And leading the charge yet again – with a new EP – is metal queen Doro Pesch. Label mates Korpiklaani return with a brand new album and we check out Nachtmystium‘s latest.
Reissues from Crystal Viper and High On Fire feature and there’s a career-spnaning Best Of from Circle II Circle. Plus we deliver our verdict on the new EP from Subsource.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Folk Metal
It only seems like last year that we were hailing Korpiklaani’s Ukon Wacka as one of our albums of the week – and that’s because it was!
Just 18 months on from the folk metal heroes’ RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 footstomper of a record the Finnish Wilderness Clan have gone one better on the brilliant Manala.
There’s a certain knack to mixing the old with the new and Korpiklaani have got it cracked. Uni will resonate with party-loving college kids everywhere (maybe) and Ruumlinmultaa sounds every bit as as daft as it looks!
If Boris Johnson was in a band this would be the act he’d front – mad as a box of frogs and poised for a popularity surge. We hope. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Oh Manala
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Heavy Metal
As one collection of Doro material celebrates the metal goddess’s glorious past (Under My Skin) another shorter blast of Pesch proves the future’s never been brighter.
This quick burst of the former Warlock warbler is a true call to arms with the anthemic title track (the German version follows) juxtaposed alongside the similarly rousing Victory.
The German vocal on emotive ballad Engel allows Doro to fully extend her fantastic range – roll on the new album and another era of metal heaven from the genre’s avenging angel. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Raise Your Expectations
Genre: Stoner/Sludge Metal
It’s 12 years since Oakland’s High On Fire suggested they might be on the cusp of something very special with the release of doom-laden debut The Art Of Self Defense.
Given the reissue treatment it sounds better than ever with three pummelling demos added to the original mix.
Four further studio albums followed and with each new record HOF hit new heights – until 2012’s frankly disappointing De Vermis Mysteriis halted that run.
TAOSD’s re-emergence should serve as a wake-up call for a band unused to life in the creative abyss – inspiring a retro-fuelled return to their best. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Fired Up
Genre: Power Metal
Katowice’s finest, Crystal Viper, cut their teeth at the Ramp Club in Chorzow in 2004 – three years later this hugely entertaining album proved that far bigger venues beckoned.
Night Prowler mixes Warlock with Iron Maiden as dynamic frontwoman Marta Gabriel gives it her best shot as the Polish flag bearer for trad metal.
Crystal Viper may have morphed into a more power metal-orientated act in recent years but this is a record that benefits from brilliant, blatant, raw aggression.
Gabriel is no angel but this wouldn’t work if she was. Crystal Viper play the devil’s music and deserve credit from the metal community. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Vipe For The Picking
Genre: Power Metal
When Poland’s answer to Dragonforce followed up cracking debut The Curse Of Crystal Viper with the manic Metal Nation it was clear mainland Europe had spawned yet another special metal act.
At times this rollercoaster ride of a record sounds like Geddy Lee fronting Iron Maiden and that can’t be a bad thing – in anybody’s book.
Bringer Of The Light is a spellbinding case in point with pin-sharp solos set alongside a zealous and focused vocal courtesy of Marta Gabriel.
With back-to-back RUSHONROCK RATED 9/10 albums in the bag (Legends and Crimen Expecta) there’s no better time for Crystal Viper to revisit the past – with bells on! SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Metal Heaven
Genre: Heavy Metal
Opening up with All That Remains (originally released on a showcase EP and ultimately a standout tune on 2005’s The Middle Of Nowhere) this comprehensive compilation is an essential lesson in American metal by numbers.
Neither as aggressive as Machine Head nor as melodic as Queensryche, Circle II Circle will, nevertheless, appeal to fans of both bands and more.
The sound of Savatage is never far away with Jon Oliva’s songwriting adding depth and credibility to the best of the band’s early work.
But 2010’s confident concept album Consequence Of Power reinforced the view that founder member Zachary Stevens (ex-Savatage) can emerge from the shadows of a celebrated past and plot a glorious future. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Circle Of Life
Genre: Dance Rock
Lauded by the great and good of crossver rock and metal (The Prodigy, Skindred etc.) there’s a whole lot of hype surrounding bass-heavy ear bashers Subsource.
But is that hype justified? Molotov and Anarchy imply disaffection, danger, destruction and darkness. Listen to both tunes and the overriding sense is that this is a band deserving of nothing more than derision.
There’s very little edgy or angsty about Subsource and even to the untrained ear theirs is a manufactured and soulless sound. Even those deeply submerged in dubstep, punk metal and drum ‘n’ bass will be sorely disappointed. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Substandard
Genre: Black Metal
There are bands that purport to be evil. There are bands that even sound evil. But few bands actually embody evil like Nachtmystium do.
The sound of nuclear nightmares, natural disasters, eternal night and nauseating death comes naturally to Blake Judd’s merciless wrecking crew. It’s not nice. Not at all.
Silencing Machine does have the effect of leaving the listener open mouthed and mute: the sense of disbelief that a band could be so bad (in an evil way) is palpable.
This if truly frightening stuff and not for the feint-hearted. In fact it’s not even for those with the constitution of a fire-breathing dragon. You have been warned. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Evil Machine