Virgil and the Accelerators - Army of Three
This is the London’s Blues-rock trio’s second studio offering following their debut in 2011 of The Radium, a full on hard/blues-rock masterpiece. Who would have known when the Mchahon brothers arrived from South Africa at the ages of approx 10 years old that they would be producing music of this high standard and taking the Blues Rock world by storm? They have been becoming a tighter unit by non-stop touring on their own headline tours as well as supporting the likes of Michael Schenker, Uriah Heep & the late great Johnny Winter to name but a few.
The Mchahon brothers Virgil (guitar), Gabriel (drums) as well as Jack Alexander Timmis (bass), have recruited legendary rock producer Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest-Painkiller, Girl-Sheer Greed, Bruce Dickenson-Tattooed Millionaire) for this record, to give it a kick up the backside.
First track Take me Higher starts with a southern rock raw vocal by Virgil then his guitar kicks in with a great riff and gallops on at a great tempo. The ears get a bashing, lovely! Next track Blow to the Head is an in your face heavy Blues-rock masterpiece with a Black Stone Cherry vibe. It contains a sing along chorus ideal for their live shows then ends at a fantastic headbanging tempo. Heavy rockers will love this.
All Night Long is another upbeat rocker. The middle quiet section even contains a little early Hawkwind synth in the background. The Accelerators goes Space-rock? Love Aggression is the first of three radio friendly tracks (Through the Night & Anymore the others) which changes the pace of the record. Excellently sang. They sound like tracks from the eighties Hair-rock era. Do they fit in?
Give It Up kick starts into a great groove. During the track a harmonica solo comes in giving the track an old blues feeling while It Burns & Stand Up are another two groovy tracks with sing along chorus and giving us headbanging heaven again. The final track Free is a Tom Petty/Lynyrd Skynyrd inspired song. Starting in a slow tempo and buiding up to a great restrained guitar solo at the end. It’s also sang with a lot of soul. Fantastic listen.
This record is a step up in some departments from the rawness of The Radium. The production is top notch. Extra finesse has been added to the tracks, small quiet sections with a little acoustic guitar, harmonica etc, which adds body & soul to the tracks. It has definitely been made to be crowd friendly for when the tracks are played live. Singing along and headbanging at times. Sore necks & hoarse voices the day after will be compulsory. The question mark after the main heading are due to the melodic tracks. They are good and I understand why they are there, for airplay & to expand their audience but too many for my liking. A second record can be a challenge for a band after a first great record, as many bands have found out. But this record still has awesome guitar riffs/leads and vocals by Virgil supported by a tight rhythm section.
This is a good record and a development in a lot of the ways from The Radium. For the best? Time will tell. Would I recommend it for a purchase, definitely. Could it have been better? Well you will have to decide.
Words: Brian Baldie Mclean