This week sees the old stagers take on the young bucks as rushonrock brings you the latest and greatest releases in our regular Sunday reviews slot.
Brit behemoths UFO are back with the record which marks their 40th anniversary and veteran German axe hero Axel Rudi Pell reminds us of his considerable talents with a Best Of retrospective.
But rock is still spawning new children of the devil and Watford-based metal heroes None The Less are causing quite a stir with their edgy mini album. Throw in the debut by Brighton noiseniks The Telegraphs and it’s tough to know where to spend your money tomorrow morning.
UFO – The Visitor (SPV/Steamhammer)
Even without the sidelined Pete Way this is a typically powerful slice of traditional British rock from a band who know what their fans want and regularly deliver. Few modern-day acts can still fire out three minutes of anthemic magic quite like Phil Mogg and his mates but Rock Ready – track number five on The Visitor – is about as good as it gets when you throw together four blokes and a few battered old instruments.
Had this been released last year then it would have been up there with Leppard, Whitesnake, AC/DC et al as one of the most vital albums of a vintage year for rock. But perhaps the decision to bide their time will serve UFO well as The Visitor is the outstanding record of its genre in 2009.
Improving as it progresses, the lasdt two tracks are the pick of a pretty special bunch. Download Villains & Thieves and Stranger In Town and after that you’ll buy the rest. Guaranteed.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Worth A Visit
Axel Rudi Pell – Best Of: Anniversary Edition (SPV/Steamhammer)
It’s 10 years since Mr Pell brought together his latest band and this collection represents the pick of their work. Intricate, impressive and indicative of this man’s supreme fretboard talents, it’s a must for all fans of modern metal guitar playing.
But for the rest of you be warned. This is rock for the purist and, perhaps, the german audiences who hold Pell closest to their hearts. It’s no surprise he’s opening for Heaven & Hell on the German leg of the Dio-era Black Sabbath tour but equally little wonder he won’t make their bill elsewhere.
Tracks like Rock The Nation and Strong As A Rock are standard fist-waving fare and fun to boot. But maybe not worth more than a fiver of anyone’s hard-earned cash.
rushonrock rated: 5/10 Axel Can Grind
Telegraphs – We Were Ghosts (Small Town Records)
Apparently Telegraphs broke into a derelict mental asylum for one photshoot to promote their catchy hooks. Or maybe it was a metal asylum. It’s not hard to see why the Brighton crew are beloved of Kerrang! and Rock Sound among others – rushonrock spies report their May dates went down a storm.
We Were Ghosts is a great start to what could be a promising career but exactly what sets Telegraphs apart from the rest? Blinding tunes like album opener The Argument and the spooky So Cold are a start and for a first crack at making a record this is pretty cocksure stuff.
Let’s hope the only way isn’t down after this but getting better will be a challenge.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 We Were Impressed
None The Less – The Way To Save Ourselves (Irony Records)
The title of this mini album and the name of NTL’s own record label suggest this is a band keen to make a statement to somebody, somewhere. But the best way to say ‘I told you so’ is through the tunes and these boys should have been confident enough to let their music do the talking.
This is modern British metal at its very best. Well, almost modern. After two years honing their sound there are elements of NTL’s trademark chord changes and crunching choruses that still belong in 2007 but that’s no bad thing.
The Way To Save Ourselves may be a mini album but it displays maximum effort. A Download slot beckons and once this lot start belting out the likes of Define and Four Fours they’ll be forcing fans and fellow bands alike to sit up and take notice. Do the same and get on board now.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Save Yourselves