- 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!!!
Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Working our way down from 20 to 1, here we go
20. Serpentine - Circle Of Knives
Welsh rockers Serpentine finally kill the ghost of Tony Mills. (I know he isn't dead! Its a metaphor!). Yes its Ten influenced, but that's not a bad thing
19. Impera - Empire Of Sin
Classic rock with a capital 'K', mainly down to the excellent vocals of one Matti Alfonzetti. The bloke should be a household name, well if its any consolation, you are in my household mate!
18. Art Nation - Revolution
The Swedes seem to be leading the way when it comes to rock music and Art Nation are no exception....
17. Find Me - Dark Angel
The Swedes are at it again. This time its Daniel Flores. If you lit WOA, W.E.T. and Eclipse then Find Me is right up your street. Polished AOR
16. Dakota - Long Road Home
After an 11 year hiatus, Dakota returned with some reworked songs and a few new ones. A must for fans of their debut. With this kind of output they make Guns and Roses seem positively prolific!
=14. Hungryheart - Dirty Italian Job
80s AOR carried out with great applomb by these Italians. Another country trying to single-handedly keep melodic rock alive and well
=14. The King Lot - ST
These guys blew me away supporting Dan Reed Network. Thirty years ago, they would be pretty damn huge. Huge riffs, killer choruses.
=11. Def Leppard - ST
Its been a while since Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, but what a return the Leps made. Its up there with their best work, certainly their best since Hysteria!
=11. Room Experience
More AOR invasion from this lovable bunch of Italians. A project that's taken years to come to fruition by Gianluca Firmo, it proved well worth the wait. If you love your AOR with more than a slice of papry keyboards then look no further than this.
=11. Reach - Reach Out To Rock
Three very young lads (and one young lad) make a highly impressive debut. With nods more to hair metal, I for one cant wait to see what they come up with next
10. Dimino - Old habits Die Hard
Why it took Frank Dimino sooooo long to record a solo album is beyond me. It was one of the surprises of the year for me. 'never Again' speeds out of the blocks quicker than Usain Bolt wearing a meat unitard being chased by a pack of zombie wolves!
9. Stryper - Fallen
Stryper continue their rich vein of form and their heavier direction thankfully. Mushy ballads have all but disappeared, and in comes power, strength, positivity and most of all, heaviness!
8. Gronholm - Relativity Code For Love
Another surprise for me in 2015. Id never heard of them until this, and boy, is it a cracking album. Lee Smalls has NEVER sounded better than this.
7. Revolution Saints - ST
I know, lets get 3 giants of rock (ok one is a real short arse) to come together for an album, and lets make the not regarded as as a singer the singer! Castronovo IS one hell of a singer. This was the album that the current Journey should be striving to make
6. Newman - The Elegance Machine
I am a late arrival to the Newman party, and I'm ashamed to admit it. The last 2 albums Ive had to review have been an absolute pleasure. Its more on the heavier side of melodic, but who gives a shit. This bloke is one of Britain's finest exponents of melodic rock, long may he continue
=4. Age Sten Nilsen's Ammunition - Shanghaied
Age does a 'Dio', and ditched Wig Wam for a new life. He basically forms Eclipse MKII for one of the BEST melodic rock albums of 2015. Massive choruses, not a dud on the album, it could easily be my No.1. From here on in the results are that close.
=4. FM - Heroes and Villains
I am a tad biased when it comes to my beloved FM, but they wouldn't be in here if it wasn't any good (my proof - the disappointing Overland Ousey album). FM are in a very rich vein of form and this is one of their best pieces of work and sits close behind 'Indiscreet' and 'Tough It Out', its that good!
3. Romeos Daughter - Spin
OK its not exactly an AOR album as such, its a defining album for Romeos Daughter. They could have given up the ghost since reforming , but like their friends FM, they choose to plough through the field and make new music that is probably their most consistent and best work to date. They should be the darlings of Radio 2, but for some reason are overlooked, and that is a huge travesty.
=1. Blood Red Saints - Speedway
Its a contrast to the joint winner of my 2015 list, but BRS are more 'classic' 80s AOR than anyone else on this list and they are a brand new band. Thanks to the dulcet tones of Pete Godfrey, and the superb songs (no fillers here folks) they deserve to be No.1 on their own
=1. Eclipse - Armageddonize
Erik Martensson's Eclipse are at the other end of the melodic rock spectrum to Blood Red Saints. More raw power and edge to their music, they are the 2015 Oxford Dictionary meaning of 'anthemic rock'. Not a shit song on the album, its slayed me from the off. My best album of 2015 despite the aggro it took to get me the album on vinyl. A HUGE album!
Sunday, 6 December 2015
Blood Red Saints are one of the many melodic rock bands on Perugino Serafino’s Frontiers Label. It’s where most of the decent melodic rock bands are gathered nowadays. Some are greats, some not so, and there’s also some indifferents, with the odd turkey thrown in! Hey you cant be 100% consistent in your approach. But, I would like to predict that Blood Red Saints, on the basis of their new album, and this gig, could soon be up there with the ‘greats’.
The album review can be read here – http://www.chesyrockreviews.com/2015/11/blood-red-saints-speedway-album-review.html
Although other reviews are available, terms and conditions apply.
It wasn’t exactly a sold out show as it was a ‘free’ ticketed event. I suppose it was a ‘free-out’ show!
I learned three things from last nights gig….
1. The bloke working the controls is a Catholic (I’ve seen less smoke when a Pope is being elected!). At various points, Pete Newdeck disappeared.
2. Pete Godfrey is funny as fuck!
3. Blood Red Saints were on fire, and are definitely going places (OK it should be 4 points)
Anywho, by the time they took the stage, the room, and adjoining rooms were packed to the gills. The Railway is a cracking little set up, but for a short-arse like me, you have 2 options. You can either get great sound near the middle to back and see bugger all, or get down the front and sacrifice some of the sound quality. I went for the latter and chose well.
Immediately you can tell that Godfrey is a good singer and also a funny frontman; engaging, and I imagine he is a top bloke. They have also dragged a keyboard player off the streets of Lancashire - one Invin Parratt (Arabia / Rage of Angels)
BRS kicked off with the opener from ‘Speedway’, in the very powerful ‘Kicking Up Dust‘. Its part Dokken, thanks to Lee Revill’s Lynch-esque guitar playing.
Right from the off, they look as if they are a band that are professional but are not taking life seriously which immediately rubs off on their audience. The songs are tight, with lots of in-between banter. ‘Mercy’ live is what makes BRS stand out from the crowd of AOR wannabees. Led by Godfrey, the other 4 guys all weigh in with a heavy wall of sound. FFS they even have a singer in his own right playing the drums (Pete Newdeck, he of many, many bands). Its 5 part harmonies on a huge scale. ‘Best Of Me’ is one of the best ballads that you will here this side of Xmas, smooth as velvet, it also has the now patented ‘BRS 5xH’ sound!
A curve-ball is thrown into the mix where they play one of their fave bands songs. That is Signal’s ‘Does It Feel Like Love’ which is setting up their show for later on. Not all the songs from ‘Speedway are played tonight which is a little strange, but the highlight fro me is my fave from the album, and that is the menacing ‘Dangerous’.
More of the BRS influences come to the fore for the last quarter of their blistering set. First, Godfrey called this guy a ‘God’, and he is spot-on, certainly in ref to his or should I say, THE voice, and its FMs ‘Face To Face’. A song that FM have dropped the last couple of years, it makes a surprise and welcome return here. Pete Godfrey does a great job. Barrie Jackson (he of Rob Naylors last outfit, Angels Or Kings) jumps up, with a certain apprehension to sing Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway’. Considering both bands have the same approach to their music, both singers couldn’t be further apart. For the finale, BRS also call upon Steve Kenny (AoK) for Whitesnake’s version of the classic ‘Here I Go Again’, the proper Hobo version!
‘Twas all soon over, and everyone in attendance witnessed a band in the ascendency. Those who attend HRH AOR in March will witness one of the bands of the festival, of that I’m very certain