Tyson Leslie – Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak

Tyson Leslie Promo 2

US musician Tyson Leslie has been a vibrant part of the Kansas City music scene for over twenty years, playing in cover bands such as Karma, Baloney Ponyz, and 90 Minutes, whilst also aiding onstage the likes of Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour), Gavin DeGraw, Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart,), and George Lynch (Dokken/Lynch Mob), as well as recently touring as a temporary member of Red Line Chemistry. Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak is the debut of his own material after two decades of playing other people’s music and such its irresistible infectious charm and masterful anthemic might, you have to ask why it took so long for the man to thrust his own songwriting talents forward. Merging a tasty mix of rock pop, country rock, and melodic invention, the album is an exciting romp to set ears and passions firing.

Leslie provides everything from song writing and production to the multi-instrumentation and vocals on the release with only KC drumming legend Go-Go Ray a constant addition. Train Wrecks, Havoc & Heartbreak does also see guest back-up vocals from people such as  David George (David George & A Crooken Mile), Laura Roach (Solus), Jacklyn Unruh amongst many, as well as guest solos from Tory Stoffregen (Enuff Z’ Nuff/New Black Seven), Josh Johnson (The Slowdown/Wonderfuzz), Freddie Francis (Saucy Jack), and Samantha Fish. It is a vibrant proposition which from its opening seconds is dancing with the senses.

From a failed attempt to start its motor, Little Green Honda bursts into life with vivacious riffs and crisp beats, hooks immediately taking tysonleslietrainwreckscoverarta welcome grip. The strong vocals of Leslie soon join the ride, his delivery clean and potent to match the surge of the power pop heart of the song. With keys winking throughout and grooves flirting with ears, the track is an infectious romp with a familiar yet refreshing presence. Not for the last time, Leslie veins a song with skilful guitar craft engaging enterprise ensuring the album gets off to a thumping start.

The following Crazy All Over provides a rich country rock twang to its initial caress, keys and melodies equally southern rock heated and inviting. Undemanding yet irrepressibly resourceful in sound and vocals, the track strolls with a commanding swagger and coaxing rhythmic mischief sparked further by magnetic sonic endeavour before stepping aside for the equally enjoyable She Danced Under Lights. The third song on the album brings a choppy eighties riffery to its entrance and similarly timed breath to the vocals. The sharing of an excellent female delivery with that of Leslie to lead the song is potent as the expressive sound, the resulting warm seduction rife with feisty attitude playing like a meeting of Nick Lowe and T’Pau.

Selective Amnesia bounces in next with jaunty keys and punchy rhythms within a rock ‘n’ roll dance which easily reminds of Dave Edmunds, never an unwelcome inspiration for a song to embrace. The track leaps and bounds through the ear with an appetite to rock which triggers the same in the listener, its anthemic lure contagious and unstoppable. It is an exploit to get pulses racing which A Mourning To Lament brings back to a more stable rate with its melodic breeze and emotive caress. A gentle yet keen song in gait and invention, the track makes a pleasing stop on the journey of the album, keys an emotive narrative, but does slip in impact against the tremendous presence of the album to this point. Nevertheless it is an engaging song feeding the greedy attention inspired, a success matched by the ballad Goodbye To The Rain. Once again piano and vocals craft the evocative narrative which is further strengthened by flames of guitar and emotion.

The thumping drive of Suckerfish has the release flipping up the gears again, guitars and rhythms guiding the imagination into an epidemic dance of insatiable addictiveness pushed by again outstanding vocals and harmonies from Leslie and guest. Its mighty temptation is taken one better by the Costello-esque croon Stranger, a song which plays like an old friend with recognisable habits and brand new deeply gripping hooks. It is a masterful piece of rock pop matched by the distinctly differently guised but similarly delicious Wasted Time. Power pop at its best, the song has feet and voice recruited early on with passions close on their tail.

Both If He Comes Home and Blanket For Your Soul provide further proof of the varied flavour to Leslie’s songwriting, expression, and humour, the pair engagingly crafted melodic suasion in their respective rock and bluesy offerings. Their pleasing if underwhelming, again only in comparison to the weight and power of songs around them, presences are soon paled by the excellent 88 MPH, its urgently fuelled energy and rhythmic grin another impossible to resist adventure within Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak. The final song with its Lennon and McCartney like make-up, The Last Word, provides a closing ‘lullaby’ with its fine sounds and lyrical enticement, a last kiss from the strengths which have bloomed across the album.

    Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak is an excellent introduction to the solo side of a highly respected artist. Better late than never they say, and it certainly applies to the Tyson Leslie.




RingMaster 27/03/2014

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Whitechapel: Whitechapel

Since forming in 2006 Tennessee death metal/core band Whitechapel has been one of the mightiest most brutal pioneers of the genre especially seizing its reins with their 20120 album A New Era of Corruption. Last year saw the band release the Recorrupted EP which included of most note new track Section 8, an impressive song offering suggestions of the band exploring new directions in thought and imagination for their new self-titled album. It really was just a hint without giving full notice of the intriguing creativity to be unveiled on this the fourth Whitechapel album, a release sure to have fans and metal talking/debating.

The album is likely to divide people as to its position against the older material and releases, certainly against A New Era of Corruption. It is impossible to imagine any will dislike it completely but the degrees to how they welcome it will be varied as already seen amongst reviewers. For us it is an impressive attempt to evolve their already devastating sound into an even more decisive and unique invention. Is it better than its predecessor? No but nor is it a step back. It is an entry through a new door of imagination and ingenuity, a sideways investigation quality wise with unpredictable and compelling results. It is not 100% successful but near as could be asked and what release is ever perfect anyway.

Released June 19th through Metal Blade Records, the album discovers and conjures distinct and intrusive atmospheres to compound and expand their already destructive sounds. The tracks are adventurous and at times surprising without losing the core of Whitechapel, and when at times the unbridled intensity is held in restraint the band achieve the same impact through shadows and a blackened craft of disturbed enterprise and melodic violations. As you read you are undoubtedly forming an opinion before a note corrupts your senses but this is definitely one time that the music has to do the persuading or dissuading alone.

The album strikes from the start with its best track in Make It Bleed. Its intro is an emotive lead of piano and brewing keys, their combination a mournful beckoning into the thunderous explosion of sound soon to follow.  Riffs crush from a great height and vocalist Phil Bozeman spills malicious bile with every word. Within the black intensity and rampaging aggression though there are slithers of teasing grooves guiding one through the mass of aural corruption. As everything presses down upon the ear more violently the track takes a respite with some outstanding melodic guitar right out of the song book of Breed 77 and combines the two approaches with a defined and skilful touch. The song twists one inside out keeping up with all that is going on, its addictive pull insatiable right up to its last note, itself a lingering snarl.

From such a great start you would imagine a step back but not with Whitechapel, they just relentlessly ignite and incite the fullest and deepest pleasure with tracks like Hate Creation, (Cult)uralist, and I, Dementia.  The first is a brawling mass of violence rupturing the senses whilst clean sonic swipes forge a sharper intrusion. Vocally Bozeman mixes up his excellent vocals with some clean spoken parts reminding of Corey Taylor/Slipknot. The middle song is a colossal predator prowling and provoking with melodic lures and incendiary sparks of malevolence whilst the last of the trio is one of the most imaginative and inspiring on the release. I, Dementia from its first presence scrapes and niggles at the synapses like a sonic leech bleeding the senses as muscular riffs force the lesions wider. Like the demon in every shadow of the mind, the track manipulates with taunting greedy grooves and bone splitting rhythms. It is a masterful track which leaves a permanent inciteful presence after its departure.

The band is at the top of their game inventively and musically, the mentioned tracks and those like Faces, Dead Silence, and The Night Remains just as impressive compelling. The album is the first with new drummer Ben Harclerode and he really is a step forward in that department though his predecessor Kevin Lane was far from a slouch, but Harclerode is a force of nature, his power and creativity persistently climatic and even when he is not so noticeable he is still driving and spearing the sounds ingeniously.

Weirdly and though still a mighty component of the album Section 8 loses the impact it had when first unleashed last year, whether it has been remixed or just the other tracks have bypassed it in quality the song is far less remarkable in the context of the release.

Closing with the excellent enveloping Possibilities of an Impossible Existence, a track of blackened heart and even darker vindictive substance, the album is outstanding and though surprisingly different to what most would  expect from the band it is invigorating and an immense base for titanic glories ahead.

Ringmaster 16/06/2012

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