Chantel McGregor – Bury’d Alive
Tis Rock Music Limited
11 songs – 68 minutes
Chantel McGregor is an English guitarist/singer/songwriter, hailing from Yorkshire, and Bury’d Alive is a live album featuring songs from her first two albums together with one new track, “April”. The album was recorded at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, hence the neat pun in the album title. (History buffs may be interested to learn that the now-ruined Abbey in Bury St Edmunds is where a group of Barons met in 1214 and swore an oath to compel King John to accept the Charter of Liberties, a proclamation of Henry I. This act led directly to the signing of the Magna Carta in June 1215 – “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”).
Backed by Colin Sutton on bass and Thom Gardner on drums, McGregor is a fine singer and equally excellent guitarist, with a smooth, fluid style. When she lets rip on tracks like “Walk On Land” or “Freefalling”, she can be quite mesmerizing. She also wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album bar Jonathan Brooke’s “Inconsolable”. Bury’d Alive was produced, mixed and mastered by Wayne Proctor of House of Tone at Superfly Studios, and he has done an excellent job in capturing the power and excitement of a live performance whilst maintaining clarity and detail in the recording.
McGregor is billed as a blues-rock guitarist in her press kit and on her website, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. Bury’d Alive is a full-bore heavy rock album, with few hints of anything to do with blues music. It is muscular and powerful in the best traditions of heavy rock trios.
The album opens with the power-chord rock of “Take The Power”, with McGregor’s clean vocals to the fore. It’s a catchy hard rock number with a classic chorus. It is rapidly followed by the upbeat single note riff of “Killing Time”, where the descending note progression in the mid-section recalls Led Zeppelin (to whom the introduction to “Eternal Dream” also nods). McGregor brings the pace down with slower “Like No Other” with its arpeggio’ed verses and power chorded choruses. The 12 minute “Inconsolable” starts with gentle acoustic guitar and a lovely short bass solo from Sutton while McGregor switches to an electric guitar for the extended solo that is perhaps the musical highlight of the album. “Your Fever” has a riff that AC/DC would be proud of, while the psychedelic instrumental “April” lets McGregor experiment with some different effects.
McGregor is clearly a serious talent and Bury’d Alive does a great job of capturing her in a live setting. If your tastes range to guitar-driven heavy rock, you will find a lot to enjoy on this album. If you’re looking for blues, however, you should probably look elsewhere.