CHRIS CAFFERY – Pins And Needles

CHRIS CAFFERY - Pins And Needles
  • 5.5/10
    CHRIS CAFFERY - Pins And Needles - 5.5/10


Metal Heaven
Release date: March 23, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Chris Caffery, formerly of the brilliant band Savatage and the brilliantly underrated band Doctor Butcher, has written and/or co-written some of the coolest Heavy Metal riffs ever. His debut solo effort, the two-disc monster Faces/God Damn War was also a very good, at times excellent, piece of Metalry, showcasing Caffery’s abilities as a guitarist (fans knew about those already), songwriter (to some extent fans knew about those also), and a vocalist (which nobody knew about beforehand). These abilities also shine through on Pins & Needles, his third effort under his own name – the second was the ridiculously poor W.A.R.P.E.D, which basically was a re-recording of several songs off God Damn War, with a few new tracks to boot. There’s certainly a lot of Chris Caffery on this album; he plays guitar, sings, plays bass, and is also credited for additional percussion, marching drum, and even a saxophone solo on the song “Worms” – which is a nice idea, but not very well-played.

Actually, that sort of sums up this entire album too, there’s lots of great ideas here, but although well-played, Caffery has taken in water far above his head this time. It’s tempting to say that he’s “pulled a Malmsteen” this time, meaning taking far too big a load on his own shoulders, having way too many songs on the album (14, to be precise), and basically not being critical enough of his own work. The opening title track is a very good example of this, while the following “Sixty-Six” is heavier and more focused – and thus far better. Actually, tracks like this one, the King Diamond-ish “Walls,” and the melodic – but almost too Power Metal’ish – “Chained” show how good a songwriter Caffery has the potential to be when he’s not trying to please everyone at the same time.

Of the more ambitious tracks “The Time” is by far the best one, being a very Savatage-esque and epic song despite clocking in at a mere 3:25. It’s probably like swearing in church saying this… but Chris even sounds a bit (just a tiny, tiny bit!) like Jon Oliva on this one. The album closer “The Temple” isn’t that bad either, but the intro and main riff is cheesy, and it’s a shame that the heaviness from the verses does not dominate the track to a bigger extent.

Playing-wise, “Torment” features the album’s best guitar solo, and both Chris and drummer Yael perform well – although not extraordinarily well – throughout. His vocals also work okay, and it’s not the performance that spoils this album. Still, the album may be worth checking out if you loved the man’s previous solo efforts, although it’s far, far from as good as Faces/God Damn War, and not even close to anything Savatage put their name on.

He probably hates that comparison.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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