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, 17 December 2012

KingBathmat - Truth Button Album Review

What is it lately with bands cds dropping thru the post at CRR towers and they have crap name attached to them. Recently it was Gene The Werewolf (rubbish name, brilliant album), and now KingBathmat, surely the weirdest (and a contender for shittiest) in my 5 years of doing this reviewing malarkey!

KingBathmat hail from Hastings, and are a psychadelic/progressive/alt rock band. Initially started by singer songwriter John Bassett, they have released six albums to date, with Truth Button being their latest since 2009’s Gravity Field. The band comprises of Bassett (Bass/vox), David Georgiou (Keys), Lee Sulsh (Guitar), and Bernie Smirnoff (Drums).

The album cover for starters take you back to the heady days of 70s prog rock. It looks like some obscure German prog rock band that the likes of Mikael Akerfeldt would pay thousands for to have in his collection.
The link with Opeth doesn’t stop there. KingBathmat are a refreshing blend of the likes of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Genesis (the good one!), and more modern takes like Radiohead and Muse. Which is a fine example of how progressive rock should be played out, an aural journey, heavy and riff laden one moment, then subtle and tranquil the next, all woven together with Bassets craft and vocal stylings.

Truth Button deals with an underlying theme of technophobia and social disconnection due to the ever-growing trivial use of modern technology. Good job I’m writing this up on my typewriter then!! It calls for the advancement of technology to be employed to make the truth more transparent as opposed to it being exploited to confuse, convolute and restrict us. If you had a Truth Button, would you push it, or would you chose to live in your ignorant bubble.

'Behind the Wall' takes a metal riff and combines it with a Dave Grohl vibe to make for an enjoyable opener. Again crunchy metal riffs converge with a bass groove for 'Abintra', and is a close a feel to Porcupine Tree/Storm Corrosion as you’re ever likely to meet. If Matt Bellamy and Peter Gabriel did an Elton John, KingBathmat would be the proggy offspring as witnessed on 'The End Of Evolution'. The album flows really well, as the 50 minutes is over in a breeze, and before you know it you're onto the weirdly and wonderfully titled, ‘Coming To Terms With Mortality In The Face Of Insurmountable Odds’ with see them throw all manner of styles (and the prog handbook & sink) into the 10 minute stunner.
Prog is seen somewhat as an old farts genre, but with people like Akerfeldt and Wilson trying to push the boundaries into the 21st Century, they have a new (new to me) kid on the block to assist them

Truth Button is released on 21st Jan and if you are a fan of the non death metal version of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Genesis, QOTSA, then KingBathmat will be right up your street. An essential purchase for 2013 and its still only December

Your fave prog band you’ve yet to hear!

Score 85/100

Tracklisting -
Behind The wall
Book Of Faces
The End Of Evolution
Dives And Pauper
Coming To terms With Mortality In The Face Of Insurmountable Odds




Alexander Schaedler - Temporaris Album Review

Alexander Schaedler has played the guitar since the early eighties, taking regular lessons since 1984 and studying at the Stuttgart State University of Music and the Performing Arts from 1999 to 2006. Ever since, the multi-instrumentalist (he plays the guitar, drums, bass, piano and banjo) has worked as a guitar instructor and freelance live and studio guitarist. Between 1994 and 1995, he was also a member of the Brunswick group, Shifty Sheriffs, teaming up three years later with Love Like Blood, who enjoy great international renown on the strength of their numerous releases. 

His first solo album Temporaris sees Schädler blend different musical styles and techniques in new ways, combining – as he calls it – “guitarist and compositional skills with the benefits of modern technology. I like to explore my  musical vision and discover new forms of expression through the multi-layered application of all available media.”

The only thing with instrumental albums, no matter how talented the individual is ( and Alexander is one talented dude ) is that they can be so hard work to listen to and to review. Song after song of drivel and widdly-wankery. And thats from some of the legends!

One thing with Temporaris is that Alexander Schaedler certainly mixes it up, quite a bit to be frank, be it the groovily rocking instrumental ‘Summerside’ (according to Schaedler “a little AC/DC, Joe Satriani and Steve Morse”), the offbeat ‘Freakk Phunk’ with its unconventional halftone/whole tone scale, the country number ‘Creepy Cheese’ in an obvious bluegrass tradition and shows his lighter side, and then – watch out! – ‘Aus Boehmen kommt die Musik’ (The Music Comes From Bohemia), originally sung by Austrian crooner Peter Alexander, given the rock guitar treatment in Schädler’s version no doubt playing his Strat with a bratwurst and wearing leiderhosen and was pissed (nice to see a musician messing around with styles). ‘Perturbado’ is a homage to the renowned trio, Al Di Meola/Paco De Lucia/John McLaughlin, while the medley ‘Potpourrix’ consists of ten popular melodies by classical composers, (you may not know the exact names, but you’ve definitely heard them before) embedded in a mix of rock, pop, punk, country and reggae. ‘No Need To Practice’ is obviously a lie, as Alexander’s done nothing but for the last few years, such is his mastering of the instruments heard here. Title track Temporaris is the standout track on the album, which will appeal to fans of bands like Dream Theater in particular, where he proves he can give the likes of Petrucci a run for their money

There are no taboos on Temporaris and all boundaries are blurred in the context of this diverse and interesting album. Schaedler produced himself, on which he played and programmed all instruments himself, at his own studio, before entrusting the result to Ralf Dietel (KrashKarma, ex-Nine Inch Nails) in Los Angeles for mastering.

Honestly, its not an album I could listen to all day, but put on my ipod on random I wouldn’t be reaching for the ‘next’ button on my steering wheel.  On reflection, Schaedler is a talented and interesting musician whose music holds no boundaries and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or student of Berklee to be able to appreciate his music. Id just prefer to see him play live as per the clip below

Score 70/100


Alexander Schädler – Guitar
Klaus Webel – Keyboards
Friedrich Kienle – Bass
Al Sauer – Drums

Tracklisting - 

Freakk Phunk
Creepy Cheese
Aus Boehmen Kommt Die Musik
No Need To Practice
The Machinist 
Irish Tune


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Top 20 Albums of 2012 (Rock / Metal / AOR / Prog)

Well its that time of year again to highlight my fave albums of the year.  2012 has seen some good albums, some very good, and a few great ones. To be fair to the competition Ive drawn up a list of well over 30 albums. and most in the list are so close its too difficult to set each of them apart, they quality has been so good. So, here we go!

20. Flying Colours -ST
A bit different to what you'd expect from the people involved, but a damn good album all the same. A fine vocal performance courtesy of Casey MacPherson

Recommended Tracks - 'Blue Ocean', 'Kayla', 'The Storm'

19.Bonafide - Ultimate rebel
Swedes give it their best AC/DC welly, to massive effect, a great album all round

Recommennded Tracks - 'Make My Own Rules', 'The Mess', 'Too Fired Up'

18. Neal Morse - Momentum
Less God bothering than previous albums, its an album thats up there with his best, solo and Spocks Beard

Recommended Tracks -  'Momentum', 'Thoughts Pt5', 'Weathering Sky'

17. Kiss - Monster
Kiss are currently in the form of their lives, Monster is a ronseal album, it does what it says on the tin!

Recommended Tracks - 'Out Of This World', 'Hell or Hallelujah'

16.OSI - Fire Makes Thunder
Moore/Matheos on fine form indeed. A moody, hypnotic and rhythmic album

Recommended Track - 'Cold Call'

15. Van Halen - A Different Kind Of Truth
VH prove that some old songs given some spit and polish doesn't mean they were castaways from the 80s. One of the comebacks of the year, and DLR still is the man!

Recommended track - 'Tattoo'

14.H.E.A.T - Address the Nation
New album + new singer in Swedish idol winner Erik Gronwall, makes for one classy album

Recommended Tracks - 'Breaking The Silence', 'Living On The Run', 'Heartbreaker'

13. Nubian Rose - Mountain
Excellent debut from the Swedes and the stunning Sofia Lilja. They have all it takes to be huge. See them at HRH next year. For fans of Dio, Whitesnake, Scorps etc

Recommended Tracks - 'Ever See Your Face', 'Mountain', 'How Am I'

To be fair, from hereonin, any of the below albums have the potential to be the best of 2012. It was that close. 12 down to 1 are all excellent albums that deserve a listen to. Then you can make your own mind up!

12.Black Country Communion - Afterglow
Practically a Glenn Hughes solo effort, its the BCC jewel. If they do no more (travesty if they don't) its a great way to bow out

Recommended Tracks - 'Big Train' and 'Cry Freedom'

11. Red, White & Blues - Shine
Saw them supporting Chickenfoot, they just blew me away. Great band who deserve a bigger following. One of the great debuts of 2012

Recommended Tracks - 'Stand Up For Rock N Roll, Shame,Shame', 'Let It Shine'

10. Hartmann- Balance
After the ill received Hartmann III, Oliver makes more than a comeback with Balance, his finest collection of songs to date

Recommended Tracks - 'All My Life', 'Fool For You', 'You Are The One'

9. Shinedown - Amaryllis
Every album gets bigger and better, with mega stardom on its way to the lads from Jacksonville

Recommended Tracks - 'Bully', 'Enemies'

8. Empires of Eden - Channeling The Infinite
Guitar virtuoso Stu Marshall with his Power metal with a cast of many singers. The finest album of its genre this year

Recommended Tracks - 'Cry Out', 'Hammer Down', Lions For Lambs'

7. Soulspell - Hollow's Gathering
Heleno Vale does a Brazillian Ayreon. Some stars Ripper Owens, Amanda Somerville, Blayze Bayley, Vescera, Grosskopf and a relatively unknown Brazillian cast, but a great album

Recommended Tracks - 'Hollows gathering', 'To Crawl Or To Fly',

6. 12. Jimi Jamison - Never Too Late
His best album in years! Possibly ever! Appropriately named also

Recommended Tracks - The first few songs are as good as anything hes put his vocals on - 'Everybody's Got A Broken Heart', 'The Great Unknown', 'I Cant Turn Back'

5.Gene The Werewolf - Rock N Roll Animal
 Its only been out a few week, but boy, its a belter!!!

Recommended tracks - 'Superhero'. Infectious as the Norovirus, and check out the great vid on youtube. 'Wicked Love', 'I Only Wanna Rock N Roll'

4.Rick Springfield - Songs For The End Of The World
Power pop/rock at its absolute finest. A jem of an album from Springfield. And he's still a good looking bloke at 63!!

Recommended Tracks - 'Wide Awake', 'A Sign Of Life'

3.Rush - Clockwork Angels
Their best album in 20 years. In saying that, it wouldn't be difficult, but then again, its up there with some of their best.

Recommended Tracks - Headlong Flight', 'The Garden', 'Clockwork Angels'

2.Romeos Daughter - Rapture
Craig Joiners writing remains undimishished after a 20-odd year break. A mature and classy affair

Recommended Tracks - 'Bittersweet', a country/rock crossover that screams quality, ''Lightning'

1 Lionville - II
Stefano Lionetti's melodic rock gem of 2012. A 'must own' if you're into AOR

Recommended Tracks - 'Higher', 'All We Need', 'The Only Way Is Up'

Check out the cover of Boy Meets Girl's 'Waiting For A star To Fall'!! 

A notable mention goes to the following which are still great albums Pride of Lions, Anathema, Slash, Tremonti, Affector, Ten, UFO, T&N. Eclipse, and Summers

And heres the faves from a few of our rock community.....

Russell Arcara (Prophet)
1.Bruce Springsteen -Wrecking Ball,
2.Jack White - Blunderbuss.
3.Halestorm- 'the strange case of'

Leigh Matty (Romeo's Daughter)
1.Counting Crows - Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation)
2.Halestorm - 'the strange case of ...'
3.Muse- The 2nd law

Merv Goldsworthy (FM)
As above +
Donald Fagen- Sunken Condos

Ed Poole (Romeos Daughter / Bonnie Tyler)
1.Soundgarden - King Animal
2.Stone Sour - House of Gold and Bones Pt1
3.Romeos Daughter- Rapture

Alessandro Del Vecchio (Lionville/Hardline/Edens Curse/ and more!)
1.Jimi Jamison NEVER TOO LATE
2.Sven Larsson BAD MAD MAN

Paul Logue (Edens Curse)
1. Unisonic "Unisonic"
2. Accept "Stalingrad"
3. H.E.A.T. "Address The Nation

Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon)
1] Ian Anderson's Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick 2
2] Katatonia - Dead End Kings
3] Devin Townsend - Epicloud

Stefano Lionetti (Lionville)
1. Rick Springfield - Songs For The End Of The World
2. Jimi Jamison - Never Too Late
3. H.E.A.T. - Address The Nation

Pierpaolo ''Zorro11'' Monti (Shining Line / Chaming Grace due early 2013)
''The greatest surprise of the year for me. Erik Martensson did a huge work producing and writing the songs of this album in the best and classic Survivor style, and this offered to Jimi the perfect way to express himself in a standout vocal peformance. "Everybody's Got A Broken Heart" is one of the best openers I heard in a decade''

''I've been not able to play on this second album of Lionville due of a family tragedy (I lost my mother at the beginning of this year after a long battle against cancer), but a the same time I've been so happy and proud to see my friends Stefano Lionetti and Alessandro Del Vecchio making an incredible work on the second release of this project. The songs, the production, the arrangements... all is perfect! "All This Time" is a true AOR anthem and "Next To Me" the perfect match point with what we heard on the debut album! The lions are roaring again!''

''I've been a fan of H.E.A.T since their wonderful debut album, and I was a little worried after the split of singer Kenny Leckeremo... I think that his voice was a very important part of the H.E.A.T trademark. But now, after a lot of spins of this new chapter, I can really say that they're back stronger than ever! Erik Grönwall has been a fantastic choice and the songs are really amazing! My favorite is without doubt "In And Out Of Trouble", the sax adds to this tune a classy melodic touch''

Heleno Vale (Soulspell)
 01) Soulspell - Hollow's Gathering
02) Sabaton - Carolus Rex
03) Eclipse - Bleed & Scream
04) André Matos - The Turn Of The Lights
05) H.E.A.T. - Address The Nation
06) Testament - The Dark Roots of Earth
07) Hartmann - Balance
08) Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
09) Kamelot - Silverthorn
10) Pastore - The End Of Our Flames
11) Rush - Clockwork Angels
12) Arjen Lucassen - Lost In The New Real
13) Manowar - The Lord Of Steel
14) Primal Fear - Unbreakable
15) Overkill - The Electric Age

Allee Martell (Radio Presenter - Purrfect Timing)
1.Great White - Elation
2.T&N - Slave to the Empire
3.Warp Drive - Something to Believe In ("Allee adds - 'Please mention Paul Rudland and AOR BoulevardRercords...Paul and the label are a class act and did justice to this band whose songs deserve to be heard.')
4. Hardline - Danger Zone

Mark Thompson-Smith (Praying Mantis / Fay Wray)

Nick Workman (Vega)
1.Sixx am: This Is Gonna Hurt
2.Slash: Apocalyptic Love
3.Lit: The View From The Bottom

Jasix Prowlingwolf (Empires of Eden)
1. Cage - Supremacy Of Steel
2. Dragonsclaw - Prophecy
3. Hardline - Danger Zone

Rob Evans (Powerplay/ Classic Rock AOR)
1. Jimi Jamison - Never Too Late
2. H.E.A.T. - Address The Nation
3. Lionville - II

Jim Kirkpatrick (FM)
1. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Everybody's Talking
2. Romeos Daughter - Rapture
3. Royal Southern Brotherhood - ST

Mik Gaffney (Drummer / Classic Rock / Powerplay / Factory Music)
Rush - Clockwork Angels
Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth
In This Moment - Blood
Firewind - Few Against Many

Jason Sepala (Summers)
H.E.A.T – Address the Nation

Van-Halen – A Different Kind of Truth (one of my favourite bands of all time and nice to see Mr Roth back in the band).

David Lee Roth – A Lil Aint Enough (although an old album, this is in my top 5 favourite albums easily. Jason Becker on guitar just adds the icing on the cake for this record. The guy is incredible and such a shame he couldn’t continue due to his illness).

I love the 80’s so much I find myself going back in time to discover other music released during that period.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Top 20 Gigs of 2012

Again, another difficult category. To be fair, of the 40-odd gigs attended this year, there wasnt a shite one amongst them, Despite the bands in the higher numbers, its purely a way of getting them on the list as many were on a par with each other. Only my top 5 or so are there on my personal enjoyment

Ive based them purely on the whole gig also. The support bands all played their part in the experience

20. Halestorm - Manchester Academy

Lzzy Hale, she wails!!

19. Firewind - Moho

Another small intimate gig, and whilst they still have Gus G, they are one of the best power metal bands in Europe. Great gig, absolutely cack venue

18. Tremonti - Manchester Academy

Despite Tremonti apparently not having enough money (Tremonti's security turned away my kid and everyone else for not buying the cd on the night - why the fuck should they when they bought it originally) it was a great gig. Heavier by far than AB and Creed, it pays more than a passing nod to early 80s thrash

 17. Pain of Salvation (Cryptex) - Robin 2

One of my fave prog bands, expanding with every album. Bugger, he didnt play Disco Queen, but the few that witnessed this, saw a new band give a great performance. the future looks bright for them

16. Chickenfoot - Manchester Academy

Hagar, Satriani, Anthony, all in one room. Great songs and an adoring audience. After seeing this, its clear to see what the current VH are missing

15. Shinedown- Manchester Academy & Apollo

Superb gigs this year. Academy in Feb was brilliant, the one at the Apollo, still good, but in a much bigger venue they played a shorter set. Get back to playing 2 hours instead of 70 mins and a shitload of talking. That said, Smith is a great leader who you would follow into battle. A cross between a preacher and a leader of the resistance

14. Dream Theater - Manchester Apollo

New drummer, new lease of life. It now looks like they are enjoying themselves again. 

13. Black Stone Cherry - Wrexham Central Station

Er...In my home town of Wrexham!! Up close and personal, BSC were just superb.

12. Reckless Love  - Manchester Club Academy

Basically Steel Panther without the smut. Great 80s songs and they live and breathe the 80s genre. Will only get even better

11. The Answer / The Union - Manchester Academy

A joint headline set, which paired two fine rock acts. The Union have a great singer in Pete Shoulder. The Answer have Irelands answer to Robert Plant, a whirling dirvish of a performance from Cormac

10. Thin Lizzy (FM, The Treatment) Liverpool Academy

Special mention here for the Treatment. Saw them with Steel Panther, and their recent tour with Kiss in the US has served them well. These lads deserve to be huge, if they dont, then theres something wrong with the music industry. Lizzy are in great shape indeed. Shame its another farewell tour as its the best that Lizzy fans can wish for in the 21st Century. Lynotts legacy has been in good hands 

9. MSG - Manchester, The Ritz

Saw him a few yrs back supporting Scorpions and he was dreadful. Giving him the benefit of the doubt proved a good choice. A mighty fine set list covering UFO, Scorpions and MSG. 'Twas one of the best Schenker gigs ever. Shame Dougie Whites vox sounded like he had his head in a bucket. Ill give him the benefit of the doubt as Ive booked to see them in 2013

8. Coheed & Cambria - Manchester The Ritz

Back for a tour all on their own for once, they didnt disappoint. Playing now with a returned Josh Eppard and new bassist Zach Cooper they have been rejuvenated. They feel more of a cult band that deserve a much bigger audience.

7. Y&T - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

I regret never seeing them in their heyday, but this was special. Sure theres only the wonderful Meniketti left, but damn, he can still play and sing as well as he ever did, and he was only 6 feet away. 

6. Rival Sons - Manchester The Ritz

I predicted a great year for them in 2012, they didnt fail me. Stepping up a gear to larger venues, and a great album suits them well. In Buchannan they have one of the finest front men in rock music

5. Romeos Daughter - Bolton Railway Venue

Back after a long absence, RD still have great songs, a family like following, and Leigh Matty!. Small intimate gigs, but they are in the best form of their lives. Long may they continue

4. Rammstein - MEN Arena Manchester

Flames, explosions, theater, and more flames. Oh, and great songs. Download will be something special

3. Steel Panther (3x) - Manchester Academy / Wolv Civic, Manchester Apollo)

Sure most people take the piss out of them, but those who saw them this year, saw a band on fire. Great songs, even greater riffs. If they were around in the 80s they would be bigger than all, today they will just have to settle for mega stardom

2. Marshall - 50 Years of Loud - Wembley Arena

Malmsteen, Glenn Hughes, Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Doug Aldritch, Phil Campbell, Tim Ripper Owens, Billy Duffy, Corey and all backed by a band to die for. A great tribute to a great brand and a great man. Nuff said!

1. FM- Manchester Academy 2

Playing Indiscreet in its entirety, and topping that up with a few from Tough it Out, it was a dream gig for FM fans.Proving that age makes no difference, FM are in the best form of their lives, and it made for the finest gig of the yr by far.

Thats it for 2012, some great gigs, and I realise I'm only scratching the surface. Out of all the gigs attended only three of the above were freebies. So I have a right as a full paying fan to question any of the above. A great gig year that keeps on getting better as I'm getting older

I have to give a notable mention to some of the superb support bands seen this year, particularly, The Treatment, Skam, Red White & Blues, Serpentine, Night By Night, Summers and Cryptex. All of which you need to see next time you get the chance