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Livesay - Chronicles

Livesay
Chronicles
by Dave Nowels at 14 October 2018, 5:12 AM

Neo-Classical, Progressive, Melodic Power metal. These are all labels that can easily capture LIVESAY. Yet, each label individually would fail to do proper justice. Rather, LIVESAY seems to be a sum of all its parts, and that includes multiple influences and touches of different sub-genres. The band was formed by former VANDALS guitarist Gregg Livesay in 1991, and “Chronicles” is a new retrospective collection that’s been issued on RFL Records that compiles the very best from the band’s four released albums. The collection also features one new track, titled “International Man” that showcases new LIVESAY vocalist Mike Gill.

“Choronicles” begins with “Live and Let Rock” and “Fallen Nights” which are both unreleased tracks. While perhaps unconventional to open a retrospective with what other bands might use at the end of album as “filler”, both of these songs stand tall with the other material. Next, the album touches on four tracks from the band’s debut, self-titled album “Livesay”. “Red Room” is up first, and it showcases the band’s eagerness and hunger to lay down some fire in their first record. Livesay’s solo is jaw dropping, and mesmerizing. Often compared to Yngwie Malmsteen, Gregg Livesay has his own style and technique, but the comparison is just, and the influence is definitely there.

“Evil Eyes” was the first track I noticed with prominent keyboards. For me, in the opening and closing of the song, they now sound pretty dated, but I suppose they’re a sign of the time. The entire band is phenomenal overall, equally as good on their own instruments as Livesay is on guitar. Former vocalist Pete White's range fit nicely, as did his vocal style. “No Way Out” in particular, struck me as very VAN HALENish, with Pelata capturing a David Lee Roth flair for the song. “Under the Table” close out the self-titled era, with fiery riffs to open and fiery solo after fiery solo.

Next, the compilation tackles material from “Darkest Hour”, and opens with a song of the same name. Again featuring prominent keyboards, this one is a slow building, churning song which features some memorable hooks and choruses. Livesay’s solo here immediately reminded me a bit of Eric Johnson’s tone from “Ah Via Musicom”, yet still maintained his own originality in regard to the actual playing. “Love & Chains” and “You Won’t See Me Fall” close out the second album’s highlights with technical, melodic hooks and originality. The album’s trip down nostalgia lane, closes with three songs from “Awaken the Giant”, once again featuring the album’s namesake as the first track and followed with “The Burning Times” and “Aphasia”

Interestingly, LIVESAY’s most recent album, “Frozen Hell” has zero representation present here. Perhaps a result of having just preceded this compilation, or perhaps more telling of the fallout with the previous record label.  The aforementioned “International Man” brings the album to a frenetic end. New vocalist Gill, fits in well with the band, and brings a bit more higher range, a little more growl and swagger. There are hints that a new album from LIVESAY will follow on the heels of this compilation, and if this new track is an indication, it should be one to eagerly anticipate.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Live & Let Rock
2. Fallen Nights
3. Red Room
4. Evil Eyes
5. No Way Out
6. Under the Table
7. Darkest Hour
8. Love N' Chains
9. You Won't See Me Fall
10. Awaken the Giant
11. The Burning Times
12. Aphasia
13. International Man
Lineup:
Gregg Livesay - Guitars
Tony Stahl - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Rich Andrews - Bass, Backing Vocals
Keith Michaels - Drums
Mike Gill - Vocals
Record Label: RFL Records
     


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Edited 22 November 2019
 

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