Tag Archives: debut albums

“Faces”/”God Damn War” by Chris Caffery

Artist: Chris Caffery
Title: “Faces”
Label: Black Lotus Records
Release Date: 1/18/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8.5/10

Chris Caffery. The name will ring a chord in the minds of those who enjoy the music of Savatage and The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This past year the guitarist has been hard at work – not only has he had time to record a new Trans-Siberian CD, but he also did a Savatage semi-reunion at this years ProgPowerUSA Festival and also to record and produce his first solo CD. The disk is called “Faces” and all fans of this mans work will be more than pleased with the fruit of his labors. The performers are Chris’ TSO bandmates Jeff Plate (drums) and Dave Z (bass) as well as Paul Morris on keyboards. The vocals are handled by Chris himself and this struck me as one of the most impressive aspects. I had seen Chris sing numerous times during Savatage performances doing backups, yet never imagined he had as powerful and as good a voice as he ended up having. In my opinion he holds up along the likes of Sebastian Bach and singers within this range.
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“Icon and The Black Roses” by Icon and The Black Roses

Artist: Icon And The Black Roses
Title: “Icon And The Black Roses”
Label: Dark Wings Records/SPV
Release Date: 6/20/2004
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 8/10

I heard about this band in a twist of chance. I was led to them by some random clickings around the web while doing some music research and there they were. Icon and The Black Roses from Portugal. The band was on the verge of releasing their self-titled debut release on Dark Wings Records (a division of SPV Records). A quick email introduction to the lead singer and I was able to facilitate a copy for myself to review for you all. I have to say how impressed I am already as so many of the songs flow seamlessly through the disc. People who are fans of H.I.M. will most certainly enjoy this band for there are some musical themes that go in the same direction. However, this is no clone of His Infernal Majesty as the band will be quick to advise you of. Johnny Icon’s brooding and dark voice lend more to the likes of Depeche Mode and even a bit of Type-O-Negative (though not as deep as Pete Steele). It is an enjoyable solidly produced piece of brooding Gothic Rock. The differences in the bands music make it something that fans of Mode or Cure as well as similar darker fare have offered us. It was interesting to me to see how much this influence seemed to prevail in a band coming out of Portugal.
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“Christmas Eve & Other Stories” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Artist: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Title: “Christmas Eve & Other Stories”
Label: Lava Records
Release Date: 10/15/1996
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 9/10

Let’s get this clear from the beginning. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes from Savatage and oddly enough there are still some people who are not aware of this as the origin point of the group. The signature piece of this Metal Ensemble entitled “Christmas Eve Sarajevo” first appeared on the Savatage CD “Dead Winter Dead”. The tune stood out on the CD back then and also received a large amount of airplay on stations that would never play the music of Savatage in the first place. The music of 1996 was very steeped in the “alternative” movement and hard rock music was seldom heard and looked to die a quiet death. Clearly this track would prove another road could be taken with heavy music.
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