Rock Reviews - Classic. AOR. Prog. Metal.
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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!!!
“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.
Reviewed by Sty
1. Prisoner Of Time 2. Control 3. Recover 4. Prepare For Chaos 5. Slowly Insane 6. Architects Of Hate 7. Demolition Man
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!'
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.
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.
Devil’s 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 can’t forget his work in the 80’s with Streets (featuring Kansas singer Steve Walsh) and the 70’s 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.