Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers

My Book Of Answers Album Cover Art

Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 45:10
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

“He was a wizard of a thousand kings. And I chanced to meet him one night wandering.”

(‘The Wizard’ – Uriah Heep)

The above verse, from the classic song penned by Ken Hensley when part of Uriah Heep, roughly sums up how this album came into existence. A chance encounter between Vladimir Emelin, Russian superfan, and Ken Hensley quickly developed into a strong friendship. Before long Emelin sent Hensley some poems he had written and his idol agreed to work those poems into songs. The result of all that is this album, “My Book of Answers”.

Sadly, Ken Hensley passed away a few months ago just as the album’s recording had been finished. Of course, the dark cloud’s silver lining is that we get to indulge in a new set of songs from Mr Hensley.

I sensed a particularly strong resonance of The Beatles in this album. Overall, the songs are well-balanced with choir vocals, opportune guitar solos and tasteful keyboards sounds. ‘The Cold Sacrifice’ is cathartic in spirit; ‘The Silent Scream’, by contrast, feels nostalgic; in ‘The Darkest Hour’ amongst other elements we find the Hammond and guitar working together to exorcise some interesting vibes. I also cannot fail to mention the song ‘Suddenly’ with its magnificent orchestrations and glorious melodies. On the other side of the coin ‘Lost’ and ‘Cover Girl’ lack memorable hooks but they’re no slouchers, mind you.

All compositions possess an aura of bleakness but also driven by hope and this was very typical of Hensley’s songwriting style.

In today’s world of over-produced and bombastic music it’s sobering to be able to, once in a while, delve into nothing other than good songs. It’s an apt swansong from Ken Hensley.

The wizard may be gone but his spells endure.

‘The Cold Sacrifice’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Lost (My Guardian)
02. Right Here, Right Now
03. The Cold Sacrifice
04. The Silent Scream
05. Cover Girl
06. Light The Fire (In My Heart)
07. Stand (Chase The Beast Away)
08. The Darkest Hour
09. Suddenly
10.The Darkest Hour (Alternative Version, Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Ken Hensley – Vocals, Guitar, Hammond
Izzy Cueto – Guitars
Moises Cerzo – Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
Tommy Lopez – Drums

Francesco Severino – Bass (Track 8)
David Gonzales – Piano (Tracks 6, 8)
Jacke Knight – Piano (Track 5)
Roberto Tiranti – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Ekaterina Nadaresihvil – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Belinda Campbell – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Rosie Doonan – Backing Vocals (Track 7)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Burnt Out Wreck – Swallow

Swallow Cover

Burnt Out Wreck – Swallow
The Right Honourable Record Company/Cherry Red Records
Release Date 10/02/2017
Running Time 51:24
Review by Rick Tilley
9/10

Before I get started properly with the review I want to apologise to Gary Moat and everyone involved with Burnt Out Wreck for the hideously long time it has taken me to get this written. Every time I sat down to start it something else got in the way and I was beginning to wonder if someone out there didn’t want me to finish, however, I promised a review so a review the band shall get, especially as ‘Swallow’ is still up there as one of the best and most fun albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in 2017!

If you’ve not heard of the name Gary Moat before then here is a little background. If you are of a certain age and you remember the early 1980’s well (like me) then you might remember a Scottish band by the name of ‘Heavy Pettin’. They were one of a huge number of bands playing NWOBHM/ Hard Rock (although they dabbled with a more Melodic Rock sound as the decade progressed). I saw them live twice at that time (supporting other bands) and seem to remember them having a fair amount of success and publicity as well as being signed to Polydor Records, in fact they really should have made it big! Well, Gary Moat was a founding member, drummer and song-writer of Heavy Pettin’ and I really liked them. However, like so many bands, their push for the next level and change in sound, due to musical trends didn’t work and the band disappeared and their names dropped off of my radar!

That all changed when I was sent this promo earlier in the year and my eyes immediately picked up on Gary’s name. Whereas most people will remember a guitarist or vocalist, I nearly always remember the drummer because I was one for thirty plus years and, as an impressionable young thing back in 1982/83, it was the drummers that I followed and learnt from! Seeing his name really piqued my interest for this album but it was only when I played it for the first time that I realised just how good it is!

What you’ll get to hear, if you are sensible enough to bag a copy, is that Gary is the vocalist of Burnt Out Wreck and, for a man who plied his trade as a drummer, he has one of the best Rock voices I’ve heard for years. Imagine a note perfect mixture of Bon Scott, Mark Tornillo (Accept), Mark Storace (Krokus) and Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep) and you’ll have an idea of how good he sounds. In fact he sounds so close to Bon Scott in places that it’s quite uncanny but don’t think that this is just an AC/DC covers band under a different name! Burnt Out Wreck have produced eleven top class Classic/Hard Rock songs and put them all on an album that’s hard to stop listening to. Yes, a couple of tracks ‘Swallow’ & ‘Rocking Man’ are straight from ‘Powerage’/’Dirty Deeds’ era AC/DC and my favourite track here ‘Talk About Love’ with its beast of a riff, brings to mind the ’Flick Of The Switch’ album but they are so well written and performed that it doesn’t matter one little bit!

Gary put Burnt Out Wreck together in 2016 and it’s worth noting that when this was recorded they weren’t a fully formed band so Gary plays pretty much everything with the exception of the superb guitar solos which are supplied by long-time friend and musical partner Adrian Dunn. What this proves to me is that Gary Moat is an extremely talented individual and a very annoying one! I wish I could play and sing half this well, hey, I’ll settle for 10%!

‘Swallow’ is such an authentic album but also sounds completely relevant in 2017 and now that Gary and Adrian have a full band backing them they have been playing, by all accounts, some excellent gigs up and down the country. They are a band I MUST see live soon!

If you love Classic Hard Rock mixed with some Southern Blues and you have a hankering for AC/DC, latter day Uriah Heep at their rockiest, UFO, Rhino Bucket and Thunder that’s brilliantly played, with choruses more catchy than Chlamydia and some lyrics straight out of the David Coverdale book of Sexual Innuendo then Burnt Out Wreck are going to have you dribbling in places you didn’t know dribbled! Welcome back Gary…even if you are annoyingly talented!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Burnt Out Wreck
02. Swallow
03. She’s The One
04. Pulling It Out
05. Talk About Love
06. Medusa
07. Flames
08. She’s A Dirty Love
09. Your Love (Is All I Need)
10. Rocking Man
11. Best Of Your Life

LINE-UP:
Gary Moat – Lead Vocals
Alex Carmichael – Bass
Paul Gray – Drums
Miles Goodman – Rhythm Guitar, backing vocals

LINKS:

Promo Pic1 (14)

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities