Rock Reviews - Classic. AOR. Prog. Metal.
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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!!!
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
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
Few Against Many
World on Fire
Gus G. solo
The Fire and the Fury
Losing My Mind
Angels Forgive Me
Till the End of Time
I Am The Anger
Into the Fire
Breaking the Silence
Falling To Pieces