And there’s something for everyone as big names and newbies alike unleash their latest licks and riotous riffs.
British metal heavyweights and Download-bound Bullet For My Valentine are back with Temper Temper.
And homegrown blues rock heroes The Union return with a third album in as many years.
There’s metal from Enforcer, hard rock from Hell Or Highwater and classic rock from Mothership (pictured).
Plus we finally deliver our verdict on the long-awaited debut album from 2013 buzz band Heaven’s Basement.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
And we review and rate the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Classic Rock
If 2010’s self-titled debut was a tentative step into the unknown and 2011’s hasty follow-up Siren’s Song the sign of a band picking up the pace, then The World Is Yours proves The Union have finally hit their stride.
More accessible than either of the band’s previous two long players and yet, paradoxically, a much more comprehensive body of work, it brings the pantheon of blues rock full circle.
Perhaps reflecting the veteran status of Thunder’s Luke Morley and the relative youth of frontman Pete Shoulder, this is an album that fuses the genre’s proud heritage with a refreshingly modern spin on traditional blues.
And it’s Shoulder who is primarily responsible for driving The Union forward with such passionate zeal. Relaxed, revitalised and ready to blow the opposition out of the water, his wonderful performance here is the work of a musician in wildly confident mood.
Tonight I’m Alive tramples all over Tom Petty but it’s the signature tune The Union have been searching for and their best since Watch The River Flow. The Perfect Crime is perfectly positioned and This Is A London Song offers Morley the space to shine. The Union men have delivered. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 The World Is Theirs
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Heavy Metal
This will be a big year for the Bullet boys one way or another. Either their generic brand of US-tinged trad metal will be judged to have run its course and Download’s main stage set could be very embarrassing indeed…
…or the super slick Temper Temper will propel Matt Tuck and his mates into metal’s stratosphere on the back of a slew of typically infectious tunes designed to whip festival crowds into a frenzy.
BFMV have always traded in metal for the masses and those critics berating the band for Temper Temper‘s lack of originality are surely missing the point.
Of its type this is possibly the most perfect blast of melodic noise on the planet: opener Breaking Point punches a hole in most comparable metal anthems and the Chris Jericho (Fozzy) collaboration Dead To The World truly delivers.
BFMV were born to polarise opinion and Temper Temper won’t change that. But ignore the name and this is a brilliant modern metal record. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Vicious Temper
Genre: Hard Rock
When Roadstar won Classic Rock Magazine’s Best Newcomer in 2006 it seemed the birthplace of Zeppelin, Purple, Whitesnake and Leppard had found a new homegrown champion capable of crafting music for the guitar-loving connoisseur.
Within a year the band was no more but by 2008 the majority of its members re-emerged as Heaven’s Basement and fresh hope was born. In fact, it was hope forlorn.
In 2013 there are few remnants of Roadstar’s classic rock sound and Filthy Empire is, by contrast, a ferociously driven album for fans of Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour and their metal ilk. It’s a record tailor made for the American hard rock market and leaves very little to the imagination as a result. I Am Electric is the worst song here and yet it’s hugely significant that it’s also Heaven’s Basement’s brand new single.
Frontman Aaron Buchanan is, of course, a brilliant exponent of his art but his screams, growls and frequent ‘fuck yous’ won’t find favour with the classic rock fraternity. It’s a shame as he can comfortably hold a more mellow tune given the opportunity – evoking the emotive tones of Little Angels’ Toby Jepson when his band mates finally turn down the volume. This is quality rock. It’s just not classic rock. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 For Heaven’s Sake
Genre: Classic Rock/Stoner Rock
There’s some serious Sabbath going on as Mothership blast off with the heavy riffing that is album opener Hallucination and this self-titled romp through 60s and 70s rock is sumptuously retro.
Conjuring images of smokey halls, long beards and dusty amplifier stacks struggling to cope with the assault of overblown reverb, this is a record that rarely deviates from a tried and tested formula of replicating the heavy rock greats.
Mothership introduce elements of Zeppelin (check the band name), the beefier chunks of Southern Rock and, at their most tuneful, a hint of Schenker-fuelled UFO. But it’s all underpinned by a desire to couch any semblance of melody in a haze of fuzz and scuzz.
Angel Of Death is darkly epic and the eight minute-plus Lunar Masters is a spaced out speciality only Mothership would dare to serve up. As a trip down memory lane this is a raucous jaunt. Just don’t expect an unexpected turn anytime soon. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Ship Of Fools?
Genre: Heavy Metal
Shameless Swedes Enforcer wear their metal badges loud and proud – draining the well of 80s riffology to create a pool of shimmering classics.
Drowning in nostalgia and never giving a damn, theirs is a mission to craft the glorious soundtrack of a golden era with everyone from Metallica to Maiden and Accept to Ratt given a run for their money.
Mesmerised By Fire might as well have been written in 1986 and performed by W.A.S.P. or any number of West Coast pop metal merchants.
Sacrificed shoehorns a Metallica intro. onto a the NWOBHM classic that never was and Run For Your Life runs the gauntlet of ridicule where any Maiden fan is concerned.
But Enforcer have a natural talent for penning the catchiest metal on the planet and if some of this has been done before then it’s rarely been done better. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Fired Up
Genre: Hard Rock
Brandon Saller may be better known for his work with US metalcore heroes Atreyu but while that band remains on hiatus it’s the turn of side project Hell Or Highwater to steal the limelight.
The US hard rockers – who opened up for The Darkness on their recent US run – sit somewhere between Shinedown and Black Stone Cherry and Begin Again swiftly evolves into a belting album.
Tragedy is balls-to-the-wall beefed up power balladry par excellence and on Find The Time To Breath HOH add an alt-rock flavour to their fist-pumping familiarity.
Whether Begin Again becomes anything more than an underground curiosity on this side of the Pond remains to be seen but this Californian crew scream quality and understated cool.
Theirs is a sound that deserves to be heard. Here and elsewhere. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Hell Yeah!