is a cracking melodic rock anthem. ‘Addicted’ builds to a storming chorus full of power and energy, and is now setting the stall out for the rest of the album.
Lets Get Together immediately draws on Little Angels as an influence, to a point where it sounds like Toby Jepson is actually singing.  My fave of the album is the haunting (sic) ‘Ghost Of You’ with its guitar refrain that immediately gets embedded into your brain. It’s the kind of song they could turn into an epic length and become a staple for years to come.

‘Lets Get Together’ again had a Little Angels thread running through the track, and is a pulsating and barnstorming track. At this point the album is proving to be consistently strong with not a shite song in sight, with ‘Until My Dying Day’ proving to keep up the pace. ‘All Is Not Lost’ is more laid back than anything so far, it’s bordering on a pop/rock/country ballad that should be a staple on Radio 2. (There’s bugger all-wrong with R2 people!). ‘The Bang Of A Drum’ is a song to really get the blood pumping and one definitely for the live set. Quite often bands but their weaker stuff at the back, probably because a lot of people haven’t got the patience of sitting down and listening to an album in its entirety nowadays. ‘Queen Of hearts’ strongly ignores this trend and it’s a might fine way to finish off an album. It’s a quieter and acoustic way to bow out, and its like Bon Jovi (only when they were great).

 Many UK bands have deserved major success over the years and it just hasn’t quite worked out for them Whether The King Lot can buck this trend and make a name for themselves in this current climate remains to be seen, But they certainly have some songs that place their head above the parapet and deserve a much bigger audience

If I could rewrite my fave albums from 2015, this would firmly be placed in the Top 10. Sorry it took me so long to catch onto The King Lot bandwagon fellas!

Score 85/100

As They Burn
One Of These Days
Ghost Of You
Lets Get Together
Until My Dying Day
All Is Not Lost
The Bang Of A Drum
Queen Of hearts