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 29 September 2012

Rival Sons - Head Down Tour, The Ritz Manchester, 28.9.12

Its a little under 12 months since Rival Sons have played the UK, Manchester in fact. Then, it was the Academy 3, and an 2012 the much bigger, plusher Ritz in Manchester (great venue)

I predicted great things for Rival Sons in 2012 as they were in my Top 10 live gigs and album choices of 2011. Bloody Hell, have they made the progression, with their latest album sitting right at the top of the Rock Charts, and now tonight, playing the bigger and almost full to capacity Ritz. I was almost worried that they wouldnt fill this place after such a short space of time, but their momentum has been building rapidly after their own tour, and supporting the likes of Black Stone Cherry and Download earlier this year

Singer Jay Buchannan thanked the audience as they never themselves expected to play a venue of this size. "We are a small club band", but their success is extremely well deserved

Opening up to what seemed an intro of "interference" which played holy bollox with my tinnitus, they romped straight into "Pressure and Time". Buchannan looks every inch the 60/70s rock icon, whippet thin, tanned, drainpipe trousers and the accessory of choice for the discerning muso....white winklepickers! 

Couple this with the incendiary riffs of Scott Holliday (part Terry-Thomas/D'Artagnan/'V') and the powerhouse rhythm section of Messers Everhart and Miley, it equals one 'on fire' display of a band in their utmost prime! Mike Miley proves from the off that small is bigger! With one of the smallest kits I've seen in a long time (well, since the last time I saw them!) Miley beats Holy Hell out of the thing. Other drummers take notice!!!

Rival Sons are on these shores to promote the most excellent "Head Down" with nine songs represented. They wear their Zeppelin-esque influence firmly on their sleeves, together with psychedelia and irresistible hooks, and the band's soul, funk and blues influences is at the forefront of their performances.

A blast of Head Down followed with the excellent 'Wild Animal, You Want To and Until The Sun Comes' being offered up in quick succession. Two of my fave songs were to follow by any band, the psychadelic 'Memphis Sun', and the anthemic crowd pleaser 'Burn Down Los Angeles', before another blast of new stuff in 'Keep On Swinging', 'Jordan' and 'All The Way'. For 'Run From Revelation' Buchannan mirrored the swagger of Jim Morrison, ditching the shoes, only with a much better voice than JM! He just cant keep still, like he has been possessed with the music, he dances and jerks constantly, a whirling dervish of a rock star.

Rival Sons were on stage for little over an hour, then returned to the adulation with Manifest Destiny 1 & 2, before the utterly mesmerising performance of Soul. Everhart and Holiday traded licks with Buchannan, before a vocal performance that just had to be seen (and heard) to believe. Even with the mic as far away as he could hold, his voice just soared around the Ritz. Not many peformances make break out in a huge smile (dont get me wrong, I enjoy all the gigs I attend), but this was special

Rival Sons star is definitely in the ascendancy and Im pleased I called it. These guys are going to be huge. If youre lucky, catch them tonight on the last leg of their UK tour in Wolverhampton


Pressure and Time 
Wild Animal 
You Want To 
Until the Sun Comes 
Memphis Sun 
Burn Down Los Angeles 
Keep On Swinging 
All the Way 
Gypsy Heart 
Run From Revelation 
Face of Light 

Manifest Destiny, Part 1 
Manifest Destiny, Part 2 

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Eden Lost - Breaking The Silence Album Review

Eden Lost is a Spanish hard rock band that have been plying their trade since the late 90's. Not exactly the hottest of hot beds for rock & metal, Madrid finally took notice when they won the "1st Cover Versions Contest"?!

A four song demo followed, before they produced their debut cd "Road of Desire" for acclaimed German melodic rock label, AOR Heaven. In the following years Eden Lost has shaded the stage with many melodic rock luminaries such as Mitch Malloy, Tyketto, TNT, Michael Bormann, 91 Suite, 'Pointy' Bob Catley, and many others  

A mere seven years later comes the 'dreaded second album syndrome', aptly named ‘Breaking the Silence’. In terms of most bands, seven years is a hell of a long wait for an album, in which time I suspect you pretty much have to start again as fans will easily have forgot, and even moved onto other music and artists.  

In today’s climate which is, let’s face it, oversaturrated in rock bands, even AOR/Melodic rock bands, considering it has never been the most successful genre over the last 30 years, but it is a Genre I dearly love.

Eden Lost have recruited 2 guest contributing solos to Breaking The Silence, Gorge Salán on the opener ‘Starting Again’, and Jaime De la Aldea on ‘Sun Keeps Shining’. ‘Starting Again’ is a song with a lot of promise, twin guitar attack, decent melody, good thunderous drum sound and with a polished production to boot. Vocalist Ignacio Prieto handles vocal duties well enough, but I want a little more range. That aside I would be much happier seeing (and hearing) them play live.

‘Gotta Be Together’ and ‘Breaking The Silence’ are both decent enough tracks, but I’m wondering if they have the quality to make a difference in this packed genre. On first listen, nothing really grabbed me by the nuts, but there is an improvement the longer I live with it.  

With almost every AOR album, comes a ballad, and we have one here in Hard To Believe, and is probably the best on the album so far as the vocals work well and aren’t being pushed. ‘Ready To Rock’ is an all out 80s feel. Decent riff, decent melody!

‘March The 11th’ (or 11-M to the Spanish) is a song about the dreadful Madrid train bombing in which 191 people lost their lives. The lyrics don’t hold back their feelings on the subject, " Such empty minded crazy fools, following sick minded leaders"

‘Locked In Your Heart’ sees Eden Lost trying to emulate a Whitesnake-esque style 'Is This Love'. They partially succeed otherwise I wouldn’t have made the reference, but it falls short after the intro.

It’s hard enough to get your music out there, and Eden Lost have the substance of songs to attract an audience, but whether or not its an international audience remains to be seen . Musically it’s decent enough, but it just seems as if they are missing that final spark to make a real difference.


Eden Lost Are -
Ignacio Prieto - Vocals
Javier Nieto - Guitar
Jesus Laso - Guitar
Santi Hernandez - Bass
Javier Gallego - Keys
Jorge De La Cuerda - Drums

Tracklisting -  
Starting Again
Gotta Be Together
Breaking The Silence
Feel Free
Hard To Believe
Ready To Rock
March The 11th
Locked In Your Heart
Only Lies
No More Sorrows
Sun Keeps Shining
Times Are Changing


Buy the album here - http://www.nehrecords.com/SHOP/EdenBreaking.htm

Monday 17 September 2012

Firewind - Few Against Many, MoHo Live, Manchester 14/9/12 (with support Leaves Eyes)

It’s been almost 12 months to the day since I last visited this venue, and a lot has changed, a bit of a facelift has occurred, but in essence the venue is still one which pisses me off immensely. Viewing is severely limited, a column to the left, a set of stairs right in the middle, and more importantly, unless you’re standing in the first 2 rows, or if you are below 6ft 10 in height, your view is of the bands heads. Also what’s the point in letting a few people stand on the staircase for a better view for the support act, then remove everyone for the headline act?? Ah well, we are where we are I suppose.

First up was Leaves Eyes. Its been a fair while since I last saw these at the short lived Prog Power festival down in Cheltenham, and not much has changed. Liv Kristine, on closer inspection due to the much smaller venue, looks quite resplendent and somewhat gorgeous. A wisp of a girl with an operatic vocal range which seems a bit off the mark (to me anyway) when hubby (Krull) enters the scene. Its almost like ‘good cop, bad cop’ and I have never fully seen the benefit of this beauty and the beast style approach. To the unconvinced (like me) they do grow on you, and by the end its hard not to like them. The songs weigh heavy from the more recent albums ‘Njord’ and ‘Meredead’, in ‘ To France’, ‘Empty Horizon’, ‘My Destiny’ in which the longest set of locks in Metal got caught in the ceiling (!), and ‘Velvet Heart’. On the evidence heard, Id like a listen of Livs recent solo effort Libertine. I’ve just witnesses the LE stage set up on Facebook today, it’s good enough reason to keep away from Moho as a venue in future!

I admire a band nowadays that commits to a lengthy (well, in today’s terms anyway) 10 day UK & Ireland tour, but I wonder if this comes at a price in terms of fan turnout. It’s been almost a year to the day since Firewind last played the same venue, and the audience seems to flatten out at about 200 people. Perhaps less dates may bring in more people, but what is lacking in venue size and fan numbers is made up for in Firewind’s high energy performance.  The last four albums in my opinion has seen Firewind really turn up the gas, (I still have more of a soft spot for ‘The Premonition’), with the storming ‘Wall Of Sound’ kicking off the melodic power metal set. Bob Katsionis really stands out for me, as this bloke is really talented, complementing the guitar wizardry of Gus G extremely well. When not doing this, he fill in the layers with keys, really creating this ‘Wall of Sound’ (sorry). This time we have Apollo back in the fold after last years gig. Head Up High follows, before the Malmsteen-esque Destination Forever rips into the audience. Albums are good, but live is where certain bands really cut it! This is where Firewind earn their money without a doubt. Their heavier, edgier and angrier sound gives some of the older songs an added edge which the albums didn’t

The second half of the set certainly saw they guys picking up the pace with the exemplary battering of songs like ‘Losing My Mind’, ‘Mercenary Man’, ’Angels Forgive Me’, ‘Glorious’, a great slice of sing-a-long-a power metal, and the anthemic songs ‘I Am The Anger’ and ‘Tyranny’. For an encore, not much changed since last year, with the staples being the awesome and frenetic ‘Into The Fire’, with Kristine joining Apollo for ‘Breaking The Silence’, and finally the song which first attracted me to Firewind, the joyous ‘Falling to Pieces’. Part way into the encore we were treated to a raffle (only Firewind!), whereby the lucky recipient (old geezer who can’t play!) got his mitts on a rather nice PRS. Jammy git!

Once again comrades, I urge you to do see Firewind on this current tour whilst there are still dates left. You will not be disappointed. Plus, how often do you get to stand six feet away from a modern guitar God. Catch them while you can!

Wall of Sound
Head Up High
Destination Forever
Few Against Many
World on Fire
Gus G. solo
The Fire and the Fury
Losing My Mind
Mercenary Man
Angels Forgive Me
Till the End of Time
I Am The Anger

Into the Fire
(Raffle) !!!
Breaking the Silence
Falling To Pieces

Sunday 16 September 2012

Rock For Anne - Charity Gig, Maximes2, Wigan 23/11/12 Feat. Ten, Tigertailz, Serpentine & Vega!!

Please read, forward, post elsewhere, this is a great event for lovers of melodic Rock, and also is in a great cause. Please read on.....

A charity event for Christie Hospital, Manchester and Grand River Hospital, Kitchener Ontario, featuring Ten, Tigertailz, Serpentine and Vega

From Mark Warburton:
“This Benefit Concert will be dedicated to the loving memory of my Mum Anne Newton Maltby who passed away at home in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada on July 17th after a courageous fight with cancer. This event brings together Melodic Rock bands from around the UK to play & pay tribute to her life, and anyone that knew my Mum knows how much she lovedand appreciated everything about Melodic Rock & Metal Music. I was brought up from a young age listening to my Mum play me Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, & Led Zeppelin to name but a few, and my first concert, aged only 8 years old was at Knebworth in 1979 to watch Zeppelin play their last UK gig. From then on I was hooked & my Mum took me see the likes of AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Saxon, Def Leppard & Thin Lizzy. But the band that my Mum loved more than any other was Whitesnake, and over the years we must have seen them together over 20 times including their headline performance at Sweden Rock Festival in 2003. My Mum was also part of the Firefest Family. We attended every one and every Gods Festival prior to that. My mum was very close to Sue & Phil Ashcroft, Kieran & Evelyn Dargan, Steve Price & the whole of the Firefest Crew. She loved the new bands on the scene like HEAT, Eclipse, Vega, Houston & Serpentine so it’s quite fitting that Vega & Serpentine are on the bill to play in her honour. On the night, we will have performances from Vega, Serpentine, Tigertailz and Ten – all of whom have agreed to play for free to help raise money for the Christie Hospital in Manchester and for the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener Ontario which is where my mum was treated. I know my Mum will be looking down on us all on the 23rd with a big smile on her face. Rock in Peace Mum – We Salute You “

Gary Hughes says “Earlier this year, my dad was diagnosed with esophagus cancer. It was therefore impossible for me to refuse this gig, given the ongoing situation in my life at the moment. My dad is currently in the Christie Hospital in Manchester and half of the money raised will be going to that hospital, with the other half going to the hospital in Canada who treated Anne. Everyone is giving their services for this event for nothing, so please embrace it, buy a ticket and give generously on the night.”
Jules Millis of White Widdow and Tygertailz had this to say:
“I'm extremely honoured to be performing at such an important and special event, not only for all the people involved that it will benefit, but like too many others, I have also lost loved ones and of course Tigertailz lost Pepsi to cancer back in 2007. I look forward to the brilliant line up and everyone supporting this event to make it not only a success but an amazing and very special night!”

Vega’s Nick Workman said “VEGA are really looking forward to hooking up with some of the UK's finest and playing some new songs for you all! Both myself and Dan have lost parents to cancer so it is a cause very close to our hearts. We look forward to seeing you all at Maximes for a night of great rock music, a great cause and I am sure great fun!"

And Gareth Noon of Serpentine added "We can't wait to get out there and play, and to support a great cause along with some other fantastic bands is brilliant! Cancer is something that sadly affects all our lives at some time and I hope that alongside our friends in Ten, Tigertailz and Vega that we can pack the place out and pay tribute to a wonderful person and a wonderful cause.”

The concert will be called Rock For Anne and will be held in Maximes Rock Club in Wigan on Friday, November 23rd from 8pm until 2am. Tickets will cost £10 including booking fee and postage or £12 on the night and will be available directly from Mark Warburton or Sue Ashcroft via paypal on one of the following email addresses:
sueash2000@yahoo.co.uk or mwarburton7777@hotmail.co.uk

If you have any questions or wish to offer your time or help, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the same email addresses.
Many thanks,
Mark Warburton and Sue Ashcroft

For anyone who cannot attend, but still wishes to donate to the cause, please visit the Rock For Anne Just Giving page - http://www.justgiving.com/Sue-Ashcroft1


Thursday 13 September 2012

Neal Morse - Momentum Album Review

One thing about Neal Morse is that he has one of THE most distinguishable voices in music. Let’s face it; as much as I love Spock’s Beard, they have never been the same since he departed to find God all those years ago. And that leads me onto another thing. The past few years of Neal’s solo period have left me rather cold and dare I say it, bored with his music.

I suppose I’m a bit of a pretentious  and somewhat picky Neal Morse fan, only coming to life on the occasions when he’s teamed up with other luminaries for Transatlantic and more recently Flying Colours, as then the solo sounding Neal Morse has taken a back seat from his God bothering duties, and prised away from his calling to some more common prog style subjects

One things for certain, after just one listen of Momentum, Morse has produced an album of early era Spock’s Beard quality and finesse, and for me personally, has come up with his best solo album in over a decade. Keeping busy is what the likes of Morse and Portnoy do best. After a hectic 2011 that included the release and subsequent world tour of Testimony 2, and the release of the 5 disc set of Testimony 2 Live in L.A., what could Neal possibly do to follow that? “That’s about where I was in January of 2012; waiting and wondering what was next. Then, Mike (Portnoy) had an open window at the end of January so I booked him and Randy (George) to come to Nashville to record. But I had no album! Then, an explosion of creativity happened that far exceeded our expectations …” If there was anyone to make use of the Blues Bros comment ‘’We’re getting the band back together….we’re on a mission from God’’, it’s Morse!

And, like I said, what an explosion of creativity, resulting in his best album for years! Joining the cast is the excellent guitarist Paul Gilbert, and an unknown Morse find in Brazilian guitarist Adson Sodre, along with members of Morse’s live band.

‘Momentum’ is a classic slice of melodic and is also one of the catchiest songs he’s penned in many a year. It’s probably more pop than prog to be honest, but one things for certain, it’s a great start. He sings ‘’you’ve got some new momentum, you better keep on going’’. And with momentum like this, the words ring true!

 It’s not as in your face religion wise as previous (thankfully) and that may (should) get him back fans like me who may have deserted his solo work.’ Thoughts Part 5’ is a carry on from ‘Thoughts’ on Spock’s Beard’s ’96 classic ‘Beware of Darkness’. It included brief passages from  ‘Thoughts 1 & 2’, but how he’s jumped to Thoughts 5 is anyone’s guess. It mixes stylish instrumentation with the a capella vocals being sumptuously layered on with a ladle.
In true spirit of the genre one moment, Morse is rocking our world with the likes of ‘Weathering Sky’, the next, with ‘Freak’, sees Morse drawing on his love of the Beatles. So much so, that I half expect Lennon to chip in with some of the vocals.

Channelling the prog spirit, Morse comes up with something that defines the prog rock ethos, and that’s a 33 minute epic. Epic in length and in composition.  Don’t let that trouble you at this stage; it’s broken down into 6 bite-size parts, the sum of the whole. He engages us with the typical sounding Spock’s Beard/Dream Theater-esque ‘Introduction’, and has a familiarity of his music that fans will just love. Whilst being camped within a ‘Morse typical sound’ the whole piece is engaging and thoughtfully laid out, and covers all aspects – classic, epic, grandiose, rocking, but 100% Neal Morse! The time of 33m39s just breezes by!

Compared to recent epic length albums, Momentum, at a little over an hour’s worth of music is the equivalent of a prog EP when compared to previous tomes of his work.

Yes there’s Morse’s religious subject matter on offer, but it’s not as blatant and up front as previous albums. If this is the future of his direction, then long may it continue. He has hit a rich vein of form with Momentum, which will stand up a being one of the cornerstones by which others will be judged by in 2012. Fans of the prog genre, ‘Momentum is an absolute joy’.


Neal Morse. Track Listing (01:01:17):
1 Momentum
2 Thoughts Part 5
3 Smoke and Mirrors
4 Weathering Sky
5 Freak
6 World Without End
I. Introduction
II. Never Pass Away
III.Losing Your Soul
IV. The Mystery
V.Some Kind Of Yesterday
VI. Never Pass Away (Reprise)

Bonus DVD (01:10:23)
1 The Making Of Momentum DVD 2 Special Feature - Weathering Sky Video 3 Special Feature - Momentum Video 4 Special Feature - Thoughts Pt 5 Video

Buy it here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Momentum-Neal-Morse/dp/B008O3DWB4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347528786&sr=8-1


Wednesday 5 September 2012

Bonafide - Ultimate Rebel Album Review

I make my apology from the off. Up until now I have not heard of Bonafide! I’m surprised that this is their 3rd album, but after a listen of Ultimate Rebel I will make sure that they will be high on my playlist from hereon in. 

Its freaking awesome!

To keep it short and sweet, BONAFIDE was formed by singer/guitarist Pontus Snibb in Malmö, southern Sweden, in 2006. Joining him is fellow guitar player Mikael Fässberg, drummer Niklas Matsson and bass player Martin Ekelund. Their mission statement : to play Hard Rock the way it´s supposed to be played: True to it´s roots in the electric blues and early R´n´B. Well that’s a mantra they have well and truly lived up to.

In October 2007 they released their debut, simply titled "Bonafide". Immediately they became quite busy playing the Scandinavian club and festival circuit, and supporting bands such as Deep Purple, Europe, Status Quo, Y&T, LA Guns, The Quireboys and countless of others in arenas and theaters.

In January 2009 they locked themselves into Musicamatic studios in Gothenburg, Sweden with acclaimed producer Chips Kiesbye (The Hellacopters, The Nomads) and began to record their second full length album, titled "Something´s dripping", released world wide through Black Lodge Records. The album raced to No 16 in the National Swedish Album chart, beating both Megadeth and Ace Frehley with whom they shared release date!

Bonafide are well on the way to becoming a (very) well known and, more importantly, a kick ass act. With riffs that are built on the concrete foundation of bands like AC/DC and melodies that are as infectious as the Ebola Virus, Bonafide have hit the jackpot. 

Opening track ‘Make My Own Rules’ has all the frenetic  fire power of AC/DC, only with a better vocal range!!  ‘The Mess’ has a basic (but powerful) riff that hits you in the chest with the same fury as Mjölnir!! Not only is this a review, it’s also educational!! It also has a melody that screams ‘single’. ‘Blue Skies Red’ is more of a melodic rock riff, with Snibbs vocals sounding more akin to Scorpions at their very best (only without ze German accent!), and is a definite highlight. With songs as good as these, Bonafide would have sold millions 25 yrs ago. Nowadays I'm not so sure, but they still deserve to sell the modern equivalent of ‘shitloads!’

Sorry for the DC comparisons, but Rag and Bone Ban is straight out of the Angus Young guitar riff school of AC/DC riffs and could have appeared on the very best AC/DC album. I don’t give a flying fuck for the likeness, it’s a great song. Pick A Widow (Youre Leaving) is not only a contender for best song title of the year. If the likes of Airboune can make a quick leap to the big time, expect Bonafide to do the same, and go even higher.

Bonafide wear their hearts on their sleeves and Ultimate Rebel is just an excellent album chock full of riffs and amazing melodies. It goes straight into my Top 5 albums of 2012, and I doubt if anything else will take it out in the remaining months of the year. From hereon in other bands will be making comparisons with Bonafide. A Classic Rock band in the making and my new favourite band! 

95/100 (Almost faultless)

Buy it here -  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-Rebel-Bonafide/dp/B008RKNFDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346844894&sr=8-1


1. Make My Own Rules
2. The Mess
3. Too Fired Up
4. Doing the Pretty
5. Blue Skies Red
6. Rough Cut
7. Rag and Bone Man
8. I Want Out
9. Pick a Window (You´re Leaving)
10. Rebel Machine