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!!!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Tremonti - 'Dust' Album review

Now is a pretty good time to be a fan of the man riffing machine that is Tremonti. What with Alter Bridge albums aplenty with another one due on the horizon later this year, and this, (Dust’) his third album as ‘Tremonti’ in less than three years, the bloke is positively proilific.

Dust is pretty much a companion piece to last years explosive ‘Cauterize ‘ – review here (http://www.chesyrockreviews.com/2015/05/tremonti-cauterize-album-review.html). Think of it like the current trend to split the last film of a trilogy into two parts (like The Hunger Games, or Harry Potter). This is pretty much what Tremonti has done here. Rather than subject the listener to a major riffage overload that few could withstand on a potential double album, he let the ‘Dust’ literally lie on ‘Cauterize’, before unleashing it onto his public.

The Tremonti band(wagon) is still Eric Friedman (Guitar) and Garrett Whitlock (Drums), along with young Wolfgang Van Halen (Bass). The continuity is paying major dividends. I cant say here that his voice is sounding EVEN better this time around as both Cauterize and Dust were recorded at the same time pretty much.

There is definitely a step change in Tremonti’s vocal delivery over ‘All I Was’. Immediately you can tell ne has grown as a vocalist, and improved quite considerable since the debut album

‘My Last Mistake’ positively comes racing out at you like a horde of zombies, and not those slow buggers, the ones that sprint like they are attached to a SCUD. The riff is a bruising affair indeed. ‘The Cage’ is an example of how to thy to fuck up your drummer, with Whitlock pounding the skins as if the bloke’s an octopus. You know that if an intro contains four blasts of a cymbal, then there’s brutal riffs following the count-in, and here Tremonti doesn’t disappoint! Tremonti hasn’t got the best vocal range in the World, but he knows his limitations and sticks to what he knows is possible. Its not Todd La Torre stuff, but it doesn’t make it any less worthy as the voice fits the song.

‘Dust’ immediately sounds as if it would be perfect for an Alter Bridge album. This is the issue when one has a certain style, its hard to breakaway from the now firmly established Tremonti guitar tone and style. I really can imagine Kennedy chipping in with vocals on this one. Its not at face melting as the preceding tracks and this makes for a very pleasant listen, its more balladic and soaring.

‘Betray Me’ mixes both power and melody to great effect and its probably equal in measure to the light and heavy side of Tremonti. ‘Catching Fire’ is a song to get the blood coursing around your system. All I can say is that Whitlock deserves double pay as the bloke does twice as much as the average drummer. ‘Never Wrong’ is a song that plays second to ‘Dust’ in order of favourites, and has a very 80s vibe to it, with dare I say a touch of Van Halen? ‘Rising Storm’ is basically a Ronseal effort – it does what it says on the tin. ‘Unable To See’ sees Tremonti going out on a high. It’s a truly strong and emotional piece, with its subtle start, rising to a crescendo, then falling back to acoustic…..

Tremonti hasn’t gone for ‘all out Thrash’ on this one and has probably provided his most diverse and interesting Tremonti album to date. I do think that fans of his first two may put this at the bottom of their list, but it’s the most rewarding album for Alter Bridge fans. Whilst Tremonti was quick to point out that Dust is not an album of B sides, I truly believe him. This for me sits more comfortably as a fan of Alter Bridge than the Thrash temple of Tremonti. Its possible that some songs are recycled AB riffs, but who gives a toss. Creed and AB will always be difficult to break away from due to his inimitable style

He has well and truly earned the right to make the albums that please him and not certain sections of his various fan bases. For me, this one, due to its range of songs is the most effective

Score – 88/100

Tracklisting -
My Last Mistake
The Cage
Once Dead
Betray Me
Tore My heart Out
Catching Fire
Never Wrong
Rising Storm
Unable To See

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Gene The Werewolf - 'The Loner' Album Review

Jesus! How time flies. I cant believe its three-and-a-half years since Gene The Werewolf completely rocked my little world and blew by ears into submission with their first album for Frontiers, the excellent ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal’. Whilst it didn’t hit the top spot in my 2012 albums (it made No 5 after just a couple of weeks listening) it became a firm favourite. However it was the album I listened to the most in 2013 (and quite a bit since), so this new ‘opus’ has a lot to live up to…..

Gene the Werewolf has never paid attention to trends. Nor has the Pittsburgh-based quintet been part of a scene or the hipster's band of choice. They are iconoclasts by virtue of their music, rock 'n' roll survivors in thrall to the genre's power and energy. And they're damn good at it, even if they are a dying breed. "It's strange to feel like you are one of the last of your own kind," says Gene, the band's dynamic front-man and lead singer.

In a perfect world it's music that should be blasting on car radios from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, on jukeboxes in dives and biker bars and in every country in-between. Why, I hear you ask? Because Gene The Werewolf play full on ‘good-time party rock’ that is almost defunct these days. Posters of the hirsute Gene and his bandmates – guitarist Drew Donegan, bassist Tim Schultz, drummer Nick Revak and keyboard player Aaron Mediate -- should be on the walls of kids (and quite a few adults) across the globe. Whilst they are not the same as Wyld Stallyns, they deserve to have a ‘universal’ appeal. Put Gene the Werewolf on stage at the Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip or The Troubadour in West Hollywood in 1989, and they'd kill. But times have changed. These guys don't have access to a DeLorean (they may have, but not the Doc Brown version). The next best thing is an album like "The Loner" that takes you to those halcyon days when rock 'n' roll was hip and cool and fearless. If you yearn for rock music that echoes Motley Crue, Alice Cooper and Guns 'N Roses, with dashes of Whitesnake and Winger in the mix, "The Loner" certainly deserves your attention.

The good thing is rock fans is the ‘’The Loner’’ takes off exactly where ‘’RnRA’’ left off. To be honest there’s not enough song writing about the real social issues that the world is experiencing  in the 21st Century. Gene the Werewolf address this with the opening track ‘The Walking Dead’ and its Gene’s take on a zombie apocalypse, and the song itself feels like you’re being attacked around the ears by Rick and Darryl from TMCs TWD! Gene’s vocals are the highlight, but when combined with the full assault package, and not one but TWO solo’s courtesy of Winger/Whitesnakes Reb Beach, it’s a beautiful thang!

‘Boogeyman’ opens up with a bit of Rainbow’s LLRNR riff, but that’s where it ends and the Werewolves vibe takes over. Few bands can match the party vibe of GTW, and only GTW can come up with titles like ‘Too Kool For Skool’; and when he sings ‘’when youre 6’2’’ and got sex appeal you can get any girl you want’’ you know you and the band are in for a great time. ‘The Loner’ is simple rock a la The Rolling Stones/ Georgia Satellites and when its done as simple and as pure as this, its anthemic gold dust. ‘Let It Loose’ takes its lead from AC/DC with a ‘Gene’ twist. If Angus is looking for someone to fill Brian Johnson’s huge shoes, then Gene’s the man! Basically, the way AC/DC are at the moment, if I were Angus Young, I’d do a Ritchie Blackmore and just drop myself into GTW! Problem solved.

The ‘DC’ vibe carries through into ‘A World To Rely On’, and ‘Fortune And Fame’ is the kind of song that cannot fail to have you bouncing off the walls at home playing the air instrument of your choice. If you fail to rock out to this song then you’re completely deaf, or just a twat! ‘Easy Woman’ goes all the way back to 1958 with its Leiber/Stoller salvo from the Elvis Presley classic ‘Trouble’. ‘If You Want Me’ is as melodic and as close to a ballad that these guys can muster. The final song (its come way too quick) is ‘The Best I Can’ and showcases the honky-tonk piano of Randy Baumann of WDVE-FM and slide guitar by The Clarks' guitar maestro, Rob James. Its a great end to a great album!

At just 36 mins long it harks back to the great days of the 80s and vinyl where a lengthy album came in at 45 mins! As a great sage once said ‘its not the length, its what you do with it’ and GTW have done it in style.

In a nutshell, ‘The Loner’ is one of THE BEST ‘party anthem rock n roll anthem’ albums you’ll hear all year (did I mention its got anthems?). Gene The Werewolf are one of your favourite bands that you haven’t got into yet. In a world where AC/DC are clinging onto a rock like a dying limpet, bands like Gene The Werewolf deserve to fill some of the void that will soon be left behind by this great band.

This is essential listening if you long for bands who were ‘your world’ in the 80s – such as Crue, Whitesnake, Y&T, Enuff Z’Nuff, etc, then Gene The Werewolf is a worthy addition to your collection.

Essential !!!

Score 95/100

Tracklisting –

The Walking Dead
Too Kool For Skool
The Loner
Let It Loose
A World To Rely On
Fortune & Fame
Easy Woman
If You Want me
The Best I Can

Gene The Werewolf are…..
Gene The Werewolf – Vocals
Drew Donegan – Guitar
 Tim Schultz – Bass
 Nick Revak – Drums
Aaron Mediate – Keys

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Martina Edoff - Live Review, Railway Venue, Bolton 15.4.16

Sultry Swedish singer, Martina Edoff who has the voice of an angel x with a smidge of good ‘ol USA Country & Western, rode into town on THE ‘Highway to Hell’……or in this case, Bolton. Not that Bolton is Hell, but the main road going into town is the A666. There will be no ‘end of days’ jokes here folks, but after seeing Ms Edoff, there were a few ‘horny’ males knocking around the venue.

The venue in question, is the soon to be defunct Railway Venue. A unique place, part living room (nice and homely), with all the accoutrements a budding starlet could want; a cracking sound system that perforates ear drums, lasers, and enough smoke to think you’re in the Vatican electing the next Pope. The current landlords (John and Hilary) have done a cracking job of this place and it will be a loss to the rock scene that’s for sure.
Enough of the back story, what about the main event. Well this was Martina’s last stop of a very brief soiree in the UK; first Bilston, tonight Bolton. Apparently she only plays at towns/cities that begin with the letter ‘B’. Go figure. That’s probably why we didnt see her at the recent HRH AOR that is hand made for singers like Martina Edoff – shame on you HRH guys! HRH loss is definitely our gain. 

Martina is backed by ‘Crash’ (Drums) and Jona Tee (Keys) of Heat, with long standing bassist Nalle Påhlsson, and guitarist Stefan Bergström.

Despite this being being the second of two gigs, one thing is evident, the band are tight. Edoff is a glamorous as they come; slim, slender, with long flowing black hair and bejewelled with shiny stuff. Despite her very svelt frame she has the power of a cannon ripping through tissue. The 'voice' shouldn’t come from a frame like this, but it does, with some welly that matches the two albums and with no added effects!

Edoff powers through a lot of the set. The two albums are contrasting, her debut (for the rock community) is more rock country, whereas ‘Unity’ is  Melodic Rock, but both are enhanced by one of the best female (or male) rock singers this side of Stockholm. In fact the first seven songs from the set are all from Unity – with the title track  'Unity', ‘Sound Of Thunder’ and the strangely named ‘I Am Mining’ taking the edge. The latter being a punchy, fun number that soars above the album version, even if it is about ‘mining!!’

‘On The Top’ is the very first song that attracted me to Martina Edoff, A song that’s truly in the vein of the queen of Country Rock – Shania Twain.  There was a bit of a special encore for us crows in covers from both Heart and AC/DC, which were lapped up in droves. Martina Edoff handles Ann Wilsons vocals without any trouble, and that's no mean feat. All in all it’s a very impressive performance from Edoff and her band. Its just a pity that there were only about 50 people there to see it. However, those that did were treated to a little gem of a performance.

Which brings me onto the subject of why so many venues are closing their doors….this isn’t  the case here as the Railway Venue as they really support bands with a great set up. Their imminent closure is more brewery related than a lack of support. That said, Martina Edoff deserved a better turnout than this. And when this happens, its no big surprise that either a) bands fail to return, or b) the more important nature of venues closing their doors.

Get with the plan people, support your venues and the bands that come to play in them!