Chris Caffery “Faces” Black Lotus Records 2005 reviewed by: Ken Pierce
CD1: “Faces”: 1. Alas 2. Faces 3. Fade Into The X 4. Pisses Me Off 5. Remember 6. The Fall 7. Music Man 8. Life Crazy Life!!! 9. The Mold 10. Bag O’ Bones 11. Evil Is As Evil Does 12. Never 13. So Far Today 14. Jealousy 15. Preludio 16. Abandoned
CD2: “God Damn War”: 1. God Damn War 2. Fool, Fool 3. Edge Of Darkness 4. Saddamize 5. I 6. Amazing Grace 7. Piece Be With You 8. Beat Me You’ll Never Beat Me 9. Curtains
Chris Caffery. The name will ring a chord in the minds of those who enjoy the music of Savatage and The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This past year the guitarist has been hard at work - not only has he had time to record a new Trans-Siberian CD, but he also did a Savatage semi-reunion at this years ProgPowerUSA Festival and also to record and produce his first solo CD. The disk is called “Faces” and all fans of this mans work will be more than pleased with the fruit of his labors. The performers are Chris’ TSO bandmates Jeff Plate (drums) and Dave Z (bass) as well as Paul Morris on keyboards. The vocals are handled by Chris himself and this struck me as one of the most impressive aspects. I had seen Chris sing numerous times during Savatage performances doing backups, yet never imagined he had as powerful and as good a voice as he ended up having. In my opinion he holds up along the likes of Sebastian Bach and singers within this range.
The CD was put together very quickly and I feel this is because of the level of talent Chris surrounded himself with. Jeff Plate sounds as solid as ever on the drumkit and the continued musical relationship between him and Chris via the TSO and the years of Savatage touring, made him a great choice as drummer for this project. Dave Z on the bass holds it all together and is a very good player. This will be the first time I have heard of Paul Morris, and he also sounds great on the piece.
Some of the more interesting songs on the “Faces” CD would clearly have to start with “Pisses Me Off” where a scathing commentary on the things that is pushing someone over the edge are lined out. On “The Mold” I first thought Jon Oliva had recorded the vocals, for it had some vintage ‘Tage to it. Nice and heavy also. “Music Man” his first single from this CD, could find a home on classic rock radio since it has that general feel to it. It is indeed one of my favorites as well as “Life Crazy Life” (which I found myself singing after the 2nd listen). “Abandoned” features many of the complex vocal harmonies one would find on the later Savatage CD’s.
“God Damn War” is the 2nd CD included in the package as a bonus disc. It is a very well-thought out piece of music that merits a complete listen rather than one track here and another there. It is heavy throughout and the lyrical content is quite good. My fave tracks on this piece are “Fool Fool” and “Piece Be With You”. Chris also does a great rendition of “Amazing Grace” with a simple piano accompaniment. It is powerful to say the least.
As I am always a fan of a nice packaging on a CD. I cannot speak enough at the amount of detail Chris has made sure went into this debut CD. Fully loaded is the best description. Lyrics, pictures and liner notes. Really a great design with but one flaw. The words for “God Damn War” will require you to either eat some carrots or use a magnifying glass. They are very small. It is also admirable at the amount of tracks that Chris chose to include on this release. A full 25 songs and given there are so many vairied feels throughout the scope of the piece you are sure to find a favorite on there somewhere just as I was able to do.
This is a highly recommended CD and while it will not be available in the States until January, Chris has copies available via his website, so click the link and grab one while you can and be the first on your block to own it. You will not be sorry. According to my research, Chris will also be making available signed copies of this CD so that will interest collectors as well. I discovered that there is also an EP Edition of his single “Music Man”. The single will include two non-CD Christmas tunes. Fans of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra should definitely look into those. I look forward to the chance to see this material performed live. That will most likely happen after the Trans Siberian tour has completed. Watch the website for news on that.
Chris Caffery Website: www.chriscaffery.com
Rating: 8.5/10 --Ken Pierce 11.04.04
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