Chris Caffery, "Faces"

"Faces" is a budget priced, two-disc collection of songs by long-time Savatage (and Trans Siberian Orchestra) axemeister Chris Caffery. The primary disc contains 16 tracks and is a bit over 76 minutes long, but apparently that wasn't enough time for Caffery to satiate his muse, as he's tossed on the nine-song bonus disc, "God Damned War", that spans another 42 minutes. To top that off, Chris also released two EPs with some bonus tracks not heard on the two main discs. Dude hasn't been sitting on his hands waiting for Savatage to get back in the studio.

Caffery is a talented guitarist, who can shred, lay down groovy, metallic rhythms and pick an acoustic with equal aplomb. Chris' vocal style is mainly influenced by Jon Oliva, but I also detect hints of Alice Cooper, Devin Townsend and Jon Bon Jovi. He's got Oliva's trademark gargling-with-razorblades, phlegmy rasp, but he also displays Cooper's theatric flair, Townsend's gonzo screaming and Bon Jovi's gritty vibratto. Caffrey will occasionally struggle with high notes, but it's usually brief, and hence, not too painful to listen to. From samples on his site, I was left unimpressed with his abilities behind the mike, but now that I've heard the actual discs, I'm changing my tune and am impressed. Chris is an exceptionally versatile singer, and for a guitarist, he sure knows how to use his voice effectively. Perhaps this comes from him looking at vocals as an instrument, something that most full time singers could stand to do. Great job on that end.

The songs cover a wide variety of topics and styles, although hard rock/metal is the staple. As expected, Savatage influences crop up often (and why wouldn't they?), but there are also plenty of modern guitar riffs to mix things up and keep the album/s flowing. Savatage fans will find much to enjoy here, but so will fans of the aforementioned Devin Townsend (solo releases, not Strapping Young Lad) and hard rock in general. Not every track is a winner, but there's so much material to chose from that surely numerous songs should appeal to any metalhead who's a fan of Chris' previous work (and plenty who haven't heard it). Since so much material is presented, this release requires an investment of time to sink in, but it's time well spent. Well worth buying.

Standout Tracks

   Pisses Me Off
   Abandoned
   God Damned War
   Edge of Darkness

D.Berger