Anneke Van Giersbergen – Drive Album Review

Now somebody tell me please, how can you not be taken in by that face? Just look at her will ya, looking all gorgeous and stuff. Ok that’s my stalking moment over and done with. I first came across AVG fronting The Gathering a few years back and was particularly entranced by the ‘Mandylion’ track ‘Leaves’. I’ve followed her work closely ever since – from guesting as one of Arjen Lucassen’s muses on his Ayreon project, and more recently on her solo work and duet with Danny Cavanagh and as Agua De Annique
The woman has the voice of an angel. I’m not religious at all, but if I were then this is what the Angels would sound/sing like!!
On this follow-up to 2012’s ‘Everything is Changing’, Anneke collaborated with Dutch songwriter and producer Arno Krabman, enlisting the help of her live band to lay down the new tracks. In a time when bands are creating entire albums by transferring files online, Anneke explains that she was keen to do things the old-fashioned way: “I really wanted to record an album together with a group of musicians in a studio. Having toured extensively with the same tight-knit group of musicians, the result is an organic sound that perfectly captures our chemistry as a band.”
Having proven her credentials and immense vocal talent for 13 years as front woman of The Gathering, in 2007 Anneke felt it was time to begin her own solo career. Along with her new band Agua de Annique the charismatic singer quickly established herself as a solo artist, releasing several albums to critical and popular acclaim.
Anneke also found time to collaborate with some of her long-time friends and musical peers, lending her honey-sweet, yet powerful voice to the likes of Anathema (Falling Deeper), the eccentric Devin Townsend (Addicted!, Epicloud) and fellow Dutchmen Within Temptation (Black Symphony). 2012’s Everything is Changing was something of a milestone in Anneke’s solo career. The album, which was the first to be released under her own name without the Agua de Annique moniker, got her nominated for two Edison awards – Holland’s most prestigious music prize – in the categories ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Best Album’. Not only was it a success in her home country, Everything is Changing took Anneke all over the world as she toured over 25 different countries including the UK, Germany, France and throughout Latin America.
So what does ‘Drive’ behold? Well its certainly a mix of tracks to be honest. If its prog, or heavy rock you’re after than you’re looking in the wrong place. I suppose I could class it as radio friendly Euro pop rock, and there definitely are a couple of radio anthems in the waiting. Last years ‘Everything is Changing’ was a wonderful release, full of emotion and frailty, whereas ‘Drive’ has a more fun approach.  The first anthem is the opener ‘We Live On’ and really gives AVG chance to show off that vocal range. ‘Treat Me Like A Lady;’ has more of a meatier riff and is delivered with a bit of ‘oomph!’. ‘She’ starts off a little subtle, before again kicking in with a forceful chorus (a pattern is emerging). Onto the title track ‘Drive’ – Now, if there’s a more catchier song than this anywhere in Europe this year I sware I’ll refund the money for this album myself (just kidding!), but it is a killer of a track that deserves to be heard my millions, and that chorus is just instantly memorable.
‘My Mother Said’ is a beautiful number, just a piano and her, proving that AVG needs nothing more than her voice as a superb instrument. ‘You Will Never Change’ falls into the uplifting bracket of songs on ‘Drive’, before she takes a tangent for the Arabic influenced ‘Mental Jungle’ and is one of the interesting songs from her to date.
This has been made with essentially what is AVGs touring band and the writing together in an studio and as a band has paid dividends. Whilst is isn’t all excellent, its an album that I will always go back to for a very pleasurable listen…mainly down to THAT voice!
Track Listing:
1 We Live On (03:41)
2 Treat Me Like A Lady (04:00)
3 She (03:08)
4 Drive (03:43)
5 My Mother Said (03:21)
6 Forgive Me (03:11)
7 You Will Never Change (04:03)
8 Mental Jungle (03:44)
9 Shooting For The Stars (04:33)
10 The Best Is Yet To Come (04:04)

Anneke van Giersbergen – vocals, guitar
Gijs Coolen – guitar
Ferry Duijsens – guitar
Joost van Haaren – bass
Annelies Kuijsters – keyboards, backing vocals
Rob Snijders – drums

Gary Moore – Back On The Streets Album Review

Gary Moore is one of the underrated good guys. His tenure in Thin Lizzy was relatively short, but very, very sweet, yielding classics such as Do Anything You Want To, Waiting For An Alibi and the very underrated classic Black Rose.
Just before Black Rose, Moore released this lettuce (I mean little gem!). Back On The Streets saw Gary Moore collaborate with the Lizzy frontman, Phillip Lynott (bass guitar, double bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals, vocals – Tracks 2, 3, 8, 9). Not only that, he surrounded himself with a quality set of musicians, such as Brian Downey , Thin Lizzy(Drums – tracks 2,3,8,9), Don Airey, Colosseum II (Keys tracks 1, 4-7), Simon Phillips, shitloads (Drums – tracks 1, 4-7), John Mole, Colosseum II – (Bass – tracks 4-7)
Opening track ‘Back On The Streets’ would have been good enough to grace any of the superior Thin Lizzy albums, and sees Moore ripping into a killer riff, with Lynott’s unmistakable vocals filing in the chorus, and it sees Moore throwing in all but the kitchen sink into his guitar playing. ‘Don’t Believe a Word’ is a very nice surprise, a slower more intimate version compared to the one on ‘Johnny The Fox’, with Moore and Lynott sharing the vocals. It works just as well at this slower blues pace as the heavier original, with the solo similar to ‘Still in Love With You’, proving Moore had the Blues at a very early stage in his career.
‘Fanatical Fascists’ is more of a rock/punk ditty that still holds up some 35 years later. Like many a guitar players solo albums, Moore is no different with the of the 8 being instrumentals, and out of these 3, the comically titled ‘What Would You Rather Bee or A Wasp’ shines above the rest, and has more of a jazz funk feel to it, and sees Moore shredding the arse off of his Gibson Les Paul.
‘Song For Donna’, is a little too laid back and slow ballad for my liking, but the album ends on an absolute killer and it quickly became THE Gary Moore tune of choice, ‘Parisienne Walkways’. Anyone who has heard this live has probably never heard it better than the original with Lynnot’s vocals. Moore has a fine set of pipes, but can be a bit Marmite and screamy for some, but this is the definitive version that got unto the UK charts (No.8 in 1979), a haunting melody that was probably played at every Gary Moore encore since 1978
Whilst Universal have nailed the extended version series somewhat recently, it’s good to see that there’s some bonus material still available. Whilst not huge, it’s  essentially 2 songs (‘Track Nine’ and ‘Spanish Guitar’), of which the latter is covered 3 times – version with Lynott, Moore and an instrumental version just so you can sing along in the shower
Yes, Moore had one of those faces that only a mother could love, but f*ck me, he was an excellent guitar player. I later likened him to the Lee Evans of Rock Music, as he was the only man who matched Evans in the sweat department.
Back On The Streets’ is a mighty fine album and one deserving of the re-release treatment for one of the finest guitarists ever produced

Tracklisting –
Back On The Streets
Dont Believe A Word
Fanatical Fascists
Flight Of The Snow Moose
Song For Donna
What Would You Rather Bee Or A Wasp
Parisienne Walkways
Track Nine
Spanish Guitar (Lynott vocals)
Spanish Guitar (Moore Vocals) 
Spanish Guitar (Instrumental)

Arc Angel – Harlequins Of Light

Following a chance meeting with Paul on a Welsh mountain top;  cold and wet but certainly having a good time at the Steelhouse Festival , I am pleased to submit my first album review  – Arc Angel’s Harlequins of Light.
The names of Jeff Cannata and Arc Angel are both synonymous and legendary within AOR circles and Frontiers must be delighted to have them on their roster of artists. Whilst being fully aware of both names, I was not overly familiar with their work and so was able to listen to the Harlequins of Light album with open ears and no preconceptions. Having now heard it 2 or 3 times I can say this : Jeff and Arc Angel have produced an aural banquet, but have still left room for improvement.
Making the assumption that (unfortunately) we will not see Harlequins of Light in any shops, there will be no casual acquisitions and  all purchasers will have sought the album out deliberately, confident in what they are investing in by virtue of their own tastes, and knowledge of the body of Jeff Cannata’s work.  Thus – no-one buying the album will be disappointed – and the opening title track immediately justifies the purchase and grasps the listener with a great hook, (although for those of us on the British Isles, Mr. Cannata’s pronounciation of the H-word does seem strange. Harleykins anyone ?)
Regardless of this minor quibble – and who is to say that JC isn’t right –  the whole album has been truly beautifully produced, with a great guitar sound, magical keyboard flourishes on As Far as the Eye Can See amongst other tracks, and overall we are given a sumptuous AOR soundscape. The band Jeff has surrounded himself with can truly play, but as expected he burdens himself with drum, bass, keys, guitars and all of the vocals, which makes the album’s all the more remarkable. One can hear musical nods to other great bands within the pomp/melodic rock sphere – particularly the mighty Styx – and even to the 1988 Arc Angel, with a re-recording of Fortune Teller.
The album could have been even better. Jeff is a good singer, but not a great singer – and the songs could benefit from a stronger voice with a greater range – I’m thinking Danny Vaughan here. The album is also somewhat one-paced, with the pieces blending into one another rendering it difficult to distinguish one from another. This may be a deliberate attempt to make the whole album a piece in itself, but IMHO the impact is diminished. The lyrics – there’s nothing truly wrong with them – but they do seem contrived. Uriah Heep do the magical, mysterious and meaningless in a more believable manner.
There is no need for a ‘caveat emptor’ here, as ultimately, no owner of Harlequins of Light will be left disillusioned with what they HAVE acquired, only with what they have not – the missing pieces of ‘what could have been’. What could have been is a 10/10 AOR-Pomp classic, what it is is a very solid 
Hugh Braddock


Alter Bridge – Fortress Album Review

Well! That bloody lasted about 4 days. Less than a week ago I (wrongly) predicted that the debut album by The Temperance Movement was probably my album of the year. Damn you Alter Bridge for topping a fine debut album.
Fortress is the 4th album from the US quartet, who have now firmly shaken the Creed tag away for good. What I mean to say is that Creed was always hanging around the guys, but now that tag can be removed as Fortress is 100% Alter Bridge and is 100 miles removed from them (Creed). 

All I can say as an intro is that anyone of a slightly nervous disposition must undertake stringent medical tests from their doctor before proceeding to listen as this beast will make you look like an extra from World War Z / Walking Dead, as the ferocity of the riffs will splay your entrails for all to see. Yes it’s a brutal statement, but I didn’t think they would top ‘Blackbird’, but its been surpassed and then some’

Alter Bridge have definitely gone for the jugular this time around. The songs are fiercer, much heavier than all before, and downright pulverizing. You’re lulled into a nice sense of security with the opening classical/flamenco guitar on ‘Cry Of Achilles’ before Tremonti steps in and removes the wax from your ears. The bloke is a veritable riff machine. Its definitely Alter Bridge, but on steroids, and at six and a half minutes it feels like a three minute single. Tremonti and Marshall trade pounding licks with Kennedy’s multi octave wail playing a vocal fiddle to the metal orchestra.
‘Addicted To Pain’, is the first video and single, and sounds like it wouldn’t have been amiss if it was on Tremonti’s ‘All I Was’. ‘Bleed It Dry’ continues in the same  chugging style, before they tame it down slightly for ‘Lover.’ ‘Calm The Fire’ has the sound of a collaboration with Matt Bellamy of Muse as it has that pompous and overblown into that is a Muse trademark. Top marks to Marshall as his bass playing is really at the front of this album, and along with Phillips drives this album on at such a pace, I feel knackered just listening to it.
 ‘Waters Rising’ sees a nice change for Fortress with Tremonti taking over lead vocals in its entirety, and Kennedy chipping in on BVs. It sounds more vintage/classic rock Alter Bridge than the rest. A cool game change, but Alter Bridge wouldn’t be Alter Bridge without the vocal powerhouse of Myles Kennedy who just exceeds himself (and excels) with every passing album. Just when I think he’s peaked, he packs in another stellar performance. ‘Farther Than The Sun’ is a proper chest pounder and when played live will be an absolute tour de force. ‘Fortress’ is this albums ‘Blackbird’, with Alter Bridge ending on an all-conquering bombastic high. ‘All Ends Well’ is the one which sounds most like the Alter Bridge we have all come to love on the previous 3 albums. But music is about change and development, and Alter Bridge have definitely hit the ground running with ‘Fortress.’ I loved ‘ABIII’ and really thought the peak was with ‘Blackbird’, but Alter Bridge have an album here of such power and face melting force that it will undoubtedly be at the very top of many a magazine and reviewer’s lists come the end of the year.

2013 sees them become masters of their own destiny and the Creed references of the past have well and truly been terminated and laid to rest. With Fortress they simply can’t fail to bring in new fans, and drive on to become a huge band over the course of the next year or so. All the cards are firmly in place for metal domination. All hail Plankton! Er, I mean Alter Bridge!!!!

Its not very often I give an album full marks, but in this instance its fully deserving!! 

Tracklisting – 
Cry Of Achilles
Addicted To Pain
Bleed It Dry
The Uninvited
Peace Is Broken
Calm The Fire
Water’s Rising
Father Than The Sun
Cry A River
All Ends Well
Upcoming UK Tour
The dates are: 
Wed 16th Oct – NOTTINGHAM Arena, 
Thu 17th Oct – BIRMINGHAM NIA, 
Fri 18th Oct – LONDON Wembley Arena, 
Sun 20th Oct – CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena, 
Mon 21st Oct – GLASGOW Hydro, and 
Tue 22nd Oct – MANCHESTER Arena.

1980 – The best year in Metal!!!

One thing that stands out to me more than anything else is the year 1980. OK, so most of you are too young to appreciate this stellar year in heavy metal. But let me set my stall out here. In 1980 I was 13, and not long introduced into Rock and Metal. I had inadvertently been introduced to Rock N Roll at an early age from my dad, (apart from Liverpool FC, Music is the one thing I can’t do without) Elvis, Bill Hailey, Eddie Cochran, Tommy Steele, Dave Clark Five; just for starters, who were the very same to the public of the 50s and 60s as the likes of rock and metal is seen (not only in 1980) but ever since and to the present day.
Looking back, as a young kid, I’d liked Clapton, City Boy, and bands like Deep Purple that had appeared on my dads compilation albums in the early to mid 70s, and in 78-79 you had only one of two ways to go as an impressionable 11 or 12 year old as I was – to be a Mod or a Rocker. I didn’t really care much for my so called friends from where I lived, so I went the opposite way to most of them and chose Metal. Thank fucking GOD!
So, can you imaging what a year 1980 was to behold as a very musically absorbent 13 year old? Fucking HUGE. It was just one classic album after another all the way thru the year, albums that many of the bands would ever struggle to replicate 30 years later. I’ll publish the full list of 1980 albums at the end, but just look at a few for starters….
AC/DC – Back In Black
Judas Priest – British Steel
Ozzy Osbourne– Blizzard of Ozz
Black Sabbath – Heaven & Hell
Diamond Head – Lightning To The Nations
Gillan – Glory Road
Iron Maiden – ST
Saxon had two albums out in 1980 – Wheels Of Steel and Strong Arm Of The Law
Whitesnake – Ready An Willin’
Scorps – Animal Magnetism
Motorhead – Ace Of Spades
You see, it’s not a bad shortlist. And to this day, most if not all of the bands still play something from the above in their live shows. For me personally, three albums in particular stand out from the above list.
ACDC – Back In Black

AC/DC had just lost their talismanic singer, Bon Scott to a drink related death, and lets face, most people thought they were well and truly bolloxed. After an audition recommended to AC/DC by their management that they try out Brian Johnson (formally of 70s glam rockers Geordie) and the rest is history with AC/DC making probably the next album of their career and one of the best rock albums of all time

Black Sabbath – Heaven & Hell

Sabbath approached Ronnie James Dio after their relationship with Ozzy went a tad South, again drink in particular playing its part. The gang could take no more and Ozzy was rejected. In came Dio and for once the writing didn’t fall in the hands of one Geezer Butler. In Dio they have a guy who could write and more importantly, sing some of the epic numbers the way that they were meant to be sung. More importantly, Dio gave them a new opportunity, a chance to take Sabbath in a slightly different direction. They hit the charts with ‘Neon Knights’, and the likes of ‘Heaven & Hell’, and ‘Children Of The Sea’ became instant classics
Ozzy – Blizzard Of Ozz

Most people thought that Ozzy had well and truly pissed on his chips. He retreated to drink, drugs and occasional cross-dressing (oh and pissing on the Alamo). Don Arden’s daughter Sharon Arden (yes, that Sharon!) was given the opportunity to look after this new band, and boy did he stick his two fingers up to Sabbath. He gave Randy Rhoads (ex Quiet Riot) a chance and he was the absolute starlet on the guitar, totally talented and extremely gifted with hic neo-classical style. Rhoads and Ozzy proved the perfect foil for each other and were complete opposites. Also, by bringing in old hands such as Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, added to the fire, with songs like ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr Crowley’ kicking off a new style and flair that only (probably) a certain Mr.Van Halen could match at the time
The NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) was founded late 70s, and Sounds editor Alan Lewis coined the term, journalist Geoff Barton first used it in the May 1979 issue of Sounds magazine as a way of describing a second wave of heavy metal bands that emerged in the late 1970s during the period of punk rock’s decline and the dominance of New Wave music. But it was 1980 where a lot of these bands coined in NWOBHM came to the fore…
Tygers Of Pan Tang
Def Leppard
Rather than highlighting just a few, here’s some more of the best from 1980…
Judas Priest – British Steel

One of the pioneers of British Heavy Metal and fronted by the Godfather Rob Halford. The cover adorned many a denim jacket in the early 80s and what with killer tracks like ‘Grinder’, ‘United’, ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Breaking The Law’, and ‘Living After Midnight’, messers Downing, Tipton and Halford were on fire, and British Steel is still fresh as it was in 1980.
Motorhead – Ace Of Spades

Title track ‘Ace Of Spades’ is considered to be THE definitive Motorhead anthems, and one of the most famous metal anthems ever. Weighing in at a mere 2:49 the song kicks you in the nads immediately with Lemmy‘s ferocious bass riff intro. Watching this on TOTP proved that Heavy Metal could make an appearance in the UK charts, and many followed suit. Not content with Ace of Spades, they collaborated with Girlschool for the St Valentines Day Massacre which hit the charts in December
Saxon – Strong Arm Of The Law

Out of the two albums this year, SAOTL remains a firm favourite for me. Saxon were about to take on the world and who could stop them with songs like the title track and ‘Dallas 1PM’. They played the first ever Monsters Of Rock at Castle Donington in 1980
Diamond head – Lightning To The Nation

Could have been huge, probably should have been huge. A much sought after album, and became copied and covered by many (Metallica & Megadeth) but the success of the latter should also have followed for the former. ‘Am I Evil ‘(which has one of the most killer riffs ever), ‘Lighting…’ and ‘Its Electric’, stand out for this unlucky bunch
Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden

Maidens only album with Dennis Stratton, and reached the heady heights of No.4 in the UK album charts. The single Running Free hit No.34 and when performed on TOTP in the UK, Maiden were the first band in 8 yrs since The Who to perform live. ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ (Later used for a Lucozade ad in the UK), ‘Sanctuary’, ‘Running Free’ and ‘Iron Maiden’ make up the stand out tracks of this great debut. Oh, and it also introduced the world to Eddie!
Gillan -Glory Road

This was Gillan at his finest (well away from Purple anyway!). Notable for the bonus album ‘For Gillan Fans Only’ it shows the band at their greatest and probably maddest – Arthur Guitar and the Amazing Hamster Ensemble, Cosmo Toons and the Split Knee Loons, it remains a classic. Oh and it included ‘Unchain Your Brain’, ‘Running, White Face, City Boy’, and ‘No Easy Way’. ‘Higher & Higher’ was a strange omission
Whitesnake – Ready & Willing

Forget the 1987 Elnett version, THIS was Cov and Whitesnake at their  Bluesiest and shit hot rock best. The classic lineup of Coverdale, Moody, Marsden, Murray, Paice & Lord never ever sounded better. ‘Blindman’ was sublime, ‘Aint Gonna Cry No More’ showed Coverdale at his grandest, S’weet Talker’ was a live fave at the time, and the cock-quaking ‘Ready & Willing’. ‘Fool For Your Loving’ is the definite version, and not the Mr Sheened 1987 poodle permed one!
Van Halen – Women & Children First

A lost classic! Hidden amongst the first four VH albums is this little belter (and it came with a crackin’ poster!). For me it was downhill after this, until 1984, what with sonic mastery on ‘The Cradle Will Rock’ was VH to a tee. Everybody Wants Some is one of the finest they ever produces, and the hilarity came courtesy of Could This Be Magic.  There’s hardly a duff moment on this which cant be said of other VH albums (except the debut – faultless!), and its in my top 3 VH albums, and it probably shades 1984 to hit 2nd place
Events of 1980

·      Bon Scott, lead singer of AC/DC, dies at 33 on February 19 after a binge of heavy drinking.
·      John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin dies at 32 on September 25, after a binge of heavy drinking. His death was similar to Bon Scott’s, and caused Led Zeppelin to disband.
·      ‘Metal For Muthas’ compilation of NWOBHM bands is released, with a supporting British tour.
·      Rainbow headlines the initial Donington Festival. Judas Priest, Scorpions, April Wine, Saxon, Riot, and Touch also play, with 35,000 in attendance.
·      April 1: Brian Johnson joins AC/DC replacing Bon Scott as lead singer.
·      Mike Varney founds Shrapnel Records. This guy helped launch the careers of many a technical guitar player – Malmsteen, Friedman, Kotzen, Becker, Chastain, Gilbert, Moore etc
·      Iron Maiden lead guitarist Dennis Stratton leaves and is replaced by Adrian Smith.
1980s Albums

·      AC/DC – Back in Black
·      Accept – I’m a Rebel
·      Alice Cooper – Flush the Fashion
·      The Angels aka Angel City – Dark Room
·      Angel Witch – Angel Witch
·      Blackfoot – Tomcattin’
·      Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell
·      Blue Öyster Cult – Cultösaurus Erectus
·      Budgie – If Swallowed Do Not Induce Vomiting (EP)
·      Budgie – Power Supply
·      Def Leppard – On Through the Night
·      Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations
·      Ethel The Frog – Ethel the Frog
·      Fist – Turn The Hell On
·      Gamma – Gamma 2
·      Gillan – Glory Road
·      Girl – Sheer Greed
·      Girlschool – Demolition
·      Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
·      Judas Priest – British Steel
·      Kiss – Unmasked
·      Krokus – Metal Rendez-vous
·      Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush – What’s Next
·      Michael Schenker Group – The Michael Schenker Group
·      Molly Hatchet – Beatin’ the Odds
·      Gary Moore – G-Force
·      Motorhead – Ace of Spades
·      Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz
·      Quartz – Stand Up and Fight
·      Queen – The Game
·      Rush – Permanent Waves
·      Samson – Head On
·      Saxon – Wheels of Steel
·      Saxon – Strong Arm of the Law
·      Scorpions – Animal Magnetism
·      Shakin’ Street – Shakin’ Street
·      Ted Nugent – Scream Dream
·      Thin Lizzy – Chinatown
·      Triumph – Progressions of Power
·      Trust – Repression
·      Tygers Of Pan Tang – Wild Cat
·      UFO – No Place to Run
·      Van Halen – Women and Children First
·      Whitesnake – Ready An’ Willing
·      White Spirit – White Spirit
·      Wild Horses – The First Album
·      Witchfynde – Give ’em Hell
·      Witchfynde – Stage fright
 So there you have it, 1980, the best year ever? Definitely! Maybe I’m a little blinkered as all this took place in a time when music was in the ascendency, particularly Metal and NWOBHM. It’s a testament to the bands mentioned that all are still alive and well and very much active some 33 years later and more importantly, they are not just making up the numbers. You can’t or hopefully won’t be able to say that of any of Cowell’s puppets come 2036!

The Temperance Movement – ST Album Review

Now, I was completely discombobulated a few weeks ago whilst attending Steel House Festival in Ebbw Vale. The reason for this was a very astute and utterly mesmerizing performance by The Temperance Movement. Yes I’d heard a few good things about our home-grown wave makers, but this was one of the bands over the whole weekend who I was very keen to hear.

Oh boy they didn’t disappoint, throwing in one the best performances of the whole weekend

So when I heard there was the debut album up for almost immediate release, I had to review it. 

Formed at the end of 2011, the band comprises of Glasgow-born singer Phil Campbell & Londoners Paul Sayer, Luke Potashnick and Nick Fyffe, plus Aussie Damon Wilson. The Temperance Movement blend crafted harmonies, rich laconic rock n roll swagger and earthy, folk tinged melodies with the British blues explosion.  Singer Phil Campbell is a mix of Joe Cocker & Jimmy Barnes. Not a bad combination in my books, or a normal one come to think of it, but a bloody good one if I do say so myself

TTM Are a band marinated in classic blues rock, and cooked to perfection at gas mark 4 – drawing their amazing sound from The Faces, Nazareth and Free. Inevitable conclusions will undoubtedly be made with The Black Crowes, but The Temperance Movement have enough quality to stand on their own two feet than to be bothered with petty comparisons. Heck, mark my words, a time will come when TTM are the ones to be compared with

The album kicks off with ‘Only Friend’ and never ever lets go until the final bars of ‘Smouldering’. As soon as Campbell opens is mouth on Only Friend, its clear that a new talent has been found, and this soulful, gravelly tone combined with the simplicity and organic interplay between guitarists Sayer and Potashnick, make for one effective result!

Theres a swagger to be heard in ‘Aint No Telling’, and the soulful ‘Pride’ reminds me of Coverdales early foray away from the Purps with Northwinds. ‘Midnight Black’ is a lively kick ass track thatdoresnt let you off its leash. If Creedence Clearwater Revival are your delight then ‘MB’ sees TTM pay it back by the bucketload. ‘Be Lucky’ takes a simple riff and applies a simple chorus and hits a musical pot of gold at the end of a Rainbow. Simple works a treat! ‘Morning Riders’ hits home with a harder riff than most on the album, and ‘Take It Back’ has the potential to be a lengthy audience participation number on the live scene with its punchy ‘whoa-o-oa!’ threading thru the song. The debut is over all too soon with ‘Smouldering’, a slow burner which fully advertises the bands talents

The debut is superb and hopefully it will see the lads get all the success they deserve. Whilst its great, TTM will be on tour in the UK Sept onward and I cant think of a better way of spending £10 on a ticket and seeing a band at such intimate venues and on fire as these babies take on a different life in a live environment. I sware that it wont be long before you can get this close to them. They are gonna be huge I tell ya….HUGE!

If it’s not in the top 3 of most a reviewer across the land come December, then I have to admit that I know fuck all about music
Score 95/100
Only Friend
Aint No telling 
Know For Sure 
Chinese Lanterns
Midnight Black
Be Lucky 
Morning Riders
Take It Back
Lovers And Fighters

View the tour flyer at

Check out:


 The Temperance Movement are:

Phil Campbell – Vocals
Paul Sayer – Guitar
Luke Potashnick – Guitar
Nick Fyffe – Bass
Damon Wilson – Drums



 ‘Aint No Telling’ Video

‘Pride’ Video
‘Lovers & Fighters’ Video

Interview With Steve Newman of NEWMAN!

Steve Newman’s not a man to do things the easy way. He backed away from his record label and formed his own, ‘Chrome Dome’ to support his Newman project. He’s not your usual AOR/Melodic Rock by numbers kind a guy, and because of this draws a fervant and loyal kind of fan for his more thoughtful style of songwriting. Steve is currently promoting his excellent ‘Siren’ Album which I am certain will be at the sharp end of many a poll come the end of 2013!

CRR: Hi Steve; many thanks for talking to me today, I know you’re a very busy man…… This will be one of the strangest intros to an interview, but I have to confess, I’ve only been a fan for the past 3yrs or so, firstly hearing the excellent Big Life; I apologise for getting in on the Newman experience so late in the game. I was also taken aback by your performance at the dreaded Z-Rock last year….. So at least you’re still recruiting new fans :-)…….

Steve Newman: “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting for you …. Hahaha.

Seriously Paul, great to talk with you, and I’m glad you have now discovered Newman!!”

….which leads me onto Siren, your tenth album; I have to say that I adore it!

Thank you very much Paul, it’s really appreciated! We’re getting a great response for the new album, and the comments have been truly wonderful.”

It’s a very strong album from start to finish; which songs in particular strike a chord with you and why?

Oh wow, good question. I think they all have strength for different reasons. When I write songs I have to believe in what I’m writing about so I have no particular favourites. I hope the album delivers in all areas and everyone can find something on there that they can rock out to!!”

You’ve co-written a couple of songs this time around with Pete Newdeck and Nick Workman, does it help by mixing it up a bit?

Yes. I’ve admired these guys for years and it was great to work with Pete for the first time, we had a real blast; and of course Pete is now part of the live band, which is very cool. Nick and I have worked with each other before and we always try and jump at the chance to write together when we both have time. I think those songs have definitely brought some different colours to the new album.”

…and I’d have thought it’s taking some of the extensive burden away? Or is it rather satisfying having total control, what with your own label Chrome Dome and the whole Newman writing, playing, production, tea making experience?

I am a control freak….ha.”

“I consider those songs, and working with those guys, a total privilege. It was just great to get inspiration from another direction in regards to the melody and lyrics, as those songs started out life as just musical ideas.” 
 The album cover is a thing of beauty; please tell me how the design came about, as it took me back to the good old days of the 80s where I’d buy an album purely on the strength of its cover!
Thank you. I initially had the title of the album and an idea of the concept for the artwork. I worked closely with the Lassedesignen design company and came up with the art (for the cover), based on one of their stock images. I really liked the use of colours and thought it complimented the album wonderfully. I have never been a fan of the typical rock cover (as you can probably tell from my previous albums). I really admire artists such as Rodney Matthews, the late Storm Thorgerson, and my particular favourite, Hugh Syme. In this day of digital downloads I think something has been lost in regards to the artwork concept behind the music. Let’s bring back gatefold sleeves!!”

Sorry for this rather blunt analogy now, but the songs aren’t your typical, boy meets girl, boy shags girl, etc., like other melodic rock formulae? I get the feeling that there’s more depth, thought and heartfelt reality than your run of the mill lyricist. What drives this process?

No, you’re right, and thank you for noticing and appreciating this. I’ve always tried to add as much colour to my songs, both in the musical and lyrical content. The typical love songs have been done so many times before, so it’s nice to approach even these from a slightly different angle and also take on other subjects within my writing. I do find this a challenge and this is what always keeps it fresh and exciting for me as an artist.”

So, new album, and a new line up; you must be looking forward to the next few months of festival appearances?

Oh yes, it’s a really exciting time. We have the new album out, which is getting some great reviews and taking this new live band out on the road is going to be a lot of fun. We all really get on with each other, not only musically, but personally too, so there are no egos within the band and everyone is there to have fun both on and off stage.”

It’s a crying shame that we don’t see too much of you over here, playing throughout the UK (especially the Wrexham area, where I am!). Would you like to tour as part of a ‘package’ which seems the way to get in front of large numbers?

It is a great shame, but we’re working on changing that over the next year….. Our focus is on the Festivals as these generate a good percentage of the UK AOR fans, but hopefully we can secure ourselves on a tour or two in 2014….? Oh, and I’ve never been to Wrexham!!”

Say you had an infinite amount of money; who would you choose to be in the band, your Fantasy band?

That’s a good question. It may sound corny, but I’d keep the band I have now. We’re all good friends and I know these guys so well. However, there are a few people I’d love to play and record with…..; Steve Lukather, and most of the other members of TOTO, Mickey Thomas, Glen Sobel, Ellis Hall (but I’d probably just end up sitting down and watching that). Richard Marx, Richard Page; there’s so many!!!…. Can it be an orchestra?”

Ten Newman albums in, what still drives you? It can’t be the money!!

I love to create! For me, being an artist is a selfish disposition, and it needs to be that way for me to produce the music, believe in it, and be emotionally attached as a singer and player. But that is only part of what keeps me going; the feedback I get from fans through email and the shows we do is simply awesome and very moving. To produce something you truly believe in and then have someone get what you do is very cool indeed!!”

“I also get a tremendous amount of satisfaction on the technical side as well, with the production, writing and recording. Albums are always a great learning curve for me. Oh, and then comes the fame and fortune…., doesn’t it?”

Any intentions of say, another Big Life album with Mark Thompson Smith?

Mark and I have talked about the next album and we hope to get it together. It will take some time as we’re both very busy but hopefully we can begin to work on something new in 2014.”

Was it a conscious decision for you to move away from guitar to vocals or was it just a natural progression?

I take it you’re referring to the first Newman album? At that time it was necessity really. I had approached Mark Thompson-Smith to sing but unfortunately he was committed to a couple of other projects…. I had a bunch of songs that I wanted to get out in demo form – I had only ever sung backing vocals before – so it was an uphill challenge, but I came away after a couple of months with what I thought was acceptable, and fortunately the promoter of the first album thought the same, so the album got recorded, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

(Only if you want to……!) Couple / few quick random Q’s on your favourites….

Footy team….? – I don’t follow football now, but growing up it was always Liverpool. I tend to watch the England games…., (if you can call them that!!)”

TV…..? – Never really have time…, but when I get a chance I love the Sky documentaries. ‘Mad Dogs’ and ‘Trollied’.”

Film…..? – I love movies; depends on the mood… ‘The Pianist’, ‘The Abyss’, ‘Apollo 13’…., ‘The Bucket List’, ‘Austin Powers’..”

Siren (see what I did there?)…. Ha…My wife and Penelope Cruz; does that sound right? Oh, I’ll leave that one there I think!”

Album (not yours!)…? – Changes every day… Today it’s TNT – “Intuition”.”

Best Gig…..Yours…..and as a punter……? – Newman, Firefest 2010, (where we finally came of age as a live band); and Van Halen, Donington, 1984; 18 years of age, two rows back from the front; rawk!”

Newman achievement…? – Every album I make and every time the band plays live, I never take any of it for granted!”

Ambition/s…? – Ultimately to be happy and make the people around me happy.  See as much of the world as I can; I have a long list!!”

Thanks for this… I thoroughly hope “Siren” brings you the success you deserve. I know for a fact it will be at the sharp end of my 2013 faves come December….

Thank you Paul, it’s been a pleasure. I’d like to take this opportunity of thanking your good self and your readers for all the support and I hope everyone enjoys the new album. See you on the road soon…; maybe even in Wrexham!! All the best ……………”
So there you go, top album, and more importantly a top bloke, one of the nicest people Ive ever had the privilege to interview