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Caffery, Chris: The Jester's Court

It's always a nice surprise to get introduced to a new album, whether it be a familiar act or one brand new to you, and find the songs immediately memorable from that first listen, and become close friends with each successive spin. Such has been the case so far with the latest solo album from Trans-Siberian Orchestra/Savatage guitarist/vocalist Chris Caffery, The Jester's Court. Chris has been fairly busy since the release of his last album Your Heaven is Real in 2015, including yearly cross country jaunts with TSO, the new Frontiers Records project Spirits of Fire, as well as various live gigs with acts such as Doro and Metal Church, but he's been deep at work on this latest collection of new songs over the past year, and the hard work has certainly paid off.

With Caffery performing lead & backing vocals, guitars, bass, and some keyboards, he's also enlisted a few special guests, including drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Jorn, Voodoo Circle) and Jane Mangini (TSO, Dee Snider, Joe Lynn Turner) on keyboards and piano, bassist Tony Dickinson (TSO), guitarists Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, TSO, Night Ranger), Angus Clark (TSO, Kitaro), and multi-instrumentalist Lonnie Park on keyboards and Background vocals. "Upon the Knee" kicks things off in snarling metal fashion, the guitar riffs tumultuous and huge, Caffery's vocals menacing and confident, while "1989" is a fun arena styled rocker whose lyrics touch on a special time for the artist as well as I'm sure many people who enjoyed the magical 1980s. "Lost Tonight" is an emotional and moody number with layers of vocals, synths, and some terrific riffs that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an old Boston record. Think classic Savatage meets Queen for an idea of how intricate the vocal arrangement is here on this one, and on top of it all there's a killer dueling guitar solo that will send chills up and down your spine. Nearly 9-minutes of musical bliss, and a highlight of The Jester's Court.

"Magic Man" reminds of Michael Schenker's classic early MSG material, the riffs spot on, the drumming chock full of groove, and the chorus irresistible. Out comes the acoustic guitars for the breezy "Protect My Soul", an easy recommend for the 'non-metal' crowd with some great hooks, and it's back to crunchy hard rock on "Inside My Heart", complete with some terrific riffs and venomous vocals from Caffery. For all the progressive metal shredders out there, check out the blazing instrumental "Luna Major", stacked with weaving guitar & synth battles plus some acrobatic drumming from the alway amazing Tichy. "Watch" is dark & brooding, but there's an air of accessibility to it, in an almost Alice Cooper sort of way, Caffery's playful Jester delivering the lyric in delightfully chilling fashion amid some punchy riffs and creepy keyboard textures. Another moody track, "The Feeling of a White Line", bridges progressive metal and doom, the vocals coming from the gut with plenty of attitude, the keys ethereal, and the guitar riffs slow and crushing, while the brief, quirky "Checkmate" offers up one of the most surprising tracks ever from the guitarist, a wild vocal fugue with guitar accompaniment that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an old Gentle Giant record, and given the 'British' flavor given the piece, it's spot on. It's back to rampaging heavy metal for the brutal title track, a must hear for any fan of classic Savatage and featuring some of Caffery's relentless riffing, blistering leads, and 'savage' vocals, giving way to the tender closer "Baby You and I", adorned with lush keyboards, acoustic guitars, and majestic lead & backing vocals.

Now with a healthy back catalog of solo releases, Chris Caffery continues to keep growing as a musician, vocalist, and songwriter, The Jester's Court allowing him to go off into some new territories musically and it's easily one of his most well rounded, mature, and enjoyable albums yet. Don't miss this one folks.

Track Listing

  1. UPON THE KNEE 4:48
  2. 1989 5:26
  3. LOST TONIGHT 8:48
  4. MAGIC MAN 4:12
  7. LUNA MAJOR 3:51
  8. WATCH 4:19
  10. CHECKMATE 2:23
  12. BABY YOU AND I 4:14

Added: July 6th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 3501
Language: english

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