French guitarist vocalist Charley Verlaine has apparently been around the traps, in his home country, the US and Germany, as far as I can make out, for most of this century in a variety of guises and setups; it is only now that his debut album, Komorebi, released earlier this month, is coming to wider attention. That’s good news for Charley, obviously, but if you like cranked up, riffy rock-metal hybrids then it’s a bit of a bonus for you, too.

What I Say is a monster of a riff conveyance, combining the best bits of Jimmy Page and Tom Morello into a neatly digestible gobbet of headbanging indulgence, but that’s only one facet of Verlaine’s varied version of unrestricted guitar warfare. Elsewhere he’s got trad eighties metal down to a tee in the Dioesque directness of opening track Skull & Bones, backed by some tasty drumming from Altitudes & Attitude/ Michael Angelo Batio tub thumper Joe Babiak who contributes heavy bombast throughout. His loose, funky additions to the heavy seventies mayhem of Down really sets the blood pumping, but ti won’t escape the attention that picking out highlights from the two major players on the album is pretty tough work. Both are at the top of their games throughout.

Former DragonForce/current Kreator man Frédéric Leclercq contributes a guest solo to the heavy rock n’roll of Wild Child, but ultimately this is Verlaine’s show and he underlines on just a bout each and every track what a versatile, effective guitarist and vocalist he is. There are no frills here, no bells, no whistles, but there is an absolute glut of superb riffage and gritty vocalisation for you to enjoy, let me tell you… Get stuck in – you won’t regret it!

Komorebi is out now.