There’s the latest offering from prolific guitar hero Axel Rudi Pell as he celebrates the 15th anniversary of his band in style. Plus label mates Nashville Pussy release what’s being billed as their very own Back In Black!
There’s new music from Canadian rookies No Sinner plus the latest from Behemoth side-project Chrome Division.
We review and rate new music from Sister, Madonna’s guitar teacher Monte Pittman (pictured) and hotly tipped punks Against Me!.
Every Sunday we reveal the identity of the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the very BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Hard Rock
Vocalist Blaine Cartwright has rather boldly described this album as Nashville Pussy’s Back In Black. It’s all relative, of course, but there’s no doubt Up The Doseage is a special record from a supremely talented band.
The Pussy have been making fine rock music for some time and this feels like an example of potential fully realised.
On Rub It To Death there are echoes of Alice Cooper’s fine mid 2000s output with Cartwright’s delivery a mix of the ultimate shock rocker and the Quireboys’ Spike: snarling, gravel-toned, whisky soaked vocals adding an emotive edge to some heavy blues.
Before The Drugs Wear Off is a brilliant honky tonk meets vintage ZZ Top tune – a piano-led belter that truly showcases NP as a band to be reckoned with. It’s no Back In Black but there are obvious shades of heavy rock’s colourful late 70s heyday. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Pussy Galore
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Blues Rock
Heavy backing from Classic Rock Magazine and sister DAB station Team Rock Radio propelled Canadian crew No Sinner into the limelight at the back end of last year and it seems 2014 is their time.
A packed industry showcase in London garnered further positive press but it’s the turn of the band’s debut album to do the talking.
Opener and title track Boo Hoo Hoo has become a familiar radio staple and it’s by far the most compelling song here. Singer Colleen Rennison takes full advantage of the chance to rifle through her vocal range: a rousing chorus is juxtaposed perfectly with the song’s more soulful, bluesy foundation.
Elsewhere Boo Hoo Hoo (the album) is an enigma. The Motown flavoured Love Is Madness sounds like the right song on the wrong album but Rise Up is one of the most remarkable tracks you’ll hear all year. Rennison has talent – harnessing it could be the key. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Hoo Knew?
Genre: Heavy Rock
The problem with Axel Rudi Pell is that it’s almost impossible to keep pace with his phenomenal output. Prolific doesn’t really cover it.
Into The Storm is the German guitar hero’s 15th solo album in 25 years and it requires the recall of a mastermind to remember them all. But many have been exceptionally good and this is more than a match for Pell’s prime releases.
Long Way To Go features a fabulous solo while the simple yet effective When Truth Hurts will have you digging out the 80s power ballads and recalling the genre’s MTV heyday.
Touching Heaven is a typically epic stroke of genius with long-time collaborator Johnny Gioeli excelling on lead vocals. Even the brave decision to cover Neil Young’s Hey Hey My My works a treat on an album where Herr Pell can do no wrong. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Rudi Awakening
Genre: Heavy Metal
Endless Nights, a masterful piece of trad metal, wouldn’t sound out of place on Metallica’s Black album such is its focused power and blunt-edged force. But Chrome Division know how to make themselves heard above the mediocrity of 2014’s congested heavy rock scene.
Celebrated side project of Behemoth frontman Shagrath, passion and precision trade blows at every turn where this band is concerned. Chrome Division deal in quality riffage and consummate professionalism – almost to the point where the excellent Infernal Rock External can occasionally come across as over-produced and lacking improvisation.
Such criticism would be wholly unfair. (She’s) Hot Tonight might well be a commercial leap too far for the Behemoth-worshipping brigade but fans of Ricky Warwick’s Almighty will love its pop metal refrain. Shagrath does a mean impression of a soulful heavy rock hero seeking light in the dark on an album alive with optimism. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 First Division
Genre: Hard Rock
Long-time Madonna collaborator Monte Pittman might have made his fortune playing grandiose stadium pop but he’s a hard rock hero at heart. And it’s clear both his heart and soul have gone into The Power Of Three.
This is, however, a record of two halves. A strangely slow start renders the first four songs almost irrelevant: skip to On My Mind and start your journey with Pittman there. The U2-flavoured arena-ready rollercoaster is the moment The Power Of Three finds its feet.
Away From Here fuses post-grunge power with a modern rock edge and Missing relies on a blistering Pearl Jam-meets-NWOBHM riff to emerge as the album’s outstanding moment.
Wrapping up with the awe-inspiring, thrash-inspired 13 minute-plus All Is Fair In Love And War (replete with growling mid-section) it’s clear that Pittman is the master of rock and metal in all its various guises. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 The Full Monte
2013 saw the punk world thrown into disarray after Tom Gable announced himself as a transgender who will now be known as Laura Jane Grace. Her announcement came with the ballsy approach that gives punk its whole image and the approach taken by this fantastic album is no different.
A quick gaze at the track titles will give you a clear indication of the aggression and directness of the record.
The album tackles the issue head on – as you would expect – with Grace producing some of her finest lyrics for years in a heavily varied album.
Unconditional Love is the album’s standout, with its folk style giving the feel of a bluesy Dropkicks number with fast-paced, upbeat drum patterns giving the band a whole new twist.
This album is great from start to finish. However, the only drawback is the lack of flow from track to track making it feel more like a greatest hits compilation. Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Against All Odds
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Anyone missing Akercocke’s particular brand of satanic extremity will be glad that band’s like Lvcifyre are still carrying the torch for hellish, blackened death metal.
Their second full length gets off to a rather underwhelming start with the doomy Night Seas Sorcery, but kicks into life from second track Calcicem Obscurum onwards, painting pictures of a good ol’ knees up in Hades as the album progresses.
The vocals of T.Kaos are genuinely unearthly, like Beelzebub bellowing up from the depths of the underworld – combine them with fierce blastbeats and scalding, hyperspeed guitarwork, and you have some seriously evil tuneage on your hands.
Yes, it can be a bit samey – and Sin Eater doesn’t break any new ground – but this London-based outfit clearly know a thing or two about the dark arts. Devil music indeed. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Sinful
Swedish sleaze punks Sister are building quite a reputation when it comes to delivering high octane live shows leaning heavily on the stagecraft of Wednesday 13 (the two are regular tour buddies), the raw aggression of Hardcore Superstar and the sneering self-belief of Blackie Lawless.
But what they need right now is a killer album: the kind of record that affirms their status as fast-rising stars and genuine contenders. Disguised Vultures, however, is never that. Brief moments of brilliance – like the snarling lead single Sick – are few and far between and for the most part this record smacks of a missed opportunity.
Debut long player Hated screamed potential but Disguised Vultures fails, often spectacularly, to build on that promise. Generic opener My Enemy and the lame title track are pale reflections of what this band can produce beyond the pressure cooker of the studio.
No doubt Sister can’t wait to get back out on the road and get back to doing what they do best – slaying crowds and stirring up trouble on the road. This is their ‘difficult second album’ and it’s already time to move on. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Disguised Talent