review – pinnick gales pridgen

Artist: dUg Pinnick, Eric Gales & Thomas Pridgen

Album: Pinnick Gales Pridgen

Rating: 9/10

To begin this review in a somewhat honest way I must admit that I’ve had expectations for this album of GIANT proportions, being a fan of both Pinnick (King’s X) and Gales for quite a while now. And the news they were recording together, although no enormous surprise (as Pinnick has been recording with at least half of the metal world by now), the combination of the two sounded quite appealing to me as they both brings an abundance of feeling and soul/blues to what they do. Pridgen I were less aware of, but after reading up a bit I quickly realized he recorded with Gales before (on the Crystal Vision as well as thePsychedelic Undergroundalbum) and also were a member of the Grammy winning band The Mars Volta. The band that very recently (and very publicly) called it quits via Twitter. After learning those things the expectations for this album didn’t get smaller, to say the least.
Behind the project and the label supporting the project are also some of the real heavyweights of metal as Mike Varney, co-owner of the Magna Carta label has both been producing and co-writing some of the songs with the group something he already did before on previous Gales-albums.
The question is: Do they deliver?

HELL YEAH!!

1. Chopping away from riff 1 on the first rough and heavy blues rock track, the Collateral Damage this record is pretty much it. This track and album is Eric Gales to me when he is at his absolute best, on top of that trading vocal duties throughout the record with dUg. Eric Gales is shredding away like There’s no tomorrow. dUg Pinnick’s bass is thundering and Thomas Pridgen brings the best from his drumming arsenal to make the music flow throughout, and every now and then he explodes into a frenzy making the drums become as important and as natural as if they were the other members’ own heartbeats. Total seamlessness. It’s nothing short of pure joy to listen too.

2. The next track Angels and Aliens are based on a fast blues phrase that runs throughout the entire song with Eric singing the lead vocals in the verses and dUg in the choruses. I can especially recommend You to listen to the mental last 1,5 minutes of breakdown, when the guys playing could just as well have been Jimi Hendrix with band.

3. The third track is Eric’s beautiful solo adaptation of Beethoven’s classic Fur Elise – For Jasmine creating an atmosphere of dreamy excellence in an absolute powerhouse display of his bluesy take on the neo-classical skill set. I only wonder if this is the same version I have a vague memory of him playing on tour with Keith LeBlanc and T.M. Stevens on the L.S.G. – Voodoo Chile Tour.

4. Hang on, Big brother, with Eric & Dug again sharing vocal duties has already been featured oncehere on metamusicftlom.com as the group released a video to the song. The song has a similar fast blues phrase ingredient as previous track Angels and Aliens but with a slightly funkier touch to this one.

5. Wishing Well is a dUg track, and could easily have made it to one of King’s X future albums if it hadn’t been on here. On this more metal/grunge influenced track dUg is providing lead vocals while Eric’s focus is on the shredding.

6. Hate Crime is also a dUg track, with more of blues feeling then the previous although still within a framework familiar to the King’s X fan base. And as the title implies the introspective lyrics are important to whole song. As usual “the Rev” dUg delivers it with his usual authority to the listeners.

7. Lascivious is again crossing over to the more metal oriented spectra of the blues, reminding me to some degree of songs such as Black Hole Sky by Soundgarden or perhaps a powerful Gene Simmons performance, not because of the blues-infused verses but from the very powerful chorus.

8. Next up is the haunting feeling from dUg’s creation Black Jeans. This track initially takes a step back to a slower blues intro, but already after the first verse explodes into what promises to become an epic tribute display to the legacy of Hendrix.

9. The following is a cover of Cream’s classic rock track Sunshine Of Your Love and this is a cover that has preserved the original rough, acid-drenched feeling from the late 60’s. Listening to it, it shows that the guys playing in this updated version are really enjoying tearing this song apart, making it their own for a couple of minutes.

10. Been So High (The Only Place To Go Is Down) is a classical Eric Gales type of the blues, again trading vocal duties with dUg, the song opens with a long 2 minute shredding intro by Eric to crash down into this heavy rocking blues’ song lyrics with the always usable blues clichés of love lost (?), to little sleep and unpaid rents. This is the longest track on the album, clocking in just short of ten and a half-minute.

11. Me And You is a more pop oriented tune with a catchy melody and a typical King’s X type of vocal harmony in the chorus. After half of the song Eric Gales takes over the song with a blistering solo, making good use of his wah-wah. This is the most repetitive song on the album, perhaps it would have benefited to have been cut down a minute or so?

12. The Greatest Love Is basically a very choppy Gales’s blues song using an echo effect. The song also has an additional jazzy feel to it. The song goes thru changes intensity when dUg enters into the repetitive chorus and Pridgen proves again he’s in full control of the events when the song as usual the song leads into an excellent Gales mid song solo.

13. The last song of the album Frightening is slow soulful dUg song with a scaled down 80’s ballad sting with empathic lyrics about intervention of self-destructive behaviour;

“What you do is your business.
But how can I ignore
When you’re passed out on the floor
What you’re going thru
What you’re going thru
Must be frightening
Must be frightening”.

The song picks up in intensity after the first chorus and solo passage and gets a more desperate blues rock touch as it goes along making it one of the strongest vocal performances on the album. It will sure be interesting to follow what will happen to these guys following this release. 2013 will be an exciting year, no doubt.

Before I end this review it might also be worth mentioning the album cover; as usual with Eric Gales’ productions an explotion of colours and psychedelic motives. This time around delivered by artist Ioannis (dangerousage.com) complemented by photos from Ross Pelton (rosspeltonphotography.net) – also familiar to Gales’ fans after previous album covers – making the tribute to the late 60’s era even more significant.

The album is available as physical copy from record company Magna Carta, or as downloads from iTunes and Amazon.

Buy it and enjoy it! / metamusicftlom.com

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Review: Lo-Fi Resistance – Chalk Lines

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Artist: Lo-Fi Resistance
Album: Chalk Lines
Rating: 8/10

The album Chalk Lines is no doubt a more composed production (produced by McStine, co-producer Kerzner) than first album from Lo-Fi Resistance (A Deep Breath also highly recommended!). The often contemplative lyrics of Chalk Lines goes very well together with the surreal cover art put together by Thomas Ewerhard . Altogether it brings into mind artwork and conceptual albums from past times great bands. Chalk Lines also uses the passages between the songs in a very effective way where passage between songs are illustrated by creaking doors as if you’re passing into different rooms of mind and realms of memories once lost. Although the lyrics are in a serious setting where loss, grief and the preceding life is a main theme there is also hope throughout. Diving into the whirlpool of tracks; Chalk Lines already from the start of the track Isolation Tank is showcasing a progressive palette of great vocal harmonies, tempo shifts and sounds reminding the listener of more high-profile groups like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Zappa to name a few.

This is a great album to wind down to. But I’m also aware that Chalk Lines is an album that requires some effort to appreciate. The album is beautifully executed by excellent musicians throughout. Unfortunately I believe there is a limited audience that will buy this album as it is not musically aimed at the hit lists (although miracles sometime happens!). Despite those opinions Chalk Lines is one album that undoubtedly will stand the test of time. I know I will appreciate it in 10 or 15 years to come. Given time this one could be remembered as a late progressive classic.  And it is a great piece of work from a musician (McStine) who is still quite young. So there will hopefully be plenty of great music in the future from where this album came from. I know I will show this album off to friends and those I know appreciate good, and not always easy-listened, music. So a final tip if you’ve got some of that X-mas money to spend and perhaps already are a fan of progressive music: Surf yourself into the Burning Shed shop and buy yourself a treat!

Tracklist:

1. Isolation Tank : A track expressing thoughtfulness about news just received in the lyrics. The music takes off building from a gloomy backdrop of keyboard, vocal harmonies and guitar-delays in the verses up to the full-out rock cries a la Evanescence in the chorus: “in Pieces – I will Magnify”.
The middle part of the song showing more of the progressive features of creativity going through tempo shifts and bringing more instruments and sounds into the scene.

2. Chalk Lines: The title track of the album starts out with a riff, as an announcement to the second track being more guitar-based than the previous. This track is also more elaborate in the progressive parts. Every few bars the song features new rhythms and sounds eventually going back to the initial riff. The slower parts of the song/verses sounds like being influenced by The Police. Chalk Lines song and album also feature strong vocal harmonies common for progressive/metal rockers King’s X, represented later on the album by bassist/singer Dug Pinnick on the track Fading pictures.
The end of the title track is a powerful buildup with a solo piano eventually being relieved by strings and a march-beat snare ending in the climaxing repetition of the title lyrics.

3. Fall: The third track melody is introduced by a spaced out keyboard which sets a very contemplative almost dreamy ambience, the chorus though being a powerful and catchy rock phrasing with high tone guitars ringing above as glistening stars of the night. In the mid breakdown of the song Gavin Harrison on drums take commando for a while, leading up to a buildup through the last verse and into a guitar solo.

4. The silent war: McStine writes in his newsletter:  “I wrote 90% of this song on keyboards, which was a different approach for me. Influences tend to sub-consciously seep in, and I hear a lot of different things on this one. I hear shades of Pink Floyd, Tears For Fears, and Peter Gabriel to name a few, brought into a more modern rock approach. My role on this one is more in line with what a lot of Lo-Fi Resistance is in the studio. I’m on vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards. Gavin is a powerhouse on this one (well, he always is), and Dave adds some nice keyboard textures into the mix throughout.“
All in all it’s a dreamy rhythm-driven track with a similar murky repetitive guitar riff as on the title track.

5. I move on. This short but honest track can be seen as a statement from the singer not to linger on what has past but to move on. To put the past behind. “I’ve held on to things and they just don’t belong”. It’s a short track with acoustic guitar and song as the main features.

6. Fading pictures: This track starts out with a lone piano eventually being joined by slow drums/guitars and a keyboard texture. The song eventually has two tougher parts with the thundering bass of Dug Pinnick laying down a massive groove, the lyrics sounding like exhortations to a third-party. The track switches back and forth a couple of times between the rougher parts and a more gloomy, dream-like ambience.

7. No Readmission: If I hadn’t heard of Lo-Fi Resistance. I would probably have guessed from just hearing the song/keyboard intro ambiance to this song that it would have been a new track released by Massive Attack. Listening some more the song changes going into a build-up slow-rocking groove but still leaning to the keyboards as dominant instrument like in a Pink Floyd song. This song also enters into the next one in a great way. First off there is the last line of the lyrics and then there is the way the keyboard/ambient end to the song smoothly passes into the last song on the album.

8. Face Another Day: Is the final, longest, and most epic composition of the album. Again a breathtaking (90 second) intro that I can only imagine would be great in a live-setting. The more aggressive slow-rock tempo introspective text of the song delivering an explanation and contemplating on doubt and feelings hard to put word to in a non denunciative way:

“but who fuck am I to say
that what you do is not the way?
I only knows what works for me”

About the artist:
Once guitar-wonder-kid; Randy McStine (still only 24 years old), is the creator of the Lo-Fi Resistance project. It’s an american alternative/progressive rock music project starting out 2009, releasing the debut album A deep breath in 2010 on which he got help recording by King’s X frontman/singer/bassist/ and personal friend Dug Pinnick and also drummer Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s beard, Genesis). The debut album ranged many styles, mostly grounded in the prog/metal-spectra, notably are the influences of King’s X and The police, the singing characteristics of McStine on the first album reminds me to some extent of those of Jeff Buckley going from soft, calm passages into more heavy and dense parts of the songs.
With the new release Chalk Lines, starting out as a DIY project via the fundraising site Kickstarter, Randy has taken one more step in exploring the world of modern progressive music, keeping the album even tighter in composition. Once again teaming up with friends from more notable bands such as drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Trees, King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and bass player John Giblin (Phil Collins, Kate Bush) and Dave ‘Squids’ Kerzner (of Sonic Elements and founder of Sonic Reality inc.).

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