REVIEWS – NEW MUSIC
And on a Super Sunday there’s classic rock from both sides of the Atlantic as hotly tipped Yanks Blackberry Smoke go head to head with Grimsby’s finest The Brew.
Hype surrounds female-fronted metallers Butcher Babies (pictured) and we review and rate the Uk release of their US hit album.
There’s a live release from In This Moment and a slice of sleazy bar room rock n roll courtesy of The Peckham Cowboys.
And the heavier stuff comes courtesy of Centiment, Slough Feg and Woland.
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/Southern Rock
Like label mates Rivals Sons a few years back, the hype surrounding Blackberry Smoke has threatened to alienate future fans of the US rockers even before they’ve properly set foot on this side of the Atlantic.
However, there’s a very good reason the endearing quintet from Atlanta, Georgia, are riding the crest of a wave of critical acclaim right now. That reason is The Whippoorwill.
Released a decade after their debut, Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime, it’s fair to say Blackberry Smoke have taken some time to hit their rock n roll stride. Yet this Southern Rock-flavoured classic is the sound of a band that’s experienced the highs and lows of a hard gigging career, recognised its strengths and eradicated any lingering weaknesses.
Joining an ambitious Earache roster that’s home to the Sons and Britain’s very own The Temperance Movement, it’s a fair bet the UK will become increasingly familiar with Blackberry Smoke in 2014. Tickets have sold out fast for five dates starting at the end of the month and the band will be a big festival draw for the organisers of Download and Sonisphere as they battle to secure this summer’s hottest signature.
Sensational singles Pretty Little Lie and Ain’t Much Left Of Me are only the start where Blackberry Smoke is concerned. The truth is there’s much more left where this band’s concerned. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Smoking
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Rock N Roll
The Peckham Cowboys or The Peckham Quireboys? It’s not just the name that sounds vaguely familiar where this bunch of beat up bar room troubadours is concerned. Swap Spike for Margate’s answer to Rod Stewart and the music sounds uncannily similar to the Toon’s finest too.
But even that’s not where the similarities end. Quireboys’ founding member Guy Bailey formed TPC alongside singer Marc Eden and another of Spike’s old buddies, Nigel Mogg, is the band’s current bass player.
It’s all just a little bit incestuous but that’s exactly how these sleazy basement dwellers would like to be remembered. In 2014 they’re minus Bailey but boosted by Timo Kaltio (guitar), Duncan McKay (horns/keys) and Ryan McCormick (drums) and the result is a raucous set of rabble rousing party rock.
Bromley Girls is brilliant, Don’t Damn The Hypnotist an atmospheric classic and Poor Boy Blues perfectly cynical. Live it’s bound to be a laugh but so far TPC have failed to muster the energy or focus to make it north of the Midlands. Fingers crossed they’ll find the time soon, in between JD shots, dubious smokes and broken hearts. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Cowboys And Indian Takeaways
Genre: Classic Rock
It’s not just Blackberry Smoke (see above) causing a bit of a stir on the classic rock scene this week. Grimsby’s finest might lack the romantic back story of America’s next big thing but The Brew’s tunes are just as tasty.
Recorded live under the expert stewardship of increasingly influential producer Toby Jepson, Control is a compelling exercise in blues-laden, 60s-inspired British rock that’s already bagged the band a fervent following in mainland Europe.
Just why it’s taken so long for the message to get through over here is anyone’s guess but the strength of Repeat, Play and Fast Forward (the track list mirrors the buttons on a CD player) is such that homegrown success will surely follow.
Ironically it’s Mute that’s the pick of the bunch – a powerful, emotive and sonically sure composition that smacks of life-affirming confidence. Not everyone’s cup of tea? The Brew really should be. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Special Brew
Genre: Extreme Metal
With Hyperion, Woland have created a powerful slab of epic extremity, drawing on frost-bitten black metal, and cold, precise industrialism. It’s a predominantly mid-paced affair, boasting shards of icy melody, pounding, rousing rhythms… and even flourishes of flamenco guitar and jazz piano.
The likes of the majestic Live Forever, with its glacial riffs, hint at early Dimmu Borgir – but this Finnish outfit are quite content to plough their own furrow, and don’t subscribe to any narrow, black metal doctrines.
The downside to Hyperion is that on occasion, its tracks meander and lose focus, losing their impact in the process: Elevated Existence is a prime example.
But on the whole, Hyperion is a fine debut, with enough substance and creative zeal to hint at great things to come from this band. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Hyperionto Something?
Techmetaltronica, electrodjent or just boundary blitzing rock music: however you describe Centiment, it won’t do justice to the quintet’s genre splicing racket.
Featuring three members of InMe, the band are an intriguing prospect, and where their sonic maelstrom hits home, on tracks like the brilliant Bloodshot, it hits home hard. Dave McPherson’s vocals add plenty of classy sheen to proceedings too, while the rhythm section of Neil Howard and Mark Shurety would give plenty of djenters a run for their money.
However, the album’s bleepy, retro game-inspired flourishes can severely grate – they probably sounded like a good idea at the time, but they often do little to enhance this debut opus.
That said, with tunes like the superbly-written Zero Tolerance and the crushing Mother’s Nature in their armoury, Centiment could still blow a hole in the modern music scene… and their bravery should be applauded. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Street Smart
Genre: Extreme Metal
More than just metal eye candy? Maybe. Creating music that’s stronger than the image? Perhaps. There’s no doubt two former Playboy TV personalities fronting an extreme metal band attracts attention but is it for the right reasons?
Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey probably don’t care. Goliath has been shifting serious units in America for some time now and the band’s European/UK release looks like becoming a similarly popular underground hit.
Far removed from 80s girl faves Vixen, Heart (hair metal style), Lita Ford and Lisa Dominique, the occasionally brutal Butcher Babies are more Kittie on heat. I Smell A Massacre is a menacing slice of pure metal evil as Shepherd and Harvey prove they’re a pair of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Mixing metalcore with post-thrash, the Babies’ music hits home like a jet-propelled sledgehammer and hooking up with the band’s screaming singers suddenly seems like the worst idea in the world. They’ll eat most blokes for breakfast – minutes after blowing out their brains with Goliath‘s giant riffs and monstrous howls. SR
It’s quirky, eccentric and could have been recorded four decades ago… Digital Resistance is a worthy addition to Slough Feg’s crusade to keep the trad metal torch burning bright.
Warning of the dangers of our hi-tech age, the US act’s latest full length is steeped in musty 70s rock and NWOBHM, and tracks like the formidable Magic Hooligan combine Lizzy-esque leads with Maiden gallop with great effect.
Yes, the band are proudly anachronistic – and their wacky moments (especially opener, Analogue Avengers/Bertrand Russell’s Sex Den) might put a few people off – but after a 24-year career, Slough Feg are masters of their craft, traversing metal’s retro world with real panache.
Oh, and Digital Resistance boasts a song called Laser Enforcer… I mean, what more do you need? RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Vive La Resistance!
Genre: HardRock/Alt Metal
This audio visual testimony to In This Moment’s rapid evolution from alt metal wannabes to commercially viable hard rockers is well timed with Maria Brink and co. firmly in the ascendancy and courting increasingly positive critical acclaim.
If there’s no getting away from the star of the show then Blood At The Orpheum is, at the very least, a reminder that there’s more to this band than their striking frontwoman.
Musically In This Moment have become a force to be reckoned with and right here they look more focused than ever. Sensational dates across Europe in 2013 forced the cynics to sit up and take notice – Blood At The Orpheum is the band’s latest bid to prove the doubters wrong.
Extended versions of the best of their back catalogue make this the ideal entry level release for those yet to get acquainted with Brink and her boys. Set closer Blood, from 2012’s album of the same name, offers a compelling glimpse of In This Moment’s star-crossed past and their exciting future. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Hats Orph To Maria