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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

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