Sunbomb – ‘Evil And Divine’ Review

Sunbomb – Evil and Divine

Sunbomb is a new Frontiers alliance between L.A.Guns Tracii Guns, and Stryper’s Michael Sweet. The project was leaked March 19 by Guns and described the project as “the metal record I would have made when I was 17 years old.” Also when appearing on Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk that ‘the Sunbomb record is really kind of like (L.A. Guns 2019 album) ‘The Devil You Know’ times three”

I follow Mr Sweet on Twitter and he’s a ‘non’ friend on FB. he is always engaging and honest about his work and considered the recent Stryper albums as some of their best work if not the best, and I am somewhat in agreement. Although I think some Stryper fans could lose their shit over a title like ‘Evil and Devine’, when some fans have criticised the recent Stryper album ‘God Damn Evil’. Some people are idiots, but that’s religion (and idiots) in a microcosm. I think that this Sunbomb album is somewhere near to what I think the next Stryper album will be like as Sweet has stated he loves the heavier side of their output

Anyway titles aside, I think Sweet is a perfect foil for Guns. His vocals still kick ass and proves to be a belting choice for ‘EaD’. By ‘eck, it is an inspired choice. Sunbomb have Bill and Tedited it back to the roots of metal and NWOBHM and raided the likes of Iommi’s discarded riff drawer, and Rob Halfords tightest pants as Sweet sings higher on this one album than he has done over his last half a dozen albums

‘Evil and Divine’, is trying to be classic metal, and that in itself is great. Its ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’, homage to 70s and 80s metal from the birth of Metal in the Sabbath doom sounding ‘Take Me Away’, and all the way to 80s Priest/Maiden with the galloping ‘No Tomorrows’. ‘Life’ sets out their stall in the first 30 seconds and the threat level remains at ‘heavy’ for most of the album. There’s some Divine songs on offer here with the likes of the title track, ‘They Fought’ and ‘Better End’, and an Evil one in ‘Been Said And Done’ as it is a bit of a downer compared to the higher energy of the rest. All in all its a decent album, that will be picked up by fans of the two guys, but I doubt it will pick up a bunch of new fans.

Personally I like Sweets heavier vocals, but whoever produced and mixed the album needs a swift kick in the nuts. I’m going with the drummer as the drum mix is quite prominent to the point where I can hear Sweet, but cannot always work out his phrasing and is somewhat subdued when you consider the effort the guy is putting in, the vocals should be crystal clear and are far from it. On a scale of Frontiers speed dial projects, from Resurrection Kings to Revolution Saints, it sits somewhere in the middle. It could have been so much better

At least it gives me some hope for the next Stryper album being a metal nugget


Tracii Guns – Guitars
Michael Sweet – Vocals
Adam Hamilton – Drums
Mitch Davis – Bass
Johnny Martin – Bass on ‘We Fought’

Take Me Away
Better End
No Tomorrows
Born To Win
Evil And Devine
Been Said And DoneStronger Than Before
Story Of The Blind
World Gone Wrong
They Fought

Myles Kennedy – ‘The Ides Of March’ review

belting sophomore solo album from Kennedy ticks all the right boxes. Its the album I’ve been waiting for.

I read an interview with Myles Kennedy in the latest Classic Rock mag and he states ‘I’m not a household name’. Well fella, I can assure you that you are in the Chesworth household and have been since 2004 when we were listening to rock radio stations whilst on holiday in Florida. Thankfully these stations only play about 15 different songs a week, so it got us all firmly embedded into Alter Bridge in the Summer of ’04.

I was fortunate to interview Brian Marshall back in 2011 and he said Myles had a solo album ready to roll. It was a long time coming. His debut album in 2018 was a tribute to his late father (who passed when Myles was a young child) and was an emotional album and I suspect a very cathartic one for Myles to do. Roll on another 3 years and we have The Ides Of March, which would be even better had it been released in March! Its the kind of album I was expecting  (and hoping for) from him.

‘Get Along’ is a guitar riffin’ foot stompin’ call to arms where he wails ‘I thought we left this shit behind, don’t tell me I don’t belong,….the answer never was black or white’ and typifies the feelings of many in the World today. It certainly rings true with my feelings over the past 14 months. A similar theme continues into ‘A Thousand Words’, where he sings, ‘because in times like these we must live and learn’, his mantra is simple and he comes across as a genuinely caring bloke. The chorus is instantly memorable and encompasses some blisteringly hot guitar work. The slide guitar of ‘In Stride’ shows that its not a straight up rock album, and paints a picture of a survivalist preparing for an impending zombie apocalypse (much nearer than we think considering the events of the past year!) And was inspired by the first lockdown in which people hoarded bog roll and other invaluable items and ingredients. The title track is the big number, and switches between gentle verses, and heavier chorus where Kennedy gives his larynx a decent work out. Its as much a vehicle for his guitar soloing as it is for his vocal dexterity. Were it not bordering on eight minutes, its a perfect title and song for the next Bond movie. If Sheena Easton can get the Bond gig, then Myles is a deserving candidate. 

Both ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’ and ‘Sifting Through The Fire’ border on fillers, only because Kennedy set himself a high bar. ‘Sifting…’reminded me a bit of the Allman Bros ‘Jessica’. But its on ‘Love Rain Down’ is a mainly acoustic ballad where ‘the voice’ is vulnerable and soul searching. Its a beautiful song. ‘Tell It Like It Is’ is the good feel song of the album, with a hand clap, and foot stomping anthem for the masses. I can’t wait, this will be huge played live.  ‘Moonshot’ has one foot planted in the Blues camp, and ‘Wanderlust Begins’ errs on the side of country. Both are cool, with Wanderlust being a companion to Year Of Tiger is tone and style. ‘Worried Mind’ is the most straight up blues song on ‘TIOM’. If you think that its standard fare, that is quickly dispelled thanks to some shred-tactic guitar playing and tonsel tickling vocal histrionics. Thats how you finish the album off. Fantastic.

As I said at the top, TIOM is the album I wanted it to be, and more. ‘Year Of The Tiger’ had to grow on me because there was little variance in the style, but this one gave me more of an instant ‘fix’. Theres more than enough light and shade and variety to keep even the most pessimistic  fan occupied. As an ardent fan, its a little belter.



Get Along

A Thousand Words

In Stride

The Ides Of March

Wake Me When Its Over

Love Rain Down

Tell It Like It Is


Wanderlust Begins

Sifting Through The Fire

Worried Mind

Myles Kennedy – Vocals, Guitar

Tim Tournier – Bass

Zia Uddin – Drums

Out May 14th

Lifesigns – ‘Altitude’ Review

Certain prog bands have a tendency to make me feel wonderful, and Lifesigns have just been added to my list.

Lifesigns – Altitude

In 2016 Oxford Dictionaries conducted a worldwide survey to find out what was the worst word in the English language. That word was ‘moist’. Other frontrunners were ‘Hello’, ‘no’, ‘panties’, and ‘hate’. Is it pure coincidence then that this is most hated sentence in the world….’I hate moist panties?’ Anyway, what I’m getting to is the word ‘Prog’ when describing music. In most instances it covers a band that the PR companies and labels don’t know where to pigeonhole the band in question. Progressive rock is based on fusions and styles, approaches and genres involving a continuous move between formalism and eclecticism. Steven Wilson hates the term, and I’m not far behind him.

One thing I do know is that certain prog bands have a tendency to make me feel wonderful, there’s a calmness and emotion that sweeps over me whilst I enjoy the various facets of the music. That is what Lifesigns ‘Altitude’ has given me on the very first listen. Not many bands do that to me. In fact Lifesigns is in great company – Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree, Spocks Beard, Ostura and Tilt are such bands of the club that Lifesigns have just acquired a lifetime membership to.

Opening number ‘Altitude’ is a 15 minute piece that sweeps by in a matter of moments. Time is irrelevant, quality is utmost. From the opening few bars the feeling is one of soaring through the clouds, the quality of musicianship is second to none. It’s the first time I have heard John Young, and similarly to Wilson, he doesn’t have a soaring range, but what he does, he does ever so well and the tone fits the piece perfectly. There’s a string midsection that could accompany a Chinese ancient history movie, before the song drifts with some wonderful backing vocals and amazing guitar playing from Dave Bainbridge (who again is new to me, but won’t be for much longer!). The final act of ‘Altitude’ again pulls you back to the soaring atmosphere of the beginning. All in all it is a wonderful opening and an introduction to Lifesigns that I’ll not forget in a long time. ‘Gregarious’ draws on influences like ELO and Supertramp, and is a close to a pop song as Lifesigns get, I suspect. It’s built around Young’s keyboard and Poole’s base and features another fine solo from Bainbridge. I feel as if I could be repeating myself for the rest of the album here!

‘Ivory Tower’ is one of two Young songs given a reboot and a place within the Lifesigns catalogue. Robin Boult plays a guest role playing acoustic guitar. Midway the rhythm section is again impeccable and closes with ‘I fall….’. I can see this being a particularly great live moment with the crowd yelling….’DOWN!’

Three songs in and there is nothing to criticise. ‘Shoreline’ starts with a jazzy feel, making you wonder where the song is going next. With the highlight being Czorsz’s drumming. Young’s delivery on Shoreline evokes early Genesis and his phrasing is very Gabriel with a touch of Neal Morse. I also am a fan of the female ‘choir’ that’s been adopted on here. I’m running out of superlatives, so I’ll just settle on it being great. ‘Fortitude’ is yet another highlight, especially the sounds and textures being built from keyboards, and Taurus pedal and Moog. They are as important as Young’s vocals. More importantly every member gets their chance to shine, without anyone jockeying for position or domination. The counterbalance between keyboard and guitar is really something else. Played live, this will be a stunning piece to be expanded upon. ‘Arkhangel’ is a short keyboard appetite whetter before entering into ‘Last One Home’. It’s the second Young song that been give a new like. It’s a ballad where Youngs vulnerable vocals come to the fore, before Bainbridge’s guitar solo is one to behold and bow down to. I’ve found a new guitar hero to add to my list! There is a final reprise of ‘Altitude’ and its just enough to wind down and reflect on the majesty of the last 50-odd minutes.

I also have to give kudos to Steve Rispin (sound and production) as he really is the bonafide fifth member as the whole album sounds fantastic.

I love it when a band I’ve not heard before sweeps me off my feet. Its one of the reasons I still like reviewing for the opportunities like Lifesigns and John Young have given me in listening to this today. For that I will certainly be digging out the other albums and count me in as a fan!

This is a wonderful, wonderful album.

Track listing –
Ivory Tower
Last One Home
Altitude (Reprise)

John Young – Vocals and Keys
Dave Bainbridge – Guitars and Keys
Jon Poole – Bass and BVs
Zoltan Czoesz – Drums
Steve Rispin – Sound and production