And this week we also focus on a clutch of 2013 classics that slipped through the net first time around.
There’s new music from Briti noiseniks Death Valley Knights and Polish metal titans Crystal Viper (pictured).
We check out the latest releases from Silent Pride, City Lights and Glittertind.
Plus we review and rate the latest albums from Robert Dahlqvist, Saturday Overdose and Stone Orange.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the very BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Classic Rock
They made quite an impression at the 2012 Bloodstock Festival but it’s incredible just how far Death Valley Knights have come in little over a year.
Nothing Left To Steal is the sound of an incredibly assured, insanely confident, fret-lickin’ good, modern British rock n roll outfit.
Opener Tongue Of Fire talks the talk and walks the walk with its Lizzy meets Maiden riffage, rough and ready vocal and soaring soloing.
But it’s on the uptempo DVK that the party really gets started – delicious drum rolls, explicit nods to the NWOBHM’s twin guitar signature sound and a singer who really means it make for a heady brew of hard rock heaven.
And there’s the Saxon-esque Before The End. Just brilliant. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Crazy, Crazy Knights
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Pop Punk
Motivated by the likes of Blink 182 and Saves The Day, City Lights are a pop punk band whose sound can be instantly compared to the forefathers of the modern punk movement.
Funded via a Kickstarter campaign, you know what you’re going to get with The Way Things Should Be and City Lights deliver exactly what is said on the tin.
TWTSB is filled with 12 songs that are chocker block full of lyrics about girls and bad experiences and although the lyrics might contain the odd tear-jerking sentence, the music that is wrapped around them is anything but.
City Lights’ latest work follows up on their first full length, In It To Win It, which landed at number 117 on the Top New Artist Billboard chat.
Of course Blink 182 are still going strong. And while the punk pop movement might otherwise be slowing down, records such as this might just prolong it. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Lights Out!
Genre: Folk Metal
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a Norwegian folk metal band called Glittertind would be a magnet for plastic sword wielding, ale drinking, party animals. In fact, the six-piece are on a far more serious level – musically and lyrically – than the plethora of troll-obsessed, waistcoat wearing outfits inhabiting Scandinavia.
Dealing with themes such as alienation – and bearing a song (Sprekk for sol) dedicated to a fan who was killed in the Utøya massacre – this is a dark opus, but one that is utterly absorbing.
Sundriven, with its rabble rousing chorus, is perhaps the closest Djevelsvart comes to ‘traditional’ folk metal, while elsewhere, accordion player/producer Geirmund Simonsen’s love of film scores comes to the fore: the haunting, windswept Nymåne is particularly impressive.
Brave, bold, and at times, truly beautiful, Glittertind’s fourth opus is a triumph. Richard Homes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Glittering
Genre: Alt Rock
Best known as singer songwriter with Swedish pop metal mob The Hellacopters, Robert Dahlqvist has rarely sounded darker than he does on the aptly-named Solo.
Releasing this album under his own name, attaching a deeply significant title and delivering songs in his native tongue all add to the feeling that this is a purposefully personal statement by the multi-talented muso.
It screams raw emotion and endearing honesty. Tracks like Ingrid Isabel, Sneseglaren and Det e hon are delightfully affecting compositions far removed from Dahlqvist’s Hellacopters pomp.
Mature, life-affirming and musically rich, Solo is a surprising triumph. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Flying Solo
Genre: Hard Rock
Avid students of the vibrant 80s rock scene, Slovenians Stone Orange tick all of the right boxes with their first album delivered entirely in English.
Drawing influences from as far afield as The Cult, The Scorpions, Guns N Roses et al, The Dreamcatcher is a delightful nod to an era when rock’s MTV anthems ruled the world.
Whether banging out the simple but effective Rockin’ & Rollin’, stripping things back on the brilliant ballad It Keeps On Raining or pushing the envelope on the instrumental Frozen Sky this is a constantly evolving and frequently engrossing album.
Bar the odd brief mispronunciation this might as well have been made by a bunch of US West Coast hair metallers. But it’s Ljubljana at its loudest. Who knew? SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Stone Me
Genre: Party Metal
This five-track burst of 80s-inspired pop metal sees sleazy quartet Saturday Overdose state a strong case for wider acclaim and greater rcognition.
Eat My Dust! doesn’t try to rewrite history – instead Bosco (lead vocals/keyboards) and the boys slavishly adhere to the loud and proud conventions of a genre enjoying its rebirth.
Opener Free Bones is nothing to shout about but once the final chords of track one drift into the ether Saturday Overdose prove they mean business.
Fallin’ Apart and Anthem For A Dream genuinely deliver as retro-fuelled modern rock anthems. They may be the rock equivalent of a four cheese pasta but it’s the clichés and crass lyrics that make Italian stallions Saturday Overdose such an attractive prospect. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Overdose On Rock
Genre: Power Metal
As the first chords of frantic opener Caught In Their Wicked Game fire forth from the stereo it’s immediately obvious that this is the best record Yngwie Malmsteen never made.
With the Swedish guitar god currently touring the world on the back of former glories it’s taken this collection of power metal panache to fill in the gaps for frustrated Malmsteen fans the world over.
Silent Force couldn’t have picked a more ridiculous band name had they been tied down and tortured for 24 hours – Rising From Ashes unleashes a bombastic explosion guaranteed to make fans of Dragonforce drool.
Perhaps not quite as pacy as Herman Li’s one-hundred-miles-an-hour metal troupe, this bunch of widdlers nevertheless marry precision with melody and speed to produce a glorious album that’s giddy with ambition. Over to you, Yngwie. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Silent Assassins
Genre: Heavy Metal
Hot on the heels of last April’s RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Crimen Excepta comes yet another shiny piece of gold-plated Polish metal courtesy of Crystal Viper.
A band on a roll, the fiery four piece are on fine form with feisty frontwoman Marta ‘Leather Wych’ Gabriel once again giving Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson a run for his money where metal’s high notes are concerned.
Fight Evil With Evil sounds like a drug-fuelled Doro Pesch trading top billing with Killers-era Adrian Smith and Dave Murray and the NWOBHM-styled anthems come thick and fast as Possession bids to trump its excellent predecessor.
It’s high time Crystal Viper were given the credit they deserve for rolling out consistently classy trad metal worthy of vast stages far beyond their central European heartland. Ditch the dodgy backing vocals and they might well get it. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Possession Is Everything