REVIEWS – NEW MUSIC
This week we welcome the return of Steve Hackett as he delivers his latest take on the Genesis canon.
And we finally check out bold, brash Canadian sleaze rockers Flash Bastard.
There’s a quartet of new albums from the Metal Blade roster including Bison BC, Abiotic, Antropomorphia and Aeon.
And from that little lot we’ll reveal our RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Progressive rock
Guitarist Steve Hackett revives Genesis’ progressive rock ‘Golden Era’, which more or less ended when he departed the band in 1977, with a double CD that features some stellar guest vocalists, including Steve Wilson, Francis Dunnery, John Wetton and Neal Morse. Indeed it’s evident from his performance that Genesis uber-fan Dunnery adored having the opportunity to sing Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.
Songs include the epic fan favourite Supper’s Ready and Entangled and Ripples from the latter period. The arrangements are close to the originals but not slavish copies – unsurprisingly more scope is given to Hackett’s guitar.
The production is crisp and lush and Hackett’s playing is superb, whether it’s the classical guitar stylings of Horizons or the tremendous rock solo that graces The Return Of The Giant Hogweed. Martyn P Jackson
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Hackett can still hack it.
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Sludge metal
The fourth full length from this Canadian quartet is full of tension and angst – not surprising when it’s intended to map out the pathetic and desperate pursuit of love – and in-demand producer Sanford Parker has given the six tracks a suitably raw, gritty edge.
It’s a heavy old beast of an album and not without some fine moments; Last And First Things, for instance, boasts some nice, melodic leadwork before getting down, dirty and nasty.
However, what Lovelessness sorely lacks is the spark that makes the likes of Mastodon and Kylesa so, well, loved by the bearded masses.
There are a lot of bands traipsing around the sludge metal scene at the moment and only a few that are capable of pulling themselves out of the goo and blossoming into something special. On this evidence, Bison B.C. aren’t one of them. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 B / C Minus
Genre: Death metal
The Florida heat has helped germinate some of technical death metal’s finest acts, such as Atheist and Cynic. And while Miami’s Abiotic might sound several generations removed from the sounds of the sunshine state’s late 80s/early 90s scene, their commitment to musical dexterity and fretboard wizadry is the same, as this debut demonstrates.
Guitarists Jonathan Matos and Matt Mendez have their guitars set to stun throughout – the soloing is incendiary – and bassist Alex Vazquez is a star in the making.
Unfortunately Abiotic – like many in this genre – do have a tendency to overcomplicate things rather than stick to a groove (Conquest Of Gliese being a good example) and while the band’s deathcore leanings will make for mosh-friendly live performances, they contribute to a lack of focus on record.
Nevertheless, Symbiosis is an intriguing opus, with some jaw dropping moments – and it hints at great things to come. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Miami Splice
Genre: Death metal
Dutch trio Antropomorphia play the kind of creepy, menacing death metal your mum used to make… or rather used to run away and hide from, while searching the phone book for a an exorcist to deliver you from satan’s grasp.
Formed in 1989 (then know as Dethroned Empire), the band haven’t exactly been prolific and were effectively out of action for a decade until being reactivated in 2009. But they’ve more than made up for lost time with Evangelivm Nekromantia, an album which chills the spine and bangs the head.
It’s simple but effective. Antropomorphia know when to blast and when to employ a mid-paced stomp to reinforce their searing, blood drenched riffery. You just won’t be able to resist windmilling away to The Mourned And The Macabre, with its bone crunching grooves, or feel a sense of dread (in a good way, obviously) when Impure Desecration slithers out of your speakers.
Disturbing, eerie and packed with DM crunch, Evangelivm Nekromantia has been worth the wait. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Evilgelism
Genre: Death metal
It’s definitely a case of saving the best till last with Aeon’s fourth opus. For the album’s closer, Die By My Hands, is a thrilling slice of prime death metal: ambitious, dramatic and brilliantly executed.
The 14 remaining tracks don’t quite live up to that standard, but the ferocity and aggression exhibited on the likes of Still They Pray and The Voice Of The Accuser are impossible to ignore.
The Swedes obviously worship at the blood spattered altar of Deicide – Tommy Dahlström’s vocals are clearly influenced by Glen Benton’s guttural delivery and phrasing – and they have fittingly spattered the album with blast beats and quick fire double bass drums. What’s missing in all the malevolence (Die By My Hands aside) are the kind of hooks Aeon’s Floridian heroes excelled at writing.
Nevertheless, Aeons Black – like the inverted cross branded into Benton’s forehead – demands attention.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Blastphemous
Genre: Sleaze Rock/Pop Punk
At least this lot do what they say on the tin. They’re all about style over substance and the album title is perfect – if there were any more records out there as depressingly stereotypical as this then it wouldn’t be long before rock n roll committed suicide.
Mixing elements of the Rocky Horror show with New York Dolls’ B-sides and faux Ramones ranting, this much lauded Canadian quartet sound like spoilt kids reading from the Idiot’s Guide To Being In A Band.
At least three songs reference the word ‘teenage’, confirming the instant impression that Flash Bastard are locked in some adolescent timewarp that may appeal to 13-year-old girls experimenting with eye-liner and studs for the first time. Anyone else will just laugh at the childish material here.
Rock N Roll Must Be Destroyed must rank as one of the worst albums to hist the streets in 2012. In actual fact rock n roll must work even harder to ensure woeful bands like Flash Bastard are never allowed to represent the genre. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 3/10 Flash Of Mediocrity
I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.