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| 12 February 2015 | Reply

Rocksector Records
2 February, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Chris Appleton - Restless cover

Whether it’s as a sideman to Dave Evans or Blaze Bayley, rocking hard with Absolva or his former band Fury UK, Chris Appleton has forged an ever-burgeoning reputation as a guitarist and vocalist of note, and with this mostly acoustic and mostly solo album he’s delivered a record that is stylish, assured and sure to increase his stature.

Featuring eight original tracks (several from the Fury UK and Absolva back catalogue) and one cover performed by Appleton on acoustic guitar and vocals, and scant else other than a little double-tracking of the guitars and vocals (with help from brother Luke (Fury UK, Iced Earth), and Belgian Wizz Wizard (with whom he has also worked) respectively), Restless is anything but: confident and bold, it’s acoustic metal in an Iron Maiden-without-the-amps sort of vein.

Acoustic metal is a rare genre – rarer still if you’re looking to cite true examples of musical excellence – and there’s not a hint of Tenacious D-styled camping it up here, Appleton plays the songs straight, realising from the start that they are so well written that drums and bass would overcook these sparse arrangements.

Often sounding like it was recorded live in the studio, a few little bumps are allowed to slip through, but this gives the album a more authentic feel and the rawness suits the songs.

A beguiling guitar pattern makes Seafarer an enthralling opener; Crazyhead channels groove and tension despite the sparsity of the arrangement; and if How Will I Feel When You’re Gone maybe shouldn’t have made the transition to acoustic, it’s made up for by a great I See Red, which features some frenetic playing that is more Rodrigo y Gabriella than anyone from the traditional metal world, and proof that we’re dealing with a great talent.

Wonders Of The World bucks the trend by revolving around a piano motif with some synthesised strings, falling a bit short of the epic result Appleton appears to have been shooting for, but features a mighty vocal regardless.

To close the album Appleton takes a fairly faithful (though still acoustic) run at Ozzy & Lemmys Mama I’m Coming Home, his vocals and guitar sounding great.

Appleton may be Restless, but he’s also talented enough to keep an eye on, and with Absolva readying their third album, it’s a safe bet we’ll be hearing more from him very soon.

Category: CD Reviews

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