At The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., July 27, 2018

ZAL CLEMINSON'S SIN'DOGS (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., July 27, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Ten years of retirement have done nothing to blunt the sonic attack of former Sensational Alex Harvey Band guitarist Zal Cleminson as he returned with a bang with his new band the Sin’Dogs.

Last year’s tentative steps of a couple of shows including one right here at The Cluny along with an incendiary EP was enough to reignite his passion and a full-blown return to music was now running full speed ahead with the release of their debut album Vol.1 a couple of months ago.

Cleminson has never lived by the rules. Anyone expecting a set crammed full of SAHB tunes may have left a tad disappointed. Indeed, opening song Pray To The Darkness is so new that it is not even on the new album yet. A brave and ultimately very clever opening gambit proving that Vol.1 was no flash in the pan.

Most people mellow a little as they age and Cleminson may have plied his trade for a while with Elkie Brookes but the Sin’Dogs is one heavy duty beast full of muscular riffs, searing guitar work and towering, dark melodies with the riff on Guns of God the sort that guitarists the world over dream of conjuring up. Hungry Heart too features a riff that goes toe to toe with Alice In Chains at their best. No sign of retirement rust anywhere on Cleminson.

Devil’s Dream, another “new” new song for the second album, saw the Sin’Dogs heading into more Floydian atmospheric territory giving Cleminson the chance to show some deft, intricate touches and showing why he really is one of this country’s great guitarists.

Of course, having spent a lifetime in SAHB, how could Cleminson overlook their rich catalogue and he duly obliged with Sin’Dog rearrangements of Isobel Goudie and the evergreen Faith Healer that was bone crunchingly heavy and brought to life with Cleminson’s unique, charismatic delivery.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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