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 18 July 2011

Random Rant (No.2 Ticketmaster) Arrrgggggghh!

Now I dont have much option here as Ticketmaster are probably the best of a bad bunch. I have tried lots of others (Eventim/See Tickets/Ticketline etc) and whilst have all proven to be OK, I have had some nervous periods awaiting my tickets to arrive. Whereas generally with TM I rarely have to wait more than a couple of weeks for my tickets. Which is good.

My real gripes are concerning allocation of tickets, handling fees, postage charges, charges in general

1. Tickets
Usually a group of us travel together to see gigs, and in some instances that can mean 6-10 of us wanting to see the same gig. Rather than all buying separately, I try to purchase the tickets so we can all be together. I'm talking MEN/Apollo here, and not the Manchester academies where the only option is to stand.

Anywho, I wanted 7 tickets recently for Rammstein (I have a big chip regarding Rammstein tickets). The past twice I have received tickets and we have actually been behind the fuckin band! Theres no apologies from MEN or Ticketmaster as I feel that these tickets should only be offered as a last minute and not a early bird offer. At least they should be offered with a warning!

I couldnt buy 7 tickets so I bought in groups of 4 and 3. I opened two tabs on my computer, and bought both sets of tickets within seconds of each other. Both were for the same block but one batch of seats were in Lower Block Row E, the set of 4 in the same block, but row V. What the fuck is that all about

More importantly, why is it not possible to buy the tickets that you actually want. I recently had the best seats ever for Journey recently but this must have been a fluke, as all the other gigs I attend, its a pure lottery for the allocation of your ticket

2. Fees in general
My biggest issue with Ticketmaster. I recently bought 8 tickets for Alter Bridge. Thankfully I could buy 6 for seating, and my son and his mate wanted to be on the floor. The ticket prices were the same, but the handling and postage fees were more expensive for standing tickets than for seated!! WTF!

The seated tickets cost £2 (std Post Office price). I didnt think my tickets were made of a precious metal to attain a cost of £2. The standing tickets postage charge was a whopping £5 recorded delivery. WHY? What is so fucking different to charge £3 more for standing ticket postage over seated. I was expecting a team of naked vestal virgins to deliver the ticket on a velvet cushion whilst sat on white Arabian Stallions, and get a BJ out of my £5

Also why do they charge you £2 to do all of their bastard work for them and print your own tickets out at home.

Pearl Jam were right...FUCK Ticketmaster!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Random Rants (No.1)

So I went to see Judas Priest last night, and they were pretty damn good. Theres not many bands that serve you a big dollop of cheese with your metal and get away with it, but JP can. I go to shitloads of gigs but last night a few things got up my tits

1. If your guitar (you know who you are Richie Faulkner) doesnt work after 4 songs, go old school and use a fuckin lead and not a radio transmitter.

2. I dont know if its because I was sat near an exit in the circle, but I have never seen so many middle aged blokes get up and go for a piss. Go to your doctors and get your prostates checked out. They have tablets for that sort of thing. One bloke in the row in front of me got up 6 bastard times, That really took the piss!

3. Rob, you are a Metal God 'an all, but Cher changes outfits less times than you did last night

4. Rob, When I pay £45 for a ticket, I want to hear YOU sing it. Its Judas FUCKING Priest, and NOT a Robbie Williams gig

5. Oh yeah, finally. If you have paid a lot for a ticket, I expect to hear a band, and not the twat sat next but one to me trying to have a converstion with his missus (sat next to me). He even kept on trying to engage the bloke in the row in front into conversations throughout the evening

Apart from that, they fucking rocked. I am assuming that most of my rants happen at all the gigs I attend but last night somthing struck a chord, and it wasn't Richie Faulkner (for four songs anyway)

Next in the series......Ticketmaster!!

Saturday 16 July 2011

Airrace - Back To The Start

Airrace are a band that should have been beyond huge. Formed at a time when the likes of Def Leppard were ruling the waves across the pond over in the U.S., melodic music was definitely in the ascendency and all record labels had to have bands like this on their roster. For some unknown reason Airrace were in the minority (a golden nugget of a band) and like FM, somehow failed to make the grade.

Mostly known in the Hard Rock circles for being the band that saw the musical debut from John Bonham’s son Jason on the band’s debut album for Atco ‘Shaft of Light’, AIRRACE was instead brainchild of former More guitarist Laurie Mansworth.

‘Shaft of Light’, produced by Beau Hill (Ratt, Winger, Fiona etc) received rave reviews when released in October 1984, showing a combination of breezy melodies and snappy choruses which moved journalist Derek Oliver to pronounce in the pages of Kerrang! that anyone who didn’t like Airrace “ought to be shot”. And quite right he was too!

Although the band got to play support slots with Queen, AC/DC and Meat Loaf, Airrace crash-landed in the summer of 1985.

It took a 25th anniversary re-issue of ‘Shaft of Light’ to reunite the band in 2009. To celebrate the record’s expanded re-release, the original members Mansworth, Bonham with singer Keith Murrell and keyboardist Toby Sadler recruited two new members – second guitarist Dean Howard (formerly of T’Pau) and bassist Dave Boyce (ex-Samson, among others) – to hit the road, playing gigs with Thunder, Tesla, Winger and more, in addition to headlining their own shows. When Jason Bonham departed, the occupation of his drum stool by The Outfield’s Simon Dawson brought them vital stability.

It was the overwhelmingly positive reaction to an appearance at annual melodic rock all-dayer the Firefest in October 2009 that convinced Airrace to take things more seriously. Describing what the wild scenes of that day, Fireworks magazine proposed the distinct possibility that Airrace were “the best opening band we’ve ever had at a Firefest”.

With Toby Sadler, who resides in Germany, unable to commit to playing more regularly, Airrace hired a new keyboard player called Chris Williams, re-recruiting original bass player Jim Reid as a successor to Dave Boyce.

It’s this version that can be heard here. And all I can say is what a stunning piece of work they have done. Most of this praise (for me) has to be levelled at a certain Mr.Murrell and Mansworth.  Almost 30 years down the line from being one of my fave singers (Shaft Of Light, and Mamas Boys’ Growing Up The Hard Way’), Murrells voice hasn’t changed a bit, and the exchange and interplay between the two guys is just a thing of great beauty.

30 years is a long time to wait for the dreaded sophomore (2nd album syndrome), but I am very pleased to report that Airrace have not put a single foot wrong. It’s like they haven’t missed a single beat and ‘Back To The Start’ which is appropriately titled, was recorded the following year, and not all these years later. It’s quite remarkable.

Anyone can resurrect a career and try to recreate former glories, but I really believe that Airrace have really pulled this one out of the bag. They also believe that they are not just making up the numbers for a quick buck with Frontiers, and the result is a melodic gem, only slightly heavier than the original.

‘Keep On Going’ is the musical equivalent of heroin, with the chorus getting right under your skin on the very first listen. ‘Two Of  Kind’ is another Ronseal track, doing what it says on the tin, if you can’t stop your head from nodding and your feet a-tapping, then you’re nothing short of dead! Title track ‘Back To The Start’ is worthy of its album name and reminds me of Moritz. ‘’Back to the start where it all began, forgetting the heartaches of the past, we can make this last’’ sum up the Airrace story to a tee. ‘Wrong Way Out’ is probably the heaviest song Airrace have ever produced and features Mansworth’s great guitar work. There’s a couple of simpler rockers in there ‘Just One Kiss’ and ‘One Step Ahead’ but they do not detract, or alter the flow of the album. ‘Enough Of Your Lovin’ comes back to the higher quality of songs, and like the first two tracks, prove that Airrace are a force to be reckoned with. Final track ‘What More Do You Want From Me’ is a keyboard laden great closer, and wouldn’t be out of place on the debut

Airrace have done it, fusing their classy melodic hooked choruses with guitar driven riffs and keyboard filling the spaces very nicely indeed. Murrell’s vocals shine like a beacon, and Mansworths guitar playing and production is top notch

AOR, whilst still an underground movement is having resurgence these past 12 months or so, and the quality out there is amazing. Airrace have thrown their hat in the ring for one of the best AOR albums of the year

Let’s all look forward to their third album. Hopefully not following this current trend as it will be due in 2036!!! I could be dead by then

100 = A Classic - Every Home Must Have One
90-99 = essential
80-89 = very good
70-79 = good
50-69 = average
30-49 = below average
20-29 = shite
10-19 = utter shite
0-9   = burn the f*cker like it never existed

Julian Angels Beautiful Beast - Adult Oriented Candy

Like Hong Kong Phooey often consulted the Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu, I myself have often been known to dip into my iSpy book of Rock Clichés. None more so than receiving this album to review by the artist known as Julian Angel.  Cue sexy voice over ‘’Not just Julian Angel, this is Julian Angel’s Beautiful Beast – Adult Oriented Candy’’
First, as by perusing the album cover and proving my cliché based theory ....
  • ·         Blond Mane...Check!
  • ·         Exposed chest hair....Check!
  • ·         Bandana.....Check!
  • ·         ‘’Hey Guys, look at me’’ pose to camera.....Check!
  • ·         80s chick giving a BJ....Check!
  • ·         Own name emblazoned by Diamante into his 80s axe of choice (BC Rich/Ibanez/Kramer)...Check!
  • ·         All songs written, produced, instruments played by said member/founder of the band....Check!
So far, so good.

Unfortunately from here on in my praise is rarely given. Yes the kid can play as the great Terry Brock once sang, but for me this is where it all goes a bit ‘tits up’. I can imagine him rocking a bar somewhere in downtown LA f or some desperate MILFy trailer trash hanging on to their 80s lifestyle by their fingertips, stabbing at one last chance of being a rock groupie. But this is where Angel’s musical legacy deserves to be left. Angel is obviously so far buried up his own arse that the diamonds on his bandana formed by themselves. Someone obviously forgot to tell him that he’s not the best singer that was put on the planet (or in the bar that he plays in come to think of it).

Opening track ‘Showdown’ starts well enough, but Angel has this ‘strain’ to his voice similar to the sleaze bands of the 80s like Faster Pussycat etc. Al least the harmonies are good. And on it goes...’Do You Want It’ has the hallmarks of a good ‘glam’ metal track that Poison would have been proud to write, but I just can’t get over Angel’s voice. ‘Tokyo Nights’ again has Angel singing in his ‘Oscar The Grouch’ tone. He’s even so self absorbed that the very last track ‘Singer And Guitarist In A Hair Band’ is pretty much self-flagellation for our Mr Angel!

Sure it’s all fine and pleasant enough, but the songs could have been given more of a clout had he just (JUST!) stuck to playing gee-tar, writing the stuff, and producing.  After one listen (one was enough for me) I have it all pegged. If you like your rock to be a bit quirky (not too much, like Steel Panther) with a side order of cheese, and set firmly in 1985 then look no further. But to be totally honest there is much better stuff out there (recently released) that pays more than a passing nod to the 80s and is done with a bit more (Ok a lot more)  style and craft (Lionville/Shining Light/8-IS/Moritz).

In the ‘Thank You’ credits on the CD, he credits people who buy CDs (fair enough) and slags off those who download (also fair enough). But is deluded enough to think that sales of this will get him gold jewellery, fast cars and even faster women, and will invest profits into the creation of a new CD.

Please bear this in mind and buy it at your peril, because there may well be another on its way. Stick to playing the guitar matey for your next album and man up a bit and have the balls to bring in a decent singer, only then will the fast cars, and faster women appear

100 = A Classic - Every Home Must Have One
90-99 = essential
80-89 = very good
70-79 = good
50-69 = average
30-49 = below average
20-29 = shite
10-19 = utter shite
0-9   = burn the f*cker like it never existed

Sunday 10 July 2011

RIP Wurzel (Motorhead Guitarist)


Saturday 9 July 2011

Lionville - ST

Now my little melodic rock buddies, do we have a band for you! Thanks to Avenue of Allies – who seem to be keeping AOR/West Coast music alive on their own, have unearthed a gem of a new band....Lionville!

Initiated by Stefano Lionetti (do ya see what he did there?) a singer songwriter and guitarist, and his brother Alessandro (keys), they somehow have managed to enlist a stellar ‘who’s who’ of melodic rock royalty. The key to the whole piece is Work Of Art’s Lars Säfsund, as lead vocalist. This fella is born to sing melodic rock numbers. Other (very ) notable recruits include Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx) who contributes an exclusive track on the album, Tommy Denander (Radioactive), Eric Mårtensson (W.E.T.), Sven Larsson (Street Talk), Arabella Vitanc (Alyson Avenue), Pierpaolo Monti and Amos Monti of Shining Line as well as other  ‘in demand’ Italian players, Andrea Maddelone and Anna Portalupi. Stefano Lionettii is a man of considerable talent, taking lead vocals on three tracks, handling a duet with Säfsund, and showing how good a composer and guitarist he really is. The album is basically like Shining Line’s great debut only with Lars Säfsund handling most of the vocal duties, and will have fans of the Shining Line and recent Work of Art’s albums salivating into their cd players. Its a musical Viagra for aor/Westcoast lovers

Opening track ‘Here By My Side’ sets out Lionville's intention directly from the off. A melodic gem, with Säfsund’s vocals layered over the music like a handsome dollop of Maple Syrup. ‘With You’ is a very Toto-esque sounding track, ‘Centre Of My Universe’ fits into is Westcoast surroundings, and is very much on the lines of Slama/Denander’s AOR project. 

There’s a couple of outside contributions, the first, a Gaitsch/Marx/Sky composition ‘World Without Your Love’. The second outside contribution is the stormy ‘Thunder In Your Heart’ a track originally performed by John Farnham for the 80s movie OST ‘RAD’. Ignore Farnham’s version as this one cries out ‘80’s cracker’ and pisses all over the original. If I can offer forward one small bit of advice and that is to buy the album for one track alone, and thats ‘The Chosen Ones’ with  Arabella Vitanc and Lars Säfsund sharing the vocal duties and is a modern day classic aor track if ever I heard one.

So, with bands like Shining Line, Work Of Art, and now Lionville, the modern era of Westcoast/aor is in very safe hands indeed

If you grew up in the 80s with bands like Foreigner, Survivor, Toto, Chicago, and Richard Marx., then you don’t need me to tell you that you need this in your collection. 80s influenced music doesn’t come much better than Lionville! 

100 = A Classic - Every Home Must Have One
90-99 = essential
80-89 = very good
70-79 = good
50-69 = average
30-49 = below average
20-29 = shite
10-19 = utter shite
0-9   = burn the f*cker like it never existed

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Stronghold III - The Hand (Part 1: Betrayal)

For those not in the know (me), Stronghold is a historic real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Firefly Studios in 2001. The game focuses primarily on conquest and expansion through military pursuits, but also provides space for economic strategy and development. There is both an economic and a military campaign to be played and both are discussed in the game manual. The game takes place in Medieval England and Wales around the time of AD 1066.

So jump to 2011 and we have a musical oddity of metal based on the above said game. I don't particularly like genres (or labels) as they are the demon seed of record companies and PR guys, in this instance we have the wonderfully titled 'Castle Metal'

Stronghold is the brainchild of (names removed for legal purposes) lets call them Paz (guitars), Hedge (drums and vox), Pin (vox). Despite having a claw for a hand after playing Stronghold for hours on end, Paz had a vision, and that vision was to use recently written songs for his other band (Bleak Exist) as a tribute to Stronghold. Writing of the lyrics commenced with Hedge basing the premise of two Kings, one laying siege to the others castle. Firefly, the owners of the game gave permission for Stronghold to produce a musical tribute and the rest they say is history!

 Paz spent most of 2010 writing this, the aptly named 'Stronghold III, Part I', an album in two parts (part II follows later in the year. Enough of the roman numerals guys, its a bastard to write up)

I cannot be critical as it is far removed from my little melodic rock zone. I cant say that its right up my cul-de-sac, but the music is pretty riff-tastic. But... the even better news is that the album is completely free to download from their website (see below link).

Go on, live a little and open up our ears to something new. Think Devin Townsend in chain mail ! Nice!


Best Holiday Ever? Oh yes!

Fancy a holiday on the high seas (do I hear you say Yaaarrrrr!)with a bunch of debauched (and aging) rock stars, who cannot escape your limp clutches because they are shut up on a ship with the audience, then the 'Monsters of Rock' cruise is for you!!!!
The below is taken from their website www.monstersofrockcruise.com

It all began one special day in August 1980 at Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England…Seven Metal Bands and thousands of rabid fans converged on the soggy turf of Donington Park and became part of rock history as a legendary event was born…the Monsters of Rock!

Fast forward to February 2012…Now you can become part of music history, as the tradition of the Monsters of Rock is reborn, this time in the Bahamas aboard a luxury cruise ship. We proudly announce the Monsters of Rock Cruise, the greatest floating 80’s heritage rock festival to ever sail the seven seas!

It all begins in Fort Lauderdale, FL, sailing from February 25 – 28, 2012 aboard the MSC Poesia, destination Nassau, Bahamas and Key West. This epic event will feature some of the greatest artists of the era, including Cinderella, Tesla, KIX, Stryper, Y & T, Lynch Mob, Firehouse, Black ‘N Blue, Bang Tango, Faster Pussycat, Keel, XYZ, John Corabi and Eric Martin. This is much more than a “Concert Cruise” event…it is fantasy camp for metal fans that will be talked about for many years to come!

The fun will begin the moment you come aboard the beautiful MSC Poesia, meeting new friends poolside during the kickoff Sailaway Concert. This will set the tone for the next 3 days, enjoying a myriad of over the top Special Events, including the Monsters Rock & Roll Prom 1989, “So You Think You Can Shred” Competition, Shotgun Wedding Vow Renewal, Artist Meet & Greets and much, much more.

In addition, you’ll appreciate the inviting Music Venues & Events, featuring our incredible artists on the Main Stage plus the Monster’s Coffee Shop, Back-Alley Stage and the Pool Deck Showcase for partying under the stars! You wont want to miss Eddie Trunk from VH1’s That Metal Show, as he moderates up close and personal Q & As with our artists called Rock ‘N Roll War Stories. Finally, our other celebrity guest, Rock of Love’s “Big John” will always be there to keep the party going…like you needed any more encouragement!!

We are about to rekindle the Spirit of Donington and set the bar at a new level with the Monsters Of Rock Cruise. You simply must be there…see you aboard!

My idea of heaven!!!


Journey - Ecl1ps3

Well I doubt if many people would expect to see Journey currently headlining an arena tour ever again, never mind a UK arena tour. Many, with me included probably thought they had left their best days behind him with a certain Mr Perry at the helm.

But what a strange world we are currently living in, whereby a teenybopper TV show, can thrust a bands sales past the 1m mark on itunes (Don’t Stop Believing) and create a whole new phenomena and a new generation of followers in a melodic rock band.

To top all this off, Journey still need someone with the chops who can carry off the Perry back catalogue. Up strolls Arnel Pineda to the mic for his sophomore album with Journey. His fist showed that Journey weren’t here just to make up the (music by) numbers. There were at least three songs on Revelations that would stand tall and proud against the best that Journey have to offer.

In Pineda they have a front man who can (almost) hit all the Perry notes, and has a strong sound in his own right without coming across 100% Perry. For such a small block he has a set of pipes that would melt steel, but powerful isn’t everything.

What Journey have done is write their strongest album since ‘Frontiers’ (theres been at least a couple of Perry attempts included in this evaluation that are not as ‘on the money’ as ‘Ecl1ps3’). Not only that readers, but its probably the heaviest album that they have produced in their career. Obviously Neil Schon has had his way, and a certain Mr Cain, whilst co composer on most of the songs doesn’t have as much of the keyboard/piano influence of previous albums. ‘Ecl1ps3’ is more guitar driven and is probably for the better in this modern age.
Originally most people (me included ) thought that Pineda was a Perry sound-a-like, but after this 2nd release with him fronting the modern Journey era, he proves that this can no longer be labelled at him, proved no more so than this recent UK tour, where he just ripped the place up like a little pocket whirlwind.

Opener ‘City Of Hope’ relates to Pineda’s home town, Manilla and is a worthy addition to this and (the other) version of Journey and sits very well in their repertoire. It sets out Schon’s ‘this time were really hear to rock philosophy’ where Journey boys definitely rock out with their cocks out, a full on aural assault of riff and catchy chorus that will stay in your head for weeks and weeks. ‘Edge Of The Moment’ carries on in a very similar vein, very guitar oriented indeed, come to think of it, note Journey like indeed, which isn’t a bad thing! ‘Chain Of Love’ starts with a Cain solo intro, before unleashing Schons fury with one of the darker riffs ever produced by Journey. Despite the ‘rockin’ philosophy, they do manage to throw in a couple of ballads. ‘Tantra’ sounds like its come from the TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra) school of rock. I could see corporate America using it for an insurance ad with fathers and sons throwin’ a ball in the park, high five-ing each other, and professing their love of each other. No! Its probably just me then.

‘Anything Is Possible’ is more of the ‘light sounding’ Journey we’ve known to love. ‘Resonate’ is a well constructed piece and one of the highlights of ‘Ecl1ps3’. ‘She’s A Mystery’ starts very lightly before letting rip on the second half. ‘Ritual’ makes for some good ‘ol FM radio friendly stuff. ‘To Whom It May Concern’ comes over as a tearful ballad, before salvation comes by the way of the more pop laden Journey-esque ‘Someone’. Finally ‘Venus’ finishes of the CD with his scorching instrumental, showing exactly who calls the shots.

Best album since Frontiers? You Betcha!

Journey still have a valuable contribution to make in this modern rock era. Nostalgia act they most definitely ain’t!!