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, 23 February 2017

Lionville - 'A World Of Fools' Album Review


Lionville – A World Of Fools

Born as a high profile project dedicated to pure AOR with a touch of Westcoast and melodic rock, Lionville draw inspiration from acts like Toto, Richard Marx, Giant, Bad English, Survivor, and Boulevard. The project was started by Stefano Lionetti, a songwriter, singer, and guitarist based in Genova, Italy and his brother Alessandro. After years of playing the local club circuit of Genova, Stefano started LIONVILLE with the encouragement and help of Pierpaolo “Zorro” Monti (Shining Line) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Eden's Curse, Hardline). With the involvement of singer Lars Säfsund (Work Of Art), LIONVILLE quickly began to take shape

Its surprising how fast time passes. It’s been five years since Lionville II was released. In a time where peoples musical tastes change quickly, and more and more bands come into the scene, five years is a lifetime. Good things come to those who wait……

There’s been a bit of tinkering in the lineup since ‘II’, but thankfully the sound behind Lionville remains constant with Stefano Lionetti and Lars Såfsund the two key components. Bringing up the rest of Lionville is Michele Cusato – Guitars, Giulio Dagnino – Bass, and Martino Malacrida – Drums

If I had to describe Lionville’s sound, it would be in two simple words….’silky smooth’.  Most of that is down to Såfsund’s vocals. Since he came on the scene with Work Of Art, his vocals prove to be one of the finest in this genre. If anything, the quality of songs are what makes or breaks a band, and this is the finest Lionville album yet. Its 80s AOR with a Westcoast vibe that will have fans of Toto and the like in raptures. Its aor-candy for the 21st Century!

‘A World Of Fools’ is consistently good, with a few songs that rise above the parapet into excellent. Their stall is well and truly set out with the pacey and riff heavy opener ‘I Will Wait’. ‘Show Me The Love’ is European pop/rock AOR at its best. ‘Bring Me Back Our Love’ ticks all the melodic rock boxes in abundance, polished sound, hugely melodic chorus, and strong riffage! ‘One More Night’ is one song that is to be played at maximum volume just to show off the infectious chorus and rip roaring solo. ‘Heaven Is Right Here’ follows the same musical path. There’s a lot of positivity in this album, very uplifting any a joy to listen to, as ‘All I Want’ proves. With a song like ‘Livin’ On The Edge’ I expected a rip-snorter of a track, whereas it’s the complete opposite. Its not bad, but its not the best on the album by a long shot. ‘Our Good Goodbye’ is so Toto-esque, I half expect to hear WIllaims/Lukather and Paich to be playing on it! ‘Paradise’ is another of those anthemic arena songs that Lionville seem able to write without and issue. Its like shelling peas for them.

I’ve enjoyed the Lionville journey so far. Their debut came out of the blue for me initially, and ‘II’ was also a joy. I think with ‘A World Of Fools’ they have surpassed themselves.  Existing fans…it’s a no-brainer. If you have not listened before, what are you waiting for. Its silky smooth, highly polished Westcoast AOR. Its exactly the type of band Toto should take on the road with them.

February is proving to be a strong month for Frontiers…

Score 85/100

Tracklisting
I Will Wait
Show Me The Love
Bring Back Our Love
Heaven Is Right Here
A World Of Fools
One More Night
All I Want
Livin’ On The Edge
Our Good Goodbye
Paradise
Image Of Your Soul

Lionville are
Stefano Lionetti – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
Lars Såfsund – Lead & Backing Vocals
Michele Cusato – Guitars
Giulio Dagnino – Bass
Martino Malacrida – Drums




Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Tokyo Motor Fist - 'ST' Album Review


Tokyo Motor Fist – TMF

Now, either Tokyo Motor Fist has come from a random name generator, or its an inspired band name. I can just imagine the conversation….Ted...‘Guys c’mon! The albums almost finished and we don’t have a band name for that Italian dude that’s given us the money to make this thing’. Chuck, ‘I know, lets come up with a name something like your porn name – you know your first pet and the street where you live!’ Ted, ‘Awesome dude! Let's put the following things in the hat….1. Your favourite place….2. A part of a car…..3. a body part’

So out of the hat comes ‘Tokyo Motor Fist’. It's a good job they didn’t go with the second random generated name….’Paris Gearbox Elbow’.

Based on this line up I am expecting great things, as these guys should know what they are doing and what fans expect. After all, it is Ted Poley (D2), Steve Brown (Trixter), Greg Smith (Rainbow, Ted Nugent) and Chuck Burgi (Rainbow, JLT, BOC). As per The Defiants debut last year, I want this to be every bit as good.  Best way I can describe the whole experience is that its like the summer feel-good sound of Y&Ts Summertime Girls crossed with D2s Naughty Naughty and a slice of Van Halen thrown in for good measure. There’s not a single duff track on this album, and its one of the most feel good, uplifting, unashamed slices of 80s classic rock AOR. They’ve gone through the elements of the 80s that made their original bands great – huge riffs…check. Even bigger harmonies….check. Widdly solos….double check!

Ted Poley sounds great. Basically, the album just flies by. The first six songs just kick you in the nuts and doesn’t back off for a single second. Its hard to pick any faves as its so consistent. If I had to pick one, it would be the all guns blazing ‘Shameless’. Its in a similar vein to DFPs ‘Gimme Your Good Lovin’. The album only draws breath for the ballad-ish ‘Don’t Let Me Go’, before that 80s influenced (and future classic I swear to God) ‘Put Me To Shame’. In fact its one of the best songs I heard in the last few years. It’s that good, I asked the mother in law to knit me a new set of legwarmers! ‘Done To Me’ is as if Poley was fronting Def Leppard. ‘Get You Off My Mind’ borders on arena rock with its instantly memorable chorus. The album is all over waaay too quickly with the brisk and pulsating ‘Fallin’ Apart’.

Signore Perugino certainly has a knack when he is putting projects together. I'm hoping (like The Defiants) that Tokyo Motor Fist tour our shores, or at the bear minimum play a festival over the coming 12 months. TMF is one of the best debuts I’ve heard since The Defiants, Blood Red Saints & Angels Or Kings in recent years. Its not just the Poley Show, in fact Steve Browns guitar work is simple awesome, and when its all backed up by the gruesome twosome of Burgi and Smith, it all makes for a superb album and listening experience!

If this isn’t at the sharp end of my (and your) top 5 albums of 2016 I’ll be very surprised

95/100 (it has to be immense to get 100)

Tokyo Motor Fist are
Ted Poley – Vocals
Steve Brown – Guitars
Greg Smith – Bass
Chuck Burgi – Drums

Tracklisting –
Picking Up The Pieces
Love Me Insane
Shameless
Love
Black And Blue
You’re My Revolution
Don’t Let Me go
Put Me To Shame
Done To Me
Get You Off My Mind
Fallin’ apart

Unruly Child - 'Can't Go Home' Album Review


Unruly Child – Cant Go Home

Grunge well and truly fucked up my music. All the bands I'd loved had packed it in. Some would say a new movement was needed as the hair metal bands of the time were getting out of hand and writing copious amounts of tripe. It wasn’t until I found a magazine called Hard Roxx in 1997 that this world opened up for me again. Not only that, there were a whole host of bands that had still been releasing albums that were so underground, it was if Jules Verne had a record label. Between 89-97 I only really listened to bands that has just about managed to survive grunge and were still releasing music.

Cracking melodic rock bands passed me by – Red Dawn, Signal, Ten, Talisman, etc., the list is huge. One voice really stood out for me once I started delving back into this world, and it was a familiar voice…..the voice of one Mark Free. The first King Kobra  album was probably one of my top 5 hair metal albums of the 80s, so much so, I re-recorded the bugger at least 3 times on cassette. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he had still been releasing music as a part of Signal, Unruly Child, and at that current time was a solo artiste.

The original members of the legendary melodic hard rock quintet Unruly Child have reunited to release a brand new album with Frontiers Music Srl entitled “Can’t Go Home”.

Marcie Michelle Free (vocalist - King Kobra, Signal), Bruce Gowdy (guitarist – Stone Fury, World Trade), and Guy Allison (keyboardist – Lodgic, World Trade, Doobie Brothers) together with the original band members from the first record, drummer - Jay Schellen (Hurricane, World Trade, Asia), and bassist - Larry Antonino (Pablo Cruise), comprise the line-up for this recording.

Well, Marcie still has the voice to melt the hardest of rock hearts. 'The Only One' is upbeat, just screams Summer and a top down in your convertible. If you don’t have one, just wind the windows down and stick it on full blast. ‘Four Eleven’ has this choppy riff that just is a bit different and completely infectious. At this point, I don’t know if it’s the quality of production, or the fact that I’m streaming the album, as it sounds a bit weak and thin in the ‘oomph’ stakes. 'Driving Into The Future' isn’t a song about Marty McFly, initially it’s a tad music by numbers but picks up with the guitar solo and the message so far is one of a feel good album. ‘Get On Top’ is full of layered harmonies. It’s a bit of a plodder, but the vocals save the day. ‘See if She Floats’ is drowning in its own averageness. Its not really inspiring a track. ‘She Can’t Go Home’ is the closet offering we get so far to a ballad., with Free’s voice being one of the best instruments and its probably the best of the bunch so far. Transgender aside Marcie still sounds like Mark of years ago and that isn’t a bad place to be as its easy to get lost and swept away in the vocals. 'Point Of View' is again a powerful uplifting track, one that harks back to the debut album. ‘Ice Cold Sunshine’ and ‘When Love Is Here’ sees UC stepping up the harmonies and are both examples of Allison’s great keyboard playing. The latter is another that takes influence from the debut. In my eyes, you can never have enough harmonies. ABBA taught me that from an early age!

‘Sunlit Sky’ is a proggy and 70s hippyish sounding song that again features Allison’s keyboard skills. The last track ‘Someday Somehow’ is bookended by a fake audience, and is an average way to bow out unfortunately.

One thing that unites the UC albums, they never seem short of ideas for a dodgy album covers.

In the light of recent times and the now abundance of melodic rock festivals, the time is right surely for a UK appearance. It’s just a case of which one gets lucky (and pays the airfare) and becomes the one to showcase the excellent Unruly Child.

As a final comment ‘Cant Go Home’ is good, but not as good as the debut.

Score 75/100

Unruly Child –
Marcie Michelle free – Vocals
Bruce Gowdy – Guitar
Guy Allison – Keyboards
Jay Schellen – Drums
Larry Antonino – Bass

Trackslisting
The Only One
Four Eleven
Driving Into The Future
Get On Top
See If She Floats
She Can’t Go Home
Point Of View
Ice Cold Sunshine
When Love Is Here
Sunlit Sky
Someday Somehow

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Michael Schenker - 'Fest Live' Review



As an ardent, dyed in the wool rock fan, I sometimes, only sometimes feel a bit aggrieved with my lot as a rock fan. The Germans have been getting this 'Rock Meets Classic' for a number of years, bands tour the US as they think there's no other life out of 'Murica, and the Japanese get bonus tracks on albums and throw a lot of money at bands which I'm guessing is the case here. Come on promoters of Great Britain, pull yer fingers out

Few live albums have excited me over the years. In fact I can count the ones that still have a special place on the fingers of one hand - Rainbow 'On Stage', UFO 'SITN', Lizzy's 'L&D', Purple's 'Made In Japan' and MSGs 'One Night In Budokan’. In fact, ‘ONIB’ was my first ever MSG purchase, aged 15!

So what do we have.....well, it's a comprehensive package of a 2 x cd, 1 x DVD (with other formats available). The lucky Japanese got to see a MSG show with, not one, not two, but three of the bands iconic vocalists (and all are still performing today so its not as if they wre shipped in a crate, dusted off and given a shot of adrenaline). Top this lot off with legendary bassist Chris Glen, and Ted McKenna. The band is rounded off with Steve Mann (guitar, keys, and ex-Lionheart). 

First of all we get 3/5 of the Budokan line up, and it makes me all nostalgic in wishing Cozy was still with us. 'Into The Arena' kicks thing off extremely well and is a fail-safe way to start proceedings. First up, in order of vocalists is 'my MSG' Gary Barden. Whilst he doesn't hit the high notes of 'Attack Of The Mad Axeman' he still sings well. I think he is just warming up, as for ‘Victim Of Illusion’, ‘Cry For The Nations’, etc., its a very similar Gary to that one of (getting on for) 40 years ago, and is only a bit squeaky on 'Armed And Ready'. Michael, as ever, has not lost a single bit of his guitar god status. His soloing is sill as emotive and flows like a raging torrent, repeating solos note for note from the originals. Scorps classics 'Coast To Coast' is, as ever a staple of Schenkers set and is faultless.

Next up, it's the return of Graham Bonnet. It's quite ironic really, as Bonnet never got the chance to sing his songs live on the ‘Assault Attack’ tour (apart from one infamous gig in Sheffield!). It's probably the most underrated of MSG albums. Not on my watch. If anyone doubts Bonnet’s vocals, he is on fire for 'Assault Attack'. Then it's straight into ‘Desert Song’, which isn't just one of the best MSG songs, it's one of my fave rock songs ever recorded. Bonnet looks as if his jaw is going to dislocate when he goes for the high notes, and as ever he lives up to his reputation of slicked back hair, shades, suit, tie and sneakers. For most of the part his performance is also excellent, just a tad pitchy on the 'poppy' 'Dancer'. 'Captain Nemo', an underrated classic Schenker instrumental is given a good ‘ol airing, before Robin McAuley is introduced. Out of the three vocalists, it's McAuley who sounds the best; his voice unchanged and is still hitting all the high notes with ease. McAuley Schenker Group not the most 'classic' of the MSG line-ups, but they did have a few really good songs, and for some strange reason, the two biggest of the McAuley Schenker Group era songs, 'Gimme Your Love' and 'Anytime' were not played. Strange. 

McAuley is given the opportunity to shine on the Mogg/U.F.O. classics 'Shoot Shoot' and 'Rock Bottom'. He is then joined for the finale by Bonnet and Barden for 'Doctor Doctor', only this time Bonnet didn't grab the guitar tech from behind the speakers and pull him to the front of stage. The crowd go nuts, but it's probably the weakest of the whole set due to the varying vocal styles. 
  
The 1 hour 38 minutes just whizzes by, and that's a testament to the great songs, and great performers coming together for a special gig. 

I'd just remove two of the UFO songs, and concentrate on the MSG. I'd love to have seen 'On and On', 'Ready To Rock' and 'Gimme Your Love' being played., because you can see the UFO at any of the 'Temple....' shows. 

Despite the cracking line up, it's essentially the Michael Schenker show. It's his name above the door so to speak, and it's he that still shines the most. 

The DVD has an annoying filter when viewed. If the blurry is similar on the Blu-ray I'd be well pissed off, as it's like someone's sprinkled dust over the lens. Either that or our telly is filthy! It's there right from the off, which I thought was a 'feature' at first, then some pillock forgot to switch it off. Not the best viewing experience! That aside, this package is worth it just for the DVD, and seeing the 80s MSG reunited.

The CD offers up the same as the DVD, and whilst enjoyable it's not quite the same as being able to see these greats performing on the same stage. Now can somebody please set up a funding page to make this happen in the U.K.

Essential if you're a fan of any of these three MSG eras. 




Score 8/10

Track listing -
Intro: Searching For Freedom
Into The Arena (Barden)
Attack Of The Mad Axeman (Barden)
Victim Of Illusion (Barden)
Cry For The Nations (Barden)
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Barden)
Armed And Ready (Barden)
Coast to Coast
Assault Attack (Bonnet)
Desert Song (Bonnet)
Dancer (Bonnet, with Barden & McAuley on BVs)
Captain Nemo
This Is My Heart (McAuley)
Save Yourself (McAuley)
Love Is Not A Game (McAuley)
Shoot Shoot (McAuley)
Rock Bottom (McAuley)
Doctor Doctor (Barden, Bonnet, McAuley)

Line up
Michael Schenker - Lead Guitar
Ted McKenna - Drums
Chris Glen - Bass
Steve Mann - Guitar, Keyboards

The Vocalists
Gary Barden
Graham Bonnet
Robin McAuley

Filmed and recorded at Tokyo's International Forum on August 24th, 2016

Released by inakustik on Friday 24th March 2017

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST “LIVE” TOKYO
FEATURING THE ORIGINAL MSG VOCALISTS
GARY BARDEN, GRAHAM BONNET AND ROBIN MCAULEY
Available on 2CD, 2CD+DVD combo, LP, DVD, Blu-ray, Digital