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Chris Caffery – Pins and Needles

Label: Locomotive Records
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Savatage/Trans Siberian Orchestra guitarist Chris Caffery has another go at the solo thing with his second release "Pins and Needles". If you are familiar with Caffery's work with Savatage (he appeared on "Gutter Ballet", "Dead Winter Dead", “Wake of Magellan”, and “Poets and Madmen”), you can hear that hard edged power metal in his solo music. But with his solo work Chris' choice in riffing and arrangement don’t copy that of the Tage nor the holiday music of Trans Siberian Orchestra.


Some of the music is probably what you would expect as the title track is pretty straight forward heavy metal with Chris having his fun in the guitar leads. '66' sees some influence from his one time project with Savatage cohort Jon Oliva, that being Dr. Butcher, in some of the spoken vocals and in a twist of fate 'Reach Out and Torment Again' being a sort of reprise from the Butcher track of a similar title.

Aside from handling the guitars, Chris also played some bass, percussion and saxophone joined by three drummers, some cello, violin and piano contributions to help add texture and a bit of variety to the music. Example, 'Walls' includes a touch of what sounds like a keyboard possibly piano bringing in some what a jazz maybe an urban layer. The dark keyboard laced rocker 'Its S.A.D.' addresses the loss of original Savatage guitarist Criss Oliva and follows up to this point a rather consistent musical flow. 'Mettle Eastern' (as with the instrumental 'In the Midst') incorporates some Middle Eastern instrumentation appropriate to its title, follows a strong melody line and reminds me of a Trans Siberian Orchestra arrangement given the added sounds. 'Mettle Eastern' is pretty good I like what Chris has achieved here and its very consistent in sound, heavy yet expansive in range. 'Quaaludio' I wish was longer, its simple and short in composition with just some acoustic guitars and Chris singing with a tragic yet strong voice. 'When it is finished you are looking for more.

"Pins and Needles" is more to the point and cohesive and less indulgent than his first release "Faces". I’m curious to see what Chris would bring to the table if Savatage were to ever make another record.

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