About Me

My photo
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!!!

Saturday 13 July 2019

Licence - 'N.2.O.2.R' Album Review

LICENCE is a Heavy Rock Band with the powerful, rough and scratchy voice of Jacky.
Founded in 2014, South Germany, by Steam Thiess (Guitar, Vocals), his daughter
Jacky Coke (Lead Vocals), Pappe (Bass, Vocals) and Sammy Sin (Drums).

After their first release in 2017, L2R – Licence 2 Rock, which entered the Top 30
in Heavy-Rock-Charts for several weeks, They will release their 2nd Album, N.2.O.2.R. – Never 2 Old 2 Rock in August 2019.

Licence have emerged from the studio with their latest offering N.2.O.2.R. This is an album that will definitely take older rockers on a memorable journey back to the N.W.B.H.M era of the late 70’s through the 80’s. N.2.O.2.R contains 13 tracks of unadulterated melodic rock that will put a smile on the face of most heavy rock fans. Steams guitar playing is sublime and will result in some rather strange air guitar poses. His style comes over in the rich vein of Ratt, Accept and early Dokken. In fact the riff to 'Line Of Fire' is Lynch Mobs 'Wicked Sensation' by any other name. I really like Pappe’s playing style , a nice deep crunching sound that compliments Sammy Sin’s thundering percussion. I would guess that Licence have been trawing through some 80s albums for song title inspiration (or they have a metal random name generator) - From Hell, Hell Freezes Over. Rise Up, Loud n Proud, and House Of Pain. 'Rise Up' is a belting little anthem. Cool riff, fist punching chorus, and plenty of welly.

I must confess that I wasn’t keen on vocalist Jacky Joy’s gravelly vocal style, I’m not sure why because there are times when she sounds like E.M.N’s Rick Ruhl or even female Stephen Pearcy! Personal opinions aside Jacky does have an excellent voice and it suits this style of music. Licence have gone for an all out balls to the wall rocker with N.2.O.2.R, they haven’t even included the almost compulsory rock ballad so the album flies by at a blistering pace so there’s no excuse to stop fist pumping and head banging. Theres no doubt in my mind that Licence have a LeDorean and have gone back to 1983 to channel their Teutonic metallers Accept. Licence is chock full of raw energy and 'in your face' metal. None of it is new (what the fuck is nowadays?!) but what they do, they do very well. Theres even a decent cover of Pat Bernatar's 'Hit me With Your Best Shot'. Anyone that takes the time to bow at the altar of Ms Benatar, gets my vote.

80s metal fans will like this, especially fans of German metal bands.

N.2.O.2.R is a solid album but for me there is something missing, it just doesn’t give me that “I’m buying this on release day” vibe so I’m giving the album 7.5/10

Hollywood Vampyre - 7.5/10
Chesy - editor (and additional comments) - 8/10

Licence: N.2.O.2.R
Line Up:
Jacky Coke: Lead Vocals
Steam Thiess: Guitars, Vocals
Pappe: Bass, Vocals
Sammy Sin: Drums

Line Of Fire 
From Hell
Hell Freezes Over
Rise Up
Turn Around
Loud 'n' Proud
Make Some Noise
House Of Pain
Never Let You Die
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
The Rich Shall Pay



Tuesday 9 July 2019

Visionatica - 'Enigma Fire' Album Review

Visionatica  - Enigma Fire
Visionatica hail from Germany and were formed in 2013 and didn’t hesitate to make their mark within the symphonic metal genre.  2016 saw the release of their debut album Force Of Luna which was very well received and confirmed that Visionatica were a band that were going places.

Whenever you learn of a symphonic metal band with a female front person the immediate reaction is to compare them to the likes of Delain, Within Temptation, Epica and Nightwish, and in this instance the similarities are undeniable.  However you can not take anything away from Visionatica because they have added a twist to their sound and are also an extremely talented band.  Their latest release 'Enigma Fire' sees the band utilising different styles to compliment their sound. 

The opening track 'Amari Subdina Kali' is a 90 second introduction to Tamara Avodem's soaring vocal style. 'The Pharao' is a fantastic track with a solid hard rock backing to Tamara’s soprano vocal style will make you sit up and listen. The third track 'Fear' follows on from The Pharao with soaring guitars, thunderous percussion and beautiful vocals and you’ll really struggle to keep your feet still when this track is playing. Once past the orchestral opening the fourth track 'Roxana, The Great' bursts into life and you’re taken on a wild ride of symphonic metal at it’s best.  'Dance Of Fire' keeps up the smooth pacing of the album with a riff heavy opening before Tamara’s soaring vocals join the throng.  However at this point I know what’s to come and I’ll be simply repeating myself and sadly that does go for the rest of the album.  

Visionatica have utilised music from different cultures and they have done so well the problem we have is once we get beyond those styles the rest of the track is the same melodic hard rock that the band play so well. The only track that actually differs is track seven, the ballad 'Incomplete'. This track is completely devoid of any rock sound at all and is basically Tamara singing backed by a piano and string section, and ironically the only track with a different sound is the only track that I didn’t really like. This is actually the first time that I have heard of Visionatica  and on the strength of this release I went in search and bought their debut album 'Force Of Luna'. 'Enigma Fire' is a cracking album and I am happy to recommend it to any fan of the symphonic metal genre,  I’m also putting my money where my mouth is as I have pre-ordered the album myself.
Although this a fantastic album due to the fact that so many of the tracks sound the same once they’re beyond the opening bars  I am unable to score it anymore than 8/10.
Review by Hollywood Vampyre

Tamara Avodem:   Vocals
Manuel Buhl:   Guitar
Gerhard Spanner:   Drums
Tim Zahn:   Bass

Track Listing
Intro: Amari Sudbina Kali
The Pharao
Roxana, The Great
Dance Of Fire
To The Fallen Roma
Secrets Of The Ancestors
Rise From The Ashes

Hollow Haze - 'Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas' Album Review

Hollow Haze - Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas

Hollow Haze formed in 2003 by Nick Savio with the idea to put together a new original “Hard & Heavy” sound. The first album called “Hollow Haze” was released in 2006 by “My Graveyard Productions”The second album “The Hanged Man” was released in 2008 by Crash & Burn record and got a great response from magazine and hard and heavy web sites.With a great production Hollow Haze outlined once and for all their “big heavy dark” sound.
In 2014 Fabio Lione had been replaced by Mats Leven (Yngwie Malmsteen, Therion, Candlemass), Rick Altzi (Masterplan, At Vance), Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Epica, Kamelot, Edguy, After Forever), Ivan Giannini (Derdian) and Claudia Layline (Serenade) for the recording sessions of ‘Memories Of An Ancient Time’. In 2017 Fabio Dessi (Arthemis) and Paolo Caridi (MLB) joined the band as singer and drummer. The new album is written by Nick and Fabio and it's called “Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas”.

To be honest I wasn’t a fan of the original incarnation of Hollow Haze but recently learned that they were making a comeback with a new sound so I decided to give 'Between Landscapes And Deep Blue Seas' a spin, and from my previous experience with the band I wasn’t expecting much. Holy shit I was wrong!

This album is a collection of beautifully written songs backed with an amazing mixture of melodic hard rock and symphonic arrangements  This album is perfectly paced, transitioning between up-tempo in your face rock anthems and the slower balladesque (is that even a word?) tracks. I think a lot of thought  went into the running order of the songs to allow this album to run so smoothly.  This is a strong album and there isn’t actually a weak track.  However if I closed my eyes I can hear the similarities between female bands such as Visionatica who’s new album is also due for release later this month, I also reviewed that album and it received a well deserved 8/10, although there are obvious similarities between the two acts I have actually given Hollow Haze a slightly better score of 8.5/10 for the simple fact that this is by far the best example of male lead symphonic  rock I have heard. As a rule when I buy albums by an artist I like to get the complete discography but in this case I am going to ignore Hollow Haze’s first six albums and start with Between Landscapes And Deep Blue Sea  because as far as I’m concerned this isn’t a Hollow Haze release it’s a Hollow Haze version 2.0 release. 

Score 8.5/10

Review by Hollywood Vampyre

Track Listing:
1.    Destinations
2.    Oblivion
3.    It’s Always Dark Before Dawn
4.    Through Space And Time
5.    I Will Be There
6.    The Upside Down
7.    New Era
8.    A Different Sky
9.    Resurrection
10.You Are My End And Beginning
11.Behind The Wall
Nick Savio: Guitars, Keyboards And Orchestral Arrangement
Fabio Dessi: Lead And Backing Vocals
Paolo Caridi: Drums
Davide Cestaro: Bass