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!!!

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Virgil And The Accelerators - Army Of Three Album review

Moments come along every now and again when you are completely taken aback by a bands performance. The occasion was at Parr Hall Warrington about 18months ago, whereby the then unknown to me, V&TA took to the stage and completely blew me away within the first minute. I knew for certain that I was watching someone special, very special indeed. Albums don’t do bands justice on many an occasion, none more so that the debut, vs the live performance I caught that night....

....and the even more annoying thing? That they were kids when it was recorded. Damn you, you talented set of buggers!

VATA are Virgil McMahon, the guitarist/vocalist and driving force behind the band. A talent from a very young age who joined his dads band ‘The Accelerators’. Such was his talent that his dad and fellow band member Hugh Morgan had the foresight to get Virgil to form a band with people his own age. So Virgil and the Accelerators was born. In came his brother Gabriel on drums. With no previous experience he quickly showed signs of massive potential. Bass players are a hard bunch to find. Jack Alexander Timmis is the man they have settled in on bass duties
There’s always doubts if bands can get over the ‘2nd album syndrome’. To help them overcome this they went for a man with aeons of experience behind the desk, Chris Tsangarides (Lizzy / Moore / Sabbath / Priest / Anvil etc).

Army of Three is aptly named. Not only because of them being a rather fine cohesive unit, but also because they sound as if it’s the aural equivalent of being pounded by a battalion.

Why start off subtly when you can go for the jugular. This is exactly the premise for opening track 'Take Me Higher', an epic six minute blues rocker that just flies by. The maturity and progression from 'The Radium' has come on leaps and bounds. The paying from all three feels like its double the size, and couple this with the feel, emotion and vocalising that belie someone so young, then its bodes well for the rest of the album, and the future of VATA. Whilst the musical aspect of ‘Blow To The Head’ is killer, the same cant be said of the singing. I don’t know if it’s the chorus or production making it sounding a little weak. ‘All Night Long’ puts the VATA machine back on track – its more of a simple rocker than the usual VATA fare and when you think its all done and dusted, it comes back to life again. After the ‘meh!’ of Love Agression comes the surefire future single ‘Give It Up’ a Rolling Stones style complemented with some good harmonica playing. The latter half of the album is a strong one with the groove led ‘It Burns’, the ‘classic’ rocker sounding ‘Stand Up’, and finish on a strong un’,  the southern rock tinged ‘Free’ which will be a surefire hit when played live.

Is a great year for lovers of classic rock what with California Breed, Rival Sons, the excellent Blues Pills, and this. VATA firmly sit in good company

I cant’ wait to see them on tour in October. I strongly suggest you do the same!

Score 85/100

VATA are 
Virgil McMahon - Guitar, Vocals
Gabriel McMahon - Drums
Jack Alexander Timmis - Bass 

Tracklisting -
Take Me Higher
Blow To The Head
All Night Long
Love Agression
Give It Up
Through The Night
It Burns
Stand Up

Sunday 7 September 2014

Room Experience - Press Release

Press RELEASE - ROOM EXPERIENCE: First official trailer and singer announcement
Room Experience is the name of a brand new high profile project, born from the artistic partnership between keyboardist and songwriter Gianluca Firmo (from Brescia, Italy) and the production team composed by Davide "Dave Rox" Barbieri (Wheels Of Fire, Charming Grace) and Pierpaolo "Zorro11" Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace, Lionville).
The debut album is currently being recorded in Italy under the production's oversight of duo Barbieri/Monti, while mix and mastering duties will be handled by star producer of the moment, Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Edge Of Forever, Rated X, Shining Line), at his Ivorytears Music Studio in Somma Lombardo (Va, Italy).
Firmo's songwriting skills are going to offer an exciting journey through a wide range of melodic rock styles, with influences coming from classic AOR to more up-to-date melodic hard-rock. With such a rich variety of styles to face, a powerhouse and versatile vocalist was needed in order to carry songs to completion, so UK's extraordinary singer David Readman (Pink Cream 69, Voodoo Circle) was officially approached to perform all the songs of the project.
The album is scheduled for a release in early 2015 on label tba. Further details regarding additional guests involved and more infos about the project will follow in the next weeks.

Room Experience official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/roomexperienceofficial

Moon Land featuring Lenna Kuurmaa - S/T Album Review

Automatically the word ‘featuring’ indicates that the person is of significant importance. Well up until the Frontiers Festival I’d never heard of Lenna Kuurmaa. To be honest, given the lackluster / limp / boring (delete as appropriate) performance on Day 2 of the aforementioned (but excellent) Festival, I thought that Moon Land featuring Lenna Kuurmaa (Jesus, I’m already fed up of typing this title) deserve a second chance as the circumstances leading to their performance, which seemed like a complete lack of preparation, did them no favours whatsoever.

Apparently Estonian Kuurmaa is a 360-degree performer - singer, actress and TV personality. Lenna has been the front-woman of the Pop-Rock outfit VANILLA NINJA, an all-female outfit, which debuted in 2002 with their self-titled album and went on to release internationally another 3 successful studio albums (which won Gold Records awards in Germany, Austria and Platinum in their home country, Estonia). In 2005 VANILLA NINJA also won the selection to represent Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Festival with the song "Cool Vibes", ending at the 8th place.

VANILLA NINJA however went into hiatus and the members started to get involved in different projects. Lenna Kuurmaa appeared as an actress and TV presenter in Estonia and started a musical solo project under her own name, until she was approached by Frontiers Records with a concept to be return with a new international release with songs tailored for her singing style, with musical influences ranging from Heart and Europe with a touch of Roxette. Frontiers ‘go-to’ guy, the diminutive but most excellent singer / songwriter / keyboardist/ producer Alessandro Del Vecchio taking care of the production duties.

‘Heaven Is To Be Close To You’ starts off the album in good fashion, but fails to build on its early momentum. ‘Open Your Heart’ sees Kuurmaa trying to get all Roxette on us. If Waitrose is the musical equivalent of Roxette, then Kuurmaa is the Asda version. It’s an analogy wasted on a Euro audience, but you can find your own meaning. Basically it’s a poor mans Roxette, OK! ‘Crime Of Love’ and ‘Poison Angel’ tries to get back on track but are missing a spark to make them stand out from a competitive melodic rock genre

Without being repetitive, the remaining songs on the album basically follow suit. It’s the kind of inoffensive record that the likes of my wife would like – listenable, but not critical. Ideal as a background setting, but nothing else.

To be fair, MFLK has enough going for it to be given a second outing. Whether or not a certain head honcho at Frontiers allows this to happen remains to be seen. On the evidence of this debut, Kuurmaa deserves to be given a second chance, as her voice is the highlight of what is a lackluster album.

Score - 60/100

Moon Land Are –
Lenna Kuurmaa – Lead Vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio - keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
Francesco Marras - guitars
Bruce Gaitsch - nylon guitar
Anna Portalupi - bass
Alessandro Polifrone – drums

Tracklisting –
Heaven Is To Be Close To You
Open Your Heart
Crime Of Love
Poison Angel
When Love Is Gone
Out Of Reach
Live And Let Go
Cold As Ice
Over Me
Heart Made Of Steel
Look At Us Now
Another Day In Paradise

Adrenaline Rush - S/T Album Review

Back in May at the inaugural Frontiers Festival in Milan, Adrenaline Rush, and Tåve Wanning in particular certainly made a great first impression. A young, and very good looking girl with a decent voice surrounded by some young and hungry guys pulling the strings. Its a decent match for both parties that is, as a whole, Adrenaline Rush

This debut album was recorded and written under the direction of producer Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T). The production sounds thoroughly modern yet keeps the spirit of the 1980´s alive, with the record likely to appeal to fans of bands such as Danger Danger, Vixen, Dokken, Warrant, Treat etc

“We want to entertain and be the soundtrack of the party - it’s all about foot-stomping, head-banging tracks that make you want to get up and dance and drive your car much too fast. My favourite track other than the single ‘Change’ is ‘Playin’ to Win’, it always gets me in a good mood. Making this record with Erik was a wild ride and I hope you will ENJOY THE RUSH!” – Tåve.

Frontiers / Adrenaline Rush certainly selected the correct song to pick as first choice for a single as its the stand out song on the debut album. A fast paced, energetic and frenetic number which ticks the right boxes - decent riff and a great chorus. Hot on the heels of the quality of 'Change is opener “Black and Blue” a modern day anthem with great structure and layered vocals adding to the experience for the listener. After Generation Left Behind the quality from here on in waivers a little; and songs like ‘Girls Gone Wild’, ‘Hit You Like A Rock’, and ‘Want It All’ are easily forgotten. ‘Oh Yeah’ definitely takes more than a passing resemblance to Leppard circa Hysteria era, and ‘Playing To Win’ has a folky, Thin Lizzy vibe to it.

I get the feeling that a fair few of the song titles are coming from the "iSpy bumper book of rock cliches /random title generator". Now theres nothing wrong with this as, lets face it, its hard not to replicate something from the past that hasn’t already been written. Take some examples from the afore mentioned iSpy book (Vol 5 Scandi edition) – ‘Generation Left Behind’, ‘Want It All’, ‘Too Young To Die’ and ‘Hit You Like A Rock.’

I have great admiration for a set of young guns that not only want to play, but are influenced by bands like Dokken, White Lion, Danger Danger from the 80s, especially as there are other and lets face it, probably easier ways of making your way in the music industry

Despite the hit and miss nature of their debut, theres a lot of to look forward to in the future and makes for a promising debut

Score 70/100

Adrenaline Rush are –
Tåve Wanning – Lead Vocals
Ludvig Turner – Guitar, Vocals
Alexander Hagman – Guitar, Vocals
Soufain Ma’Aoui – Bass, Vocals
Marcus Johansson – Drums

Tracklisting –
Black And Blue
Generation Left Behind
Girls Gone Wild
When We’re Gone
Want It All
Too Young To Doe
Oh Yeah!
No No No
Playin’ To Win
Hit You Like A Rock

Thursday 4 September 2014

Angels Or Kings - Kings Of Nowhere Album Review

Me old mate, buddy, pal, Larry The Loafer, sorry Rob ‘fluffy’ Evans, he of Powerplay’s ‘whats brite and whats shite’ column, Classic Rock AOR mag and any other that has a melodic rock column (watch out for his newest in Womans Weekly soon!), has been banging on to anyone for yonks who will listen that the revitalized AOK as was, (now Angels or Kings) have a stonking set of songs to release. Well he is not without reason.

I remember seeing AOK in the Tiv Buckley in the early 90s (it feels like a shit load of years ago anyway), and they absolutely stormed the place on more than one occasion. Many bands have trod the ‘we should have been an AOR contender’ floorboards in the mid 80s-early 90s, and unfortunately AOK were one such beast. As the promo note states ‘we’ve got something on the go, but we’re lazy and need a kick up the arse’. Thankfully that boot seemed to be on the end of the foot of new vocalist Barrie Jackson. With a name more Wheeltappers than Madison Square Garden, he (Jackson) proves to be Angels or Kings missing link, and not in an Abe Sapien way either. Joking aside, Jackson has a voice that’ll have grown men crying into their Top Deck Shandy’s, or whatever else the discerning AOR crowd drink in the 21st Century

Angel or Kings album has more polish than a Brasso and Mr.Sheene factory combined. A fault with many of the modern melodic rock bands is writing to a formula, and they try to make every song an anthem. Theres’ nowt wrong with this, but AOK are old school and their craft comes from a time when some of the greats put great time and effort into their writing. Think of some of your favourite melodic rock bands – Journey, Giant, & Giuffria from the past and the newer age such as HEAT, Vega, Eclipse; well Angels or Kings ride this AOR train hot on the coat tails of these luminaries past and present.

‘Any Other Girl’ is a song that just slaps you around the face and deserves to be heard. After just one listen I guarantee that you’ll be humming and singing into your hairbrush (if you still have hair) along with Barrie, making 5 part harmonies, and begging for more. Well…'Kings of Nowhere' doesn’t disappoint, ‘Ice Turned To Rain’ is a song that would be a huge in in 80s FM Radio America. Come to think of it, the last time I was there, they still think its 1988. ‘Real Life’ is the type of song the likes of FM tried to write in the early 90s – it’s a blood and guts, fire and brimstone epic number. ‘Same Star’ is the type of song that 5 northern lads shouldn’t be capable of writing, it just oozes class. Halfway through and I just feel as if I have have run out of superlatives to describe this crackin’ slab of lovliness!

‘Left In Love’ has yet another singalong chorus and again keeps the Angels or Kings momentum up high. Keyboards feature high on the “AoK Jonathan Cain scale” and they definitely add to the quality, with ‘Another Lost Boy’ being a prime example. ‘If Her Tears Could Talk’ and ‘Kings Of Nowhere’ keep the album strong right to the bitter end.

There’s nothing to criticize here, only to enjoy. Jackson proves he’s a mighty fine singer, and is given a belting set of songs to prove his worth. If you love melodic rock and love well crafted little nuggets of gold then look no further than ‘Kings of Nowhere’. Best AOR album of 2014 bar none. Fuck! I’m almost tempted to offer a money back guarantee myself, I’m that convinced you’ll love it. If you don’t then you’re completely deaf! They will storm Firefest….

Superb songs, excellent production, and an album that sits firmly amongst the best AOR albums this side of 1985

P.S. if you have two and a half grand spare you can buy Tony’s book, ‘Life In The Bus Lane’ from Amazon. For that price I think he will not only deliver it but read it every night to you whilst spoon feeding you caviar and champagne. That aside It’s a great read! - 

Score 98/100

Line-up -
Barrie Jackson - Vocals
Tony Bell - Guitars
Rob Naylor - Bass
Steve Kenney - Guitars, Keyboard
Andy Chemmey - Drums

Tracklisting -
1. Any Other Girl
2. A Harder Place
3. Ice Turned To Rain
4. Real Life
5. Same Star
6. Someone To Save Me
7. Left Me In Love
8. A Night Like This
9. Another Lost Boy
10. Same Old Love
11. If Her Tears Could Talk
12. Kings Of Nowhere