Graham Bonnet Band – Day Out In Nowhere
Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release Date: 13.05.22
Running Time: 47:14
Review by Dark Juan
Well, it’s been a funny few weeks. Remember when I told you all that I was quitting wrangling recalcitrant young gentlemen in favour of being in charge of people wrangling recalcitrant young ladies?
Turns out I fucking hated it. So I quit. And then went crawling cravenly back to my old manager and asked for my old job back. Surprisingly, considering Dark Juan (even in his professional capacities) is not known for mincing his words and had uttered a home truth or two on his way out of the door, my old manager was very receptive to my coming back to work for her, which means on May 27th I return to wrangling the same young gentlemen I wrangled before. That should be interesting, especially considering I have only got my old job back on the understand I fucking apply myself to the academic aspect of the job this time and become a senior wrangler like what I said I would when I blagged my way into the job for the second time. So, I’m actually going to have to do some work instead of drag the lads off to Alton Towers and to Manchester Storm ice hockey games in Sheffield, where Dark Juan would gleefully embarrass the fuck out of the plastic gangster teen with him by being incredibly noisy and chanting and generally being a total arsehole because I really REALLY like ice hockey.
None of which has absolutely anything to do with the fact that I am listening to the new release from one of the greatest rock and metal vocal gymnasts who has ever lived, the incomparable Mr. Graham Bonnet, wearer of metal’s sharpest suits, most impenetrable sunglasses and proud owner of metal’s most incongruent coiffure, being as his barnet has always looked like it belonged on an accountant from Bognor Regis, rather than a howling rock colossus who has bestrode world stages with Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz and Impellitteri as well as his own band – the band that contains the fragrant and divine Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass. Dark Juan had a bit of a telling off from Mrs. Dark Juan about his adoration of Beth-Ami Heavenstone when I reviewed Graham’s last release, so I will merely content myself with stating she is a superb bass player.
And that’s all I’m saying this time because I don’t want I don’t want my balls sawn off with a blunt tin lid. Which was one of the more minor threats to my person. Corkscrews, bits of four-by-two in an anal interface and tearing my arms off and beating me to death with the wet ends were mentioned in passing.
“Day Out In Nowhere” opens with the quite stupendous “Imposter”, a song about Graham (why the fuck has this man not been made a Knight of the Realm for his services to music? He even had to overcome coming from Skegness, for fuck’s sake!) understanding that age is slowly catching up with him and how it affects him and his life and performance, which has a pathos that’s almost touching, however, his vocal channels the anger against ageing (believe me, as I approach my fifties, I feel the man deeply) and what could have been a bit moany turns into a massive battle cry for us greying hordes to pull our fucking socks up. The chorus is sublime – “Who are you, pretender? Now I can see, the man that’s reflected, that man is me…” sums up everything us gentlemen and I daresay a few ladies and other genders feel every time we drag ourselves out of our beds of pain and stare blankly at the tired and no longer flawless faces gawping back at us in the bathroom mirror.
How the hell this man manages to consistently write such monolithic choruses is beyond me. “Uncle John” is a stand out here, with its story of a possible paedophile, with a short intro reminiscent of a musical box before some absolutely incendiary riffing from Conrado Pesinato kicks you in your lazy-ass pants and shocks you into attention. Graham’s voice soars effortlessly over it all – the man just can do no wrong. He is another one of my pantheon of musical gods – Graham Bonnet and Andrew Eldritch being top tier gods, anyway. “Uncle John” is one of the more aggressive songs and one of the most metal – The Graham Bonnet Band have always angled to the more melodic side of heavy metal, but this is a spitting firebrand of a track. “David’s Mom” is a song about a lady the young Graham had a bit of a thing for, with yet another massive chorus in a paean to young mothers taunting gauche and tumescent teenage lads, touching an almost sleaze metal vibe before going to a middle eight with what can only be described as the most trad metal solo I have ever heard in modern music. This isn’t a criticism, it reminds me of good times, as does the keyboard solo by Alessandro Bertoni.
I’m lost. I can’t criticise this record. The man can do no wrong. Dammit, Graham Bonnet. Why do you have to be so amazing? I adore the man’s voice and have done so ever since I heard “Since You Been Gone” for the first time when I was 10 years old. I gently tease him about his haircut but he has always dared to be different, and as he gets older his voice, although rougher around the edges, still grabs me by the throat and shakes until I’m a gibbering mess. 40 fucking years he’s done that to me, the Skeggy git. The musicianship is top fucking notch, the production absolutely perfect for the music (who’s responsible for it? Conrado Pesinato and the superb bass player Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Hopefully I’m off the hook, now…) with every instrument easily discernible and Graham’s voice exactly where it needs to be, forward in the mix but not overpowering the music. The musicians sound hungry and like they are enjoying themselves and the record is notable for some fucking big names guesting on it – Mike and John Tempesta of Powerman 5000 and White Zombie respectively, Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Arch Enemy and Roy Z of Bruce Dickinson’s solo band and Halford to name them…
Also, DON FUCKING AIREY is playing on this album. Keyboard legend, mate…
“Jester” is another heavier song referencing climate change and ecological damage and the soloing of Jeff Loomis on this song is so tasty Dark Juan is salivating. No, not over Beth-Ami. Stop that, you’ll get me in trouble. I’m already on thin ice…
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards the Graham Bonnet Band 9/10 for yet another stonking album. I have deducted one mark for “Suzy”, but that is because I FUCKING HATE BALLADS! I don’t care whether it’s Graham Bonnet or anyone doing a ballad. You do a ballad, The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is deducting a mark, end of. That’s the law. I don’t care how overarchingly splendid and epic it is, what with the full orchestra and all. Ballads suck. Ballads are the musical equivalent of a butcher doing a vegan fucking chorizo sausage. Or American Football versus proper football. They should be forbidden and the perpetrators shot, with only Graham Bonnet, the Wilson sisters of Heart, and Andrew Eldritch excepted. But that’s only because I like those musicians that much. Then again, however, if the superb bass player Beth-Ami wrote “Suzy” then it is the best tune ever and she should be applauded…
Oh, boy, this time I’m fucked!
02. Twelve Steps To Heaven
03. Brave New World (ft. Roy Z)
04. Uncle John
05. Day Out In Nowhere
06. The Sky Is Alive
07. David’s Mom
08. When We’re Asleep (ft. Mike Tempesta, John Tempesta)
09. It’s Just A Frickin’ Song (ft. Don Airey)
10. Jester (ft. Jeff Loomis)
11. Suzy (Orchestra)
The man, the legend, the improbable haircut – Mr. Graham Bonnet – Vocals
The fleet fingered king of the fretboard, Conrado Pesinato – Guitars
The superb bass player, Beth-Ami Heavenstone – Bass
Don Airey – Keyboards
Alessandro Bertoni – Keyboards
Levi Dokus – Drums
Shane Gaalaas – Drums
Jeff Loomis – Guitars
Takanori Ozaki – Acoustic Guitar
John Tempesta – Drums
Mike Tempesta – Guitars
Roy Z – Guitars
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