The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world Project-X-D-Generation-CD-Dec-2011




By Shane Pinnegar


Matt Williams (Black Steel, Humungous D) and Rockin’ Rick Lovett (Rockstar) have been mainstays of the Western Australian metal and hard rock scene for many years, but it’s been a full fifteen years since they recorded Project X’s debut album “The Mirror” and this time around they’ve assembled a cast of notables from previous bands and friends on the scene, and the result is one of the best traditional metal albums of 2011.


The near-early-thrash of opener ‘Whipping Boy’ sees the band laying down a statement of intent from the get-go. Fiesty and fiery, this harkens back to the glory days of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Helloween and the like, with a great vocal from Williams and solo from Perth legend Jamie Page (Trilogy).


‘Last Man Standing’ is a pounding metal number featuring another great Page solo, and then KAPOW – the Judas Priest stylings and modern warfare lyrics of speedy number ‘Firefight’ leave listeners gagging for breath. The stars of this song are drummer Lovett, rock solid as always, and his work here reminds me of some of Cozy Powell’s work (someone else, incidentally, who Jamie Page worked with before his sad passing), and former Allegience bass virtuoso Dave Harrison.


Ballad ‘Alive’ sees the first appearance of Sandra Calvezzi, and if anyone out there is still naïve enough to think that the fairer sex can’t rock as hard as the boys, this is a masterclass in proving them wrong. Calvezzi is a supremely talented guitarist, contributing a wonderful lead line and solo to the song, and also duetting on the track to great effect with Williams. Close your eyes and you’ll imagine this was Iron Maiden doing a duet with any of the European symphonic metal bands vocalists!


Every Australian rock fan will be familiar with The Angels (That’s Angel City to you Americans) classic ‘Take A Long Line’, and Project X have kept the tempo and feel of the original in their superb rearrangement as a classic metal headbanger, once again with Jamie Page providing the solo.


‘Hollow’ and the title track are notable for classy lead guitar from Williams and Leon Todd (Ragdoll) respectively, and Calvezzi returns for another blast on ‘Writing On The Wall’, contributing another classically influenced solo over Williams plaintiff, slow-burning vocals and Tom Thorpe’s subtle keyboard flourishes.


‘My Enemy’ is another Lovett and Williams showcase – a stormtrooping headbanger, all black leather and studded wristbands, and featuring a gloriously shredding solo from Leon Todd.


‘On With The Show’ and ‘Heart Of Stone’ feature some great songwriting from Williams & Lovett, and some reflective and bitter lyrics respectively. Graeme Smailes and Thorpe feature on guitars on the former, and Todd again on the latter.


With penultimate song ‘DemiGod’, Page contributes another solo worthy of the exalted lyrical topic, and there’s some tasty double bass drum work from Lovett. Album closer ‘I Am’ is perhaps the most Euro-Metal sounding track on the album, Williams taking the role of ultimate evil as Todd lays down some heavy riffs and interspersing screaming solos throughout the action.


As thoroughly enjoyable as all these solos are, let’s not forget the foundation-like bass playing of Gareth Hughes and some exciting rhythm work from Ryan Rafferty (Ragdoll), Williams, Page, Calvezzi and Todd – this is a classic metal that could have fallen out of 1983, but still remains sonically modern and exciting. It reminds this reviewer of a more innocent time – a time where grunge and autotune and Idol and X-Factor hadn’t yet happened, and perhaps the most precious thing about this album is that if we turn it up and block our minds to what’s outside, we can pretend that they never did.


Classic Metal – available now on iTunes, and here