And today we take a look at new music from goth rock survivors The 69 Eyes, black metal anti-heroes Enslaved and Aussie angst merchants The Amity Affliction.
This week sees the return of reformed nu-metallers Papa Roach (pictured) and there’s a new EP from Finnish hair metal hoodlums Reckless Love – ahead of their UK October fest!
And finally we assess the work of Axewound – metal’s latest supergroup.
Every Sunday we reveal the identity of the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we review and rate the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Hair Metal
This frankly bonkers in-between albums filler is yet another example of why Reckless Love really should be your new favourite band.
Renowned for shamelessly aping the best and worst of the late 80s hair metal scene – and yet retaining just enough authenticity to set them apart from genre leaders Steel Panther – the Finns are glam rock’s premier party ticket.
Setting themselves up in the UK throughout October (including a four night ‘residency’ in London) this should be the month when Reckless Love make the move from underground to mass market.
When you hear tunes like Born To Break Your Heart it’s difficult to understand why that transition didn’t happen some time ago. The true tenacity of live favourites Hot and On The Radio is captured here – alongside a questionable cover of The Boys Are Back In Town. But they are. And this time you’d be mad to miss them. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Reckless Is More
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Rock/Rap Metal
Listening to Jacoby Shaddix croon all over Leader Of The Broken Hearts and you feel one of two things: either Papa Roach are desperately clinging to the coat tails of nu metal gods turned electro rock giants Linkin Park or one of the less mature bands in the history of loudness is finally all grown up.
The band that blasted onto the scene with Infest more than a decade ago has, of course, been carefully rebuilding its image for some time. On the plus side Shaddix has emerged as a genuinely endearing frontman with a considerable talent for writing the ultimate modern rock song.
On the down side the Roach have lost almost all of their raw aggression, lyrical bile and edgy disregard for musical trends. Almost. Won’t Let Up – with its ‘living on the past’ lyric is a nod to their nastier past and a punchy tune to boot.
Reinvention isn’t always smooth but Papa Roach have managed it better than most and demand critical attention as a result. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Papa Don’t Preach
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
If the rock and metal dictionary was searching for the ultimate aural definition of progressive black metal then Riitiir’s robust opener Thoughts Like Hammers would be the unanimous pick.
Encapsulating everything central to this much maligned but undervalued genre this thunderous, unpredictable, cerebral and at times shocking tune is the anthem for a generation.
Bit if Enslaved’s thoughts are, indeed, like hammers then what does that say about those peers attempting to keep pace with the Norwegian trend setters? Set against the songs on offer here the best of the rest must have ideas like pin heads.
Riitiir is a revolutionary record that, thanks to its progressive tendencies and use of melodic and growling vocals, shouldn’t remain in the domain of the black metal community. But if it does then at least those addicted to a genre in flux will find fresh hope for the future. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Riitiir’s Sport
In the space of just a few years The Amity Affliction have gone from seriously groundbreaking to desperately dull – Chasing Ghosts a wholly chastening experience for fans expecting a return to the rabid aggression of Youngbloods.
The follow-up to 2010’s RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 game changer is like a limp wristed slap in the face for committed followers of an act so recently in the ascendancy: a lack of lyrical focus and patchy production just two of the problems undermining a rotten record.
The Coldplay meets Million Dead muddle of Open Letter is overflowing with faux maturity and a lazy arrangement of strings just doesn’t sit well with TAA’s trademark fervour.
A year ago UK audiences were finally able to experience Youngbloods in all of its shocking glory. Twelve months on and Chasing Ghosts is scarily average. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Afflicted
Genre: Gothic Rock
Bursting onto the scene as glam metal heroes during the genre’s late 80s peak, The 69 Eyes were quicker than most to identify the onset of grunge as a serious challenge to their lofty career aspirations.
Subtly moving towards a more gothic rock sound – and managing to stay both relevant and commercially viable as a result – they now exist in a place somewhere between Backyard Babies and HIM.
It’s been a good fit for so many years but X is the sound of a band either requiring major renovation work or a complete overhaul.
Tracks like Black are tired, clichéd rehashes of The 69 Eyes’ celebrated past and do nothing to enhance a belting back catalogue.
Still a stunning live act it may be time for the Helsinki band to stick to playing shows and put songwriting on the backburner. More albums like X will only ruin a hitherto solid reputation. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Eyes Off The Ball
Genre: Heavy Metal
The anticipation on the metal scene has been brewing up a storm since Bullet For My Valentine singer Matt Tuck announced his intention to form a new supergroup alongside lead vocalist of Cancer Bats, Liam Cormier. It’s now obvious why.
From the get go Burn Alive delivers the catalyst for the rest of the album: a fast-paced, heavy anthem complete with venomous riffs and complemented by hooks large enough to catch a killer whale.
Title track Vultures is a stomping offering with Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold guest starring by throwing one of his trademark finger burning solos into the mix.
Whether this supergroup will stand the test of time will, of course, be questioned but for now this beast throws two fists in the air and offers a worthy fight: ultimately this is a ball grabber of an album. Louisa Kouzapas
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Axellent!