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!!!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Top 10s of 2011 - Albums


 10. Anathema - Falling deeper
Their 2nd compilation concentrating on their Doom period. A reimagining of the old results in a new refreshed set of songs that are totally captivating

9. Rival Sons - Pressure & Time
Yes, Led Zep have been on the phone and Jimmy Page wants his riffs back, but who cares! Excellent songs, superb vocals, and more importantly 'if it aint broke, dont fucking fix it'

8. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events

With Portnoy gone, DT still prove theres life in the old dog yet. Complex rhythms and utterly bonkers fret wankery as usual makes the future look very bright indeed for DT

7. Airrace - Back To The Start
Keep it simple? No chance. 27 years between albums, a reformation and a split within a matter of months, but the result is one of the best AOR albums of 2011.

6. Journey - Eclipse
Yes Pineda is no Steve Perry, but this guy can hit all the right notes and proves that he is the right man for the job. The albums not bad either!

5. Chickenfoot - III
Chickenfoot prove that they are now a fully fledged band and the result is one kick-ass album. They truly show the younger generation how it should be done. Hagar never sounded better than this.

4. Lionville - Lionville
Surprise of the year! Totally wicked AOR/Westcoast album. Georgeous vocals, choruses covered in maple syrup and just brilliant. Should have been the best AOR album of 2011, but for this.....

3. Work Of Art - In Progress
With AOR having a renaissance WoA come out and shoot down all contenders. Wonderful melodies, just like Journey and Toto used to write. 25yrs ago it would have sold by the shitload, but its still a great album, 2011 or any other year

2. Mastodon - The Hunter
Total surprise for me, this one! Saw them supporting Tool a few years ago and did nothing for me. The Hunter....Wow! Think more Prog than metal, with a mix of Rush and Dream Theater thrown in for good measure. Brutal in parts, totally sublime, with Dailor surely using a stunt drummer on certain songs. Plus, anyone who can sing 'I killed a man, 'cause he killed my goat' gets my vote any day of the week

1. Opeth - Heritage
Opeth have been working to this point for a number of years and the result is staggering. Im certain fans will be lost along the way, but with Akerfeldt in this form anything is possible in the coming years. 70s style hard rock with more than a bit of Prog thown in

Some others worth considering but just missed out....
Black Country Communion - 2
Shy - ST
Big Life - ST
Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt Two
Issa - The Storm
Bobby Kimball / Jimi Jamison - Kimball Jamison
Rush - Moving Pictures Reissue

Friday 16 December 2011

Saint Jude - Manchester Academy 3, 15/12/11

Well I have to admit that I have more than a soft spot for female singers, especially rock singers. Pat Benatar, Leigh Matty, Ann Wilson, Amanda Marshall, Grace Potter, Sarah McLachlan, Sam Brown -  and now I have found someone who does not look amiss at all amongst this company, the very impressive (and very gorgeous) Lynne Jackaman.

Imagine if Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin got it on and had a love child, well Jackaman would certainly be it! The type of beauty that you’d walk away from your missus just to spend a night with, but with a voice given by the rock (and Soul) Gods!

Yes, Jackaman is drop dead gorgeous. Yes, she has one of the finest voices I’ve ever heard, but these two (hot properties) don’t cut it if you haven’t got the quality of songs to back it all up, and thankfully Saint Jude have some pretty decent tunes to call upon.

It’s great when you get bands (so young) like Saint Jude and Rival Sons, who proudly have set their styles in the Classic 70s era (think Stones/Faces/Bad Company)  and make no apologies for doing it their way.

Apart from my lad  (16) I doubt there were many around me (apart from one or two) that were below the 35-49 age bracket, which tells you exactly the type of crowd that they are pulling in, the 70s Classic Rock fan.

Saint Jude made a pretty clever move recently, in giving away their current album with Classic Rock. There’s no point in trying to shift an album for a tenner when you can give it away to tens of thousands in a mag. The upshot of which was a pretty decent turnout, which otherwise might not have been the case

Opening with ‘Little Queen’, was played like a band with hundreds of gigs under their belt, assured and professional. The excellent ‘Garden of Eden’ followed, and sums up exactly what Saint Jude are about – bluesy, soulful  and instantly addictive. ‘Leave a Light’ reminded me a little of ‘Northwinds’ era Coverdale (before he went all MTV and Harmony Hairspray on us). The two best songs which highlighted the ‘Diary Of A Soul Fiend’ album were the stunning vocals on ‘Angel’ and passionate ‘Down and Out’. It all felt a bit religious to be honest. I nearly shouted ‘Hell Yeah’ at one point. When Jackaman sings ‘’hold out your hand / let me lead you astray / close both your eyes / I will show you the way’’ I for one was up for anything at this point.

The two new sons ‘Black Rum and White Lies’ and ‘Layhee’ prove that the dreaded ‘second album syndrome’ will not be a problem for Saint Jude. The former being a blend of the Stones and Faces and was one of the heaviest songs of the set

‘Soul On Fire’ probably the bands most heard track by the audience went down a storm, before they came back for their ‘Southern Belle’ encore. Such was the response at the end, they came out for what seemed like an unplanned second encore for the excellent ‘I’m Losing You’

With only one album under the belt it was all over fairly quickly, but what mattered was the quality of the performance. If I have any doubts, it’s not about the music at all, but I’d have liked a little more interaction with the audience. Hardly any of the songs were introduced and there was little banter. This will come I’m sure of it.  Musically, considering it was the first night of the tour, their souls were on fire!

Judging by the new songs, I expect that the success that Saint Jude crave (and deserve) is just around the corner. 2012 to be precise


Setlist -

Little Queen
Garden Of Eden
Pleased To Meet You
Leave A Light
Sweet Melody
Down And Out
In My Head
Black Rum And White Lies
Parallel Life
Soul On Fire
Southern Belles
I'm Losing You

Sunday 4 December 2011

Sons Of Icarus EP

After seeing these guys play a pretty mighty set supporting Rival Sons recently, I wanted to review their up-coming EP, out in December. My lad Harry was so taken by it, he wanted to review it himself. See his debut review....

After winning “Marshall amplifiers ultimate band contest” by fighting their way through hundreds of bands and getting a label, they have done extremely well to start supporting some of the names some people are more familiar with, such as Rival sons, Black Spiders and Black Stone Cherry, which  will definitely help the band with getting a lot more of their own followers. Marry this with their new 4 track EP and they are on track to do exactly that.  

Starting off the EP is a track called “You Want It All” and it kicks off with a great riff and some great small solos going on over the verse and chorus. I don’t think there is anything bad to say about the guitar work, going from the simple but great riffs to the sweeping solos and the great bends and slide over the chorus and verse patter without over doing it like most people would. The vocals are  strong and fit perfectly with the guitar line but giving it a lot more power.  I personal think there should be a bit more of a bridge between the verse and chorus but they have still pulled it off. (can some one please turn up the bass as  the only time you can hear it clearly is when the music goes quite). The drums are faultless, not overplaying and doesn’t go mental with the most ridiculous time signature and keeps it all together with a powerful punch.

My personal favourite on the EP “Not Myself” has a really good up tempo pace to it and has a nippy quick riff and has a great simple verse letting the vocals really shine through.  The solo has a really great funky sound, especially when the ‘wah wah’ pedal is brought out and the beat in the background fits perfectly with the funky tune.

“Cant let Go” has another really solid ‘bang your head’ riff and some really nice small fills in the verse but quietens down to bring the vocals through to shine. The pre chorus is brilliant because the chords are longer but give more of a kick when the guitar has a bit of a run down which should be brought out more. The guitar never has a weak part in the song it flawless and always has a punch. After the second chorus everything goes quiet to show us that the vocals have control and then kick back in with a great beat and riff 

When I heard “Sick to the Teeth” it starts off a lot mellower from their other songs but still sounds just as great with the bass coming through which should happen a lot more. The quiet start definitely helps the bass come through to its full affect. It then builds up to a crescendo and takes the song forward. There is a part where you think the song will end but then picks up again. Yet again SoI give us yet another great riff and pretty tidy drum fill to complement. The solo isn’t over done and is just perfect to fit over the chorus and is very affective

I would say over all I cant find anything wrong with this EP and I think that we should expect great things from Sons of Icarus and everyone should look out for them because these guys should go far.

Score 85 /100

Tracks –
1. You Want It All
2. Not Myself
3. Can’t Let Go
4. Sick to the Teeth

Website – www.sonsoficarus.com

And now below is my take on the EP.....

I had the pleasure the other week of witnessing Sons of Icarus supporting Rival Sons at the intimate Manchester Academy 3 the other week. To say they won over the audience was an understatement and then some. After winning “Marshall amplifiers ultimate band contest” by fighting their way through hundreds of bands and getting major management representation, which in turn has led to some pretty decent opening slots for the likes of Rival sons, Black Spiders and Black Stone Cherry, which  will definitely help the band with getting a lot more of their own followers. Couple this fact with their storming new EP and many more followers will be attained.  Good thing is, they are 100% British. Originally named The Fury they have honed their sound into a heavy rock assault on the lug’oles courtesy of some of heaviest riffs this side of Tony Iommis moustache!

Starting off the EP is a track called “You Want It All” and it kicks off with a heavy as fuck riff reminiscent of some great UK classic rock luminaries, and will have the current batch of rivals shitting themselves.  Andy Masson’s vocals complement Balkwill’s riffs perfectly. As my lad stated elsewhere ‘’turn up the bass!’’ The drumming is not overplayed at all and keeps when all combined, the result is a dynamite track. The 7 minutes just fly buy, which is always a great sign

 “Not Myself” has a really good up tempo pace to it and is something that the likes of Black Country Communion would kill for. “Cant let Go” again has (to quote Quiet Riot) a solid ‘bang your head’ riff and although not the best of the three so far, it still pretty much kicks. Finally all too quickly we’re onto the last track “Sick to the Teeth”. It doesn’t have the mega riff start like the others, but builds its crescendo to prove that they are not all music by numbers (This isn’t a derogatory comment, SoI have a formula and play to its strength). For such a young bunch (average age under 22!) of lads they play with the experience and talent that belies their young ages

After a recent review for Voodoo Six, Sons of Icarus are also contenders for being the future of British rock/metal and they have no need to be afraid of anyone as they will go very far indeed. Sons Of Icarus are already on my list of bands to watch out for in 2012

Catch them whilst they still have a few gigs left in the UK (OK London!) this side of Xmas. If you think the songs are heavy on the CD, the live performances will take your breath away. Just buy the CD! 


Sunday 27 November 2011

Voodoo Six - Falling Knives EP

Well its been quite a while since I last reviewed Voodoo Six, 2008 to be precise, for the First Hit For Free album. Boy has a lot changed since then. Gone is the original vocalist and half Venetian mask toting Henry Rundell, and in is the powerful Luke Purdie who seems to have given them an added ‘kick’. Anyone who has heard ‘Fluke?' will back me up.

Voodoo Six are set to release much‐anticipated new EP entitled ‘Falling Knives’ in digital format on November 28. The EP, which will be a special limited edition release, will be available to fans until the end of February. The band will precede the EP release by kicking off their 14‐date UK tour in Leicester on November 17. The tour will finish with a set at this year’s sold‐out Hard Rock Hell V Festival in Prestatyn.

The new EP will feature three brand new tracks, the eponymous 'Falling Knives', 'Sharp Sand', and 'Stop', as well as three re‐worked and re‐recorded versions of tracks from the band’s debut album ‘First Hit For Free’.

First to the re-jigged versions. ‘One More Day has come on leaps and bounds from the original. Heavier, chunkier, and with added welly, Purdie’s, vocals now giving the song an extra dimension. The exact same can be said of the other two reworked songs, with ‘No Friend Of Mine’ being the pick of the three

The new songs on the EP, opening track’ Falling Knives’ goes from 0-60 in 3 seconds. It contains one of the best riffs I’ve heard these guys do, and Purdies style fits this Southern/Classic Rock vibe perfectly. ‘Sharp Sand’ brings together the best of Foo Fighters with C-4  enhanced riffs to rip through your speakers (or headphones). ‘Stop’ is a decent enough track but is probably my least favourite of the three. But in saying that, all of the new stick, kicks some serious ass over the re-jigged versions. One thing I will say is that the production values are absolutely first class and make the debut cd I have sound like it was recorded in a shoe box

Similar to what I stated in 2008, the future of British rock is STILL in good hands, only this time they have a much better chance of becoming one of the big boys

The download is available from Amazon or itunes from the 28th

Thursday 24 November 2011

Thin Lizzy - At The BBC

Forget the current travelling circus that are gigging under the Thin Lizzy Moniker. I don’t know if this is great legacy to keep passing on to new generations, or a way of generating money for those involved as a pension ready for that great old musicians home, on the back of the great man himself Philip Parris Lynott

I’m a big fan of Lizzy and have witnessed the Thunder & Lightning tour, when they were on fire, the non-Lynott version with Sykes at the helm, and I’ve even witnessed the best tribute band, Limehouse Lizzy, although you could say that the current Lizzy touring band is the best current tribute band. For me there is only one Lizzy and that’s with Lynott at the helm. All the album line-ups had something to offer in their own way, even the Chinatown-era Lizzy

This version up for review is the 2 disc version, but for Lizzy aficionados, there is either the 6 CD (+DVD), or 5 LP version, or buy both! The songs are collated from all of the BBC owned Thin Lizzy recordings. Such was the BBCs propensity to wipe tapes, some of the recordings have been supplied by the general public, and a couple of gems have found their way onto this collection. The CD basically brings together a raft of sessions and live recordings from throughout their whole career

As a 2 disc version, there are some fine moments indeed, with a number of previously unreleased recordings which makes the purchase worthwhile, as its not just another regurgitation of Lizzy numbers.

To be honest it’s a cd of change and their metamorphosis into the Classic Rock act that Thin Lizzy became. There’s some of the early Eric Bell (including a rather nice ‘’poptastic’’ DJ BBC intro) stuff which comes across as being very dated, moving onto the writing force that was Phil Lynott and his command of language and phrasing that became the signature sound of Lizzy from the late 70s onwards

My only gripe is that the 2 disc set lacks any decent stuff from Moore’s tenure (Black Rose), even the golden era of Robertson/Gorham isn’t that well represented here (Fighting/Johnny The Fox/Jailbreak/Bad Reputation). I suspect that you can’t fit such a wealth of this period onto a 2 cd set. Hence why there is the ultimate edition available for purchase. The second cd is the highlight for me as it covers my era, the Thin Lizzy I fell in love with as a spotty teenager. There’s also some very interesting music on the first half of this collection, and it’s great to see the development of Thin Lizzy over a 12 year period
If he was alive today I’m sure that Thin Lizzy would be huge, giving Lynott the mega success he craved (and deserved). This collection is surely the next best thing, reminding us all of what a huge talent, amazing songwriter, and all round genius he was. Essential for any Lizzy fan

As much as I like this 2 disc set, I’m saving my hard earned pennies for the mega edition (£60-65 approx - see below)


  • 01 - Look What The Wind Blew In
  • 02 - Whiskey In The Jar
  • 03 - Saga Of The Aging Orphan
  • 04 - Things Aint Working Out Down On The Farm
  • 05 - Suicide
  • 06 - Vagabond Of The Western World
  • 07 - Gonna Creep Up On You
  • 08 - Randolphs Tango
  • 09 - Slow Blues
  • 10 - The Rocker
  • 11 - Little Girl In Bloom
  • 12 - Showdown
  • 13 - Little darling
  • 14 - Black Boys On The Corner
  • 15 - Sitamoia
  • 16 - Its Only Money
  • 17 - She Knows
  • 18 - Sha La La
  • 19 - Philomena
  • 20 - Still In Love With You
  • 21 - Baby Drives Me Crazy
  • 22 - Rosalie
  • 23 - Half Caste
  • 24 - Jailbreak
  • 25 - Cowboy Song
  • 26 - Dont Believe A Word
  • 27 - Johnny
  • 28 - Bad Reputation
  • 29 - Dancing In The Moonlight
  • 30 - Renegade
  • 31 - Killer On The Loose
  • 32 - Cold Sweat
  • 33 - The Boys Are Back In Town

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Rush - Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland DVD

FACT: Rush has sold more than 40 million records worldwide.
DOUBLE FACT: According to the RIAA, Rush’s sales stats place them third after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or Platinum studio albums by a rock band. All this, and they never have to call themselves ‘The’ Rush to do it.

It was all captured in April at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans (an utter shite stadium sponsor name if ever I heard it), and it mark’s the bands first live concert to be filmed in the US of A. The choice of city being a deliberate nod of gratitude to the first city to support Rush on its airwaves.

‘Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland’ is the band's 7th (I think) live album release, and are probably the most prolific live album exponents of the last 30+ years. The Time Machine DVD is the 5th live DVD release in the last 8 years, 6 if you include the live compilation ‘Working Man’. Now I’m not complaining, far from it in fact  I totally love this band, and each live release gives the avid Rush fan something different. In this case, they had fans queuing up in their droves to see the entirety of Moving Pictures being played out before our balding heads (and eyes). Well those who could afford to buy a ticket (mine cost me £70 a piece). If you couldn't attend the shows then the DVD is the next best thing

Also present if you caught the shows are the concept tour videos, ‘’The ‘Real’ History of Rush ‘Don’t Be Rash’, Episode No.2’’, and the opening video to the second set ‘’The ‘Real’ History of Rush’’’and Rock ‘N Roll is My Name, Episode No. 17’’ and I tell ya, the price of the dvd is worth shelling out for, just for these two alone. If you haven’t seen them I wont spoil the fun. The bonus material includes outtakes from the two short videos (and proves that Alex Lifeson could have made it as a comedian if the music career had never have taken off!), an alternate film version video for ‘Tom Sawyer’, and two rare pieces of live footage – ‘Need Some Love’ from Laura Second Secondary School, and ‘Anthem’ from Passaic New Jersey in good ‘ol black & white.  

So what of the quality on offer. The dvds filming goes to Banger Films again ( who also did the excellent Beyond The Lighted Stage, and Rush’s mate Richard Chycki proves his worth yet again with a mighty fine mix). The sound is utterly awesome, especially if you have an external decoder. The DTS soundtrack will just melt your sofa. 

Musically, Rush have probably gotten better over the years. Sonically Lee’s voice is nowhere near the 2112 wail he once had, but hey, I still wish I had his range now, and certain songs really still continue to ‘pop!’ Rush hit the ground running with ‘The Spirit of Radio’. The Moving Pictures segment lives up to expectations: Longtime live staples “Red Barchetta”, “Limelight”, and “Tom Sawyer” are paired with “The Camera Eye”, “Vital Signs”, and “Witch Hunt”, three tracks far less familiar to the concert stage. What’s remarkable about the songs are how well they have aged. Guitarist Alex Lifeson even dons period clothing for the segment!  The two tracks from 2012’s Clockwork Angels appear (Caravan & BU2B), and prove that they have not lost their rocking touch. Whilst good, they struggle to hold their ground against the staple bethemoths such as ‘Closer To The Heart’, ‘2112’, ‘Marathon’, and my personal fave ‘ Subdivisions’.

Peart performs his solo masterpiece and is probably only one of a small handful of drummers that can still hold an audience in the palm of his hands for a drum solo, it all proves that even after all these years, he is still improving and excelling. He is still the master of the skins. ‘2112/The temples of Syrinx’ pretty much top off the evening, and the encore is awesome, with he magnificent ‘ La Villa Strangiato’ and ‘Working Man’

All in all its probably the best live compilation of Rush’s that will ever produce or perform. To top it all off there are even women in the audience. Boys it only took you 35years, you’ve finally cracked it

Live bands don't come any better than this. Oh Boy! Sausage Time anyone???


Thursday 10 November 2011

Fergie Frederiksen - Happiness Is The Road

Lets face it, Dennis isn’t the most metallest of names, so no wonder he chose the moniker Fergie. Even though Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen is mostly known for being the former vocalist of TOTO (in the “Isolation” era), he has been involved in a lot of other outstanding musical projects too. Trillion, LeRoux, Frederiksen/Philips, Mecca, Frederiksen/Denander and David London (solo album, under pseudonym) are simply a few worthy of mention. In 1999 he debuted as a solo artist with “Equilibrium”, an album which garnered great reviews in Europe and Japan.

Following a few busy years, where he played live and released albums with the Mecca Project and with Swedish musician/producer Tommy Denander, Fergie is now back with a very special new album entitled “Happiness is the Road”.

There is a story to be told surrounding this album:

In June 2010, Frederiksen announced he had been diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer. The following months were obviously very difficult for the singer who used music and the recording sessions of this album as a therapy to regain confidence in himself and his strengths. He also found the time and energy to collaborate with Jim Peterik (ex Survivor) on the songwriting of  the album’s title track, a real motivational manifesto for a positive approach to life.

About one year later, in the summer 2011, Fergie had two great things to share with the World: the first being the completion of the recording of the new album and the second is the positive results to the cures he was under, with the cancer now being defeated.

“Happiness is the Road” is a story of love and passion to tell and of course of so many great songs expertly produced by Dennis Ward (House of Lords, Pink Cream 69, Place Vendome and Angra). The bloke (Ward) is German, and has the precision of a 7 series BMW, his production never falters below excellent.

The good news is that ‘HITR’ finds Frederiksen in the heaviest sound of his career to date. Even though it’s not classed as a ‘project’ this certainly has all the hallmarks of yet another Frontier’s project album. Considering his health issues, the opening track alone is an uplifiting one, when the tone of the album could have been so different. ‘Angel (Mirror To Your Soul)’ is a song you'll just want to repeat before you even get onto track 2! Eric Ragno proves why he is in such demand as a keyboard player, his luscious playing is a key part of the albums sound. The opening four tracks are of the highest quality indeed. ‘First To Cry’ has a Bon Jovi ‘whoo-o-oa’ feel to it. Title track ‘HITR’ written with Jim Peterik has all the hallmarks of a Survivor track as you’d naturally expect it to.

Thankfully it’s a little gem of an album, full of upbeat and positive songs, when the opposite could well have been expected, and thankfully its not the swan song album that could easily have been produced by Fergie. The future now looks like its to be a very bright one

Label: Frontiers Records
Music Style: Melodic Rock
Cat #: FR CD 531
Cod: 8024391053126

Release date:
EUROPE: October 14th 2011
NORTH AMERICA: October 18th 2011

Tracklisting: Angel (Mirror To Your Soul); Elaine; First To Cry; Follow Your Heart; Happiness Is The Road; I Still Believe In Love; Lyin’ Eyes; Love Waits For No One; Writing On The Wall; The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be; The One; The Saviour.

Fergie Frederiksen - Vocals
Dennis Ward - Bass Guitar, Guitars, Keyboards and Background Vocals
Dirk Bruinenberg - Drums
Nathan Eshman - Guitars
Eric Ragno - Keyboards

Produced by Dennis Ward