Rick Parfitt was always the wilder half of the Status Quo guitar/vocal pairing, he was the cheeky chappy who lived life to the full and after three heart attacks a bout of throat cancer and years of destroying his body with drugs and alcohol, he sadly succumbed to his ill health on Christmas Eve 2016. Obviously being in Quo for so long he will be forever known as being part of that iconic band but as with Francis Rossi (and to and extent bassist Rhino) there is a lot music in him that was never explored while they spent all those years searching for a fourth chord.
So a year and bit after his untimely death, we have the first and only solo album from Parfitt with friends and colleagues making sure that it was completed based on the guitar and vocal tracks already recorded byt Parfitt. Helping out are former and current members of Quo Rhino Edwards (bass) and Alan Lancaster (drums) as well as some outside help from Queen’s Brian May and Muse’s Chris Wolstenholme. The record has couple of genres present although it opens with Twinkletoes which sounds like a 80's Quo b-side, there's the obvious blues rocking on Lonesome Road and everybody Knows How, a touch of country on When I Was Fallin In Love and a bit of rockabilly on Lock Myself Away.
However it's not all what you'd expect as the ballad Without You isn't great and Halloween is just weird, drenched in electro it's a little like Quo meets Michael Jackson. Rick will always be associated with Quo but this record shows their are more strings to his bow than being the resident rocker of Britain's most well loved rock bands, thanks for the music Rick, Over And Out? Roger that. 7/10
Silent Chambers: Thousand Victories (Self Released)
Well this one's a bit odd Dutch progressive rock band Silent Chambers are a collaboration between Sander Heerings, Jeroen Voogd, Martijn Balsters, Robert Spaninks who form the band The Dust Connection, that band is something a little different. Recorded acoustically they arrange every song with multi-layered acoustic guitars, percussion and crackling electronic keys, these songs wash over you with the earthy whimsy of Fish's solo work. The deep vocals of Voogd sit atop a very lush backing which float through 14 tracks of lush music, it's slightly political in places and even though it's played mostly on analogue instruments, it's not stripped down at all but it may come as a bit of shock to a lot of the prog fiends but it's an interesting album to play by the fireside with glass of Jennever. 6/10
Falling Red: Lost Souls (Cargo Records)
Falling Red have always been stuck with the tag of being a sleaze band and while there is the loucheness to the band that harks back to the Sunset Strip, they manage to retain a sense of Britishness with the nods to the UK AOR sound that was always a bit grittier than the USA’s version. As you play this record you get a sense of why the band have supported Ugly Kid Joe, Sebastian Bach and Steel Panther, they have big arena ready riffs (Alive), a swagger and some rallying cry lyrics that deal with internet troll Digital Disguise. Vocalist and guitarist Andrew Roze, plays the Slash-like soloing but his voice could be a bit better if I’m honest, but then I feel that way about most sleaze styled bands as attitude is much more important than melody in many cases.
It’s really obvious on My Town, My City though which is probably why I think it’s the weakest track on the album. When Falling Red stick to distorted rock riffs like on the pounding Hell In My Eyes they are at their best. I’ve probably said in the past that the whole sleaze scene is not my bag (I’d personally lead a crusade to have Poison expunged from history) but if big hair, big hooks and wearing bandanas anywhere but your head is your thing then the third album from Falling Red will have you reaching for that hairspray. 6/10
Godthrymm: A Grand Reclamation (Transcending Records)
When you bring four members of some of the biggest doom bands around it isn't going to be an easy ride. A Grand Reclamation is six tracks of lumbering, monstrous doom metal, each track is a sprawling, hulking slab of ear splitting metal. The members of the band are Hamish Glenncross who many may know from My Dying Bride, Solstice, as well as Vallenfyre, Hamish takes the guitar and vocals and he's got Chaz Netherwood (Solstice) and Shaun Taylor-Steels (My Dying Bride) on guitar and drums with Rich Mumford of Malediction on bass.
The record is seen by the band as them drawing from their history (particularly Solstice) and using the sonic palette of Vallenfyre to play music influenced by Sabbath, Celtic Frost, Candlemass. Take a track like The Pantheon it's got a stoner metal vocal from Glenncross but a slow, deliberate, epic doom riff, although that can also be said of every song other than outro Forevermore, the 7 minute title track is a percussive dark and has lyrics that are spoken adding a little weirdness to the album at it's starts but we get on more familiar ground for Sacred Soil. With this EP and a set at Bloodstock the future seems bright for Godthrymm but the music is still as bleak as it can be. 7/10