If you love your rock and metal as much as we do then this could be a very happy Easter indeed.

Trade in those spare eggs for new music from Halestorm, Accept, Job For A Cowboy, Exumer, OSI and Words Of Farewell – we review and rate them all to make your choice just a little easier.

And every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONOROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK before naming the BEST OF THE REST.

So don’t forget to check in each week as our team of specialists cast their critical eyes over the essential new releases – so you don’t have to. 





Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…. (Roadrunner)

Genre: Hard Rock

Hot on the heels of the stunning new release from label mates and tour buddies Shinedown comes the album most likely to overshadow the magnificent Amaryllis in 2012.

In a relatively short space of time Halestorm have evolved from potential big hitters into genuine major players on the hard rock scene. Learning the lessons gleaned from pointed criticism of their US Top 40 self-titled debut and seemingly more relaxed in their approach to making music, The Strange Case Of… is an absolute triumph.

Mixing growling arena anthems with classy ballads there’s barely a slackening in the pace or a dip in the quality as charismatic singer Lzzy Hale unleashes her full complement of skills – and the woman boasts more than most.

Equally at home belting out the booming party metal underpinning Rock Show as she is stepping back to deliver the heartfelt (and late 80s Heart-esque) Break In it’s impossible to fault a vocalist who often sounds even better than she looks – if that’s even possible?

Give The Strange Case Of… a couple of whirls and it’s reminiscent of the first time you chanced upon Nickelback’s Silver Side Up. It’s powerful, emotive and made for rock radio – that Halestorm have reached this point an album earlier than Chad and his buddies suggests these fast-learners will be fast-tracked to arena stages very soon. Simon Rushworth

RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 All Hale Lzzy




Job For A Cowboy – Demonacracy (Metal Blade)

Genre: Death Metal

Derided in their early years for being a ‘MySpace band’, US deathsters Job For A Cowboy delivered an overhyped but underwhelming debut with 2007’s Genesis.

But in 2012 JFAC are a different proposition – and not just because of numerous line-up changes.

Demonacracy is a glistening, state-of-the-art death metal juggernaut that takes the band’s undoubted technical prowess to new heights.

There’s a depth and originality to these nine tracks which forces you to return again and again, just to savour a moment you might have missed first time round, and Jason Suecof’s production gives every instrument the chance to shine.

Children Of Deceit and Nourishment Through Bloodshed are particularly good examples of JFAC’s evolution, blending the quintet’s trademark contorted riffs and astonishing time changes with dazzling lead work courtesy of new boy, Tony Sannicandro.

Job For A Cowboy were always capable of greatness, but with Demonacracy they’ve delivered it. Richard Holmes



Exumer – Fire & Damnation (Metal Blade)

Genre: Thrash Metal

Exumer were born in thrash metal’s mid-80s halcyon days and reactivated in time for its late noughties revival… a little too late to capture fans already enthralled by the genre’s new breed.

Fire & Damnation, their first album in 24 years, sees the cult German five piece deliver a heads-down, quick fire assault that owes a hefty debt to Tom Araya and co.

It’s fun, it’s fast and on Waking The Fire,  A New Morality and the title track especially, thoroughly enjoyable, with vocalist Mem V. Stein’s snarly, crossover style providing extra bite.

Played live in front of denim and high-top clad hordes, Exumer’s new opus will doubtless get the blood pumping.

Played next to the likes of Evile and Municipal Waste though, and Fire & Damnation falls short, lacking the imagination and vision that could elevate it to something special. A shame. RH

RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Luke-warm comeback


Accept – Stalingrad (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Heavy Metal

Two tracks in and it’s abundantly clear that a reinvigorated Accept have picked up where they left off with 2010’s brilliant RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Blood Of The Nations. This is more vintage heavy metal dragged up from the vaults and given a truly modern sheen.

Opener Hung Drawn And Quartered is a cracking mix of Bayley-era Maiden, early 80s Saxon and classic Motorhead – and who could ask for more? It takes seconds for the viciously addictive chorus to lay siege to your senses and future resistance is futile.

Next up and the title track probably owes more to the explosion in popularity of battle Metal than the NWOBHM movement but, once again, it’s the chorus that’s a killer as Accept meets Turisas to tantalising effect.

Mark Tornillo’s dedication to his craft is obvious as he nails just about every note necessary to be accepted as a full-on metal frontman. Ably assisted by the twin guitar assault of Wolf Hoffman and Herman Frank, the ‘new boy’ proves his work on Blood… was no freak flash in the pan. Arguably the best Accept record ever. SR

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Accept No Imitation


OSI – Fire Make Thunder (Metal Blade)

Genre: Progressive Rock

It’s impossible to imagine a more powerful statement of intent than epic opener Cold Call: OSI announce their long-awaited return in scintillating style and it’s little wonder the latest Matheos/Moore collaboration has caused such a buzz in progressive rock circles.

Inevitably the ‘wow’ factor lessens as the follow-up to 2009’s Blood slowly takes shape – the seven minutes-plus opening salvo has the effect of overshadowing Guards and Indian Curse to such an extent that both tracks drift across the subconscious without ever really registering.

Not until Enemy Prayer kicks in can it be said that OSI get back on track but, once they do, this record proves its worth as a progressive rock album worthy of glowing praise.

Finishing as they start out, with a sprawling, mind bending beast of a song in the shape of the monumental Invisible Men, Matheos and Moore make good on their promise to enhance the OSI legacy. This is a special band worth waiting for. SR



Words Of Farewell – Immersion (AFM)

Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Five years in and Words Of Farewell are finally ready to unleash their eagerly anticipated debut on the progressive death metal masses – so does it live up the hype?

Recorded during the second half of 2010 an intriguing album mixes traditional, often melodic metal, with growling vocals that give many of the better songs here a much-needed edge.

Ever After benefits from a well-placed synth-led breakdown and an 80s-style guitar hook – proving WOF can comfortably mix influences within a genre that allows for diversity and experimentation.

But that brave track represents the band’s obvious strengths and their possible weakness. Death Metal devotees may well find Immersion‘s lighter moments too much to stomach while the progressive rock brigade could easily find Alex Otto’s aggressive vocal style a little overbearing. SR

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Immersive