Reviews roundup – Chas ‘n’ Dave vs. The Outlaws vs. Freedom Call vs. Nightmare
CHAS ‘N’ DAVE
Not Just Annuver Beano
Strange to say that this dropped through the letterbox the day after I’d watched Telstar: The Joe Meek Story on the telly. So I’d already had a fair whack of Chas Hodges.
But in my world there is no such thing as too much Chas’n’Dave so a double live album and DVD of their Christmas 2015 show was very welcome. It marked the 40th anniversary of their 1975 debut album ‘One Fing ‘n’ Anuvver’ being released so you might have expected them to revist that album. But they didn’t.
So what you’ve got is annuver live album. It actually sounds a wee bit flat as if the Hammersmith Odeon had sucked some of the sound up into the rafters but you can’t go far wrong with a wodge of classic tunes. The DVD suffers the same fate as they seem slightly lost on the stage. But it’s still a pleasure to hear them bang out such well loved tunes and nice to see Dave back where he belongs.
Motor along to their own website and they might still have some autographed copies left. Gertcha!
Steamhammer / SPV
I was excited enough a few months back when “Live At The Bottom Live New York ’86” came out as a double live album. My favourite southern rockers have been ill served by the CD world over the years so a record from an unheralded era was very welcome.
But then lo and behold! A new live album was announced from the current incarnation of the band. Granted, nowadays it’s pretty much the Henry Paul Band doubling up on Outlaws / Blackhawk duties but any chance to get me some Outlaws is good enought.
“I want people to hear this album and see our show and realize that The Outlaws are still there,” says founding member and front man Henry Paul. “Our goal is to unite the fans and bring the group back into the limelight.” Which is fair enough when you’ve got tunes like “There Goes Another Love Song”, “Green Grass & High Tides Forever” and “Freeborn Man” tucked away in your back pocket.
Along with Henry Paul, seventies veteran Monte Yoho is there, as are guitarist Chris Anderson (Dickey Betts, Hank Williams Jr.), Steve Grisham (Henry Paul Band, Brothers Of The Southland), keyboardist Dave Robbins (Blackhawk) and bassist Randy Threet (Pam Tillis, Blackhawk). They’ve also sprinkled in some latter day material like “It´s About Pride” and “‘Hidin’ Out In Tennessee” so it’s not just a nostalgia trip.
It’s not actually the liveliest recording with a few muddy moments here and there, but for those of who remember Hughie Thomasson, Harvey Dalton Arnold, Billy Jones, Frank O’Keefe, Freddie Salem and others, this is still a treat.
Master Of Light
Steamhammer / SPV
Germany calling and it’s those melodic rockers Freedom Call with album number nine.
Now I like Freedom Call. They can rock like bastards but they never forget a melody you cna hum or a riff you can strum. Which is all you can ask for. And it’s business as usual on this release. Front man Chris Bray says about their ‘Beyond’ tour; “we returned from the shows with such a lot of power that we found ourselves composing and recording the new material within a few months.”
And their enthusiasm shines through. The current lineup of original members Bray (vocals, guitars) and Ilker Ersin (bass), along with guitarist Lars Rettkowitz (guitar), and drummer Ramy Ali have done themselves proud on powerful and uplifting numbers like “Hammer Of The Gods” and “Metal Is For Everyone” which leap out of the speakers with gay abandon.
Fans of melodic power metal will find this an album to treasure assuming they can decide between a DigiPak CD (+ poster), double gatefold blue 180 gram vinyl LP (with CD in a cardboard sleeve), a limited edition of 1,000 box sets, (containing DigiPak CD + Bonus CD, sunglasses, sticker, plus postcard signed by each band member) and download (+2 exclusive bonus tracks).
French France now for some power metal. I quite liked ‘The Aftermath’ when it came out a couple of years back and this one falls into the same category.
For anyone out there as old as me I’ll reiterate what I said then. Yes, this is the dodgy AOR band from the eighties who once featured former Praying Mantis / S.O.S / full blown Scotchman Tom Jackson on vocals. But they split up before reemerging as a proper metal band.
They’ve still got a lot of eighties vibes in there though which makes me very happy and their new singer Maggy Luyten is a bit of a find. You may remember her from the olden days in Beautiful Sin or her later guest slots with the likes of Ayreon. Well she is in fine voice here along with Yves Campion – Bass & Vocals, Franck Milleliri – Guitar, Matt Asselberghs – Guitar & Vocals and Olivier Casula – Drums.
Songs like “Tangled In The Roots”, “Ikarus” and “Serpentine” are straight out of the top drawer and if they get the right push this could be the one to move them well up the metal rankings.