New albums from Crazy Lixx (pictured), Trixter and Tyketto take centre stage.
Plus we deliver our verdict on post-Hendrix bluesman Miki Free and review and rate Municipal Waste‘s latest offering. And there’s the long-awaited return of Dragonforce!
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK and round up the BEST OF THE REST. So before you blow you cash on the week’s big releases check out the only new music reviews section worth reading.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Tyketto – Dig In Deep (Frontiers)
Genre: Melodic Rock
Welcome to one of the melodic rock events of the year: for the first time in 18 years Tyketto have released a new studio album featuring founder members Danny Vaughn, Jimi Kennedy, Michael Clayton and Brooke St. James. And the verdict? Simply magnificent.
Upbeat opener Faithless gives way to the funky Love To Love and Vaughn is swiftly into his stride. One of the finest vocalists of his generation, the former Waysted man should have become a household name many years ago and Dig In Deep is another compelling example of just why.
The Mr Big-esque acoustica of Battle Lines is just brilliant and easily one of the best tunes Tyketto have ever penned. But this is a record that successfully rolls back the years without ever relying on overplayed past glories.
Tyketto weren’t the only band to fall foul of the glum-faced phenomenon that was grunge but the classy soft rockers were surely one of the most talented casualties of the early 90s shift in tastes.
Dig In Deep offers Vaughn and company the opportunity to ride the melodic rock revivalist wave and it seems nothing has been left to chance. Take out the toe-curling Evaporate and this is faultless stuff from five musicians sensing glory second time around.
This Is How We Say Goodbye is the best ballad you’ll hear in 2012 and it’s worth skipping straight to Dig In Deep‘s emotive album closer for proof that Tyketto have totally nailed their tremendous comeback. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Tyketto-yeah
BEST OF THE REST
Dragonforce – The Power Within (Electric Generation Recordings)
Genre: Power Metal
So Dragonforce return without the might ZP Theart at the helm and we’re delighted to say it’s business as usual for the power metal maniacs.
Who knows if The Power Within refers to the resolve that drives this distinctly unfashionable band forward? But after fresh doubts were raised about the band’s longevity post-Theart it’s an apt enough album title four years since their last long player landed.
Seven minute-plus epic Wings Of Liberty sets the standard with familiar layered vocals, signature time changes, dual guitar soloing and a distinctive sting in the tail.
New boy Marc Hudson’s performance demands scrutiny but confidence doesn’t appear to be a problem where Theart’s under-pressure successor is concerned. The Power Within is just as ridiculous as every other Dragonforce record (check out the AOR-styling underpinning the intro to Last Man Stands!) – and all the better for it. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Power To The People
Genre: Blues Rock
Micki Free might have friends in high places and enjoy comparisons to the great Jimi Hendrix but Tattoo Burn fails, in spectacular fashion, to leave a lasting impression.
Loved and respected by fellow-musos the world over, the bandana-wearing guitar hero would appear to have it all – the looks, the hooks and the adulation of his hard-to-please peers.
Yet Tattoo Burn lacks the crucial ingredient vital to every classic blues record: raw emotion. Too often this patchy collection of generic songs fails to connect and, as a result, fails to shine.
An impressive enough Voodoo Chile Blues (remix) confirms Free’s not inconsiderable talent but the title track falls flat and Mojo Black Coffee would make most blues men cringe. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Micki Taking
Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (Frontiers)
Genre: Hard Rock
Crazy Lixx believe in big choruses, big ambition and big statements of hair metal intent. Riot Avenue represents the band’s latest stop-off en route to Sunset Strip infamy and the sleazy Swedes are still firmly on course to reach their dream destination.
Part mid-80s Paul Stanley, part early 90s Leppard and featuring pinches of Ratt, Poison and the Crue their recipe for raucous rock is a charming throwback to slashed denim, dyed hair and dubious stage names.
Flamboyant singer and founder Danny Rexon has the pipes and the panache to pull off the pure cheese of Fire It Up and pump up the testosterone fuelled faux-teen snarl of the title track.
But by adding another guitar to the mix, Crazy Lixx come across harder and faster than ever before and, as a result, comfortably maintain their fascinating evolution from bright and sleazy wannabes to serious hard rock contenders. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Lixx It Up
Trixter – New Audio Machine (Frontiers)
Genre: Hard Rock
Mention Trixter and the early 90s MTV smashes Line Of Fire, Give It To Me Good and One In A Million immediately spring to mind. Back in the day these boys were pure hair metal gold.
So how does New Audio Machine shape up? Ignore the frankly lame album title and this neat little package of made for rock radio gems dazzles just like Trixter’s finest compositions always did.
There’s nothing like a knack for writing catchy pop metal and Pete Loran’s ability to fuse classic AOR with a cheeky slice of sleaze works a treat 20 years after Hear! Marked the beginning of the end for the New Jersey natives.
Get On In sees Loran seamlessly add two extra syllables to the word ‘survive’ (sur-vai-eee-ive) as if to cement his hair metal credentials and if Dirty Love is no Thunder it’s a funky enough slice of happy faced hard rock.
Nobody could have seen New Audio Machine coming but at times this is as good as Extreme at their chart-busting best. ‘Drowning in a sea of good times’. Really. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Bag Of Trix
Genre: Thrash Metal
Riotous Richmond, Virginia mob Municipal Waste might have named their band after a load of trash but this lot are far from rubbish. Mixing Among The Living-era Anthrax with a dollop of Death Angel, there’s much to enjoy as you tuck into The Fatal Feast.
Repossession is short and far from sweet but the ‘Waste don’t do sugar-coated pop rock. Crushing Chest Wound is, as you might expect, a brutal sheet of sharp thrash metal designed to cut through convention and cause the greatest pain possible. It succeeds.
You’re Cut Off is classic old school west coast metal with attitude and should separate the men from the boys when aired live later this year. A future pit classic, it’s frankly punishing.
A huge leap forward from 2009’s Massive Aggressive, The Fatal Feast will get stuck in the throats of everyone but the true thrash metal aficionado. And that’s all the praise Tony Foresta and his crew require. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Totally Wasted