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, 3 September 2018

Dream Child - 'Until Death Do We Meet Again' Album Review


Dream Child – Until Death Do We Meet Again

‘more Dio than Dio!’

Dream Child is a band comprising of some 80s heavyweights in Craig Goldy (ex-Dio, Guiffria), Simon Wright (ex AC/DC, Dio, Operation:Mindcrime) and Rudy Sarzo ex-Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Whitesnake and Dio). Along for the ride are Wayne Findlay (ex-MSG) and Diego Valdez (Helker). As you can see these guys all have form. 

Craig Goldy says, "the band Dream Child was conceived during a brainstorming session with Serafino (President of Frontiers) and I one day while discussing other matters. I had been listening to my favorite bands a lot recently, Deep Purple and Rainbow's “Rising" album, among others in that style and had noticed that many people who also love those bands often have the very same comments as one another: "They don't make music like that anymore!" Even though I said that in passing, Serafino asked me a question that would forever shape my future. He simply asked, "Well, can you?" and I said.....”YES!!!"

During the very first public memorial for our most beloved Ronnie James Dio, I had mentioned that whenever I do start writing original material again that I would utilize everything that I had learned from working side by side with the Master for so many years in such a way that I would hope to make him proud....and here it is! The name is inspired by one of his lyrics on the "Dream Evil" album and the nickname he gave me at the time, Dream Child!

The video for opener ‘Under The Wire’ has been available for some weeks now, and it just hammers home the Dio legacy that they are aiming for. Spookily the opening tinkles are very close indeed to a part of Tubular Bells, or many may know it as the theme to The Exorcist. ‘You Cant Take Me Down’s’ opening draws on Dio’s Sabbath era and is very ‘Sign Of The Southern Cross’ before Valdez wails and channels his inner Ronnie. If you try to write an 80s classic sounding album in 2018 then the Dio references will come thick and fast due to him having three of the best albums of this period. I can even see Valdez in my minds eye spinning his mic stand as he bangs it out. The guy is a very decent Dio foil indeed. Goldy goes straight for the Strat and the solo is typical Rainbow! So far, so good by me. 

‘Games Of Shadows’ does what it says on the tin, another Sabb-Di-bow construction. My ears prick up at the 2:15 point in ‘It Is What It Is’, and I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the exact same riff from Rough Cutt’s ‘Take Her’. Its not even ‘tweaked’ to sound similar. In fact, bands have been sued for less. ‘Playing With Fire’ is the first deviation where the vocals are at a higher register, and with its decent riff and drumming make it different from the norm. The title track ‘Until Death Do We Meet Again’ is Dio by any other name, its like a mix of the ‘big number’ that Ronnie had on all of his albums – Last In Line, Sunset Superman, All The Fools Sailed Away, and is the meat in this sandwich and is huge in sound, scale and length. 

The next three songs leave me a bit perplexed – ‘Washed Upon The Shore’ has a lengthy into but doesn’t lag for it, but when the vocals do kick in, it’s the one song where they don’t match the high standard of the riff.  It’s a song that doesn’t quite know if it wants to be an epic length instrumental (which it should have been) or a song. I could have done without it. ‘In A World So Cold’ is standard fare for them now, but is nothing special. ‘Weird World’ is a bit of a, well, ‘weird’ song compared to the rest of what’s on offer here. Then finally we are onto another lengthy 9 minuter, in ‘One Step Beyond The Grave’ where they redeem themselves from the last few songs. Its got Sarzo’s pounding bass, atmospheric keyboards, and a punchy riff similar to ‘Egypt (The Chains Are On)’. It climaxes with Craig Goldy wringing every last note out of his guitar to the fade out.

As an album there’s nothing new here for you, but as a sound harking back to the great days of the 80s, it nails it smack in the middle, and I think that’s what Goldy wanted to do. It transported me to the early 80s. Ronnie would be proud at Goldy’s sentiments, as aside from them doing a tribute album covering his songs, an album produced in a ‘classic rock sound’ doesn’t get much better than this. I could have done with 2-3 fewer tracks towards the end as I feel as if they wanted to fill every second available to them on a CD.

Fair dues to all the guys here as lets face it, they could have phoned in their bits from the old rockers care home in Hollywood. Thankfully they have all stepped up to the plate and made it one hell of an enjoyable album, and isnt that what music is all about?

Score 8/10

Tracklisting –
Under The Wire
You Can’t Take Me Down
Games Of Shadows
It Is What It Is
Playing With Fire
Light Of The Dark
Midnight Song
Until Death Do We Meet Again
Washed Upon The Shore
In A World So Cold
Weird World
One Step Beyond The Grave

BAND MEMBERS: 
Craig Goldy – Lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards and bass
Rudy Sarzo – Bass 
Simon Wright – Drums
Wayne Findlay – Keyboards
Diego Valdez – Lead Vocals and background vocals

PRODUCED BY :  Alessandro Del Vecchio & Craig Goldy
Special honourable mention to Rudy Sarzo, Diego Valdez and Wayne Findlay who engineered the studio recordings of their own amazing performances captured on this album!
Simon Wright’s drum recorded at:
STUDIO: The Boom Room
RECORDED BY: Christian Hogan
MIXED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio & Craig Goldy
MASTERED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio

Links:

Monday, 27 August 2018

Graham Bonnet Band - The Tivoli, Buckley 24.8.18


If you’re a fan of rock music (lets face it, why wouldn’t you be), then you would have to be under the age of 29 or been living in a cave for the last 40 yrs not to know the name Graham Bonnet. His star quickly shone when Ritchie Blackmore picked him from a pop quiz that Cozy Powell used to play intros to his record collection when Rainbow were down to a threesome after Dio, Daisley & Stone, and others had departed. The song, ‘Only One Woman’. ‘I want him’ stated Blackmore, and the rest they say, is history.

A very quick dalliance with MSG, but it spawned a belter of an album in Assault Attack, before forming his own band Alcatrazz. The guy has played alongside some great guitarists no doubt – Blackmore, Vai, Malmsteen, Impelliteri, Moody, Kulick, all of which is of no coincidence.

I last saw him about 15yrs ago in Crewe and he was blindingly good. 24.8.18 sees him at The Tivoli in Buckley and nudging 71. I have to state this as recently Steve Perry has popped his head up and announced a new album after a 25 yr absence. Perry is 69 and still sounds good. I’ll come back to this later.

Straight in with an Alcatrazz number ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’ Bonnet immediately showed how good he IS. A waif of a man, but with the voice of a foghorn. If you doubted his age, or his stamina beforehand, don’t. It was laid to rest at the Tivoli. A 5 minute break ensued as Bonnet's drummer, Mark Benquechea decided he wanted a different drum kit. Bonnet swiftly whipped out a carrot, and not his knob unlike Sheffield and reminisced. ‘All Night Long’ followed and there was no worries regarding the notes, Bonnet is on form. With a guitarist like Kurt James, Bonnet has a foil who can play all the Malmsteen, Vai, Blackmore and Impelliteri parts with ease. Sure the solos were not identical, but the aforementioned never play the same solo twice anyway. The band were very tight but Id like to have heard a bit more of the backing vocals on a couple of song and not just relying on a 70 yr old to pump out the vocals. Waldo was heard, but unless it was down to my positioning, Beth-Ami Heavenstone sounded like (or didn’t) like Lilly from Pitch Perfect. A reference for the kids there, methinks!

Highlights for me were ‘Night games’, the excellent ‘Desert Song’ (which is one of the best rock songs of all time), and the finale of ‘Lost In Hollywood’

I understand the need to drop in recently written songs, and a couple of fillers like ‘Goodnight and Goodbye’ and ‘Starcarr Lane’, AND, one of the crappiest guitar solos Ive ever witnessed! But when its at the expense of the likes of ‘Eyes Of The World’, ‘Samurai’, ‘Dancer’, ‘God Blessed Video’, ‘Sons and Lovers’, and ‘Hiroshima… ‘etc, then it could have gone from being a very good gig, to an exceptional gig, especially when some of these have been on the set list recently.


So, despite Perry being 69, I understand his album is ballad heavy. I even said myself recently, ‘you cant over expect anything from a bloke at this age’.  If that’s what Perry wants to do, then that’s great. But after seeing Bonnet sing full tilt (he cant do it any other way), for a solid 100 mins, then the ground rules have been re-set. You CAN hope/demand/expect some icons to be belting it out as they did 40 yrs ago.

If I were 70, I would be happy being able to stand up for 100 minute, never mind belt out a set. Bonnet shows if you look after yourself, then you can beat the hands of time. Long may he continue, because guys like Graham Bonnet will not be around forever.

Pictures Courtesy of Jeff Price


Graham Bonnet Band -
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Kurt James – Guitar
Beth-Ami Heavenstone – Bass
Mark Benquechea – Drums

Setlist

Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live
All Night Long
Night games
California Air
Island In The Sun
Jet To Jet
Rock You To The Ground
Stand In Line
Starcarr Lane
Goodnight and Goodbye
Desert Song
Into The Night
Long island Tea
Assault Attack
Mirror Lies
Since You Been Gone
Lost In Hollywood

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Groundbreaker - S/T Album review (2)


 Groundbreaker - S/T


Groundbreaker is the new project featuring Steve ”The Voice” Overland of F.M  and Robert Sall of  Work Of Art and W.E.T. These two gentlemen are both mainstays in the melodic rock arena, so when these guys get together expectations are high and unsurprisingly they’ve come through.


Anybody who is familiar with F.M already knows that they’re going to be listening to in my opinion the greatest voice that has ever graced the melodic rock scene and I don’t think I’m alone considering the amount of acts that have collaborated with Steve. Robert Sall has brought together a phenomenal cast of musicians to record has opus and has written songs that are a perfect fit for Steve’s vocal style he hasn’t written the next F.M. album. 


Groundbreaker is a collection of upbeat fist pumping melodic rock that you will want to play over and over again, I only heard this album for the first time today and it has been on repeat for the last 14 hours (it’s now 10pm). This is an album that you don’t have to break down song by song to review it because I say this with my hand on my heart that in my opinion there isn’t a single weak track here and that this is the perfect melodic rock album, in fact I think it’s so good that I had multiple eargasms!!!

Whilst I do look forward to new albums by both established and new artists I don’t get excited however in this instance I am genuinely excited, I’ve already pre-ordered this gem and the 14th of September can not come fast enough so that I can get my grubby little mits on the physical version of Groundbreaker, put your hands in your pockets open your wallet and get out your card if you’re going to pre-order any release year this is the one you should.



This album gets a very well deserved 10/10.

Review by HollywoodVampyre
 
RELEASED - 14 September 2018


BAND MEMBERS: 

Steve Overland - Vocals

Robert Sall - Guitars 

Nalley Pahlsson - Bass

Herman Furin - Drums

With Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards

 
Tracklisting –

Over My Shoulder

Will It Make You Love Me

Eighteen ‘Til I Die

Only Time Will Tell

Tonight

Standing Up For Love

Something Worth Fighting For

The Sound Of A Broken Heart

The First Time

The Days Of Our Life

The Way It Goes



Groundbreaker - 'S/T' Album Review


Groundbreaker - 'S/T'

You can spend £300m on a footy team and not guarantee any success. Can you put two European Masters of melodic rock together and bring guaranteed success? Not necessarily. It has worked here, and this is what Frontiers Don, Serafino Perugino has done in bringing Steve Overland and Robert Säll together to make Groundbreaker. Lets face it, it wasn’t going to be difficult to put a project together when both parties have experience in such matters - Säll with W.E.T., and Overland with Shadowman. So it wasn’t ever going to be abject failure. You know what they say, ‘form is temporary, but class is permanent’. Both these fellas are undoubtedly a class act.

The album started with a conversation happened between Frontiers President Serafino Perugino and Overland, eager to start a collaboration with new and exciting musicians from the European melodic rock scene. The idea was immediately work involve Robert Säll of Work of Art in the picture and use Alessandro Del Vecchio’s production. Overland immediately loved the material that was submitted and consequently they started to work on songs.



"I’m the main composer for about half of the songs but Ale and Steve wrote a lot as well,” tells Robert Säll. “I had to write songs with Steve´s voice in mind and that was new and very inspiring to me. But for any fan of FM or Work of Art, I think they will be very familiar with the sound of this record!"

With Säll writing 50% himself, then these songs have more than a Work Of Art and FM sound to them. One thing is for certain, these songs are as finely polished as the brass door knocker at Mr Sheene’s factory.

If you’re a fan of these guy already then it really is the biggest no brainer since you convinced yourself to buy legwarmers in the 80s. Its like settling down on the comfiest of sofas, or chatting with a best mate that you haven’t spoken with in years; you get my drift, right?

‘Over My Shoulder’ is pure melodic simplicity at its best, Overland is Overland, the Ronseal vocalist of his generation, singing with a soul and passion that few can match, and with Säll’s guitar its quickly realized that this is a match made in Heaven, well Italy. ‘Will It Make You Love Me’ sounds like it should be a ballad, but it’s a song with one of the hookiest choruses you’ll hear this year, and any other year. ‘Eighteen Till I Die’ and ‘Only Time Will Tell’ just pick up the batton and carry on the high quality, with the guitar, vocals and keyboard right up, front and centre. ‘Standing Up For Love’ has the parpy, moody opening, extends into a punchier and heavier track with some really nice harmonies; think Michael Bolton.  – not that one, the one before he became the housewives choice. Yes that one.

‘Tonight’ is the first (sort of) ballad on offer and it’s a good one, but not the best on here. The trophy goes to ‘Something Worth Fighting For’. If something like this attracts the attention of Mrs Chesworth on a first listen (who is by far the better reviewer out of the both of us) then I know it’s a good one, and the more I hear it, the more I like it. It’s like waterboarding, only in a fun way! It sounds familiar, like you’ve known it for years, and deserves to win an award, as its that good. Overland projects his vocal prowess, showing emotion and passion in his vocals, and in this one song alone, proves to the World why he is called ‘The Voice’.

This is one project that definitely has legs and could see the partnership blossoming and around for many years to come, and could outlive their current day jobs. In leaving the knob twiddling to Del Vecchio its enabled them to create one of the best melodic rock albums of the year, if not the best. I could imagine this in full Foreigner mode live, with a choir ramping it up to eleven! 

‘The Sound Of A Broken Heart’ highlights the assets of all here, its  everything coming together for the greater good. It’s the five guys working in harmony. ‘First Time’ comes with Overlands trademarked ‘whoa-ohhs’ and starts off as one song, and switches the chorus to a more powerful force and back again. It’s a nice  balance and very 80s. ‘The Days Of Our Life’ is an upbeat song and typical Summer song that would have dominated MTV. The album is over way too quickly with ‘The Way It Goes’ and I have pretty much run out of platitudes at this point.

Groundbreaker have come to the part with eleven songs all being of great quality, with not a duffer in sight, proving you don’t need to come armed with 17 songs and a running time of 75 mins. It’s the best 2635 seconds you will hear all year!

The keyboard sounds and overall production on this are just fab, and I have to give credit to Alessandro Del Vecchio.

Frontiers have been pumping out a lot of albums the last couple of years with many being average at best. There have been some nuggets from them along the way, but now’t comes close to this for the label.

Sod the young guns. Guys if you want to up your game then you need to be watching (and listening to) the older guard, as four of the best melodic rock albums this year have come from NHA, Airrace, Perfect Plan, and now Groundbreaker. They’ve upped their game, now up yours.

If you’re a fan of melodic rock, and you don’t like this, then you’re not listening hard enough.

Score – 10/10

Groundbreaker –
Robert Säll – Guitars
Steve Overland – Vocals
Nalley Pahlsson – Bass
Herman Furing – Drums
With Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards

Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio

Tracklisting –
Over My Shoulder
Will It Make You Love Me
Eighteen ‘Til I Die
Only Time Will Tell
Tonight
Standing Up For Love
Something Worth Fighting For
The Sound Of A Broken Heart
The First Time
The Days Of Our Life
The Way It Goes



Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Radio Sun - 'Beautiful Strange' Album Review


The Radio Sun – Beautiful Strange

You have to give the lads of The Radio Sun a bit of credit. They have some serious work ethic. ‘Beautiful Strange’ is their 5th album in 5 yrs, 4 if you call it calendar years (think about it!).  Their fan-base has been growing with every passing release. I know this for absolute FACT. Their star has ascended these past three years appearing at HRH AOR, and ripping up with each and every appearance.

This isn’t being too critical, but I don’t think you will ever see an ‘Operation Mindcrime’ type album from TRS, or that time when Megadeth went a bit soft and did a proper melodic rock album. It’s just not in The Radio Suns make up to go all left field completely. They have a sound that is distinct, thank to Jason Olds pipes, and play to their power/pop-rock sensibilities. If you want change, then this is where Black Majesty, and Starchase come in. Despite that, I hark for a change.

For me, The Radio Sun is all about Summer rock, which in Australia is a bit more prolonged than Blighty (maybe not this year). And it’s the summer feel that you get from TRS at any time of year. This is mainly down to the fact that all they guys wade in with some sumptuous harmonies.

We join The Radio Sun on Sunset Strip in ’84 with their Hair Metal riffage and pulsating beat for ‘Hold On Tight’. Its at the heavier end of what TRS do, akin to the likes of Dokken or Ratt, and it’s the side I like of TRS the most. More metal riffs Janevski! Please?

‘Believe In Me’ is typical fare for these guys, the type of song they easily compose in their sleep. It’s all about the chorus and melody and its what they do ever so well. ‘Should Have Listened In My Sleep’ is definitely one of the highlights and demands repeat listens. Its positive vibe powers along, so dig out those hairbrushes (if you have any hair) and get stuck into some air vocals. ‘As Long As You Want Me’ should be one of the first and obvious choices for radio play. ‘Miss Wonderful’ is one of those songs where you just fall back and melt into the sound and the solo in particular. ‘Have You Got What It Takes’ is what I’m saying! I want this heavier and more of this edgier sound. Keep the melodies, ramp up the riffs. ‘I Don’t Want To See You Cry’ again typifies The Radio Sun, its upbeat, punchy enough and with a touch of pop. That said, I don’t think its possible to make Jason Old sound like there’s anger in his vocals! They work with the tools they have and produce results. ‘Hearts On Fire’ and ‘Five Years After’ are both melodic as hell. Title track ‘Beautiful Secret’ is a definite for the live set as the chorus is great. The riff is bugging me as it reminds me of a classic, but that’s what 51 does for you. It will come to me in about 3-4 months I’m sure. ‘Standing Tall United’ finishes with a quick shuffle of the feet and a quick one-two, with Janevski showing his chops.

I’m a fan of The Radio Sun, and I like what they do. As a live band they are even more fantastic and I’ve watched them grow into the band they are today. My gripe? Play me a song in five years and I may struggle to tell you what album its off. Its not a bad thing, but I would love to see just one album where TRS go for the kill, like a ‘Back For The Attack’, ‘To Hell With The Devil’, or ‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’. TRS have one of these in them, I’m certain of it. In the UK I would say that ‘Beautiful Strange’ (or any other TRS album) is a Ronseal album, i.e. it does what it says on the tin. BUT…just once, I want to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck, like the ‘Hold On Tight’ and ‘Have You Got What It Takes’, but at a more sustained level. Well done fellas.

Score – 9/10

The Radio Sun –
Jason Old – Vocals
Steve Janevski – Guitar
Anthony Wong – Bass
Gilbert Annese – Drums

Produced by Paul Laine

Tracklisting –
Hold On Tight
Believe In Me
Should Have Listened To My Heart
As Long As You Want Me
Out Of This World
Miss Wonderful
Have You Got What It Takes
I Don’t Want To See You Cry
Hearts On Fire
Beautiful Secret
Five Years After
Standing Tall United

King Company - 'Queen Of Hearts' Review


King Company – Queen of Hearts

 

King Company was formed in early 2014. Drummer Mirka ”Leka” Rantanen (Raskasta joulua, Warmen, ex-Thunderstone, ex-Kotipelto, etc) had already been thinking about forming a new hard rock / melodic metal band for a long time. He wanted to play with people with whom he had worked before and who he knew as both good musicians and friends. First, he contacted guitarist Antti Wirman (Warmen) who was also the first to join. The singer Pasi Rantanen was in Mirka’s mind from the beginning, as they had played together in a couple of bands before (Thunderstone, Warmen). After keyboardist Jari Pailamo (Kiuas, Ponies To Kill), and bassist Time Schleifer (Enfarce) joined the band, this super-group was ready to start working. 

The band’s original name was “No Man’s Land”. In the autumn of 2014 they entered the famous Astia Studio to record their first 3 song demo. Shortly after this Antti Wirman got a temporary gig as the touring guitarist of Children Of Bodom, which limited their rehearsal time, but still the band managed to write more and more material. Co-operation with Heta Hyttinen & Ginger Vine Management began and eventually led to a recording contract with Frontiers Records. This was the band’s dream come true, and the debut album recordings could begin. In 2015 the band played very succesful gigs in Helsinki and Jyväskylä. The nearly sold out venue “On The Rocks” witnessed the band’s first live performance as they played a set full of songs from the upcoming album.

After the first gigs began the debut album recordings. The album war recorded and mixed by Janne Wirman and Kal Kaercher and mastered in by Mika Jussila. At this point Frontiers Records suggested a name change to avoid confusion: there already were two other bands by the same name. The band changed its name to “King Company” and released its debut album ”One For The Road” in 2016.

I’m going to brutally honest I really struggled with K.C’s debut album One For The Road so I was a touch apprehensive when I heard a second album was on the way however my fears were unfounded. Opening track Queen Of Hearts is a fantastic track reminiscent of  Drive, She Saids  Drivin’ Wheel, a lightning fast mix of keyboards and drums that sent shivers down my spine and had me hooked before I’d even heard a note of Leonard F. Guillans searing vocals. 

This album is a superb mixture of melodic hard rock and lighter waving ballads and I loved every minute of it. It’s not very often I say this but in my opinion King Company have achieved something quite rare and it’s an album that whilst there are a couple of slightly weaker songs there isn’t a truly bad track on this CD. What I have noticed while playing this album is that my enjoyment increases with every listen. With Queen Of Hearts King Company have taken the ingredients of early 90’s rock music mixed them together created an album to feast on.

I highly recommend that you open your purse or wallet and invest in Queen Of Hearts you won’t be disappointed. 

SCORE 10/10


Band Members
Leonard F. Guillan - vocals
Antti "Eversti" Wirman - guitars
Jari Pailamo - keyboards
Time Schleifer - bass
Mirka "Leka" Rantanen – drums
 
TRACK LISTING:

Queen Of Hearts
One Day Of Your Life
Stars
Living In A Hurricane
Under The Spell
Never Say Goodbye
Learn To Fly
Berlin
King For Tonight
Living The Dream
Arrival

PRODUCED BY: King Company
STUDIO: Beyond Abilities Studios, Soup Studios
RECORDED BY: Janne Wirman, Tero Kostermaa, Antti Wirman, Jari Pailamo
MIXED BY: Janne Wirman at Beyond Abilities Studios
MASTERED BY: Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios