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, 19 August 2019

Roxy Blue - 'S/T' Album Review


Memphis Tennessee’s rock miscreants Roxy Blue are back with the follow up album to their debut release ‘Want Some’.  Three of the original members Todd Poole (Vocals), Scotty Trammell (drums) and Josh Weil (bass) have returned to the fold and they’ve drafted in guitarist Jeffrey Wade Caughron to replace original guitarist Sid “Boogie” Fletcher who swapped the rock and roll lifestyle for life as a dentist.
From their inception in 1989 Roxy Blue played their own songs and they worked hard getting it out there by playing every gig and opening for any band who would have them on the bill. Although they were creating a buzz in the music industry they were still without a label but that was about to change as Warrant front man the late Jani Lane approached the band and with his help the labels started calling with the band ultimately signing with Geffen. The band got together with producer Mike Clink who was responsible for Guns N’ Roses debut Appetite For Destruction and Want Some was created. Sadly Roxy Blue didn’t record a follow up album until now.
When I saw that Roxy Blue were releasing a new album I was so excited,  I loved ‘Want Some’ and anticipated that they’d return I just didn’t realise it would take so long, the question that needed answering is was it worth the wait and all I can say is ‘hell yes’ it was worth it. Be warned if you’re expecting ‘Want Some’ part two, you’ll be in for a shock because Roxy Blue is a harder, heavier and darker album.  There are so many different styles on this album that no matter how many times that I’ve listened to this album I’m picking up another influence. There are times when I could swear that I was listening to an outtake from ‘Appetite For Destruction’, some ‘Slave To The Grind’ era Skid Row, pretty much everything ever released by Hinder with a little bit of Limp Bizkit chucked into the mix for good measure.  I think every person who listens to this album will hear different influences, some may agree with me but I think there’ll be a lot of disagreement too. 24 hours in and I’m still listening to this amazing album and I can say with a certainty that this is a CD that I will definitely be buying next pay day. So ladies and gentlemen do yourselves a favour open your wallets/purses and get this gem as soon as you can.
Roxy Blue – Roxy Blue is joining the extremely small number of albums that I have given the elusive 10/10.

Review by Marc
 
Line-up
Todd Poole – Vocals
Scott Trammell – Drums
Josh Weil – Bass
Jeff Caughron – Guitar


Ardours - 'Last Place On Earth' Album Review


ARDOURS are a band that was formed in 2015, consisting of the two main composers and producers of the project, in addition to an external lyric writer and recording musician.

Mariangela Demurtas (vocals and vocal melodies) and Kris Laurent (guitars, bass, keyboards) have known each other since their early years, and both have been active parts of the Sardinian (Italian) metal music scene. In 2006, however, Mariangela decided to move abroad and join a band from Norway (Tristania).

They have always stayed in touch and always believed in each other's skills, and in late 2015 they decided to join forces. Hard work and dedication have been the key for their upcoming debut album Last Place on Earth.

Since Mariangela wanted something different from the solo project she is currently working on, she asked  Tristania's drummer/lyricist Tarald Lie to write the lyrics and record the drums for the album. The amalgamation of those three elements has resulted in a fresh and a promising sound. The A&R team for Frontiers records love the sound so much that they signed the band immediately and on 9th of August Last Place On Earth will be unleashed.

Ardours are a new band to me and I haven’t listened to anything by Mariangela’s band Tristania so I can’t make a comparison between the two acts.

Mariangela  has an absolutely amazing voice and can she can sing full on rock anthems and ballads equally as well, and when she lets go she sounds absolutely sublime. Kris Laurent is clearly an extremely talented musician and  that expertise is heard all the way through this masterpiece. When you listen to ‘Last Place On Earth’ you can hear what bands influence Mariangela and Kris, the biggest influences that I picked up on were Depeche Mode and The Cure.

Last Place On Earth is an album that you can keep going back to and you will enjoy it every single time, the question I have to ask myself is would buy this album myself and the answer to that question is yes I will happily put my hand in my pocket and buy ‘Last Place On Earth’ and I’m also happy to recommend it to fans of Tristania and people who have never heard of them.  I’m giving this album a very respectable 8.5/10.
 Review by Marc

Line – Up
Mariangela Demurtas – Vocals

Kris Laurent  - Guitars, Bass and Keyboards

Tarald Lie – Drums




Sunday, 11 August 2019

Glasya - 'Heaven's Demise' Album Review

Glasya  - Heaven’s Demise
Glasya are a symphonic metal band that hail from Portugal and are the brainchild of guitarist and founding member Hugo Esteves who wanted to bring a dramatic dynamic to the symphonic metal scene. Hugo has recruited a selection of highly talented musicians and a singer with a voice to die for.
As the finished article the band Glasya  appear to be the new kids on the block in the symphonic metal scene however they are the exact opposite as the majority of members of this ensemble cast are already stalwarts of this genre.

Heaven’s Demise has been on constant repeat for the last couple of days and I really enjoyed the album , the lyrical content and composition are fantastic and the production is sublime. The problem with symphonic metal and it’s something that affects the genre as a whole is that once you dissect the songs a pattern emerges, the long intro which ends with either a fist thumping rock/metal  sound, a short monologue or Eduarda’s soaring vocals, whilst the three styles sound fantastic and thanks to superb composition the transition between styles is flawless it’s a sound that I’ve heard many times before, Glasya do leave some of the established bands in their wake which is a great achievement especially when some of those bands have been part of this genre for close to two decades.

Hugo stated that he wanted to bring a new dramatic dynamic to the sound sadly it’s not new and bands such as Within Temptation and Leaves Eyes have been successfully utilising this sound for quite some time. I was hoping to hear a sound that would really make me prick up my ears but sadly this wasn’t the case. That being said I’m not the type of person who will mark an album down just because there a similarities to other bands of this genre. 
Even though Glasya are a band who’s members  have been part of this genre for quite some time 'Heaven’s Demise' is still their debut album and it is a cracker.  I do like this album, however it’s not a CD that I would make a midnight trip to HMV to pick up.
Will I put my money where my mouth is and buy this CD? The answer is yes but it will be a while before I do so. I’m giving 'Heaven’s Demise' a solid 8/10 score, it would have been a 9, however  the dramatic dynamic I was hoping to hear was nothing I hadn’t heard before.
Score 8/10
Review by Hollywood Vampyre

Tracklisting
Heaven's Demise
Ignis Sanctus
Coronation Of A Beggar
Glasya
Eternal Winter
Birth Of An Angel
The Last Dying Sun
Neverland
No Exit From Yourself
A Thought Of You

Line-Up:
Eduarda Soeiro – Vocals
Dave Van Dave – Keyboards
Hugo Esteves – Guitars
Bruno Prates – Guitars
Manuel Pinto – Bass
Bruno Ramos  - Drums.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Scarlet Rebels - "Show Your Colours' Album Review



Scarlet Rebels – Show Your Colours

Every now and then a band comes along that makes you go a little bit moist. Am I right fellas? Well this happened in 2015 with a band called V0id. Their third album ‘Keep Fighting’ was a little belter, and I bigged them up to anyone who would listen. They were good. Very good in fact. Even better live. The provided PR suggested great things and some highly regarded peers spoke very well of V0id. Who was I to question the comments? I listened, and came to the same conclusion that V0id were on a path to greatness.

Thankfully a name change came about last year. An internet search for Void (without the ‘0’’) meant you’d find them about 27 pages in! Scarlet Rebels name is a vast improvement. After an album hiatus of 4 years, the next , or should I say ‘first’ chapter of Scarlet Rebels is about to be written, and it’s going to become a best seller.

The band still has a nucleus of brothers Wayne (Vocals, Guitar) and Gary Doyle Drums), along with bassist Wayne Esmonde, but have added some steel with lead guitarist Chris Jones, and Josh Townsend (guitar, keys); and after witnessing them at HRH, with a couple of teasers from ‘SYC’, a huge leap forward that I didn’t think was possible has been achieved. That was before I even heard the album. To that end, I have eagerly been awaiting for ‘Show Your Colours’ to drop.

So, if you’re a fan already then the lads have produced their finest piece of work to date. If you’re thinking of getting into a new band…..then lets see if I can convince you to part with your hard earned. Opener ‘No One Else To Blame’ isn’t exactly a sprint, more of a well-timed finish. A slow burn for me initially but after a few listens, the guitar work, and chorus just power it along like a juggernaut. ‘You Take My Breath Away’  is all about the chorus. They are giving ‘every song a killer’ Vega a definite run for their money. ‘Head’s In The Ground’ sees Scarlet Rebels aligned with my opinion on a certain orange coloured fella across the water (and Brexit!), and is a bit Shinedown in its preaching, and that’s no bad thing.

‘Part Of Me’ has a country-rock-slide-guitar and acoustic opening. It’s a bit of a change of pace, but the chorus is just HUGE. ‘Heal’ is a song they aired when I caught them at HRH AOR and was one of the stand out tracks. It’s low key first half, before a riff kicks in, then its down to the emotive and passioned chorus. Wayne Doyle certainly has a knack in getting you involved with his lyrics. A song of two halves, its my fave of the album so far. ‘Let Your Love Go’ reminds me a bit of a song by Tito and Tarantula. Its got high energy and a wallop to boot. ‘Nothing To Say’ is another song about sticking it to the man. Doyle clearly has a lot to say in his lyrics.  ‘Save me’ is standard fare as it guys for these guys, but its up against some high quality songs.

‘Blinded By The Pain’ is the longest song on the album. Whilst it isn’t epic in length, it is epic by any other means. It has to be a shoe in for their live set. ‘Shattered Dreams’ sees me running out of superlatives at this point. A harder edged song that evokes a bit of Alter Bridge. ‘Can I Open My Eyes’ is a cracking fast paced song that deserves to be a hit in any other time when rock ruled the airwaves.

‘Returning Light’ is the third barnstorming song on 'Show Your Colours'. I love the melodic hard rock numbers, but the real gems for me are when you can hear Wayne Doyle open up his heart and expose himself to some real emotionally delivered songs and this one is the absolute pinnacle of the album. I could imagine this with a choir or an orchestra and it would just bring people to tears. Its stunning, absolutely stunning.  ‘Losing End’ is a song that could easily be from the Foo Fighters, and goes toe to toe with the Grohl. Last and by no means least is a Scarlet Rebels 'balls out rock song' in the vein of bands like ‘DC, Krokus and Accept where it is all about the riff and the chorus.

Its the kind of album that you could be blindfolded with a pin in hand, and the song you pick could easily be a single or a favourite. Scarlet Rebels have a contender here, because the songs range from ‘great’, to ‘excellent’. There are songs here for every day and every emotion. 

Its almost a perfect storm, all five guys hitting peak performance, a pounding rhythm section from Gary Doyle and Esmonde, a three guitar attack from W Doyle, Jones and Townshend, and some great vocals from Wayne Doyle.

Whilst they are not newcomers, Scarlet Rebels have put lots of miles, hard work and graft into these past few years into what should be an album of breakthrough proportions. If you like songs that are 
a) as catchy as a baseball glove dipped in UHU, or 
b) have more hooks than a fishing tackle shop then look no further for your musical fix.

Its an enchanting, exhilarating ride from beginning to end, and considering its their first album, and having time on their side, I wonder what future gems await, as they enter their peak.

Its 53 minutes of some of the best melodic hard rock you’ll hear all year, and beyond…Scarlet Rebels are the best band you haven’t heard yet!

Score 10/10

Review by Chesy

Track listing

1.    No One Else To Blame

2.    You Take My Breath Away

3.    Head’s In The Ground

4.    Part Of Me

5.    Heal

6.    Let Your Love Go

7.    Nothing To Say

8.    Save Me

9.    Blinded By The Pain

10.Shattered Dreams

11.Can I Open My Eyes

12.Returning Light

13.Losing End (Bonus: Digital download/ streaming only)

14.Radio Song (Bonus: Digital download/ streaming only

Musicians:
Lead vocals - Wayne Doyle
Backing vocals - Wayne Doyle, Wayne ‘Pricey’ Esmonde and Josh Townshend
Guitars - Wayne Doyle, Chris Jones & Josh Townshend
Lead guitar - Chris Jones
Bass - Wayne ‘Pricey’ Esmonde
Drums and percussion - Gary Doyle
Keyboards and piano - Josh Townshend



Album Artwork - Josh Townshend
All images by Graham Harries at G Photography
Scarlet Rebels logo by Aled ‘Not Jones’ Williams



Scarlet Rebels are: 
Wayne Doyle (vocals/guitar)
Chris Jones (lead guitar)
Josh Townshend (guitar)
Wayne ‘Pricey’ Esmonde (bass)

Gary Doyle (drums)

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Licence - 'N.2.O.2.R' Album Review

LICENCE is a Heavy Rock Band with the powerful, rough and scratchy voice of Jacky.
Founded in 2014, South Germany, by Steam Thiess (Guitar, Vocals), his daughter
Jacky Coke (Lead Vocals), Pappe (Bass, Vocals) and Sammy Sin (Drums).

After their first release in 2017, L2R – Licence 2 Rock, which entered the Top 30
in Heavy-Rock-Charts for several weeks, They will release their 2nd Album, N.2.O.2.R. – Never 2 Old 2 Rock in August 2019.


Licence have emerged from the studio with their latest offering N.2.O.2.R. This is an album that will definitely take older rockers on a memorable journey back to the N.W.B.H.M era of the late 70’s through the 80’s. N.2.O.2.R contains 13 tracks of unadulterated melodic rock that will put a smile on the face of most heavy rock fans. Steams guitar playing is sublime and will result in some rather strange air guitar poses. His style comes over in the rich vein of Ratt, Accept and early Dokken. In fact the riff to 'Line Of Fire' is Lynch Mobs 'Wicked Sensation' by any other name. I really like Pappe’s playing style , a nice deep crunching sound that compliments Sammy Sin’s thundering percussion. I would guess that Licence have been trawing through some 80s albums for song title inspiration (or they have a metal random name generator) - From Hell, Hell Freezes Over. Rise Up, Loud n Proud, and House Of Pain. 'Rise Up' is a belting little anthem. Cool riff, fist punching chorus, and plenty of welly.

I must confess that I wasn’t keen on vocalist Jacky Joy’s gravelly vocal style, I’m not sure why because there are times when she sounds like E.M.N’s Rick Ruhl or even female Stephen Pearcy! Personal opinions aside Jacky does have an excellent voice and it suits this style of music. Licence have gone for an all out balls to the wall rocker with N.2.O.2.R, they haven’t even included the almost compulsory rock ballad so the album flies by at a blistering pace so there’s no excuse to stop fist pumping and head banging. Theres no doubt in my mind that Licence have a LeDorean and have gone back to 1983 to channel their Teutonic metallers Accept. Licence is chock full of raw energy and 'in your face' metal. None of it is new (what the fuck is nowadays?!) but what they do, they do very well. Theres even a decent cover of Pat Bernatar's 'Hit me With Your Best Shot'. Anyone that takes the time to bow at the altar of Ms Benatar, gets my vote.

80s metal fans will like this, especially fans of German metal bands.

N.2.O.2.R is a solid album but for me there is something missing, it just doesn’t give me that “I’m buying this on release day” vibe so I’m giving the album 7.5/10

Hollywood Vampyre - 7.5/10
Chesy - editor (and additional comments) - 8/10

Licence: N.2.O.2.R
Line Up:
Jacky Coke: Lead Vocals
Steam Thiess: Guitars, Vocals
Pappe: Bass, Vocals
Sammy Sin: Drums

Tracks
Line Of Fire 
From Hell
Hot4Ever
Hell Freezes Over
Rise Up
Turn Around
N.2.O.2.R
Loud 'n' Proud
Make Some Noise
House Of Pain
Never Let You Die
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
The Rich Shall Pay

licence-band.com

 
 

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Visionatica - 'Enigma Fire' Album Review


Visionatica  - Enigma Fire
Visionatica hail from Germany and were formed in 2013 and didn’t hesitate to make their mark within the symphonic metal genre.  2016 saw the release of their debut album Force Of Luna which was very well received and confirmed that Visionatica were a band that were going places.

Whenever you learn of a symphonic metal band with a female front person the immediate reaction is to compare them to the likes of Delain, Within Temptation, Epica and Nightwish, and in this instance the similarities are undeniable.  However you can not take anything away from Visionatica because they have added a twist to their sound and are also an extremely talented band.  Their latest release 'Enigma Fire' sees the band utilising different styles to compliment their sound. 

The opening track 'Amari Subdina Kali' is a 90 second introduction to Tamara Avodem's soaring vocal style. 'The Pharao' is a fantastic track with a solid hard rock backing to Tamara’s soprano vocal style will make you sit up and listen. The third track 'Fear' follows on from The Pharao with soaring guitars, thunderous percussion and beautiful vocals and you’ll really struggle to keep your feet still when this track is playing. Once past the orchestral opening the fourth track 'Roxana, The Great' bursts into life and you’re taken on a wild ride of symphonic metal at it’s best.  'Dance Of Fire' keeps up the smooth pacing of the album with a riff heavy opening before Tamara’s soaring vocals join the throng.  However at this point I know what’s to come and I’ll be simply repeating myself and sadly that does go for the rest of the album.  

Visionatica have utilised music from different cultures and they have done so well the problem we have is once we get beyond those styles the rest of the track is the same melodic hard rock that the band play so well. The only track that actually differs is track seven, the ballad 'Incomplete'. This track is completely devoid of any rock sound at all and is basically Tamara singing backed by a piano and string section, and ironically the only track with a different sound is the only track that I didn’t really like. This is actually the first time that I have heard of Visionatica  and on the strength of this release I went in search and bought their debut album 'Force Of Luna'. 'Enigma Fire' is a cracking album and I am happy to recommend it to any fan of the symphonic metal genre,  I’m also putting my money where my mouth is as I have pre-ordered the album myself.
Although this a fantastic album due to the fact that so many of the tracks sound the same once they’re beyond the opening bars  I am unable to score it anymore than 8/10.
Review by Hollywood Vampyre

Line-up
Tamara Avodem:   Vocals
Manuel Buhl:   Guitar
Gerhard Spanner:   Drums
Tim Zahn:   Bass

Track Listing
Intro: Amari Sudbina Kali
The Pharao
Fear
Roxana, The Great
Dance Of Fire
To The Fallen Roma
Incomplate
Secrets Of The Ancestors
Rise From The Ashes


Hollow Haze - 'Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas' Album Review

Hollow Haze - Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas

Hollow Haze formed in 2003 by Nick Savio with the idea to put together a new original “Hard & Heavy” sound. The first album called “Hollow Haze” was released in 2006 by “My Graveyard Productions”The second album “The Hanged Man” was released in 2008 by Crash & Burn record and got a great response from magazine and hard and heavy web sites.With a great production Hollow Haze outlined once and for all their “big heavy dark” sound.
In 2014 Fabio Lione had been replaced by Mats Leven (Yngwie Malmsteen, Therion, Candlemass), Rick Altzi (Masterplan, At Vance), Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Epica, Kamelot, Edguy, After Forever), Ivan Giannini (Derdian) and Claudia Layline (Serenade) for the recording sessions of ‘Memories Of An Ancient Time’. In 2017 Fabio Dessi (Arthemis) and Paolo Caridi (MLB) joined the band as singer and drummer. The new album is written by Nick and Fabio and it's called “Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas”.

To be honest I wasn’t a fan of the original incarnation of Hollow Haze but recently learned that they were making a comeback with a new sound so I decided to give 'Between Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas' a spin, and from my previous experience with the band I wasn’t expecting much. Holy shit I was wrong!

This album is a collection of beautifully written songs backed with an amazing mixture of melodic hard rock and symphonic arrangements  This album is perfectly paced, transitioning between up-tempo in your face rock anthems and the slower balladesque (is that even a word?) tracks. I think a lot of thought  went into the running order of the songs to allow this album to run so smoothly.  This is a strong album and there isn’t actually a weak track.  However if I closed my eyes I can hear the similarities between female bands such as Visionatica who’s new album is also due for release later this month, I also reviewed that album and it received a well deserved 8/10, although there are obvious similarities between the two acts I have actually given Hollow Haze a slightly better score of 8.5/10 for the simple fact that this is by far the best example of male lead symphonic  rock I have heard. As a rule when I buy albums by an artist I like to get the complete discography but in this case I am going to ignore Hollow Haze’s first six albums and start with Between Landscapes And Deep Blue Sea  because as far as I’m concerned this isn’t a Hollow Haze release it’s a Hollow Haze version 2.0 release. 

Score 8.5/10

Review by Hollywood Vampyre

Track Listing:
1.    Destinations
2.    Oblivion
3.    It’s Always Dark Before Dawn
4.    Through Space And Time
5.    I Will Be There
6.    The Upside Down
7.    New Era
8.    A Different Sky
9.    Resurrection
10.You Are My End And Beginning
11.Behind The Wall
Line-Up:
Nick Savio: Guitars, Keyboards And Orchestral Arrangement
Fabio Dessi: Lead And Backing Vocals
Paolo Caridi: Drums
Davide Cestaro: Bass