REVIEW – NEW RELEASES

Another mixed bag of new rock and metal sees upcoming Londoners Gentlemen Of Distorted Sound (pictured) deliver their debut mini album and the disturbingly named Cult Of Whores And Dogs unleash their new EP.

There’s some major league metal in the shape of heavy hitters Vendetta and another slice of pop punk all the way from the USA as Just Surrender bid to break through in the British market.

Vendetta – Heretic Nation

Okay, let’s get this out the way for the purists – don’t look for anything wildly original or mind shatteringly genius when you listen to Vendetta.

This said, I can now say that I enjoy this album.  When Heretic Nation makes contact with your ears, you can immediately sense who has been an influence on this band.  The likes of Gamma Ray, Helloween and Judas Priest are all strongly apparent.  But who’s going to say that’s a bad thing?

Vendetta haven’t recycled or regurgitated old sounds from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or other power metal acts.  They may sound similar, but listening to Heretic Nation, I would prefer to say that Vendetta have re-incarnated rather than regurgitated.

Age Of Annihilation has the galloping charisma of early Maiden but features some beautiful guitar and bass work that slows the song into a lovely interlude, before again unleashing into its furious energy.

Finishing the album, Powers That Be is the perfect epic closer.  Standing out at almost seven minutes long, there are plenty of positives to take from the song, plenty enough to leave you with a craving for more of the same.  The vocals have their usual feisty Kai Hansen-esque bite from Edward Box, but some rare vocal harmonies during the song were a true treat.

The album as a production has a wholesome feel to it.  It may not vary in sound, but Vendetta have created a convincing piece with their serious musical talent.  It may fail to try anything too revolutionary, but the overall outcome of the sound is a solid one that will still have many metallers drooling, purely from the fluent consistency and powerful conviction of Heretic Nation. CR

rushonrock rated: 7/10

Gentlemen Of Distorted Sound – Bone Idle EP

If you like your rock dirty, sleazy and delivered with attitude then these rather raucous Gentlemen could provide the soundtrack to your late summer.

Pitched somewhere between The Cult, The Almighty and Zodiac Mindwarp there’s a a strong British rock influence underpinning frantic riffs and beefed-up bass lines. Five tracks of pure driven fury kick off with the brooding Electric but if you’re looking for the tune to judge this band on then try the brilliant Beautiful Face For Evil.

Gareth Nugent’s growling vocals are a refreshing change to the slew of chiseled, clean and over-produced warbles which tend to dominate the British metal scene right now. And here’s the thing – GODS’s frontman sounds like he should be fronting a far heavier band despite clearly favouring a classic rock groove.

There’s something reassuringly unstable about this mini album and it hints at much more to come. On the evidence of their studio work GODS should be a blast when experienced live. It’s an experience we’re already looking forward to. SR

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Sound’s Good

Just Surrender – Phoenix

New York popsters Just Surrender return with their third studio album – the first that has received mainstream attention. With two self-released records under their belt the poppy American fivesome bring us Phoenix and it initially shows a lot of promise.

Opener, and new single, Through The Night has a great crunching opening riff with all the sounds of a classic rock band with Jason Maffucci’s punching vocals going up against the distortion of the guitar. An excellent opening track but, sadly, from there on in all originality is lost and Just Surrender do as their name suggests – falling back into the paint-by-numbers style of pop punk writing.

All the elements are there: big choruses, ill-advised synth sections, whiny vocals and bland song topics. A perfect example is Crazy which drags incessantly and lulls the listener to sleep.

The Maffucci we knew at the beginning of the record disappears and we’re left with a whiny reminder of him.  Burning Up and Take Me Home are again falling into the category of generic pop nonsense which could have easily been written by the Jonas Brothers.

What had all the promise to begin with sadly descended into pop nothingness.  There is nothing to Just Surrender to suggest that they are anything different from what is already out there.  Do download Through The Night and listen to what this band can do, just don’t listen to the rest of Phoenix. TW

rushonrock rated: 4/10 Just Don’t Bother

Cult Of Whores And Dogs – Brass Knuckle Bondage And Morgue Rules

When we first heard COWAD a few months back it was an uncomfortable experience. Fast forward to August and we’d love to say this frightening fourpiece has mellowed. But they haven’t.

In fact, quite the opposite. The nastiness, the angst, the dark thoughts and dangerous places are all there again. But the sense of something seriously twisted has increased tenfold.

Just where songwriter Keith Baird gets his inspiration is anyone’s guess. But you wouldn’t want to go there. Take the first lines of each of the three tracks featured here: Another addict, a junkie slave (from She Wears Corrosion); I’m here to cut you dead, watch you break (from Brass Knuckle Bondage And Morgue Rules); Now you’ll see my holy wrath (from Fuck In The Church Of Wolves). COWAD do not, it seems, trade in happiness and optimism.

Indeed slapping a Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics sticker on the front doesn’t really do this CD justice. Quite apart from the frankly disturbing lyrics the mix of punk, metal and industrial is the soundtrack to pure misery. And yet there’s something incredibly addictive and worryingly appealing about everything COWAD do.

They’re an extreme band for extreme times with Jessica Hardy’s vocals making sense of Baird’s ugly underworld. this is one cult you should really shy away from but there’s every likelihood they’ll suck you in. After that, who knows? SR

rushonrock rated: 6/10 Doggy Style

* This week’s review team: Simon Rushworth, Calum Robson and Tom Walsh.

I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.

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