This week sees the return of Reuben – but only in the shape of a double CD and DVD retrospective celebrating all that was radically different about the Brit rockers who finally called it a day last summer.
And going head to head with the homegrown hard rocking trio this week are German metalcore monsters Caliban and US deathcore deviants Winds Of Plague. Different and decidedly dangerous stuff.
Reuben – We Should Have Gone To University (Xtra Mile Recordings)
When three of the hardest working men in rock decided enough was enough last June opinion was divided. On one hand die-hard fans were devastated that a band which had torn up the Download stage just 12 months earlier had seemingly lost the will to make music. On the other hand critics insisted Reuben’s agit rock had run its course and their time was finally up.
Our opinion of the band has always been shaped by a frankly irritating first impression of main man Jamie Lenman backstage at Hyde Park Calling. The bloke was a pain in the butt and seemingly intent on embarrassing his buddies. Since then Reuben have rarely featured on the rushonrock playlist.
But one bad interview shouldn’t shape a review on a career-defining collection of quality rock. And that’s exactly what WSHGTU is. It’s not so much a Best Of as a best of the rest and over two CDs and a DVD – featuring the aformentioned Download set – it’s clear why this bright and breezy trio were so often tipped for bigger and better things.
Tracks like Lissom Slo and Miffy In Auschwitz (you get the Live at the BBC version here) are both prententious and triumphant. And the promo for hit single Freddy Kreuger has class act written all over it. Putting our preconceptions to one side this is an essential purchase for any supporter of the UK’s underground rock scene.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 In Reud Health
Caliban – Say Hello To Tragedy (Century Media)
Heavy stuff from the German band fronted by the versatile Andreas Dorner and this record’s certainly different. Fusing metalcore, hardcore and staright-ahead thrash there’s a certain energy underpinning Caliban so typical of Teutonic acts plying their trade across rock and metal’s various genres.
Love Song and the thrilling Caliban’s Revenge thunder along at breakneck speed but notes are rarely wasted by axeman Marc Gortz and the guitarist is probably the jewel in Caliban’s crown right now.
Dorner’s switch from a clean vocal style to the screaming and growling prevalent on Say Hello To Tragedy continues to divide opinion. But consistency is the key and this is consistently urgent stuff.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Say Hello To Success?
Winds Of Plague – The Great Stone War (Century Media)
Upland, California isn’t renowned for a diverse Deathcore scene but there’s one band out to change all of that. Winds Of Plague boast riffs of the soaring, melodic type Yngwie Malmsteen would be proud to call his own but their vocalist is hewn from scratchy old Venom vinyl. It’s a metal fan’s match made in heaven and for every grunt there’s a sweet melodic hook just around the corner.
Battle Scars is brilliant stuff with its full-blooded intro and folksy outro but the Faith No More-style start to follow-up track Chest And Horns (how good a title is that?) and subsequent speed metal assault on the senses makes this the pick of a precious album.
Enjoy the magical musicianship and let the uncompromising vocals grow on you. You will learn to love this record.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Winds Of Change