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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Out Of The Beyond 23

Chris Caffery: Faces (Black Lotus/Warner Chapell) 2005

Chris Caffery was/is the guitarist for Savatage (still one of the most underrated bands ever) and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This was his first full length solo album and it featured no less than 16 songs on disc one and 9 on the bonus disc (God Damn War) so it shows that Caffery has no shortage of creativeness. From the opening title track you can hear his aggressive and progressive riffage, what is a lesser known quantity is Caffery's voice which is also good, it's a scratched bark that reminds me of Dave Mustaine especially on the brutally heavy and angry Pisses Me Off which starts off with some killer guitar soloing as well as having a hint of Savatage's Jon Olivia who's bark is unmistakeable. However like Mustaine’s it can get The band is made up of some TSO and Savatage alumni with bassist Dave Z and Jeff Plate both coming from the Symphonic rock orchestra (and Plate being in the later period Savatage) keys come from former Rainbow ivory tinkler Paul Morris, however how much these men actually contributed to the album is a bit of a mystery as Caffery is credited as playing all of the above as well as engineering and producing. The album is a metal assault until Music Man slows the pace with its acoustic and mellow rock sound, this is a nice change of pace that breaks up the flow of the album and stops it becoming wearing, this is followed by the 80's rock of Life, Crazy Life!!! this erupts into the metal of The Mold before the bluesy Bag O’ Bones. This is an album shows Caffery's creativity at its peak and it also shows what a progressive, wide and varied album he has created spanning many genres but all of them filled with some superb guitar playing (shown at its best on the semi-instrumental Preludio) and despite the long runtime it is a great album of top-quality rock/metal (and I haven't even mentioned disc 2 yet!) 8/10

Chris Caffery: God Damn War (Black Lotus/Warner Chapell)

The second disc has more of the same but is noticeably shorter and less progressive than the main disc however it still has the same quality performance and features a few curveballs with the Middle Eastern flavoured Saddamized and the solo piano performance of Amazing Grace which is a little bit of a strange choice as well as the very odd finale of Curtains. 6/10

Alabama Thunderpussy: Open Fire (Relapse) 2007

This was Alabama Thunderpussy's final album before splitting and features the vocals of Exhorder man Kyle Thomas. The band that have always been referred to as the "metal Molly Hatchet" and on this album they show it with the opening blast of The Cleansing and the fantastic Void Of Harmony. The guitars of Ryan Lake and Erik Larson are fantastic giving them some fantastic stoner/southern flavoured metal riffage and some great solo's especially on Words Of A Dying Man Thomas' vocals are excellent reminding me of Phil Anselmo albeit a bit more soulful. This is a fantastic final album for a band with one of the best names in the business with every track giving full heavy Southern heavy metal sound and meaning that there is not really a weak track. Well worth seeking out if you enjoy Down, Corrosion Of Conformity or even Molly Hatchet. 8/10

Accept: Blood Of Nations (Nuclear Blast) 2010

Blood Of Nations was Accept's comeback album and the first to feature screamer Mark Tornillo and drummer Stefan Schwartzmann as well as being the return of Axeman Herman Frank. So in the intervening years between the final Udo fronted album (1996's piss poor Predator) and this Accept did seem to re-find their sound bringing back the Teutonic speed metal of their early years. The guitar interplay between Wolf Hoffman and Herman Frank is the classic sound that nearly every German power/thrash/trad heavy metal has copied since. Beat The Bastards has is a killer start showing that Accept are back in full flight but also have incorporated some more modern thrash riffs (possibly added by super producer Andy Sneap), the head banging Teutonic Terror follows closely with its shoutable refrain of "Give 'Em The Axe!" Tornillo isn't Udo nor is he trying to be but with that powerful rasp he is a perfect fit for Accept's second age providing them with some great new tracks to kill in the live arena. 8/10

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