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I have a hugely wide taste in music of the rock & metal variety and one of the genres I love is blues & blues rock. Mark, our lovely boss at Metal Discovery (you can send me the money later mate) tries to dish out the albums to the people he thinks will appreciate them best and he's sent me some cracking blues rock over the last couple of years. When I saw the latest (second) album, 'Army Of Three', from Virgil & The Accelerators in my review pile this month, my interest was piqued. Even though I missed their debut, I've heard a lot about them and it's been all positive. They've only been around since 2009, but have already won several awards and featured in many album of the year lists so I was expecting great things.

I've listened to 'Army Of Three' a good few times now and I can only assume I was expecting a bit too much, because it's not grabbing me like I thought it might. It's still a very good album and it's played well, I'm just not sure that Virgil & The Accelerators are worthy of all the plaudits. It seems more a case of certain publications and industry insiders have latched onto them without truly listening to all the talent that's actually out there. Put them next to The Brew, Paul Rose, Henrik Freischlader or Marcus Bonfanti, and it doesn't quite stack up for me.

Lead guitarist and vocalist Virgil McMahon can certainly play the six string but there is something missing in his voice that you need for blues rock and I think that's where my main issue lies. His brother, Gabriel McMahon, is more than adequate on the drums and Alexander Timmis teams up very well on the bass. What cannot be faulted is the production and that's because Virgil and his cohorts have used the legend that is Chris Tsangarides. It's great to see him back after a very nasty health scare earlier in the year.

There are, ironically, three songs on 'Army Of Three' that I really do like. 'Give It Up' has a real early Roachford feel to it, with Virgil even sounding a little like Andrew Roachford on that track, plus there is some fabulous harmonica playing, 'It Burns' has that extra power and passion that seems lacking from other tracks and 'Stand Up' which sounds like AC/DC and Kiss having a brawl in a dark alley. As usual, I feel rotten for saying all of this but I'm a reviewer and, as the saying goes, “It's not what you want to say, it's what you have to say”! 'Army Of Three' is a good album and Virgil & The Accelerators a good band, but neither are outstanding. Both might have fared better had the gushing praise of others not provided me with unreal expectations and false hope.
Mystic Records
Review by Rick Tilley
6th October 2014
1) Take Me Higher
2) Blow to the Head
3) All Night Long
4) Love Aggression
5) Give It Up
6) Through the Night
7) It Burns
8) Stand Up
9) Anymore
10) Free
"Lead guitarist and vocalist Virgil McMahon can certainly play the six string but there is something missing in his voice that you need for blues rock..."