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!!!

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Alter Bridge - 'Walk The Sky' Album Review


Alter Bridge - Walk The Sky

Few bands formed in the 21st Century would be added to my all-time list of favourite bands. Alter Bridge are one band that sit proudly for me amongst the likes of Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, and Van Halen. Ive been hooked right from the off, when I heard one of the songs on a rock radio station on holiday in Orlando promoting the debut album, ‘One Day Remains’. I have watched them break the chains of any connection to Creed, and in doing so becoming one of the best live bands I’ve seen in many a year.

For me, their true reckoning came with the release of ‘Blackbird’. Later albums, have more than had their moments, but this (Blackbird) was good, great even. For me, it is still the yard stick to be measured by. ‘Walk The Sky’ is their sixth studio release, but can it surpass ‘Blackbird’….?

Well what we have (for the first time in their 15 year career) is a bit of a game changer for Alter Bridge. Ok, the foundations of an Alter Bridge record are still there, industrial scale riffing from Tremonti, pulsating bone pounding bass and spleen splitting drumming, and the eloquent and uplifting, positive vocals from Kennedy; but when I say game changer, gone are the lengthy numbers, and most here are short and snappy, even with a bit of electronica to boot! (Godspeed, a song that feels and sounds as if it could be courtesy of ‘insert 80s band name here’. Its probably the ‘poppiest’ they have ever produced. It has the DNA of what I call ABs ‘funeral song’. How could it not be with a line like “Farewell, Godspeed, goodbye, you have changed all our lives.” Kennedy certainly knows how to pen an emotional and gut-wrenching lyric.

‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ opens in typical Alter Bridge manner - a bludgeoning Tremonti riff, encircled with Kennedy’s harmonic wail; its like adding a fourth tried and tested instrument, adding ‘Wouldn’t you rather live from the heart?’ A  lyric to fuel many a tattoo parlour over the coming few months I suspect! ‘In The Deep’ is full of melody and almost certain to be a video release. ’Native Son’ starts with an eastern sounding tones, before the hammer blast falls like a blacksmiths anvil. ’Take The Crown’ is of a slightly lighter fare,  but lyrically it’s still thought provoking, as are the lyrics to ‘Indoctrination’.

‘Pay No Mind’ is another with a keyboard /sequencer undertone. AB, using keyboards as a prominent instrument? I’m in! As it adds depth and power to the overall sound. ‘Forever Falling’ lulls you into a false sense of security, like being waterboarded only with guitars! It sees Tremonti take a lead with the vocals. It further shows his development as a vocalist in his own right.

“If I die tonight, would the question still remain? Did I live for what was right, did I live this life in vain?” Is the opening and existential verse to ‘Clear Horizon’. It make me think about Kennedy’s persona. Putting yourself ‘out there’ lyrically is cathartic and cheaper than any shrink could assist with. It also shows why Myles is one of the true masters of his trade. The absolute highlights for me though are on two of the last three songs - ‘Walking On The Sky’, wailing “Do you feel alive, tempting your fate on the line….”, and is as monstrous as the sky is infinite. ’Save the best till last’ is a saying used far too frequently, but is not the case here. ‘Dying Light’ is a ‘Blackbird-esque’ song in its emotion-evoking spirit, rising and falling like the waves, its guitar building to the impending Tremonti solo. The result is a big, huge monolith of a song, with the closing lyric of “In the dying light, we can begin to live again” and sums up AB for me. A new dawn is approaching for Alter Bridge, and the outlook is very promising indeed

It’s their most mature album to date, and is their best album this side of Blackbird. Other opinions are available, obviously.

For me, one thing is certain, few bands can muster or match the consistency that AB have attained these past 15 years. Along with a band like Ghost the futures of Download festival et al, are in very safe hands indeed. Cracking stuff.

8.5/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

Tracklisting
One Life
Wouldn’t You Rather
In The Deep
Godspeed
Native Son
Take The Crown
Indoctrination
The Bitter End
Pay No Mind
Forever Falling
Clear Horizon
Walking On The Sky
Tear Us Apart
Dying Light

Highlights
Wouldn’t You Rather
In The Deep
Godspeed
Walking On The Sky
Dying Light

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Michael Sweet - 'Ten' Album Review

Michael Sweet - Ten

If you’re a fan of Michael Sweet and Stryper, then ‘now’ is the best time there has been to be a fan. I say ‘now’, but I mean the last 10 yrs in particular have been great ones. Stryper albums have come thick and fast, his alliance with fellow 80s rock icon George Lynch, and his solo works. Its been three years since his excellent One Sided War’ was released, and this, the tenth album from Michael is what we have come to expect from him.

The list of luminaries taking part is a large one - Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy, Todd La Torre of Queensrÿche, Andy James, Tracii Guns of LA Guns, Rich Ward of Fozzy, Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake, Gus G, Howie Simon, Ethan Brosh, Marzi Montazeri, Will Hunt of Evanescence, John O’Boyle, Mike Kerr and Ian Raposa of Firstbourne, and more!!!

It’s great that Michael is getting some of his illustrious friends on board. Either that, or they charge next to nothing! For me, he doesn’t need the likes of Hoekstra/Loomis etc on board as he is a shit hot guitarist in his own right. That said, all the guests bring their own bit of spit, polish and panache to proceedings, and all add their own personality to each of their songs!  By doing it this way, I can see Sweet's reasoning as it will open up the sales to fans of all the aforementioned guests. He’s a canny lad is Mr Sweet.

So, onto the review. First up we have ‘Better Part Of Me’. I’ll add all the luminaries at the end on the track listing so you know who is doing what. Anyway, Michael opens up with what is probably a contractual obligation to let rip with a scream his 80s self would be bloody proud of. Even more so, the 50s version! It’s 80s music by numbers, and the numbers are good. A cracking riff, great tempo, and goosebump raising harmonies. Its a good thing he isn’t paying the guitar solo by the note!

‘Lay It Down’ is traditional 80s metal, driven by a thumping drum beat and long lost 80s outdo guitar solo. ‘Forget, Forgive’ has a Hendrix-y ‘Foxy Lady’ style riff and a dirtier, bluesier number. ‘Now Or Never’ has a grandiose feel to the song, and slower than anything so far, and has an anthemic style with some very orchestral and biblical hymn like ‘Whoa-ohhs!’. You have to hear it to understand!

Title track ‘Ten’ sees Sweet go back to his idols and sup from the chalice of Tony Iommi. It reminds me of H&H era Sabbath, particularly ‘Lonely Is The Word’. ‘Shine’ is complete with a chugging, charging riff, and is one of my fave tracks of the album so far as it has some cracking harmonies. I know there’s a lot of messaging in the lyrics, but I chose to go for melody over meaning, especially as I am a non-believer! Okay, I know!

‘Let It Be Love’ is the first song not to feature anyone ‘matey’. With it having ‘love’ in the title, it’s the second contractual obligation of a MS ballad. Its fine as it goes, but its predecessors have been blistering up until now, and I feel it would be much better as a closer. It’s still a fine song, especially the bridge and chorus. It will mean a lot to a number of his followers. And HIS followers!

‘Never Alone’ sees the first of back to back Hoekstra. It has a more menacing riff, and puts the album back on track. ‘When Love Is Hated’ is the better of the two, a great chorus, and solo command. It is simply structured and very effective. ‘Ricochet’ rounds of the album well. A punchy chorus that is instantly repeatable, that just bounces along.  All album formats have two bonus tracks, one you have probably heard already, ‘Son Of Man’ feat. The Rÿches Todd La Torre. A man so Geoff Tate like even Geoffs wife can’t tell the difference (sound, not looks!). It jumps out of the blocks like a stabbed rat. A duet/sing-off that brings together two of metals finest for a thoroughly enjoyable romp and a hell of a note at the end. I can see what they left ‘SOM” until the end!!! Fab.

The other is ‘With You Till The End’ and features Firstbourne’s Ian Raposa on vocals, who can stand toe to toe with Michael, and is a powerful performance. I for one will be checking out Firstbourne after this.

I like what Sweet has been up to the past few years. He still sounds fucking fantastic, he still poops out riffs and lyrics like there’s no tomorrow, and is as heavy as he has ever been. That in itself is a great place to find him. I just wish someone would put up the money to get him and or Stryper over to the UK , as a visit is long overdue.

7.77 out of 10! Round it up to 8

Review by Paul Chesworth

Tracklisting

Better Part of Me (Feat. Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy)
Lay It Down (Feat. Marzi Montazeri)
Forget, Forgive (Feat. Howie Simon)
Now Or Never (Feat. Gus G)
Ten (Feat. Rich Ward of Fozzy)
Shine (Feat. Ethan Brosh)
Let It Be Love
Never Alone (Feat. Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake)
When Love Is Hated (Feat Joel Hoekstra)
Ricochet (Feat. Tracii Guns of LA Guns)

Bonus Tracks
With You Till The End (Feat. Mike Kerr and Ian Raposa of Firstbourne)
Son Of Man (Feat. Todd La Torre of Queensrÿche and Andy James)


Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Spectre Beneath - 'The Downfall Of Judith King' Album Review

 
The Spectre Beneath – The Downfall Of Judith King

The Spectre Beneath consists of L Lockser (Vocals), Pete ‘Paz’ Worrall (Guitar/Bass/Piano), and Consta Taylor (drums – Bleak Exist with Paz). All songs were written by ‘Paz’ except one, and all were produced by said ‘Paz’. I have no other supporting PR bumfery that usually accompanies an album release.

However I do know Pete Worrall, not that well, but enough to know he is a talented writer (check out his novels), an extremely good guitarist (other bands/projects include Bleak Exist and also Plague And The Decay), and lover of greyhounds! Also he accompanies another friend of mine, ‘Hedgy’ on the ‘Pictures, Noise and Words’ YouTube channel (Pete’s the one on the left).

I was asked by Pete if I’d review this, which is a bit weird, because if you could compile a Venn diagram of mine and Pete’s musical tastes, about 4 bands would cross over! Generally, we are miles apart, possibly even planets apart. He is a braver man than me.

So, what of ‘The Downfall Of Judith King’? With a title like that, you know its a concept album of some description. I’m crap at explaining albums, so we’ll get straight to the melody….

What happens if you combine the musical melody of a singer like Den Adel, progressive metalness of Devin Townsend, Symphony X, and the riffage of Biomechanical? Well the answer wholeheartedly is ‘There Are Cameras In the Dolls’. The guitar playing is brutal (in a good way), so much so, I had to take the volume down just to concentrate and listen to what my ears were taking in. The riffs are fast and frenetic, and when combined with Taylor’s drumming its multiplies the rhythmic assault. I think the guy has 4 legs based on the bass drum beats coming through. The contrast of L Lockers vocals cuts through the guitar and drums like a knife through butter. It makes for one hell of an opening track.

‘Teach Yourself Guitar (Step 2)’ follows on in the same path. If you’ve got a good formula why rewrite the rule book. Bonus for me? No grunting, well not yet anyway. ‘As The Crows Peck At Your Bones’ ramps up the quality a notch. At this point I’m really liking the vocals of L Lockser, and the rest isn’t too shabby either. The first chance to draw breath comes with the title track, ‘The Downfall Of Judith King’ and acoustic opening, before a more ‘traditional’ rock song ensues. I’ve enjoyed the pace of the album so far, but this is a song that defines The Spectre Beneath for me, and has a very ‘Heaven and Hell’ Black Sabbath bass line running through it for the bridge sections. Six minutes in I half expect Lockser to wail ‘Sing me a song, youre a singer...’. Its by far and wide my favourite song on the album. Mainly because it falls into the Venn diagram section I mentioned earlier. I love this song. All Pete needs to do now, is grow that handlebar moustache!!

‘Mrs Lovett’s Pies’ is another assault on the senses. I don’t know how many BPM we are up to, but lets settle for ‘its lots’. The guitar playing isn’t overpowering in any way, its riffs just come at you very thick and very, very fast. ‘Fragmented’ goes back to the less frenetic pace, and for me its where this album shines. The solo is blisteringly good. The first third of ‘The Plotting Of Judith King’ reminds me of a great rock/prog band called Tilt, in this instance a song called ‘Long Gone’ and in my books, this is high praise indeed. Info the final stretch we get the The Abduction and The Questioning Of Olivia Soames’ (2 songs). They introduce a dramatic effect to proceedings, culminating in the powerhouse ‘Questioning Of...’ where ‘Paz’ and the guys throw the proverbial sink at you. If Arjen Lucassen, Michael Romeo and Charlotte Wessels had a threesome, then ‘The Questioning Of Olivia Soames’ is the outcome of such a convergence.


For a bloke whose musical tastes range from the likes of Dokken, to Journey and Alter Bridge, ‘The Downfall Of Judith King’ has been a walk out of my usual comfort zone. Its definitely an album of two sides, the first half is fast, heavy and has more notes than you could care to count. Then there’s the lighter side of the second half, still heavy, but not as frenetic, and its these songs for me where the album resonates the most. There are some bloody good songs on here, in particularly the title track, ‘Fragmented and the latter section. Its a mighty impressive debut and I really look forward to what these guys do next.

Play this album loud, extremely loud. Theres just no other way to.

A very solid 8/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

The Spectre Beneath -
Pete ‘Paz’ Worrall – Guitars / Bass / Piano
L Lockser – Vocals
Consta Taylor - Drums

Luke C.M. - guitar solos on ‘Teach Yourself Guitar (Step 2)’ / ‘As The Crows Peck At Your Bones’ / Mrs Lovetts Pies

Produced by Pete Worrall
Mixed and mastered by Joho Kilponen, Kilproduction Audio

Tracklisting -
There Are Cameras In The Dolls
Teach Yourself Guitar – Step 2
As The Crows Peck At Your Bones
The Downfall Of Judith King
Mrs Lovetts Pies
Fragmented
The Birth Of Judith King
The Plotting Of Judith King
The Abduction Of Olivia Soames
The Questioning Of Olivia Soames

Released Friday 27th










Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Whiskey Myers - "Whiskey Myers" album review

Whiskey Myers - S/T

Whiskey Myers are about to release their fifth studio album, their self- produced, self-titled and set for release Friday 27th Sept.

“This was the first album be have produced on our own and its 100% authentically us, which is why we decided to self-title it ‘Whiskey Myers” says lead guitarist John Jeffers. “We’ve been fortunate in our careers to work with some incredible producers, but self-producing gave us the freedom to try out every crazy idea in the studio, which got us to this place where we are completely satisfied with the end result and more excited than ever to get this new music out to our fans”

My path first crossed theirs as a +1 when I went to see them support The Cadillac Three a few years back, and I took an immediate interest in their work. Their last album ‘Mud’ was a defining moment for them as far as I am concerned, and thankfully I am pleased to say that this upward trajectory continues with the “S/T” album. They have previously had three albums in the Country Chart in the US, but, to me, they have Southern Rock coursing through their veins and are THE band to take up the reins from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Get your stomping boots out for opener “Die Rockin’” as its part preachin’ and totally bitchin’! I particularly like WM’s use of female backing vocals as it just elevates the song to a different level. “Mona Lisa” is a more melodic tune that is instantly likeable, and Jeffers' slide guitar shines. “Rolling Stone” does drop its anchor in Country territory, and highlights the fact they are equally happy with a more commercial sound and will be lapped up by CMTs fanbase. “Bitch” is a more up-tempo rocker, an of course there's a song about “Gasoline” which reminds me of bar-bands, sawdust and chicken wire, with a cracking 'wah-wah' geetar solo, and some fine wailing from Cody Cannon.

“Bury My Bones” is a southern as a possum eating a sweet potato pie. A slow number that shows their versatility and can mix it all up with the simplest of ease. “Glitter Ain’t Gold” has a pulsating backbone that will get your body moving in time with the beat, with Cannon wailing ‘I was raised by the wolves in the woods, not the streets’. A curious line, and one I’d like to know its meaning of. “Houston Country Sky” is one song I can clearly visualise at a country fair, and the lap steel guitar transports you right in the middle of the action. “Little More Money” and “California To Caroline” have a lilting, haunting guitar sound, and the minimal use of Hammond organ combined with lap steel guitar on Caroline sucks you in, wanting more and is just delightful. “Kentucky Gold” is a live kick-ass anthem if ever I heard one. A treasure trove of a song.

“Running” is the first song that hasn’t taken me on a musical journey. Its pleasant enough, but everything before is soooo much better. It picks up considerably towards the back end though, and makes up for its plodding majority. “Hammer” is all harmonica and pounding rhythm, and gets them back on track. Full credit to the harmonies, and gospel/blues style vocals. Marvellous.

I've made the comparison to Lynyrd Skynyrd at the top of this review, and its their final song “Bad Weather” that is the contender to be Whiskey Myers’s ‘Freebird’, both in stature and length! Cannon projects emotion in his vocals, and I see many a hardened biker wiping a tear as they sup their beer. The second half of the song sees the band take over and it’s all about the jam. It fades out at its peak, but you can imagine and feel that it’s only just beginning. A nailed down 100% cert for the live shows. Every note is being wrung out. It’s a belting way to finish off the album.

If you’ve been keeping count, it is fourteen songs of pure quality, that just slip by in an instant. Very few bands utilise female backing singers, but Whiskey Myers, as did Skynyrd, use these harmonies that elevate the songs to a different level. More bands should do it, and when done well, there’s nowt better.

In going it alone, Whiskey Myers could have come off the rails, but its been a sterling decision to self-produce. I didn’t think they could top ‘Mud’, but how wrong I was. The album cover is minimalistic, and the songs are anything but.

TC3 may get the plaudits from the faithful, but Whiskey Myers are the real deal.

Score 8.5/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

Tracklisting
Die Rockin’
Mona Lisa
Rolling Stone
Bitch
Gasoline
Bury My Bones
Glitter Ain’t Gold
Houston Country Sky
Little More Money
California To Caroline
Kentucky Gold
Running
Hammer
Bad Weather

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Defiants - 'Zokusho' Album Review

The Defiants - ‘Zokusho’

THE DEFIANTS is a band put together by Paul Laine, Bruno Ravel, and Rob Marcello. Fans in the know will immediately recognize them, as all have ties to Danger Danger.

Best known for being the D2 vocalist on four studio albums over the course of 12 years, Paul Laine came back to work with his former bandmates Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello, who are the other two pillars of The DEFIANTS, for the band’s self-titled debut album in 2015. The guys reunited at the suggestion of Frontiers’ President, Serafino Perugino, who really wanted these current and former Danger Danger members to offer fans of that band some new music. The resulting album was pleasing not only to the D2 fans, but also to ALL the fans out there who are into the classic sound of the era from which D2 emerged.

The Defiants debut album was greeted with a great acclaim as a glorious return to the “in your face” melodic hard rock that enraptured millions of fans back in the ‘80s and ‘90s and is currently enjoying a renaissance here in the 21st century, so a follow-up album was a no-brainer. The brand new album, “Zokusho”, a Japanese word meaning “the sequel” or “the next chapter”, is now set for release this fall.

This time, things for D2 fans get even more exciting as D2 drummer Steve West is a special guest on drums. The Defiants could very well be one Perugino’s best ideas yet. Despite 12 years and 4 albums fronting Danger Danger, 90% of fans would likely go for the Ted Poley fronted version over this Paul Laine period. Paul Laine fronted the band during the AOR wilderness years (’93-’04) unfortunately. Even 80s household names struggled in the advent of flannel, two chords and depressing lyrics (aka Grunge)! Paul proved on the debut that he is definitely the man for this job.

So do the guys shake off the sophomore second album syndrome? More of that later. ‘Love Is The Killer’ immediately sets its stall as a companion piece for the debut. Melodic rock in a modern being. Big (hair), big hook, bigger chorus and some stellar soloing from Marcello. ‘Standing On The Edge’ is a powerful song with TNT in its veins, and some vocal histrionics from Laine. ‘Hollywood In Headlights’ and ‘Fallin’ For You’ are both classic D2 songs by any other name. Both are bona fide Summer driving song to be played at max volume. By now you (the listener) can relax. The boys have got your back. You know its gonna be good from here on in.  ‘Hold On Tonite’ is the first traditional ballad and and takes the pace down slightly, but it’s still good listening, and a definite grower.

‘Allnighter’ is back to a rough and ready approach, with its harder edged guitar riff and a verst that’s straight out of Nickleback’s ‘Burn It To The Ground’ playbook. ‘U X’D My Heart’ is a vehicle to prove how good a singer Paul Laine is. This song is all about him. As he nearly his notes that only dogs can hear.  It has a great outdo from Marcello. ‘It Goes Fast’ just skips along at an enjoyable pace that goes so quick you want to savour it all again. As we get to ’Stay’ Im beginning to wonder how many of these songs are worthy of being singles. It’s hard to select any losers in the pack. ‘Alive’ has a big scoop of U2 in it and I hate myself for knowing this! So let’s leave it at that. Im going to scrub myself in bleach….

…I'm back now for the final song, the Paul Laine mantra ‘Drink Up’. I’ve only seen him once, and he drank, like, a lot! It's a proper old school rocker that invites you to play it loud and proud and it makes no apology for what it is.

Heres the checklist….
Melodic. Catchy. Harmonies a plenty. Great guitar work. Wonderful songwriting. Four guys at the absolute top of their game. Cracking production. ‘Zokusho’ has the lot.

SAS? (Sophomore Album Syndrome?) No fucking chance. Its bloody fabulous!

Score 9/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

The Defiants
Paul Laine - Vocals
Bruno Ravel - Bass
Rob Marcello - Guitars
Steve West - Drums

Tracklist:
1.Love Is The Killer
2.Standing On The Edge
3.Hollywood In Headlights
4.Fallin’ For You
5.Hold On Tonite
6.Allnighter
7.U X’d My Heart
8.It Goes Fast
9.Stay
10.Alive
11.Drink Up!

Released 13th September

KXM - 'Circle Of Dolls' Album Review

KXM - ‘Circle Of Dolls’

KXM — which derives its name from a combination of its members’ other projects (K from KORN, X from KING’S X and M from LYNCH MOB) — issued its self-titled debut in 2014. The 13-track follow-up, “Scatterbrain”, was released on March 17, 2017. Now the band is back with a stronger and awesome new album which - in George Lynch’s words - “it’s better than the first two. It’s insane. The magic’s there, the chemistry’s there, and we’re just sitting here patting ourselves on the back, telling each other what geniuses we are!”

KXM is comprised of dUg Pinnick of King’s X on vocals/bass, George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken on guitars and Korn’s drum maestro, Ray Luzier, rounds out the powerhouse trio. The band takes its name from the combination of the member’s other projects: K from Korn, X from King’s X and M from Lynch Mob.

KXM formed in early 2013 when dUg, George and Ray spoke about trying to jam together. At the time it wasn’t clear what would come from those jams. The only thing that was clear was that these 3 musicians, at the top of their game, wanted to play together. The self-titled debut, KXM, was born from those jam sessions and is now an important piece in each band member’s musical legacy. In a world that constantly searches for new and unique music, KXM delivers all the power and punch that one would expect from these high level players!

First of all I just want to say that dUg Pinnick (fuck only knows why he spells Dug ‘dUg’) has just turned 69! Sixty-fucking-nine! He could pass for someone in their forties, never mind someone fast approaching 70!

If you’re expecting something Kings X / Dokken / Korn related, then you’re not in luck. If anything, its closest to Kings X, but that’s down to Pinnick’s unmistakeable vocals. ‘War Of Words’ is fast and phrenetic, and signals its intent from the off. ‘Mind Swamp’ has a bit of a trippy and hypnotising opening riff, before a more metal riff ensues. For the guitar solo, Lynch plays it like a prog rock song that current Opeth fans would expect, and is not your typical Lynch expectation. Which is cool. Its makes for one of the best songs on the album

‘Circle Of Dolls’ is a more straightforward track, with a cool drum pattern from Luzier. Three songs in and there isn’t a pattern to their style. I guess they guys just bounced ideas, jammed and recorded whatever juices flow out. ‘Lightning’ coughs up a slow groove, and particularly plays to Pinnick’s vocalisation. The guy still sounds great! It proves to be another highlight.
It’s a long song and the whole song plays out and is given time to breathe and isn’t forced. Lynch gets some strange sounds out before a passioned solo sees out the remainder. ’Time Flies’ has more of a relaxed opening, before soaring. I have to say that Lynch’s guitar playing is something else.

’Twice’ kicks off with a very ear pleasing ‘poppy’ groove, if ever KXM could be poppy? This is as close as it gets to being mainstream radio `U~S friendly rock. ‘Big As The Sun’ starts off with a punchy bass and drum riff, but its Lynch’s guitar playing that takes this up a level or three., whereas for ’Vessel Of Destruction’ its Luziers drumming taking central stage to it Korn-esque roots. It shows the looseness and flow of their playing that I’ve been trying to describe, but only a song can prove. ‘A Day Without Me’ has an acoustic country cowboy opening, before the groove belting with Pinnick’s bluesy wail proving as effective foil.

‘Wide Awake’ is one of those songs where they just let Lynch off the reins, wound him up and let him go. The solo is a meandering, soulful, and one that if it were the 70s, would go on for days and days. ’Shadow Lover’ has its foot set in the 90s, it’s a dark sounding Pinnick, with a resonance to his vocals that make the difference. ‘Cold Sweats’ is one of the couple of songs that has some harmonies vocally. Finally its ‘The Border’ is hypnotic and trippy, but most of all, topical. Some say musicians and actors should keep out of politics, buy I feel they have a much stronger voice than the establishment what you to think.

I have to say that Circle of Dolls is a varied tapestry of music. KXM have weaved various styles and themes that reward the listener with something different for each and every song. Its good to see 3 musicians performing at the top of their respective games still and given the opportunity to play it out as they have here.

I still think Lynch is the guitar God he has always been. Pinnick’s vocals are mostly undiminished considering his age. Im not ageist, but we expect our musical idols to sound like they did in 1985. And Luzier adds to the tryptich with some sterling drum wizardry.

If you’re already a fan of KXM, buy this album, as its my fave yet. If you’re new to KXM but a fan of Pinnick, Luzier & Lynch, buy it. Tell you what, just buy it anyway. I think though, in being able to see and hear these songs being played live, would be something else indeed.

Score  8/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

Line-up:
dUg Pinnick - Vocals / Bass
George Lynch - Guitars
Ray Luzier

Circle Of Dolls is scheduled for release on September 13th via Rat Pak Records.

Tracklist:
1.War of Words | 02. Mind Swamp | 03. Circle of Dolls | 04. Lightning | 05. Time Flies | 06. Twice | 07. Big as the Sun | 08. Vessel of Destruction | 09. A Day Without Me | 10. Wide Awake | 11. Shadow Lover | 12. Cold Sweats | 13. The Border | 14. War of Words (Radio Edit) [Bonus Track – CD & Download Versions Only]

Weblinks:
 www.facebook.com/KXMofficial
 www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/kxm

Monday, 19 August 2019

Roxy Blue - 'S/T' Album Review


Memphis Tennessee’s rock miscreants Roxy Blue are back with the follow up album to their debut release ‘Want Some’.  Three of the original members Todd Poole (Vocals), Scotty Trammell (drums) and Josh Weil (bass) have returned to the fold and they’ve drafted in guitarist Jeffrey Wade Caughron to replace original guitarist Sid “Boogie” Fletcher who swapped the rock and roll lifestyle for life as a dentist.
From their inception in 1989 Roxy Blue played their own songs and they worked hard getting it out there by playing every gig and opening for any band who would have them on the bill. Although they were creating a buzz in the music industry they were still without a label but that was about to change as Warrant front man the late Jani Lane approached the band and with his help the labels started calling with the band ultimately signing with Geffen. The band got together with producer Mike Clink who was responsible for Guns N’ Roses debut Appetite For Destruction and Want Some was created. Sadly Roxy Blue didn’t record a follow up album until now.
When I saw that Roxy Blue were releasing a new album I was so excited,  I loved ‘Want Some’ and anticipated that they’d return I just didn’t realise it would take so long, the question that needed answering is was it worth the wait and all I can say is ‘hell yes’ it was worth it. Be warned if you’re expecting ‘Want Some’ part two, you’ll be in for a shock because Roxy Blue is a harder, heavier and darker album.  There are so many different styles on this album that no matter how many times that I’ve listened to this album I’m picking up another influence. There are times when I could swear that I was listening to an outtake from ‘Appetite For Destruction’, some ‘Slave To The Grind’ era Skid Row, pretty much everything ever released by Hinder with a little bit of Limp Bizkit chucked into the mix for good measure.  I think every person who listens to this album will hear different influences, some may agree with me but I think there’ll be a lot of disagreement too. 24 hours in and I’m still listening to this amazing album and I can say with a certainty that this is a CD that I will definitely be buying next pay day. So ladies and gentlemen do yourselves a favour open your wallets/purses and get this gem as soon as you can.
Roxy Blue – Roxy Blue is joining the extremely small number of albums that I have given the elusive 10/10.

Review by Marc
 
Line-up
Todd Poole – Vocals
Scott Trammell – Drums
Josh Weil – Bass
Jeff Caughron – Guitar