It’s a new year and we’ve given our album reviews section a new look and a new focus.

Each Sunday we’ll be bringing you the rushonrock Record Of The Week.

And we’ll be making it easier than ever for you to find the music you love and read the comments that matter. 

 

 

 

 

RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK

SteelwingZone Of Alienation (Noise Art Records)

Genre: Heavy Metal

Sweden continues to deliver the very best in rock and metal and as the Scandinavian nation continues it its quest for world domination it’s time to welcome the new standard bearers for back-to-the-80s brilliance.

Steelwing mix Ratt with Maiden to blow away the opposition and their upcoming UK tour with label mates Skull Fist is already the must-see metal event of the year.

Bravado-fueled tracks like Breathless sit neatly alongside old school fist-punchers Full Speed Ahead! and The Running Man to create a glorious throwback to an age when duel guitars were a given and lyrics simply had to rhyme without reason.

There are fret burning solos to die for, choruses carved from slabs of angular cliches and even the epic closer Lunacy Rising. If there’s not even a hint of irony in the title of that final tune then there really should be: this is lunacy in its most fan-friendly form. Simon Rushworth

RUSHONROCK RATED: 10 – Balls Of Steel

 

BEST OF THE REST

Wolfsbane – Wolfsbane Save The World (Self Released)

Genre: Heavy Metal

If the world really did need saving then we’d have to be in a pretty desperate state to call on Blaze Bayley and his buddies to get us out of a hole.

But back in the real world this surprisingly vibrant record does, at the very least, save Wolfsbane’s reputation after a patchy start to what we’ll term the ‘revival years’. Opener Blue Sky sets the tone with Bayley’s often cumbersome vocal style perfectly complemented by tunes written with the ex-Maiden man in mind.

Widely acclaimed as one of the best live acts of 2011 this record proves there’s still a lot more left in the Wolfsbane locker than supercharged shows. Bayley’s unique tone will always divide fans but WSTW is the best album of this hitherto average band’s stop start career. SR

RUSHONROCK RATED: 6 – ‘Bane Relief

 

Hate Gallery – Viva La Resistance (North & South Records)

Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock

Hate Gallery’s 2008 debut Compassion Fatigue caused quite a stir with it’s Wildhearts-on-speed take on punky metal and this punchy follow-up ensures a natural progression.

Janne Jarvis’s homage to Rage Against The Machine on the opening song and title track might jar but once this band settles into its stride there’s much to admire in this fast-paced and raucous record.

Occasionally veering towards the industrial edge of classic Nine Inch Nails there’s a neat mix of social commentary and anti-social scuzz underpinning a brutal assault on the senses. The Warning is the pick but the proggy, spaced-out Satellite flies in the face of musical fashion to conjure up a Velvet Revolver meets Floyd acid trip well worth exploring. SR

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7 – Love Hate

 

Virgin Steele – Age Of Consent Reissue (Steamhammer/SPV)

Genre: Power Metal

That Age Of Consent still sounds so relevant 23 years after its original release suggests one of two things: either power metal has not progressed since 1988 or this is a stone cold classic worthy of a positive reappraisal.

We prefer to believe it’s the latter. Failing to break beyond the underground back in the day, a newly remastered and expanded Age Of Consent now benefits from both hindsight and a fresh technological edge – the result is a terrific example of the type of music that made the 80s a glorious age for melodic metal.

Virgin Steele mould NWOBHM styling with the sheen of Y&T and Queensryche to create a compelling and captivating sound and there’s no doubt frontman David DeFeis has a voice made for metal. The Burning Of Rome (Cry For Pompeii) sets the scene before the Saxon-esque Let It Roar moves things up a notch. But epics are what VS do best and Perfect Mansions (Mountains Of The Sun) is sensational. SR

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8 – Age Of Glory