And there’s the usual range of heavy, hard, classic and melodic as we review and rate tomorrow’s must-haves.
Former superbikes star James Toseland (pictured) releases his debut album while Pretty Maids put a fresh spin on some old classics.
There’s new music from doom metal heroes Dread Sovereign.
And we check out the latest sounds from Shores Of Null and Massacre.
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
Dread Sovereign – All Hell’s Martyrs (Ván Records)
Genre: Doom Metal
Primordial’s Nemtheanga is surely one of the best frontmen and talented vocalists in extreme metal – more a heathen force of nature than a mere signer. And while he’ll arguably never top his work with Primordial, it’s been intriguing to see the Dubliner spread his wings with other projects, including last year’s trad metal maelstrom, Twilight Of The Gods.
In the case of Dread Sovereign (who also count Primordial sticksman Dubh SOL in their ranks) it’s early doom bands, such as Saint Vitus and Cirith Ungol, who provide the key inspirations, as well as the likes of proto black metallers Venom.
So it’s no surprise, then, that All Hell’s Martyrs is a weighty old slab of heavy rock that will make you raise the horns in tribute. And no surprise that Nemtheanga sounds utterly incredible (as usual), his distinctive tones alone being able to raise Old Nick from his firey pit.
Thirteen Clergy, Pray To The Devil In Man, Scourging Iron… all songs which will live long in the memory, and serve to make this one hell of an album. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 All Hail!
BEST OF THE REST
Shores Of Null – Quiescence (Candlelight)
Italians Shores Of Null could have been just another act straddling death metal, goth, black metal et al… and branding it as ‘epic’. But in Davide Straccione, they have a vocalist who provides a sheen of true class to their debut, enriching tracks like Ruins Alive and Souls Of The Abyss with powerful melodies, which on first listen, really take you by surprise.
In truth, he’s the ace in the band’s pack, as much of Quiescence lacks the imaginative riffery which would lift it to greater heights: Paradise Lost are clearly an influence here… and Shores Of Null could certainly do with the searing axework of a Gregor Mackintosh to spice things up a little.
However, there’s enough songwriting suss on show here to suggest that – with further refinement – the quintet could move into dark metal’s big league come album number two. Promising. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Into The Void
Massacre – Back From Beyond (Century Media)
Genre: Death Metal
It has been 23 years since the release of Massacre’s death metal masterpiece, From Beyond. Eighteen years since their last full length, Promise. But the boys are back in town, and intent on painting it blood red – starting with the 14 tracks of savage, groove laden DM found here.
Back From Beyond, though by no means a classic, is nevertheless a heart warming reminder of what made Florida’s death metal scene so special in the late 80s/early 90s: pulverising riffs, guttural vocals and whiplash rhythms abound .
Founding members Rick Rozz and Terry Butler, on guitars and bass respectively, sound like they’re having a whale of a time, crunching their way through mid-paced wrecking balls like As We Wait To Die and pumping the likes of Succumb To Rapture full of molasses-thick venom.
The album is also – refreshingly – straight to the point, rejecting the overblown fretwork favoured by many of their scene’s new breed in favour of a simpler approach.
So , Massacre are indeed back from beyond… and on this evidence, the world is a better place for it.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Killer
Pretty Maids – Louder Than Ever (Frontiers)
Genre: Hard Rock
According to frontman Ronnie Atkins, this retrospective package, punctuated by four new numbers and a complementary DVD, is an ‘in-between’ record to follow 2013’s critically acclaimed Motherland and a new studio album next year. And that’s exactly what it sounds like. Neither here nor there, it lacks cohesion and, crucially, credibility.
Recorded on the pretence that their bulging back catalogue requires a 2014 makeover – courtesy of ‘new’ producer Jacob Hansen – it’s a weak and soulless body of work. None of the original songs can hold a torch to Motherland’s finest work and it’s little wonder they’ve found a home here.
Those seeking the true Pretty Maids experience are better directed towards 2012’s It Comes Alive: Maid In Switzerland – testimony to the Danish band’s authentic heavy rock style and strong production values.
The seven re-recorded ‘classics’ include a weedy version of Wake Up To The Real World and this is one band who need to do just that. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Pretty Average
Toseland – Renegade (52 Music)
Genre: Classic Rock/Hard Rock
In a fair world the global talent pool would be shared equally. But life’s not fair. And here two ridiculously gifted individuals combine to create one of the British rock records of the year.
James Toseland has already enjoyed a career racing around the fastest motorcycle circuits on the planet and lifting the odd shiny trophy along the way. Producer and co-writer on Renegade – Toby Jepson – was the face of now defunct chart-busting Yorkshiremen Little Angels and a bona fide rock star in his own right.
But neither man is content to dwell on the past. And a sure-footed hard rock record could be their greatest triumph yet.
Toseland’s voice – he could easily step in for Myles Kennedy should Alter Bridge or Slash require a replacement any time soon – is stirring. Allied to Jepson’s polished production and songwriting skills and Renegade is a remarkable body of work.
Singer In A Band may be just a little bit obvious for a sports star seeking credibility in an alternative guise but opener Life Is Beautiful and the terrific title track are top class. Jepson made no secret of the fact he wanted to write and record a new Little Angels album before the band’s latest split and it seems Toseland is the primary beneficiary of the Scarborough band’s decision to wind down.
Superbikes’ loss is rock n roll’s gain. Get this record now. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 King James