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!!!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Walkway - 'WWIII' Album Review

Walkway – WWIII

Its bleedin’ criminal how a band like Walkway can go virtually unnoticed in the UK, especially when they are as good as they are. They opened up the HRH AOR festival back in March. I dug out a YouTube vid a couple of days before and was blown away as to how good they were. It turned out they were as good as I hoped they were going to be, probably, no, definitely even better than imagined.

To emphasise how good, they were as tight as a very tight thing at HRH towers. Why? Ill tell you why….when this album was launched recently, Walkway performed their 1000th gig to launch this album. If you follow them on FB, it seems like it was their 1000th gig just of 2017. If they have endorsements, a couple should be Dunlop Tyres, Kwik Fit, and Premier Inn, as these guys are away from home more than a Jehovah’s Witness.

Walkway doesn’t take any prisoners, whether it’s in the recording of the album (just 13 days at Sonic One Studio in Wales and mastered at Abbey Road), or the songs themselves. Walkway is based around the Ready brothers – Chris (guitar lead vocals) and James (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Andy Burlace (drums and backing vocals). The subsequent output from these guys in nothing short of memorable

I don’t have the first two albums to make that contrast, so it’s all on this one for analysis. I definitely wouldn’t class Walkway in the AOR bracket. They just happen to be a very good rock band with a knack for melody and hooks.  ‘Stutter’ has a big dirty riff, that’s up Nickleback’s street. Add in the chorus, and is a good a song as Kroeger can muster up. Its stadium rock at its finest. ‘Best I Ever Had’ again is to grab the listener by the ears and force-feed you with a giant riff and instantly memorable chorus. If this were an established US band like say Nickleback, then the radio play, and plaudits would be all over it. ‘Get A Grip’s’ chorus again is nothing short of ear candy. Add in James’ rolling guitar lick and its song that screams quality. Casey in particular takes some of its lead from Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar…’ – especially the ‘Whoa’s!’ If you are going to nail your flag to the mast, it may as well be a good one. ‘Kiss Me Hard’ falls on the grittier side of their repertoire, such as ‘Stutter’ and ‘GAG’. ‘Holding On To Letting Go’ is Walkways ballad; all good bands should have one. ‘HOTLO’ builds up its pace and is in a similar vein to Skid Rows ‘I Remember You’. It is also included as an acoustical bonus track. Both stand tall in their own way.

The rawk returns for the frenetic ‘Leap Of Faith’ with James Ready letting rip in the soloing stakes and is as good as anyone I’ve heard in some time. ‘Something ‘Bout You’ falls on the heavy side, more Grunge than anything preceding this, and sees James making good use of his wah-wah!

There’s three bonus tracks to take on board….‘Rain’ a great Quo cover and tribute to the late Rick Parfitt, and features John Coghlan on drums, ‘Mission Impossible’, another Leppard-esque air punching anthem if ever I heard one, and finally the afore mentioned ‘HOTLO’

Chris has a bit of Robert Plant in him (oo-er), and is a front man of excellence. Couple this with James’ ability to rattle off huge riffs for breakfast and is in the style of some 80s classic guitarists, and it all makes for a sumptuous experience.

To be honest, this is a good a release as any band you’ll hear this year. The songs are great, performed with a swagger and an experience that only comes from experience and age, and constant touring. Walkway has two of these in abundance (age is on their side). See these guys live, as this is definitely where the magic happens. They tour that much, there’s a bloody good chance they will be hitting a town near you soon!

If there’s any justice, more festival appearances should be on the cards for Walkway, as they would play to many more I’m guessing than playing 3-5 gigs a week in pubs up and down the UK. It’s certainly honing their quality, but they truly deserve to play in front of bigger audiences. Walkway are going places, and its only in one direction….up!

Score 89/100

Tracklisting -

Best I Ever Had
Get A Grip
Kiss Me Hard
Modern Day
Same Old Situation
Holding On To Letting Go
Leap Of faith
Something ‘Bout You
Rain (Bonus)
Mission Impossible (Bonus)
Holding On To Letting Go (Acoustic) (Bonus)

Walkway -
Chris Ready – Lead Vocals, rhythm guitar, keys
James Ready – Lead Guitar, backing vocals
Andy Burlace – Drums, backing vocals

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Moritz - 'About Time Too'

Moritz – ‘About Time Too’

Well I thought if I was going to do a last review, it might as well be a good one! Moritz are back in the game, it’s been four years since SOS was released and a mighty 30 years since their first. In terms of Prog bands, Moritz are still pretty damn prolific by comparison!

There been some changes since the last album. Greg Hart has departed to form his ‘Kittens In Orbit’ band, or ‘Moggies on Mars’, or whatever it is. Hart was one of the main songwriters in Moritz, and you would think that his trip into space would affect the Moritz output. Well, you’re completely wrong, because ‘About Time Too’ sees Moritz ditch some of the pomp and go more rock than roll and added a bit of soul and blues without losing any of the melody that the AOR crowd love them for.

I was fortunate to be given the demoes to listen to a few months back, and they were a stellar set of songs before they were tweaked and polished. I can’t believe it was 10 months ago.

The band still consists of its core members Peter Scallan (Vox), Mike Nolan (guitars) and Ian Edwards (Bass/Keys). In comes long time cohort Kenny Evans (guitars) and John Tonks (drums). I add that for the ‘up and coming gigs’, Moritz will be joined by Chris Teeder (keys) and Russ Wilson (drums). Cool. Everyone’s got a mention.

The demoes didn’t need much polishing, but they have pulled out all the stops and raided both Auto Glym and Mr Sheene and its been polished to within an inch of its life (in an utterly good way). The change is fantastic.

Scallan has had his shackles unleashed and is like a different singer. No longer trying to be pushed into being a Scottish Freddie Mercury, the guy now has a  more bluesy raspiness to his tone. And the result on the opener ‘One More Beautiful Day’ is brilliant. Couple this with the sumptuous harmonies and the wonderous composition, and starts to albums don’t get much better than this.

‘Moon And Back’ is like ear candy of the highest order. The chorus just infecting your lug’oles and embedding itself after just one listen. It's like something that the lapsed Rock God Michael Bolton would have done in his brief dalliance with AOR. ‘Chance of a Lifetime’ has a great 80s lyric, ‘walking on a thin line, between love and hate’. It’s a huge 80s influenced song. In fact, if it were 1986 we would all be shitting ourselves with excitement! I’m an old fart brought up on music like this, and I did let out a little excited trump if I’m honest, as it brings back a lot of great memories from so many great bands (and times). The melodic rock community will love this. 'Dreamland’ is probably the only song on the album that keeps it all reined in. It shows a different side to Moritz and never attempts to go for the huge riff. ‘Take it On The Chin’ kicks off with Flight Lieutenant Mike Nolan (he of the flying V display troupe) who steps up and produces a face melting riff, combined with Ian’s Hammond sound which also sees Peter Scallan catching his balls on razor wire and hitting a note that only dogs and teenagers can hear. Scallan sings, ‘Some you lose, some you win, you gotta take it on the chin.’ Well based on this selection, Moritz will undoubtedly be winners.

‘Run’ shows that its not all about pure pink fluffiness. The Moritz boys like to rock out occasionally and this is a prime example. A co-write with Ivan Gunn, it gets full marks as a soft/LOUD rocker; the best ones mix the tempo, and this one does it with flair, and has a cracking guitar solo. It will sound massive live. ‘Love Long Gone’ is the kind of song that bands tried to coax out of the ‘masters’ such as Diane Warren or Desmond Child back in the day, and it wants to make you dig out your bleached denims and leg-warmers, and buy a DeLorean and head back to the 80s. ‘Own Little World’ is ‘Styx-esque’ with layers upon layers of vocal harmonies. It is a ‘Part II’ companion piece of ‘Caught Between Life & The Light’ from SOS and is an absolute delight.

Next up is my outright favourite on ‘ATT’. The demo stood out like a baboon’s arse, and it does today even though I had to go looking for it as the title has changed to ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’. It's Like Procul Harum, Percy Sledge, and Lorraine Ellison got down and dirty, and 9 months later it spawned ‘YDKWLI’ (it just rolls off the tongue)! The guitar solo from Mike Nolan is up there with some of the best. Moritz hit the final furlong full in their stride with ‘There’s Something About/Unwanted Man’. Its got a moving synth intro (think Tarot Woman), before unleashing the beast. Fuck. Me. ‘Unwanted Man’ is huge. The opening riff is to die for, then it steps back to build its tempo to a crescendo and ‘that chorus’. Evans and Nolan trade licks like Robbo and Gorham back in the day. Wow! It's one of the best finishes to an album I’ve heard in quite some time.

Kids, there’s a bloody good reason why Moritz are so damn good. They have influences from a time when there were lots of great melodic rock bands around. They take snippets from the best and turn them into their own style. When other labels are turning out ‘average’ as being acceptable, it's great to see some local boys leading the charge and showing the rest how it should be done.

I’ve loved ‘Undivided’, and ‘SOS’, but ‘About Time Too’ takes it all to a whole different level.

95/100*  (5 deducted for Peters' taste in footwear! Courtesy of Grant Foster)

Photo credit - John Bull
Rockrpix -  website here - http://www.rockrpix.com/

Moritz –
Peter Scallan – Lead & backing vocals
Mike Nolan – Electric & acoustic guitars, vocals
Ian Edwards – Bass, synthesizers, Hammond organ, vocals
Kenny Evans – Electric & acoustic 6 and 12 string guitars
John Tonks – Drums

Tracklisting –

About Time Too (Intro)
One More Beautiful Day
To The Moon and Back
Chance Of A Lifetime
Forever Is
Take It On The Chin
Love Long Gone
Own Little World
You Don’t Know What Love Is
There’s Something About (Intro)
Unwanted Man