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Bernie Tormé: Blackheart

Strat-strangling axeman throws down a dirty dozen.

Forever known more for his trademark Stratocaster sound – dirty, fuzzed-up riffing and whammy bar howls and dive-bombs – than for stints alongside Ian Gillan, Ozzy and Dee Snider, Dubliner Tormé is not about to change his style now.

These 12 songs range from the punky Golden Pig through rockers (Better Days, Snake In The Garden) to the folky acoustic Miles To Babylon, a plaintive ballad with bhodran that hints at Tormé’s Irish roots, albeit punctuated by a thunderous electric solo.

All, though, are united by a live (and well-rehearsed) sound that suggests he and his rhythm section haven’t wasted any time on overdubs.

Some of the songs teeter on the razor’s edge between spontaneous and demo-quality, but the best – Flow and Steady Roller Blues – are excellent.

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush. Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.