And today’s selection includes the return of early 90s hair metal heroes Winger (pictured) and Sebastian Bach – plus a lively debut from label mates Three Lions.
There’s alt rock courtesy of Out For Tomorrow and Pylo and bludgeoning death metal from Autopsy.
Plus we check out the latest sounds from Sigiraya and Coltsblood.
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: Hard Rock/Hair Metal
Download main stage slot? Check. Killer new album? Check. Honeymoon period revisited? Che…almost. These might be heady days – or even Better Days – for Kip Winger and co. but those still stuck in the late 80s won’t find everything to their liking on the feisty follow-up to 2009’s Karma.
These days Winger (the band) are a bluesier and ballsier version of the act that spawned 1988’s multi-million selling self-titled debut replete with hit singles Seventeen and Headed For A Heartbreak. And while this is the record that proves there’s a future for Winger it’s also a stark admission that they won’t rely on the past.
Karma saw axe slinger Reb Beach ramping up the heavy riffs and Better Days Comin’ goes a step further with the band ridiculing their own reputation as hair metal lightweights via a punchy opening salvo.
Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine, Queen Babylon and Rat Race rock hard – harder than you’d reasonably expect. And it’s not until the groovier title track that the trademark Winger sound begins to win out. Trying to be all things to all men – and swooning women – is a brave move but Better Days Comin’ comfortably bridges past, present and future. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Comin’ On Strong
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Stoner Rock
Formed from the ashes of Acrimony, this Welsh outfit sounds like they should be from sun drenched San Diego, rather than rain drenched Swansea.
The influence of legendary desert rockers Kyuss is obvious and there’s nothing particularly original about Darkness Died Today, but what Sigiraya have produced is a solid slab of hard rock which should catch the attention of anyone who likes a good ol’ meaty riff or two… and enjoys tear-assing around the countryside on a Harley Davidson.
Plus, in vocalist Matt Williams, they have a real talent in their ranks, who lifts tracks like Tribe Of The Old Oak and the hard driving Freedom Engines to loftier heights.
Granted, the songwriting needs sharpening – and they need to find their own groove – but Sigiraya have a lot going for them, and Darkness Died Today gives them an impressive foundation to build on. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Day Release
Genre: Doom Metal/Sludge
The UK’s underground is witnessing something of a creative surge at the moment, and from the windswept black metal of Winterfylleth to the thunderous doom of Conan, British extreme bands are making their mark both in Britain and abroad.
And in Coltsblood, the scene surely has another worthy standard bearer.
For the Northern Englanders’ take on doom metal is monolithic, primal and so heavy that it could level mountains, or pound a hole into the Earth’s crust… and like Londoners Bast (who also recorded their first full length at Skyhammer Studios with Chris Fielding) their debut is absolutely astonishing.
Yes, its snail’s pace tempo (black metal rager Blood aside) doesn’t make for an instantly enjoyable listen, but play loud and have patience, and you’ll appreciate every titanic riff on Into The Unfathomable Abyss, and be plunged into an ancient, dark world to boot.
Coltsblood have arrived in some style… and there might be no stopping them. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Depth Charge
Genre: Death Metal
It’s raw. It’s gory. It’s grimy. Yep, it’s the new Autopsy album – and it’s bloody great. So what if the band spit in the face of progression? So what if they reject slick, modern production values? The US veterans, reactivated in 2009, don’t care about anything other than creating savage, straight to the point death metal, and like its two post-reunion predecessors – Macabre Eternal and The Headless Ritual, this opus slays the old school way.
What’s always impressed about Autopsy is their ability to mix fast paced, thrashy segments with heavier than hell, doom-infused sludge to create music which seethes with malevolence, and there’s plenty of those moments on Tourniquets, Hacksaws & Graves, such as the brutal title track and the gruesome, hook laden King Of Flesh Ripped.
And of course, you also get Chris Reifert’s serial killer rasp and the searing, wild axework of Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles thrown in too.
Put simply, Autopsy make death metal which is worthy of the name – that’s all there is to it. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Prime Cuts
Genre: Alt Rock
Out For Tomorrow, just like PR mates Villains, start off their debut album with a real attention-grabber in White Nose, which is full of the riffs and big-choruses that are needed to make an impact and to fill shows and mosh-pits.
Give Me A Reason is a similarly exciting song – there is a good reason why it was chosen as a single from the album.
But a pattern of songs soon emerge, and while love songs are fine in moderation, on You’ll Find A Way it feels like being licked to death by puppies – great at first, but after a while it’s just too much to handle.
The music is there – just listen to Strike A Match, and with a little more variety the song writing could be too.
Villains by Villains didn’t feel like a debut album. This does but it’s full of enough raw promise and material to – with some refinement – create a nationwide name. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 All Our Tomorrows
Genre: Alt Rock
Pylo are trying to bring back rock ‘n roll, and while the form that they champion may have given way to floppy fringes and lyrics about girls and high school, the five piece haven’t done their genre any harm with The Woman EP.
Lead by the strong, crystal clear lyrics of frontman Matthew Aldus, combined with rising, anthemic guitar has created an easily listenable EP with a hearty kick.
Pylo’s easy, languid guitar work on Climbing Through The Sun harks back to the heyday of Wishbone Ash – while the chorus has a great ‘soundtrack of summer’ feel to it.
The Woman certainly gives enough to suggest that Pylo have enough up their sleeve to write and record an excellent, diverse and musically excellent debut album. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Woman Kind
Genre: Hard Rock
Given that previous solo outings Angel Down and Kicking And Screaming were so desperately out of sync with Bach’s best work it’s a pleasant surprise to hear that the former Skid Row man has finally recognised what he does best.
Give ‘Em Hell is a glorious throwback to the powerful vocalist’s golden era and his best record for 20 years. Gone (almost) is the angsty, shouty, staid metal of the recent past and in its place a slick set of anthemic hard rockers. Self-confidence is something the very best singers strive for and it seems Bach’s is back.
Of course he insists it’s all down to ‘a new level of album recording’ – not for the big Canadian an honest admission that his last two records have been a load of balls. In reality he’s simply rediscovered his mojo and sensibly recorded songs that suit one of rock’s most iconic voices. And what a voice.
Had Enough, Harmony and Temptation represent a terrific return to form while guest guitar hero Steve Stevens stars on the gutsy Gun To A Knife Fight.
It’s a relief to say it but Sebastian Bach has made a good rock record again. At last. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Bach In The Groove
Genre: Melodic Rock
With the World Cup finals just weeks away here’s rock’s answer to the traditional football song.
Ok, this has absolutely nothing to do with another inevitable England failure in Brazil this summer – in fact Three Lions’ sparky self-titled debut promises to be far more exciting and there’s not a guest rap from John Barnes or a Peter Beardsley harmony in sight.
Instead Dare guitarist Vinny Burns drives a record not dissimilar in sound to the fabulous FM with singer/songwriter Nigel Bailey often a dead ringer for the brilliant Steve Overland.
Hold Me Down’s stark key changes mix vintage Asia and Journey and the piano intro. to the soaring Twisted Soul is rich in 80s AOR goodness. Borrowing riffs from vintage Whitesnake and David Coverdale’s rebooted MTV-friendly version, Three Lions never shirk their roots but this is a vibrant, modern take on formulaic melodic rock.
At a time when the UK’s AOR scene is under serious pressure from Swedish invaders there’s a serious need for new homegrown flag bearers. Three Lions wear their hearts on their sleeves and can carry the fight. We await news of next month’s live debut at the Frontiers Rock Festival with baited breath. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Lions Roar