And there’s another jam-packed selection of the best guitar-based music money can buy.
We run the rule over the latest supergroup to get down to business as KXM unleash their self-titled debut. And there’s new music from the Tom Fuller Band, Walter Trout and On Top.
We review and rate the debut disc from hotly tipped Kent mob Electric River (pictured) and deliver our verdict on Die Apokalyptischen Reiter‘s new double album.
There’s a bonus-packed Doro reissue, the latest solo offering from Black Crowe Rich Robinson and an EP from Newcastle newbies EnterTheLexicon.
Plus we check out some heavier sounds courtesy of Osiris Club and Burzum.
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: Heavy Metal/Folk Metal
The thinking man’s Rammstein have started the party early ahead of 2015’s 20th anniversary celebrations with this double whammy of delicious genre-expanding metal rooted in deepest Weimar.
Tief’s full-on assault – featuring old school 90s disco beats and the band’s best early-era growling (Wir), piano-led industrial-meets-symphonic metal (Wo Es Dich Gibt) and the proggy Ein Leichtes Madchen – is mind bending in its ambition. By contrast ballad Ein Voglein is beautiful in its simplicity.
Tiefer is more of a disarming diversion than a predictable continuation and it’s clear why DAR opted to split their latest opus into two distinct discs.
An acoustic-led companion to Tief’s over-produced fare, the upbeat opener Die Zeit could be the result of a bunch of boisterous buskers pooling their talents and laying siege to unsuspecting subway with its echoey mix and rousing chorus.
Then there’s Der Weg – a weirdly addictive piece dominated by folksy percussion – Friede Sei Mit Dir (think Turisas unplugged) and the dreamy Das Paradies. DAR have never sounded more exciting, relevant and ready to embrace the big time. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 On The Reiter Track
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Classic Rock
Black Crowe Rich Robinson clearly dwells in a pool of rich creativity and with the Black Crowes seemingly all washed up (again) solo record number three offers wave upon wave of countrified classic rock goodness.
Vocally the younger of the Robinson brothers is incredibly accomplished but it’s his effortless fretwork on The Ceaseless Sight that never ceases to amaze. Adding the vocals of Amy Helm and Katrine Olsen on three of the record’s standout tracks offers another heady dimension.
One Road Hill and The Unfortunate Show both benefit from the female touch but Robinson reaches his peak on In You. The soundtrack to a perfect summer. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rich Pickings
Genre: Classic Rock/Alt Rock
Reading Tom Fuller’s back story – his troubles with booze, lack of self-belief and determination to follow a dream – it’s easy to warm to this most vulnerable of individuals.
However, Freedom fails to transform life’s tougher experiences into truly affecting songwriting. Fuller veers from Revolver-era Beatles pastiche to the woeful 1+1 – a song that would sound clichéd on a Muppets Movie soundtrack – and lacks the ability to tap into the listener’s deeper emotions.
Fat Boy uses the imagery of a motorcycle-fuelled mid-life crisis to suggest there is life after a failed relationship but, the upbeat sax apart, it’s another desperately disappointing dud. Freedom oozes potential but finds itself trapped in mediocrity. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 4/10 Fuller Fillers
Genre: Blues Rock
Perhaps it’s fate. But four days after Walter Trout underwent life-saving liver transplant surgery, this shot in the arm for vibrant blue rock doubles up as a timely celebration of one of the genre’s genuine heroes.
It’s an honest, self-reflective, heart-wrenching record that charts the most difficult period in Trout’s colorful life. Opener Wastin’ Away, Take A Little Time and Hard Time could move a grown man to tears – in the light of this week’s events they will, at least, be tears of joy.
Trout’s serious illness was, of course, made for the blues. It was made for gut-wrenching riffs, lyrics hewn from the bottom of the heart and that familiar refrain of better times ahead.
But The Blues Came Callin’ is no lame cry for sympathy: for all of his troubles Trout has rarely sounded so pumped up, passionate and full of life. Fingers crossed this remarkable record will usher in a fresh period of supreme songwriting. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Callin’ Card
Genre: Hard Rock/Punk Rock/Sleaze Rock
Philadelphia power trio On Top don’t do anything by halves – this four-track blast of ballsy metal-edged rock n roll will bring a smile to the face of the most cynical rocker.
From the outrageous artwork to the brazen statement of intent that is opener No Shame it’s clear this lot can’t be arsed (no pun intended) to beat about the bush. Their message is loud, proud, lewd and lairy.
Their attitude may be a hybrid sneer of proto-punk and late 80s sleaze but their sound is like a mash up of Death Angel and Wrathchild. That’ll do for us. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 On The Up
Genre: Punk Rock/Post Grunge
It’s been a long time coming – hence the darkly reflective title – but The Faith & Patience is proof that good things come to those who wait.
Crafting a sound that moulds the Gaslight Anthem with the pick of the post grunge set, Electric River have the potential to make Kent cool. And that would be a significant achievement in it own right.
Keep The Engine Burning rolls along at a cracking pace with its nod to classic Springsteen and Chorus Of Fire wouldn’t sound out of place on a new Pearl Jam record.
But Electric River have enough in the bank to thwart any suggestion that they’re mere imitators. Refreshing originality is writ large across a sparkling debut. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Keep The Faith
After last year’s insipid ambient effort, Sol Austan Mani Vestan, long-time Burzum fans must have been hoping that Varg Vikernes would put pedal to (black) metal once more… but The Ways Of Yore sees the controversial Norwegian tread a similar path to 2013’s full length.
Supposedly delving deep into the roots of Europe, The Ways Of Yore is admittedly more colourful than Sol Austan… but there must be better ways of bringing your ancient visions to life than using the twee, lacklustre synths and dull spoken word passages found on tracks like The Reckoning Of Man and The Lady In The Lake.
Vikernes is capable of creating genuinely otherworldly music, and has had a massive influence on the black metal scene. Unfortunately, The Ways Of Yore lacks the spirit and atmosphere that is often associated with Burzum’s work… and loses its way as a result. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 3/10 The Ways Of Bore
Genre: Experimental/Progressive Rock
On their debut, Londoners The Osiris Club conjure up an intriguing blend of prog and post-punk, which is punctuated by synths straight from a 70s horror soundtrack.
As you might expect, it makes for a psychedelic brew which somehow (for the most part) works… especially on the likes of the title track and The Bell’s.
And on album closer, Miles And Miles Away, the quintet sound like an acid-fuelled collision between Killing Joke, Hawkwind and Mastodon… it’s a real trip across the astral plain which exhibits a particular sense of English eccentricty.
Ok, the songwriting skills aren’t quite honed yet, and there are a few duds here and there, but Blazing World is a daring body of work… and The Osiris Club should be applauded for their bravery. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Weird World
Genre: Alt Rock
Newcastle rock ‘n roll is in rude health, and that’s not simply down to the success of Geordies Maximo Park or recent breakthrough Boy Jumps Ship.
The city has a thriving underground scene and that is reflected in the quality of EnterTheLexicon, a Tyneside act who cut their teeth gigging around the city before signing for LA label Kill/Hurt and releasing their debut self-titled EP.
The four track release has plenty of reasons for the earlier assessment. Do You Feel The Same and I Am Not You show them off as a band with an ear for a riff or two, while Full Moon brings a semi-90s quality to the work through the vocals and Enantiodromia rounds it all off with just the right amount of anger and angst to really work.
If EnterTheLexicon are part of the musical future for the Toon then nobody can really complain. The city is in rude health: sit back and open your ears. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Lexiconvincing
Genre: Heavy Metal
Enjoying an Indian summer as the metal maiden who continues to blossom, Doro has beefed up the critically acclaimed RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Raise Your Fist with a complementary covers and rarities album.
In typical Pesch style this isn’t just a cheap marketing tool designed to shift a few extra units. Mixing Led Zeppelin and Dio with Tina Turner and Metallica it allows one of metal’s finest singers to showcase her full range to maximum effect.
However, it’s a French version of Raise Your Fist’s punchy title track and the previously unreleased movie soundtrack track Warfare that make this expanded edition a must for collectors and new converts alike. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Speschial
Genre: Hard Rock
The K (from drummer Ray Luzier’s Korn), the X (nicked from singer/bassist Doug Pinnick’s King’s X) and the M (hewn from George Lynch’s Mynch Mob) that make up KXM scream potential and star quality. It might be a goddam awful band name but surely the music is a class apart?
Well, the jury’s out. On Gunfight Pinnick is in prime form. Lead single Rescue Me allows ex-Dokken guitar hero Lynch to fire out a typically catchy riff and Luzier is so technically proficient throughout that it’s frightening. But it’s clear from the outset that this is a band that – right now – lacks chemistry.
Apparently spawned from an impromptu jam session that ‘just felt right’ it’s therefore surprising that so much of KXM’s debut comes across as emotionally detached and almost corporate. Ballad Never Stop Loving You comes mightily close to capturing the perfect mood but even Pinnick – one of rock’s most versatile and accomplished frontmen – struggles to salvage so much of the bland material here. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 KXMmmmm