Dubbed by the British press as “the king of slide guitar”, Troy Redfern shows no sign of abdicating his throne on his upcoming release The Fire Cosmic. Harnessing the all-pervasive spiritual energy and irresistible power of the universe, this is a conflagrant listen of galactic proportions.
If you prefer the prudent territory of half measures and uninspiring neutrality of sitting on the fence, then prepare to be knocked off your perch. Recorded at the famous Rockfield Studios in North Wales, the gargantuan wall of noise manifests the (kind of) magic previously laid down here by rock ‘n’ roll aristocracy – most notably Queen and Black Sabbath.
It’s a massive sounding record and one that is heavily flanked by the powerhouse credentials of sticksman Derby Todd (The Darkness, Gary Moore, Paul Gilbert), who according to Redfern “set the tone for everything else.” Virtuoso bass guitarist Dave Marks (Hans Zimmer), and a guest appearance from subliminal six-stringer Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (yes, the one who kept teasing Guns ‘N’ Roses fans with Chinese Democracy) further stir the exceptional musicianship melting pot into something special.
Opener “Scorpio” spits venom and quickly announces the birth of a genuinely inspired long player of unremitting bluesy rock n’ roll attitude. Prepare to be entranced by the searing pre-chorus which blasts into snarly defiance as the band leader smokes “It’s sure time to burn, now the tables have turned.”
In his recent interview with Blues Rock Review, Redfern described the first single “Waiting For Your Love” as “Johnny Hooker Boogie with that rock production glossing over it” and he couldn’t be more on the money if he fell into a casino slot machine. It steam-rollers over holy ground and tramples through the swampy morass to create three and a half minutes of valorous grit and humble grind. The perfect showcase for the warm and buttery tone of Redfern’s 1929 National Triolian steel guitar, it’s little wonder this track continues to gather rave reviews across the board.
“Love And War” brings a temporary retreat on the battlefield in this terrific mid-tempo number that lights up the funk with a pulsing shuffle, not to mention another epic chorus and unconventional guitar solo that master in emotion.
Despite the high-octane approach, there are still some beautifully crafted moments of calm away from the heavy armor. Redfern shows his sensitive side in the second single “Ghosts” which has a distinct Americana blend throughout a rousing journey of unrequited love.
“Saving Grace” gnaws even closer to the bone with its stripped back approach and heartfelt slide work, while closing track “Stone” memorably builds to an anthemic crescendo after some haunting backing vocals and a glorious web of interwoven electric and acoustic guitars. This album standout ends with some atmospheric piano from Marks (the same one used on Bohemian Rhapsody) to offer a welcome escape from reality.
Popularised by the American bluesman of the early 20th century, it is Redfern’s ability to inject a contemporary arrangement into one of the oldest guitar styles out there that marks him out as a rising star and unique talent.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Waiting For Your Love
The Big Hit