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!!!

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Raintimes - ST Album Review

Raintimes – ‘S/T’

Raintimes is a new melodic rock/AOR project band featuring Pierpaolo ‘Zorro’ Monti (Charming Grace, Shining Line) and Davide Barbieri (Wheels Of Fire, Charming Grace), and Michael Shotton (Von Groove, the ‘S’ in LRS). It’s rounded up by Sven Larsson and Ivan Gonzalez on guitars and Andrea Gipponi on bass,

“Raintimes is an album that I really wanted to use as a tribute to my love and admiration for The Storm,” says Pierpaolo Monti. “I have played to death their two albums (especially “Eye of the Storm”). Their tempos, steeped in pure melodic class, are the perfect crossroad between AOR and Melodic Rock. The choice of Shotton as front man was based not only on my admiration for his talents, but because I wanted to give a strong personality to the album and make the music more personal and original.”

Well, as a first impression, Pierpaolo is correct in his statement that he has a love for The Storm as this certainly fits into that melodic rock style. The production values stand out by a country mile. A lot of hard work has gone into this level, in fact, it has more polish than the good people at AutoGlym can muster (other polishes are available!). Opening ditty ‘Forever Gone’ fits firmly into Pierpaolo’s vision for an 80s track that’s akin to anything Messer’s Valory/Smith/ Ramos/Chalfant could produce. Shotton sounds great and the guitar work from González and Larsson is excellent. ‘Make My Day’ just screams ‘pink and fluffy’ in a good pink and fluffy kind of complementary way. ‘Don’t Ever Give Up’ goes more for the jugular with is heavy widdly-twiddly riff before settling into its AOR comfort zone, and is a very catchy tune. ‘Swan’ is a slow burn for me, as I get less tolerant to ballads as I grow older, but after repeated listens, it’s a little gem. ‘I Need Tonight’ is the melodic rock I prefer, a nice punchy riff, with an edge to them and is my favourite of the album so far. Title track ‘Raintimes’ is an intro leading into ‘Just A Little Bit More’, and sees Frontiers ‘go-to’ guy Alessandro Del Vecchio on keys and BVs, and it’s a nice an uplifting song. ‘Together As Friends’ is a song that is the cream of the crop and screams quality. It’s one of those songs that you only have to hear the first few bars/ or lines and know its good.

Whilst it isn’t quite at the level of ‘The Storm’, I fail to find a complete duffer of this album. It will surely be near the top of many an AOR fans fave lists come the end of 2017. It’s chock full of good songs, but not great songs.

I just have a gripe over the name, as ‘Raintimes’ is cack!

There’s been a lot of ‘average’ coming out of Frontiers this year, I for one would like to see much more of albums and bands like Raintimes coming out of the Frontiers stable in 2018

It’s definitely for fans of any of the Italian AOR scene, and the likes of First Signal, and Work Of Art in particular

Score 80/100

Tracklisting –
Forever Gone
Make My Day
Don’t Ever Give Up
I Need Tonight
Just A Little Bit More
Empty Days
Together As Friends
Missing Piece
I See The Light 

Michael Shotton – Lead & Backing Vocals
Iván González – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Sven Larsson - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Davide Barbieri - Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Andrea Gipponi - Bass & Fretless Bass
Pierpaolo Monti – Drums & Percussion

Niclas Olsson - Keyboards on “I Need Tonight”
Philip Lindstrand - Backing Vocals on “I Need Tonight”
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards & Backing Vocals on “Just A Little Bit More”
Erica Trovato: Backing Vocals on “Together As Friends”
Jesús Espín: Backing Vocals on “Missing Piece”
Daniel Flores: Percussion on “I See The Light”
Michele Luppi: Keyboards on “I See The Light”

PRODUCED BY: Davide Barbieri & Pierpaolo Monti
STUDIO: PriStudio
RECORDED BY: Davide Barbieri & Pierpaolo Monti
MIXED BY: Roberto Priori
MASTERED BY: Roberto Priori

Thursday 23 November 2017

MYLES KENNEDY - signs with Napalm Records! First solo album "Year Of The Tiger" will be released in Spring 2018!

First solo album "Year Of The Tiger" will be released in Spring 2018!

He is the distinctive voice of Alter Bridge. He as well gained incredible recognition with being the voice of Slash's back band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. He jammed with members of Led Zeppelin, he worked with the best of the best... he is undeniably one of the greatest rock singers of our time.

After the successful collaboration between Alter Bridge and Napalm Records, Myles Kennedy as well decided to sign with the Austrian label to release his long awaited first solo album.

Myles states:
“I’m excited to announce I’m teaming up with Napalm Records for the release of my first solo record YEAR OF THE TIGER. This record is something I’ve always wanted to make and I’m grateful to Napalm for believing in me enough to get behind it.”

Napalm Records' whole staff is super excited and more than proud about teaming up with this incredible talented artist. "Year Of The Tiger" is scheduled for Spring 2018.

Watch out for more news!!! 

For more info visit:

Thursday 9 November 2017

Santa Cruz - 'Bad Blood Rising' Review

Santa Cruz – Bad Blood Rising

I have a theory about Finnish rock  & metal bands, once they have finished college they have to do a years National Service (something that would benefit the ‘yoof’ of today here in the UK who expect everything on a plate). I'm certain that a part of this National Service is to start a band, such is the number of Finnish bands!

They have been praised by Rolling Stone mag as ‘One of the Top 10 bands you need to know in 2017’ for their ‘debaucherous, flamboyant flair’. High praise indeed.

They are partnered with a new label M-Theory Audio. Previously they were with Spinefarm. So what about ‘Bad Blood Rising?’

'Young Blood Rising' gets the album off to a powerful start with is more of an anthem for the disaffected youth, aimed squarely at arena rock and a blistering guitar solo. ‘River Phoenix’ uses the audio from the police call on that fateful night. It enters into a pop rock affair that seen on the likes of Scuzz. Decent, but not captivating enough. ‘Fire Running Through Our Veins’ tries a lot harder to be different. Its thumping enough, but its like there's a formula being laid down with similar choruses to the previous tracks.

‘Drag Me Out Of The Darkness’ is a mid paced song that does not grab you by the balls and make you listen.  “Breathe’ with its whistling opener, thankfully doesn’t morph into Winds Of Change. Archie Kuosmanen has a decent voice, but this, along with ‘Back From The Dead’ and ‘Breathe’ are clearly not playing to his talents. ‘Voice of a New Generation’ is the kind of song that Shinedown do better. Its good, but it could be bigger and better. ‘Pure Fucking Adrenaline’ does what it says on the tin – it’s a Metallica x with Crue x Megadeth style song. ‘Get Me Out Of California’ is more on the melodic rock/AOR side, and after the opener, it’s the second best for me on the album, its more Mr Big than Mister Crowley. Another 4 or 5 of this quality, and it would be a great album.

Santa Cruz showed some good touched early on in their career and have had some success in their native Finland and snared some decent tours.

Glam was almost dead in the early 90s. Whilst there are a few keeping its head afloat, I don’t see many making a killing out of it. I cant say that I don’t like this but there’s not enough on here that’s decent enough to make me ‘love’ it.

There’s too much ‘average’ being settled for by labels in the Melodic Rock/AOR/Sleaze these days. I’ll certainly go watch them live as I think that some of these will come across a lot better than they do on the album.

Score 65/100

Santa Cruz are –
Archie Kuosmanen – vocals/guitar)
Johnny Parkkonen – (guitars/vocals)
Middy Toivonen (bass)
Taz Fagerström – (drums)

Young Blood Rising
River Phoenix
Fire Running Through Our Veins
Drag Me Out Of The Darkness
Voice Of The New Generation
Back From The Dead
Bad Habits Die Hard
Purer Fucking Adrenaline
Get Me Out Of California
River Phoenix (Pt 2)

Santa Cruz will return to the UK in December for a headline tour. Dates for the run are:

05.12. Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms
06.12. Milton Keynes, UK - Crauford Arms
07.12. Grimsby, UK - Yardbirds
08.12. Sheffield, UK - Corporation
09.12. Birmingham, UK - The Flapper
10.12. Glasgow, UK - Cathouse
12.12. Manchester, UK - Academy 3
13.12. London, UK - Underworld
14.12. Chester, UK - The Live Rooms
15.12. Swansea, UK - Sin City
16.12. Bournemouth, UK - Anvil
17.12. Norwich, UK - Waterfront

Saturday 4 November 2017

Michael Schenker Fest - O2 Academy, Sheffield 3rd November 2017

Michael Schenker Fest – O2 Academy Sheffield

Many months ago I got the chance to review the then ‘one-off’ MSF DVD that took place in Japan. (Review here - http://www.chesyrockreviews.com/2017/02/michael-schenker-fest-live-review.html ) I got a bit misty-eyed watching this gig, especially when I think back to Cozy Powell, and thought how great it would be to have him alive and involved in something like this. It would have been the cherry to top all cherries.

Thankfully, someone had sense to take this on a wider tour. It was announced for the UK. YAY! I’m not sure if ticket sales had been poor as it was recently announced that Sheffield was offering a 33% discount via the people at HRH. Bastards!!! Not HRH, just the fact that tickets were heavily discounted. This tactic worked. Whilst the balcony wasn’t really utilized, the floor was pretty packed, and these punters had excellent foresight.

Schenker these days is a completely different bloke to the poor state he was in 10 years ago. Upon entrance, he was happy, beaming with joy to be precise, and this immediately shows in his playing. In fact on the opening salvo of ‘Into The Arena’, its probably the best I’ve seen him since the early 80s. In fact, this happiness seems to have rubbed off on all of the band. All of the 3 vocalists stints – Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, are interjected with an instrumental classic – ‘Into the Arena’ for Barden, ‘Coast To Coast’ prior to Bonnet, and ‘Captain Nemo’ for McAuley.

Barden is first, and while he doesn’t have the voice of Budokan, he still handles his vocals with charm and polish. There’s nowt vocally from ‘Built To Destroy’, all of Barden’s are classics from the first two albums, ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’, ‘Victim Of Illusion’, ‘Cry For The Nations’, ‘Attack Of The Mad Axeman’, and ‘Armed And Ready’. Such is the enjoyment, thirty minutes goes past in a blink of an eye. Chris Glen, looks every inch the star (and nutter) as he was in the 80s, and with Ted Mckenna the groove is well and truly covered. McKenna’s Bass drum, and Glen’s bass notes pummel your body with the groove. Steve Mann, the youngest at 61 (I want whatever he’s drinking!) handles the rhythm and keys excellently. My only gripe, no ‘On and On’, which is probably my fave MSG song of all of them. Gutted.

Graham Bonnet looks every inch the fashion icon as he was in his Rainbow days. The guy looks resplendent in his aviator sunglasses, black shirt, red tie, salmon jacket (yes…..salmon!) and jeans ‘n sneakers. It took him just a minute to joke about the infamous incident at Sheffield City Hall some 35 (ish) years ago, when he got his knob out when he was pissed as a fart. In this venue, instead of pulling out his willy, out came a banana. You rock guys…..! The excellent ‘Desert Song’ from the underrated (not in my house) ‘Assault Attack’ was up first, followed by ‘Dancer’ with Barden and McAuley on BVs, with ‘Assault Attack’ bringing up the rear. Bonnet is almost 70 and is in amazing nick. Chris Glen stated this was the first time this song had been heard and having Bonnet back in the fold was superb.

Robin McAuley’s voice (whilst no spring chicken either) is identical to his Grand Prix and McAuley Schenker Group days. Superb vocally, he has no right to still be this good! ‘No Time For Losers’, ‘Save Yourself’, ‘Bad Boys’, and the superb ‘Love Is Not A Game’ and ‘Rock Bottom’ covered his stint. McAuley looks every inch the star, and went down a storm. The solo from Schenker for 'Rock Bottom' was just sublime.

The encore continued in the UFO vein with stellar renditions of ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Lights Out’ with all three taking on vocal duties.

I was looking forward to this, after seeing the DVD a few months back, but in reality it was much better than I expected it to be. Schenker was stunning, wringing every note out of his various flying V’s (Dean), and it was a joy to witness up close. Being in a happy place suits the guy.

If I’m honest, this is the set list I’ve been itching for on the 4 times I’ve seen Temple Of Rock, this was as good as it gets. The only icing on the cake would have been Michael bringing in Rocky Newton, Paul Raymond, and I would have desperately loved to see the late, great Cozy Powell just one more time.

I'm not 'age-ist', but I would like to state that the total age on show here tonight was 452! In fact, what I saw tonight was a band that was better than the MSG I saw on the 'Rock Will Never Die' tour in '84. Remarkable stuff. Well done fellas, and thank you for a superb night.

Personally I think it’s a mistake having two gigs (Sheffield and Manchester) so close, which is why I think sales of the Sheffield gig were being pushed. That said, at £30 it was value for money, but if you paid the 20 quid, then it was probably the best value gig of the year by a country mile.

(Note - As a regular gig go-er, not necessarily to Sheffield, watch out for those thieving NCP bastards next to the O2. £17 for four hours. Now for my next review of them in Trip Advisor!)


Michael Schenker Fest –
Michael Schenker – lead guitar
Chris Glen – Bass
Ted McKenna – Drums
Steve Mann – Keys/Guitar

Vocalists -
Gary Barden
Graham Bonnet
Robin McAuley

Tracklisting –
Yin And Yang
Searching For Freedom
Into The Arena
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Victim Of Illusion
Cry For The Nations
Attack Of The Mad Axeman
Armed And Ready
Coast To Coast
Desert Song
Assault Attack
Captain Nemo
No Time For Losers
Save Yourself
Bad Boys
Love Is Not A Game
Rock Bottom

Doctor Doctor
Lights Out