About Me

My photo
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 28 February 2015

Issa - Crossfire Album Review

Issa Crossfire Album Review

The album has been carefully produced by John Greatwood (VEGA) and Vega ivory-tinkler and hubby, James Martin. Sessions started in early 2013 with a bunch of songs ISSA had co-written or demoed in the Martin Brothers song-writing sessions.

ISSA says: “After 5 years of working together with Tom and James, we had come up with a collection of songs I had to keep for myself.'' One song in particular sees ISSA teaming up with FM vocalist Steve Overland on the dramatic ballad ''Raintown”. In is a definite highlight of her career so far. ISSA says ''This was a dream come true for me, Steve Overland is probably my favourite male singer and to get him on board was a true honour, his voice suits the song perfectly, wait till you hear this one!!”  
Other guest musicians stepped up when asked upon to perform solo's include Daniel Palmqvist (XORIGIN), Alessandro Del Vecchio (HARDLINE), Steve Newman (NEWMAN), Robert Sall (WORK OF ART), Daniel Johansson (DEGREED), Stephen Chesney. As well as powerhouse choir including Pete Newdeck (IN FAITH/TAINTED NATION), Matt Black (FAHRAN) and Michael Kew (VEGA).

If songs with more than a bit of spit and polish applied are your sort of thing then Crossfire will be right up your street. ‘Crossfire’ is a powerful punch pop rock number that will get the feet, and head going immediately. ‘New Horizon’ shows how much of an influence James Martin has with the songs as they keys run right thru this one like a sick of rock, and some nice layered backing vocals. ‘Raintown’ is definitely THE song of Crossfire. A duet with FMs Steve Overland, he instantly puts his calling card on this one with his trademark ‘whooo-hoooo’ (pat.pending!). It really is a cracking duet as the complement each other perfectly, for what will be a ballad that will be hard to beat this year. That said Nigel Bailey gave this song some welly at the recent ARFM charity gig and gave Mr O a run for his money. It’s a 80’s influenced song with touches of Robin Beck thrown in for good measure.  

Despite the proclamation of holding on to songs written the past few years, I’m still not sure that theres enough instant moments on Crossfire especially when compared to the likes of ‘Im Alive’ and ‘Angel's Crying‘ from the debut. ‘Long Time Coming' has a very catchy chorus. Ms Beck is dialled in again for ‘Fight Fire With Rain’ and once again shows where Issa’s strength as a singer lies. When she holds back a bit is where the true magic comes alive. ‘Heartbeat’ is a bit more rockier and is the opposite of 'Fight Fire…' and oozes class. 

There’s a good 4 or 5 songs here that are top quality tunes and will remain fixed on my phone for some time (Crossfire, Heartbeat, Raintown, Fight Fire With Rain), but the remainder seem to be more ‘by the numbers’ so to speak. It’s not a poor album by any means, its well produced, but doesn’t necessarily hold your attention. But, (never start your sentence with a ‘but’) if you love your female rock singers like Wilson, Beck, Aaron, Matty etc and an 80s influenced sound, then there’s a lot to enjoy from Crossfire

Score 70/100

Tracklisting -


New Horizon


Long Time Coming

Fight Fire With Rain


Electric Lights

Ghost Inside My Heart

Red Lights

We Rise

Only You

Tuesday 17 February 2015

FM - 'Heroes and Villains' Album Review

Now…anyone who personally knows me, or anyone who has read this blog the past 4 years will know that I hold a certain affection towards one of Britain’s finest (and disappointingly for both me and possibly them) unsung rock bands….the mighty FM. I’ve probably banged on about them more time than Pete Jupp has banged his own drum FFS, so an unbiased and thought provoking review is probably out of the question.

If you are an FM fan like myself, then the most likely titled ‘take the money and run’ headline set at Firefest in 2007, was to be one last chance to see this band in action. Feelings and love for a band don’t die away, especially when FM’s absence felt like it was 12 days since they last played, never mind the actual 12 years. This is down to a few things; great people, great musicians, and above all else, a truly great singer.

Thankfully for us and for them, they decided to stick around. The last 8 years has seen them at their most productive, prolific and in some ways their best. Nothing will ever really top ‘Indiscreet’, but with the current and most stable line up to date they are still making their mark on the British rock scene, and thoroughly deserve to be sticking around for the long haul.

The first thing that hits you is the fact that right from the off 'Digging Up The Dirt' sets out its stall as being a rather heavy affair. From the big guitar opening, Overland steps up to the mic and his bluesy tone delights. Couple this with the now FM trademarked ‘5 part harmonies‘™ and it's an uplifting experience. 'You’re The Best Thing About Me’ is a song close to a US radio playlist (sponsored by Elnett) as you’re likely to get. How US success eluded FM is one of life's big mysteries. That said, their loss is happily our gain. ‘Life Is A Highway takes me back to an 80s powerplay on BBC2s ‘No Limits’ and is a fantastic slice of American Rock. It beats the US competition at their own game. Think VH crossed with Summertime Girls! ‘Fire and Rain’ not only sounds like the title of a Bad Company song, it actually sounds like one also. ‘Incredible’ sees the lads enter ‘ballad mode’ for the first time and it’s pretty decent stuff, but with the FM chorus rising it upwards above the rest of the bands who try to copy them. I'm sure Overland sings this stuff in his sleep! 'Call On Me' thankfully sees the up pace returned for this mid paced tune. 'Cold Hearted' has been with us for a bit now (‘twas on the 2014 EP Futurama) and sees them play to their better heavier and funkier side similar to Aphrodisiac era FM.

Another rock radio sounding belter akin to The Cars, or J Geils Band follows in ‘Shape I’m In’. Jem Davies’ organ (Oo-er!) comes to the fore for 'Big Brother,' and is hopefully inspired by the book and not the shite C5 TV show! Yet again, it's another damn catchy chorus that sticks like conjoined twins! Cliché alert ahead! ‘Somedays I Only Wanna Rock And Roll’ is FMs Ronseal song on Heroes… Some bands may be criticized, but Overland’s voice gives it a big plus and stops it from being a filler. ‘I Want You’ sees FM channel the Robert Palmer school of rock and has an infectious middle section. Finally ‘Walking With Angels’ will become a song for dearly departed lovers I suspect and is one of FMs finest ballads to date. Few people can get away with such a song, but if your surname begins with an ‘O’ and ends in ‘verland’ you can pretty much do what you want to do!

As I said earlier, its not ‘Indiscreet,’ and not much will ever be as good as this classic. That said, FM have produced the finest album since their comeback, and it probably sits close behind ‘Tough It Out’ in 3rd place, and that my friends, is not a bloody bad place to be.

Catch FM on tour in March! See dates listed below

Score 88/100

Tracklisting -
Digging Up The Dirt
You’re The Best Thing About Me
Life Is A Highway
Fire And rain
Call On Me
Cold Hearted
Shape I’m In
Big Brother
Somedays I Only Wanna Rock And Roll
I Want You
Walking With Angels

Released by Frontiers
EU: April 17th
US: April 21st

Sunday 8 February 2015

Eclipse - Armageddonize Album Review

There a little known group of people, lets call them a tribe of infinite wisdom and excellent all round good taste, who prowl around the world virtually unknown as an ethnic group. Apart from an offshoot faction in the US that still think its 1986, the Euro section is a much more underground affair. These are the people who avidly follow Melodic Rock/AOR/Hair Metal and their high priest is an Italian Doge by the name of Serafino Perugino.

The said tribe is loyal, faithful, and generally a supporting bunch. Think Mormons only without the giving away part of your salary to your fellow followers. That said, the modern movement is a bit thin on the ground for top quality. Where is the next generation of bands that could fill a decent size club, never mind a theatre or an arena? Ill tell ya where….at the top of the bunch are 2 Swedish bands vying for that position of the alpha band. In the red corner there is H.E.A.T., and in the blue corner, Eclipse. Last year HEAT (for me) had the best melodic rock album of 2014, so can Eclipse dominate the genre with Armageddonize in 2015? ABSO-LUCKING-FUTELY!

For anyone who has missed the band that used to called Whitesnake in their money making prime (c.1987) then Eclipse fill that gap perfectly. Not only that, they have one of the finest, singer/ songwriter / producers out there today. The driving force being Erik Mårtensson and his partner in crime Magnus Henriksson. At least with Mårtensson, his songs don’t just revolve around his cock!

‘I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry’ it like spilling a beer on a Geordie. It stands up, punches you in the face and definitely doesn’t say he is sorry! It has its statement set for this song and the rest of the album; ridiculously and immediately catchy with great hooks. ’Stand On You Feet’ is another slice of annoying greatness. Believe me when I say that this album takes just one listen to become instantly memorable. The Storm follows the same formula. Get past the acoustic opening and BOOM! The chorus is right there in your frontal lobe for the day. Everything so far has been great, and then comes ‘Blood Enemies’. It shows Eclipse at their heaviest and is one of the best on the album. It’s like a ‘battle’ song that Eclipse do ever so well. ‘Wide Open’ is what it does do your head. It blows the fucker….wide open! Magnus’ guitar, Erik’s vox and THAT chorus = utmärkt! The frenetic pace is broken up with the huge ballad, ‘Live Like I’m Dying’. Starting slow, then building up to a crescendo. If something is worth doing, its worth doing it BIG.

I guess a lot of people will make similarities of Breakdown with Blue Murder’s Jelly Roll. Just the opening, but it is startlingly similar. You half expect John Sykes to kick in with the vocals. Love Bites seed Mårtensson channel his inner Coverdale with an opening sound of a trouser zip being pulled. It’s a fast tempo upbeat rocker. I’m not doing the songs I am missing an injustice, its just that you don’t have to write about every single song. So to the final track ‘All Died Young’. Its 100mph/160kph (if you’re Swedish) fast and furious way to finish proceedings, and rounds it all off perfectly.

Armageddonize sees Eclipse eclipsing not only their past, but also the competition. USA take note, whatever you think you can do; Sweden, and Eclipse in the main, are certainly doing it better.

Catch them on tour in the UK very soon. If I were them, Id play the whole bloody lot.

Jävla underbar!

Score – 95/100 (will probably by 100 after repeated listens)

Line Up:
Erik Mårtensson
Magnus Henriksson
Robban Bäck
Magnus Ulfstedt

Track Listing:
1. I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry
2. Stand On Your Feet
3. The Storm
4. Blood Enemies
5. Wide Open
6. Live Like I’m Dying
7. Breakdown
8. Love Bites
9. Caught Up In The Rush
10. One Life – My Life