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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 1 December 2012

Lionville - II Album Review

Last year Lionville was one of the big surprises for me in Melodic Rock. The band‘s winning combination of tight song writing, stellar musical performances recorded by a gifted cast of experienced studio cats and upcoming talents, crowned by impressive lead vocals and an album mix paying attention to all the significant little details, made 'Lionville' one of 2011’s most favorite AOR records.

‘II’ is a musical continuation of the debut with an occasional interesting twist (and it is a twist I can tell you!) here and there. It’s  another slice of high class AOR with a touch of Westcoast and Melodic Rock, with most of the top flight musicians performing on the debut returning to the recording studio to lay down their tracks

The line-up includes the Italian musicians Mario Percudani (Hungryheart, Issa, Shining Line, Mitch Malloy), Anna Portalupi (Hardline, Mitch Malloy, Issa, Steve Lukather), Alessandro Mori (Mitch Malloy, Moonstone Project) as well as producer and keyboardist  Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, Issa, Mitch Malloy). On the album they are joined by guitarist Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago) on seven songs, as well as guest guitar players Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T.), Sven Larsson (Street Talk) and Peter Friestedt (Williams Friestedt, L.A. Project). The invitees are completed by drummer Herman Furin (Work Of Art) on percussions and Italian saxophone luminary Joe La Viola

Stefano is a student of the ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it school’ of music. 'II' is a perfect foil to the debut, only this time theres a maturity and finesse being pumped out of the speakers in droves. The songwriting is exemplary, but the key to proceedings is the vocal work of Lars Säfsund(Work Of Art) who shows again that he is one of the most versatile and talented lead and backing vocalists in 21st Century Melodic Rock. Also Stefano delivers a very solid performance on lead vocals in addition to his melodic guitar playing and an occasional contribution on the keyboards. 

The song 'Higher', one of the album’s many highlights sees the two European singers unite with one of the AOR and Westcoast genre’s American legends, Bill Champlin (formerly of Chicago) with his signature vocals. The trio trades off the lead vocals and Bill’s wife Tamara Champlin joins them on backing vocals.

Songs like 'All We Need', 'The Only Way Is Up', and 'Next To Me', just ooze class, and it's one experience that will stay with you for quite some time, even after just one hearing.

Once again Lionville do a cover version. Whoever’s choice it was to record housewives choice ‘Waiting For A Star To Fall’ by Boy Meets Girl, was an inspired choice indeed. I cant say Id have picked it, but it suits the Lionville makeover treatment. Long may Lionville continue!

One of the AOR highlights of 2012 and beyond!!

SCORE - 90/100

Tracklisting -
1. All We Need
2. The Only Way Is Up
3. Another Day
4. Higher
5. No Turning Back
6. All This Time
7. Nest To Me
8. Waiting For A Star To Fall
9. Dont Walk Away
10. One In A Million
11. Shining Over Me
12. Open Your Heart

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