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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!!!

Thursday 20 December 2018

Top 10 melodic Rock Albums of 2018

Onto my fave genre of music, Melodic Rock/AOR. Its been a pretty cracking year with some strong albums for the older statesmen, and some older statesmen (but new to the scene)

10. FM - Atomic Generation
You know exactly what you are gonna get from Britains premire Ronseal Rock Band, FM - style, class, substance, and oh those vocals. 'Killed By Love' would have been a massive hit for for any of the current grown up boy bands. The best pop-rock song in 2018 by a mile

9. No Hot Ashes - ST
35 years in the making this debut was well worth the wait. Nancarrow has the voice of a teenage rocker, but the body and face of his dad! A mix of 80s and more recent numbers that you cant tell apart. Check out the vocals on 'I'm Back' and the excellent cover of Rick Springfields "Souls'

8. Johnny Gioeli - One Voice
And what a voice! Gioeli goes off on a tangent to record his debut solo album, and it is chock full of cracking songs. in face he actually out Jovi's Bon Jovi on a few of them. Positive, enjoyable, AND proceeds of the album help out a fan in need. A top bloke

7.  Groundbreaker - ST
Work Of Art's Robert Sall and FM's Steve Overland come together for a little gem of an album. Yes, its what you think it would sound like. "Something Worth Fighting For' is the ballad of the year, and is the best 2635 seconds you'll hear all year 

6. Blood Red Saints - Love Hate Conspiracies
Reviewed in Dec last year, I expect many a listener forgot this came out way back in Jan. I shift in heaviness from the original and I loved it for that reason. 'Another Freak' errs on the side of Shinedown, and 'Something In Your Kiss' dot does Leppard for being Def Leppard.

5. Vega - Only Human
These guys should now have the following of thousands when they gig, rather than a few hundred. Melodic Rock Luke and Matt Goss write some of the best tunes this side of 1985. In Nick Workamn they have a vocalist who can interpret these lyrics and take then up an extra level. Should be on the current Leppard tour.

4. W.E.T. - Earthrage
It has all the hallmarks of an Eclipse album, only with a smidge of WOA and the more menacing vocals of JSS. From the beatiful (Heart Is On The Line) to the powerful (Watch The Fire/Calling Out Your Name) it has this and everything inbetween.  

3. Perfect Plan - All Rise
No it isn't the boy band Blue, but an outfit from a place sooo metal it has two umlauts in its name. They aintexactly young, but with age comes class, and class is permanent. 'In And Out Of Love' is one of the best songs of the year, and in any other year that ends in 1985, would have been huge. 

2. Kissing Dynamite - Ecstasy
This album was an 'out of the blue' purchase, like what I used to back in the 80s and bought solely on what the album cover looked like. Fuck me, was I in for a treat. Every song is an anthem, chock full of riffs, huges choruses and sing-a-long-a-metal.  Where have they been all my life? Germany.

1. Airrace - Untold Stories
I waited 30-odd years to see Airrace this year, and even though it was as support to The Treatment, it was worth it, and so was Untold Stories – Adam Payne sings his bollox off for the performance of his life (so far).  You’d think that Mercury had written ‘Running Out Of Time’, ‘Summer Sun’ is as close to anything that should have been a hit on Radio 2, and ‘Eyes Like Ice’ should be on the next Spiderman soundtrack! All credit to Laurie Mansworth for keeping this band alive, its his playing, songs and production that put this firmly at the top of the tree for me. Without doubt the best melodic rock album of 2018 by far.

Top 10 Albums of 2018

Top 10 end of year lists are pretty subjective. After all, in this case its only one persons opinion. Lets face it, the famous saying is, 'opinions are like arseholes....everybody has got one!' Whilst I haven't got the widest listening range of much bigger sites, anything that appears on my list has been up for review, or has been a personal purchase.

Here we go....

     10. Perfect Plan -  All Rise
      Hailing from a place in Sweden so metal it has two umlauts in its name, the guys from PP are no spring chickens, but proved that with age comes class. And class is permanent. 'In And Out Of Love' is one of the melodic rock songs of the year, and had it been 1985, PP would now be household names. 

      9.    Kissing Dynamite - Ecstasy
     This album was an 'out of the blue' purchase from my local independent record store. Purchased on a whim, like the good 'ol days when album covers mattered, 'Ecstasy' just blew me away. All the songs are instantly hummable and go for the jugular. There are times when I had to check if KD had brought in Myles Kennedy (Somebody's Gotta Do It). Where have they been all my life? Germany, thats where!

      8.    Myles Kennedy – The Year Of The Tiger
      This solo album was a long time coming. In fact an album of sorts was in the pipeline 8 years ago. What came was an album chock full of emotion as it was a collective of songs inspired by the death of his father. Despite the nature of the songs, there a lot of positivety also. 'Year Of The Tiger' and 'Haunted By Design'  are worth the price alone.

      7.    The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut
      Third time is the charm as ‘they’ say, whoever ‘they’ are. I was floored by the debut, and have seen them on every tour since and they just get better and better. Vocalist Phil Campbell sings with raw emotion and their performance was deserving of a Top 10 finish in the UK Album Charts.

      6.    Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army                  
      I had wrongly dismissed them as Led Zep clones. Lets just settle it by saying it was partly their fault. The unbelievable thing is that they are so damn young. God only knows what they will be like in the many years to come. Check out 'Age Of Man' and 'When The Curtain Falls'

     5.    Judas Priest – Firepower   
      Despite the difficulties surrounding the release of this album, with Tipton being diagnosed with Parkinsons, 'Firepower' had both the Fire and Power in its belly and is up there as one of their best releases. They piled into the DeLorean and produced an 80s sounding classic. Who says old geezers cant make defining career albums. The title track sits proudly alongside any of their classic songs. Long may they continue.

     4.    Halestorm – Vicious
     Lzzy Hale and the boys have been getting better with each and every album, and ‘Vicious’ is just chock full of monsters. Who’d have thought it would have taken them 20 years to get this far. Its well and truly deserved. Hale doesn’t scream as much as she has in the past and it shows what a great voice she has without the need to melt your eardrums. Check out the gorgeous ‘Nobody’ for proof. It could have come from Kelly Clarkson.

     3.    Airrace – Untold Stories
     I waited 30-odd years to see Airrace this year, and even though it was as support to The Treatment, it was worth it, and so was 'Untold Stories' – A vehicle in which Laurie Mansworth gives Adam Payne the room to sing his bollox off for the performance of his life (so far).  You’d think that Mr Mercury had written ‘Running Out Of Time’, ‘Summer Sun’ is as close to anything that should have been a hit on Radio 2, and ‘Eyes Like Ice’ should be on the next Spiderman soundtrack! All credit to Laurie Mansworth for keeping this band alive, its his playing, songs and production that put this firmly at the sharp end for me.Without doubt the best melodic rock album of 2018 by far.

     2.    Ghost – Prequelle
     This was the album that could make Ghost a household name. Onto vocalist NO 27, Tobias Forge nailed it with 'Prequelle'. Hell, even having 2 instrumentals didn’t weaken the album. From the infectious ‘Rats’, the pop-tastic ‘Danse Macabre’, and the instrumental brilliance of ‘Helvetesfonster’, Ghost powered through at least 7 different genres-  pop, rock, disco, prog, metal, classical,  and space rock. An absolute blast from start to finish. The next generation of Festival headliners is here.

     1.    Ostura – The Room
     Apart from me and my good friend Terry (Pictures, Noise and Words) I doubt this will appear on many a hit list come the end of 2018. The sad thing is, I doubt many people got to hear this stunning piece of work. It rightly deserves a place on anyone’s CD shelf or hard drive. Why? It’s got everything – cinematic sound, orchestral awesomeness, melodic rock, prog, metal and everything in-between. Its three singers combine for the performance of the year in - ‘the girl’ Youmna Jreissati who out-Nightwishes Nightwish; Erosion (Elia Monsef) who provides the guttural, industrial and roughness  and some of the shade to Youmna’s light; and the out and out metal of Utopia (Michael Mills) who just sings his arse off. If you want three singers, then look no further than this, as it pisses over The Three Tremors. Its not about the vocals, its musical Nirvana, and full credit goes to its master Danny Bou-Maroun. I rarely give top marks, but this one is a current and future classic. I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS ALBUM ENOUGH. Once I heard it in February, I knew they nothing would beat this, and only no 2 came anywhere near close…

Worth a listen and just missing the cut – Palace Of The King,  Blackberry Smoke, W.E.T., Orange Goblin, Massive Wagons, Steve Perry, Saxon.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam - 'The End Of Chaos' Album Review

“Hell no!” Flotsam And Jetsam’s master behind the microphone Eric “A.K.” Knutson exclaimed when asked if this was the band’s final swing of the axe! The End Of Chaos certainly could be construed that way title-wise. But what do you do when you unleash arguably the finest hour in your 30-plus year career (2016’s genius Flotsam And Jetsam)? You head back to the dark n’ dusty garage to keep that momentum going. Let’s get one thing straight. Flotsam And Jetsam are a true anomaly in the annals of heavy metal history. The most under-rated entity in heavy metal history. Period. True fighters, the Phoenix-based five-piece led by originals A.K. and guitarist Michael Gilbert (along with long time bassist Michael Spencer, guitarist Steve Conley and drummer Ken Mary) have been doing battle in the trenches since the early ‘80s. And although people point to their first album (1986’s Doomsday For The Deceiver) as a game-changer, the band didn’t need the first (and only) 6K rating in Kerrang!’s history to gain accolades. There was much more to come, a helluva lot more. And without the ghost of Jason Newsted hovering - he jumped onto the Metallica freight-train just after the debut was released - Flotsam And Jetsam were off and running.

I remember buying ‘Doomsday For The Deceiver’ picture disc, solely because I was a huge Metallica fan at the time and because Newsted played bass on it. Unbelievably I never listened to it. But I did listen to their 2nd album ‘No Place For Disgrace’, and it was an absolute belter and still is. ‘Hard On You’ was just awesome.

This album, as I sit through openers ‘Prisoner Of Time’ and ‘Control’ I feel is already pushing up to that standard. ‘Prisoner Of Time’ being quite Maiden-esque, and ‘Control’ gallops along at a furious pace. We then hit ’Recover’ with it’s awesome Egyptian-style opening riff. Another great track with quite a melodic chorus.

There’s no stopping as ‘Prepare For Chaos’ makes me do just that. Superb album so far with great production. It’s a very heavy album is this, but still keeps the Flotsam roots which is testament to these guys after a 30 year career. The backing vocals in the chorus of ‘Slowly Insane’ are strangely parallel with Layne Stayley’s Alice In Chains. I can honestly say not one song disappoints on this album. It’s a must have for all Flotsam fans and metal fans alike. The riffs are just superb and speeds are just constant throughout. Album closer ‘The End’ gallops towards the finish line with superb pace. Here’s Looking forward to seeing these guys at Hammerfest in March.

Score 8/10

Reviewed by Sty

Track listing:

1. Prisoner Of Time
2. Control
3. Recover
4. Prepare For Chaos
5. Slowly Insane
6. Architects Of Hate
7. Demolition Man

8. Unwelcome Surprise
9. Snake Eye


11.Good Or Bad

12.The End


Eric ‘AK’ Knutson – Vocals

Steve Conley – Guitar

Michael Gilbert – Guitar

Michael Spencer – Bass

Ken Mary - Drums

Saturday 8 December 2018

Killit - 'Waiting For The Day' Single

I love it when a new band appears on my radar, especially when said band is right up my cul-de-sac! Killit are a bit of a United Nations of a rock band and will probably be fucked for touring once Brexit kicks in as they originally hail from Hungary, Israel, Switzerland and good 'ol Blighty (soon to be renamed Northern Ireland's Bitch). Founded in 2016, their first single was quickly released and garnered a hefty 100k views. Recent shows at Ramblin' Man, Giants Of Rock, Isle Of Wight, Stone Free and Hard Rock Hell soon followed and they have also toured with Diamond Head and Reckless Love.

This new single 'Waiting For The Day' precedes their album due out in 2019. I have to say, its fucking awesome! If you want face-melting riffs, with crackin' vocals and a bit of classic rock with melody in spades, then look no further than this song, and Killit!

Its not a short song, weighing in at a hefty six minutes, but the time just rushes by and its over all too quickly. I'm particularly drawn in by the strength of Gaz Twists vocals, and everything else in all honesty! The video is bloody impressive and looks like they have the backing of a major label when they probably don't.

I'm guessing they have a love of some 80s-2000s metals bands as there's everything from Clutch to Dokken, to Mustasch and loads in-between.

When bands like Massive Wagons, Doomsday Outlaw, are getting great reviews (and rightly so), then Killit must be spoken in the same breath, as I sincerely hope they deserve to be going places, and I think that place is 'UP!'

An essential listen!




Wednesday 5 December 2018

Johnny Gioeli - 'One Voice' Album Review


I had planned to write this review of the first solo album by one of my favourite vocalists, Johnny Gioeli, last weekend. However I got slightly distracted by visiting Ludwigsburg to see him play with Hardline at the HEAT Festival. This was well worth the distraction as Hardline were the band of the weekend for me, the Gioeli voice and stage presence simply stunning. Anyway enough ass kissing, what about the solo album, well the phrase used here in Glasgow is that it’s “a belter”.

“Drive” kicks things off with one of the most catchy and upbeat starts and singalong choruses I’ve heard in a while. It’s a song to put a smile on your face and I loved the little fade out echo-like effect that returns to the full volume chorus towards the end. The voice is pure Gioeli with a touch of someone else I’ll get to later. “It” starts with a gentle bit of guitar plucking, the Gioeli voice almost speaking the lyrics gradually building to a powerful chorus and ye Gods it’s powerful, a real gravelly feel as JG lets the emotion come through.

The title track “One Voice” is another slow burner wracked with emotion, the lyrics “We are one voice together, we are love hope forever”. “We are one world that matters, so let’s all just help each other” may sound a bit on the cheesy side but you know what, given the current state of the world I’m all for a bit of positivity for a bloody change. A great Eric Gadrix guitar solo tops off a great song.

“Mind Melt” is another piece of top melodic rock. This has a harder edge to the previous 3 tracks but it kicks along and again reminds me of a certain New Jersey band. “Running” is decent mid paced song but I’ll be honest it didn’t initially have me Running back for more but it’s a grower and 3rd time round I was hooked. “Deeper” is a slower track that lets the Gioeli vocal lead it through with a quite haunting but subtle keyboard backline.

“Let Me Know” starts with a barrage of higher paced guitar leading to a cracking chorus. “Let me know if you need me, Let me know if you care” delivered in high tempo way that will have the front rows of the gig bouncing. Please tell me that JG is going to showcase this album live (preferably in Glasgow!!), if he doesn’t it’s a sin. “Hit Me Once, I Hit Ya Twice” is a change of style, heavier with a touch of menace without leaving melodic behind, it’s a great vehicle for Gadrix to blast a quick solo. I’ll be honest I think the guitar solos are great but maybe a bit sparse, a few more longer ones wouldn’t go amiss.

“Price We Pay” is another top ballad, great backing harmonies supporting the JG voice. Oh and you see what I said about lack of solos, cancel that, the guitar solo on this is exquisite and gives the song a real “November Rain” quality to it. It burns slowly and then ignites, Ooooft another belter and for me challenging to be the best track of the album. “Out Of Here”, has a real drive to it and the album ends with “Oh Fathers”, the song is perfectly pitched to end the album, it has a slight melancholy yet celebratory feel. It feels as if it’s saying “Well folks, there you go, whaddya think of that?”

Well I’ll tell you what I thought, it was bloody magnificent!! Without doubt a number of these tracks Jon Bon Jovi would give his right arm to have written and sung, One Voice in particular is stunning. The Gioeli voice easily matches that of JBJ but any decent melodic fan who has heard him in Hardline knows what a set of pipes he has any way.

This album is the best early Christmas present any melodic rock fan could ask for, pure quality uplifting melodic rock. I didn’t think anything would match Perfect Plan this year, I was wrong, this belter does.

The fact this album is also raising money towards a guy paralyzed in an accident makes me believe that Mr Gioeli is not only a fine singer but a fine human too. Respect.

8.5 out 10

Review by Lawrie Willcox

Track listing:

1. Drive
2. It
3. One Voice
4. Mind Melt
5. Running
6. Deeper
7. Let Me Know
8. Hit Me Once, Hit Ya Twice
9. Price We Pay
10. Out Of Here
11. Oh Fathers

PRODUCED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio

Johnny Gioeli: Vocals
Eric Gadrix: Guitars
Nik Mazzucconi: Bass
Marco Di Salvia: Drums
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Internal Conflict - 'Nothing Is Lost' Review

Internal Conflict - 'Nothing Is Lost' EP

Internal Conflict are known for their aggressive and energetic sound and live shows. They released their first EP way back in 2007. A full length album was released in 2015 (The Rising Tide). Internal Conflict won Metal 2 The Masses in 2013 which took them to the Bloodstock New Blood stage. 

Fans of Slayer and the like will love what I’m hearing here. Opener ‘Catharsis’ which follows the intro ‘Nothing Is Lost’, is brutal and shows this bands strength and diversity. It’s powerful, angry and holds some great speed changes. 

‘For The Crows’ is more of the same with some nice stop-start moments added in for good measure. Production-wise this is superb. 

Ep closer ‘Nothing Is Past’ is a beautiful piano instrumental with hints of guitar and keyboards in the background. Although nothing like what I’ve heard so far on this EP, and I must say it’s a bold move to include something like this on such a short offering, but it’s brilliantly calm and relaxing. A bold move that’s come up trumps.

A highly recommended EP for the heavier listener.

Score 7/10

Reviewed by Sty

Track Listing

1)   Nothing Is Lost
2)   Catharsis
3)   For The Crows
4)   Your Bones Will Fail
5)   Nothing Is Past


Dan Robbins – Drums
Matt Hall – Guitars (Rhythm)
Adam Kyle – Vocals
Sean Rice – Guitars (Lead)
Pete Lord - Bass

Saturday 1 December 2018

Devils Hand - 'S/T' (Feat. Andrew Freeman and Mike Slamer)

Devils Hand – S/T

Devils Hand is a new project featuring the talents of two outstanding musicians: famed producer/guitarist/songwriter Mike Slamer and the equally amazing singer Andrew Freeman of Last In Line.

Mike Slamer has been the guy behind some of the most amazing melodic hard rock releases of the past 20 years (make that 40-odd taking City Boy into it). The list includes, but is not limited to, Steelhouse Lane, Seventh Key, Slamer, and Terry Brock, and we cant forget his work in the 80s with Streets (featuring Kansas singer Steve Walsh) and the 70s with City Boy. The quality of his songwriting and production work is unsurpassed in the business and the records he produced and was involved in stand the test of time!  Slamer is probably one of the best musicians you’ve never heard of, unless you’re a fan of the aforementioned bands. He should be a household name!

Andrew Freeman is one of the most gifted singers of the current hard rock scene. With his performance on the Last In Line debut album he turned heads not only with his vocal performance, but specifically because he put his own stamp on a band that was incorrectly thought to be just another Dio tribute act.

The partnership promises a lot, but does it Devil-er ? (OK. I know its shit! At least its nearly clever!)

From the opening few bars of ‘We Come Alive’, the combined guitar and keyboard riff settle you as a listener into Slamer’s familiar slippers – its crisp, clean, and polished to good effect. The union is cemented just in hearing this first song. Freeman adds as much with his vocals as does Slamers guitar work.  ‘Falling In’ is a nice and melodic positive rocker, whereas the acoustic opening of ‘One More Time’ that builds to a mid paced rocker has a stand out chorus. If I’m totally honest, 4 songs in and the bar is set to ‘decent’ without a stand out track so far, but its and album that’s very consistent, and not mediocre.  I must admit I have warmed to Freeman’s vocals after a couple of listens, as I didn’t really buy into the Last In Line album, but he is making want to revisit it.

‘Justified’ is the real first change of pace, and shows off another facet to his vocals. Nice. ‘Rise Above It All’ is back on the money, chugging riffs, driven by a thumping bass and a more ‘in your face’ vocal. Title track ‘Devils Hand’ is very 80s and is probable one of the stand out tracks. ‘Unified’ is a dirty, bluesy song that builds to the melodic chorus. ‘Heartbeat Away’ is probably the lightest song on the album and is a pleasant addition and nice and fluffy slice of AOR. Devils Hand finishes up with a rousing rocker in ‘Push Comes To Shove’

Whilst I wouldn’t put it up there with Steelhouse Lane, or Streets, any album that involves Mike Slamer is worth a listen. Its great to see (hear) him back again. This is where Frontiers do a great job, moulding partnerships and putting the money up to get guys back in front of a wanting audience. Long may it continue.

Album Cover –                   5
Album –                               7
Duff songs –                        0
Chance of gigging-            5

Falling In
One More Try
Another Way To Fly
Drive Away
Rise Above It All
Devils hand
Heartbeat Away
Push Comes To Shove