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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!!!

Sunday 13 April 2014

Winger - 'Better Days Comin'' Album Review

One of the most misunderstood Hard Rock bands to emerge from the 1980’s is returning with their highly anticipated sixth studio album. Comprised of original members Kip Winger on vocals/bass, Reb Beach on guitar, Rod Morgenstein on drums, plus long-term guitarist John Roth, Winger is releasing Better Days Comin’, their first album for five years. They will be promoting it with a main stage appearance at Download Festival, and the inaugural Frontiers Festival in Milan at the beginning of May.

Winger formed in 1987 and soared to immediate success with their 1988 self-titled release. The album spawned the hit singles ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ and achieved platinum sales status. Winger also stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for over 60 weeks where it peaked at #21. Their next album, ‘In The Heart Of The Young’, also achieved platinum status and contained the singles ‘Can’t Get Enuff’ and ‘Miles Away’. The change in musical climate of the mid-90’s, compounded with unprovoked ridicule on MTV’s popular Beavis and Butthead, led the band to go on hiatus in 1994. In 2001, the band reunited and have not looked back since. Winger has made a name for themselves with relentless touring, while winning back fans and critics alike because of their exceptional musicianship, Kip Winger’s powerful vocals and the band’s incredible songwriting. 

"On ‘Better Days Comin’’ we drew from our past to elaborate on our future. The band is stronger than ever and very excited about the music on this record,” explains front man Kip Winger. “We feel this album exemplifies the true sound of the band in every way."

I’d heard on the grapevine that Better Days Comin’ was a return to form for the NYC outfit. If the likes of Seventeen, HFAH, Easy Come Easy Go, and Down Incognito rock your Winger world the this new one will fit in very nicely with your album collection, as it’s a good as anything they have ever done, and that’s saying something. Whilst many 90s bands are living firmly on their past status Winger are driving theirs forward with aplomb. 

‘Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine’ is perfect evidence of why Winger in 2014 are kicking ass – and that is down to Kip Wingers voice – its completely unchanged and sounding better than it ever did. Couple this instrument in itself with the dual guitar attack of Messers Roth and Beach, and the rhythmic and powerful drumming of Rod Morgenstein, and it truly is a beautiful thing to behold. ‘Queen Babylon’ is a modern day classic – classic Winger with a ‘Pull’ vibe, also the harmonics on ‘Rat Race’, just make me go all ‘goosey!’. Title Track ‘BDC’ has a soulful/gospel vibe to proceedings and is a step back from the first three but a nice and welcome change to the flow. ‘Tin Soldier’ starts off rather nice, with a technical prog riff, showing their musical prowess off, proving they are (and never were) just a hair metal band, with Morgensteins drumming driving the whole song forward and is probably one of the highlights for me personally.

‘Ever Wonder’ sees the guys get their laid back groove on, but after this BDC fails to set the very high standards of the first half. That said, its still good, but the first half was stunning!!

From the opening riff of album opener ‘Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine’ to the final outro lick of  ‘Out Of This World,’ it is clear Winger is back and better than ever. Hard rocking songs like ‘Queen Babylon,’ progressive rock moments like ‘Tin Soldier,’ and touching ballads like ‘Ever Wonder’ display the band’s diversity while always centering on great songs. The debut single from ‘Better Days Comin’’ is the adrenaline fueled rocker ‘Rat Race’ that showcases some of the band’s best work of their 25 year career. 

Better Days Comin’? On this evidence, abso-fuckin-lutely! 

Score – 90/100

Release Dates
Europe – April 18th
Tracklisting: Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine; Queen Babylon; Rat Race; Better Days Comin'; Tin Soldier; Ever Wonder; So Long China; Storm In Me; Be Who You Are, Now; Another Beautiful Day (*); Out Of This World.

Kip Winger – bass guitar, vocals
Reb Beach - guitars
Rod Morgenstein - drums
John Roth - guitars
VIDEO : Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tOzsssTtDU
VIDEO : Rat Race    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp57jqoKJ7E


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