And one of the true legends of classic rock returns to the fray as Ritchie Blackmore unveils his latest Blackmore’s Night (pictured) opus.
There’s new music from Jorn and fret-burning ferocity from Frontiers label mate Magnus Karlsson.
Plus we cast an eye over the alt-rock of Dinosaur Pile-Up.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we reveal the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Alt Rock/Post Grunge
Those desperate to tout Dinosaur Pile-Up as post-grunge’s next big thing on the back of punchy debut Growing Pains might well be wiping the egg from their faces once the full picture of Nature Nuture’s pop-inspired diversity becomes clear.
Perhaps the shock departure of rhythm section Mike Sheils and Johnny Seymour allowed main man Matt Bigland the freedom to experiment. Maybe this was where Dinosaur Pile-Up were headed anyway. But whatever the reason, Nature Nurture is less rock and more pop.
Tunes like Summer Gurl (sic) and White T-Shirt And Jeans are more uplifting than introspective and lead single Arizona Waiting is a modern power pop classic.
Disheartened by Dinosaur Pile-Up’s occasionally dreary debut? Nature Nurture will destroy those apprehensions. Doubtful that Bigland has what it takes to challenge fellow Brit alt-rock wannabes Twin Atlantic, Japanese Voyeurs et al? Don’t be. Wondering whether Dinosaur Pile-Up could be your new favourite band? They’re worth a gamble. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Dinosoaring
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Prog Rock/Folk Rock
Get over the fact that classic rock has all but lost one of its favourite sons to a strange brew of folk, country, medieval music and acoustica and this is yet another masterclass in musicianship from the unique talent that is Ritchie Blackmore.
In partnership with Candice Night there’s no doubt that the former Deep Purple and Rainbow star has drifted further and further away from his late 70s pomp but different can be good.
Opening up with a cover of Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today is a typically bold move by Blackmore’s Night – a band that’s long since ploughed its own creative furrow and cares little for the views of cynical fans or grizzled critics.
The fact that it works – and sits snugly alongside the Eastern European folk of Troika and Blackmore’s emotive tribute to Jon Lord (Carry On…Jon) – is proof that this band is something special. It’s just not a band that’s something like classic rock. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Night Songs
Genre: Hard Rock
Fair play to Jorn Lande – the imposing vocalist continues to deliver new material with impressive regularity: Traveller represents more of the same polished hard rock from the man responsible for 2012’s generic Bring Heavy Rock To The Land.
Incredibly this is Lande’s SEVENTH release in four years – including two Greatest Hits packages, one live record, one Dio tribute disc and three albums of original studio material. But is he as creatively productive as he is crazily prolific?
Traveller suggests not. It’s no giant leap forward from BHRTTL and does nothing to suggest a new metal army will be flocking to follow the big man anytime soon. Die-hard fans will be pleased – even if they’ll have to dig into their pockets yet again – but potential new converts are unlikely to be impressed.
At one point Jorn sings ‘The power of rock n roll/It’s in my soul’ and we believe him. Rock n roll may be imbedded in Lande’s soul but his latest album lacks any soul. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Journey’s End?
Genre: Hard Rock
Collaborating with a who’s who of top notch European singers, Swedish guitar hero Magnus Karlsson goes back to the 80s to unleash and anthemic take on modern rock.
Opener and title track Free Fall uses the David Lee Roth-alike Russell Allen to create a Van Halen-esque mood and set the tone for a glorious romp through 30 years of exquisite fret burning and knob twiddling.
Karlsson is all about technical proficiency and pure escapism. And while his style could grate in isolation the decision to mix his trademark licks with a variety of frontmen keeps things fresh and reaps rewards.
Karlsson takes the vocal duties himself on a handful of hand-picked tunes and does more than a decent job. But wielding his axe like a modern-day Michael Schenker is where the multi-talented muso it at his best. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Fall In Line