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, 11 May 2017

Inglorious - 'II' Album Review

Inglorious – II

Somewhere in a Faraway land, a Change Is Coming. Come Hell Or High Water, I Got A Feeling that Inglorious 'II' has been fed n watered on Black Magic. Read All About It here -

I am hoping that the album had a bit more planning and substance in the songwriting and performance than the meeting to name the album. Serafino, “Ciao Nathan, any names for the new album?’’ Nathan, ‘’Er, I quite like ‘II’’’ Meeting over.

I am a big advocate of these fellas, especially ‘The James’.  I liked the debut album, I really did, but the ‘shining light’ moment comes in the live performance, as they are eons better in the flesh

The theme of the debut was infused with influences like  Purple, Zeppelin, Whitesnake, bad Co., and Aerosmith.  With II James wanted to make inspires=d and incredible rock in a very honest fashion. Nathan thought to himself, “Why are those classic albums so awesome?” He realised it was because “the musicians were recording in an organic way; they could track it live and capture amazing energy."

“Not only in rock but in Motown and even classical music they tracked everyone in the room at the same time,” adds Nathan.  “The air movement from a bass drum, that same excitement you get when you perform, and that's exactly how I wanted the album to feel."

Nathan wanted all his fellow musicians in the room at the same time, no click tracks, no auto tune and no overdubs. He wasn't willing to compromise.  Says Nathan - "For so long people have been hiding mistakes, singers using auto tune to make them sound perfect, double tracking to make it sound bigger and using click to play in time. There is none of that on this album.

This record is about vibe, feeling, excitement, energy and performance of songs we all wrote together. That's how it came out that day and it will never be exactly the same again. We captured a series of moments that make up our debut album."

Well said that man. What I can say is that if you’re a big fan of any or all other the aforementioned bands (and their debut) then look no further. Even if you’re brand new to Inglorious, this is a perfect opportunity to get on board the Inglorious train, as this is a little belter.

‘I Don’t Need Your Loving’ teases you into thinking its this demure, quiet opening before letting loose into a typical Inglorious rock explosion with James’ vocals being the fifth and most prominent instrument. ‘Taking The Blame’ picks up the batten and is faster than Usain Bolt with a case of the trots! I don’t think this will be the first reference to Coverdale in this review, but James is one of the few who can match and out-Coverdale’s Coverdale!  ‘Tell Me Why’ has one of those instantly memorable choruses that just sticks like glue, and wont let go. ‘Change Is Coming’ looks to lull you into a false sense of security, before the riff and pulsating bass line kicks in.

I warned you about the WS references, and its here in abundance with ‘Makin Me Pay’. It’s the great WS, not the fluffed up and Harmony hairspray version. ‘Hell Or High Water’ takes me straight to LLRNR era Rainbow, and is short but very sweet.

The album ends on a high. ‘Faraway’ gives any of your fave singers in the World a run for their money. It’s an acoustic triumph and knocks the album up into sixth gear for me. This is old school brilliance that few do nowadays. Its almost part Soundgarden/Mother Love Bone/Zeppelin and Whitesnake rolled into one gem. Awesome. When I think its peaked, then comes this riff….’into ‘High Class Woman’, its one of my riffs of the year. Damn!

When people say ‘it ends on a high note’, never has a saying been more truly stated? If James were a beer, ‘He hits the parts other singers cannot (and dare not) reach!’

A good friend and me resort back to a conversation regularly whereby new bands don’t do their homework and listen to what made great albums and great bands. Well not on this watch, it’s all in abundance. I’m expecting the probably named ‘III’ to be epic! Somebody get these lads on a major US tour, as they will destroy the headliners.

A mere handful of bands for me are driving rock forward at moment – Alter Bridge, Rival Sons, and Inglorious. Great things await Inglorious.

‘II’ is great. Its no 100/100, but also its no ‘Back In Black’, ‘Burn’, ‘Heaven & Hell’


Inglorious are
Nathan James – Vocals (and sonic boom!)
Andreas Eriksson – Lead Guitars
Wil Taylor – Guitars
Colin Parkinson – Bass
Phil Beaver – Drums

I Don’t Need No Loving
Taking The Blame
Tell Me Why
Read All About It
Change Is Coming
Making Me Pay
Hell Or High Water
No Good For You
I Got A Feeling
Black Magic
High Class Woman

Monday, 1 May 2017

Ayreon - 'The Source' Album Review

The conversation was short and simple, “Do you want me to review the new Ayreon album?” “Yes” says Chesy “Ok then”. I’m such an idiot.
How hard can it be? I’ve listened to every Ayreon album a hundred times (except The Theory of Everything) so I know what’s coming: lots of top notch singers and musicians coming together under the experienced eye of musical maestro Arjen Lucassen, weaving a convoluted story with over the top prog rockness (MS Word won’t believe that’s a word but we know differently don’t we?).
Well the answer is both easy and difficult, easy because it is bloody brilliant and difficult because I want to get across how brilliant it is and I feel I’m going to fail. How can I encapsulate this intricate work of genius whilst retaining my aloof reviewer cred and general cynical outlook on life?
Ayreon (Arjen) has carved a niche for itself by not compromising and following the vision of the universe it wants to create. If you’re not familiar with their work it is a creation of one man, Arjen Lucassen, who gets together the biggest names in rock and metal to play characters in the rock operas he writes. The whole thing inhabits a universe plotting the birth, death, rebirth, interstellar migration, death, rebirth and probably death again of civilisations across eons of time, you know; the stuff your average pop song is about.
I’ve made this all sound very complicated and a difficult listen but like Coheed and Cambria you can go right in and follow the story to its nth degree or just listen to the songs and tap your foot, it’s up to you and you’ll enjoy it either way probably.
For people familiar with Ayreon, this is a more rock focussed affair than previous offerings with the drums and guitars more up front in the mix. Less flutes and strings, more killer riffs. As a (terrible) drummer myself this is direction I can get behind, it is properly head nodding at times and my air drums are getting a work out.
It goes without saying that the musicianship is top notch and with vocal performances to match. With names like James LeBrie (Dream Theater), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), vocal gymnast Michael Mills (Toehider), Simone Simmons (Epica) and a host of others on board the whole thing is in safe hands.
The album races along without getting bogged down like ‘The Theory of Everything’, TTOE was the last album Ayreon put out and for me was their only misstep. Don’t get me wrong it is an impressive work, but with four 20 minute tracks on it and no discernible hooks it was hard work and I can’t get through the thing anymore. Some people love it, I do not.
Arjen has gone off in a completely different direction from TTOE though, this is full of killer hooks, melodies, riffs and Ed Warby gets to let his hair down (if he had any) on a few tracks showing why he is the drummer of choice for Ayreon. You can hear lots of musical nods to other Ayreon albums plus nods to the various singers styles, at times you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to ‘Dream Theater’ when James LaBrie is singing or ‘Between the buried and me’ when Tommy Rogers is front and centre.
This is the album Dream Theater’s ‘The astonishing’ should have been instead of a wet, boring, navel gazing waste of my time and I hope James LaBrie goes back and makes the rest of DT listen to it. Nightwish too could have a listen and realise that now they’ve got a talent like Floor in their midst they should write something better than their last outing for her. Grumble grumble.
A quick word about the packaging, I got the CD/DVD digipack containing the two CDs plus a DVD containing music videos, behind the scenes footage and a 5.1 mix of the album. The booklet is full of great artwork and shows just what you miss if you only buy digital downloads. There are a few choices when it comes to formats so check out which suits you before buying this.
If you aren’t sure you’re up for this look up ‘The day that the world breaks down’ on YouTube. If you like that you’ll like the whole thing.
This is my new benchmark for Ayreon and the album I would recommend anyone new to them to start at. I’m going to be playing this all year I suspect; several listens are needed to experience the whole thing without becoming overwhelmed. This is an genuinely epic piece of work that deserves to sell a million.
It’s that good.
10/10 (I could not think of anything problematic enough to knock a point off)
James LaBrie (Dream Theater) as The Historian
Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder) as The Opposition Leader
Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me) as The Chemist
Simone Simons (Epica) as The Counselor
Nils K. Rue (Pagan's Mind) as The Prophet
Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) as The Captain
Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) as The Astronomer
Mike Mills (Toehider) as TH-1
Russell Allen (Symphony X) as The President
Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) as The Diplomat
Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ex-After Forever, ex-ReVamp) as The Biologist
Will Shaw (Heir Apparent), Wilmer Waarbroek, Jan Willem Ketelaars, and Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories) as The Ship's Crew
Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) as The Preacher


Disc One
1. The Day That The World Breaks Down
2. Sea Of Machines
3. Everybody Dies
4. Star Of Sirrah
5. All That Was
6. Run! Apocalypse! Run!
7. Condemned To Live

Disc Two
1. Aquatic Race
2. The Dream Dissolves
3. Deathcry Of A Race
4. Into The Ocean
5. Bay Of Dreams
6. Planet Y Is Alive!
7. The Source Will Flow
8. Journey To Forever
9. The Human Compulsion
10. March Of The Machines