Today’s top picks include the latest sounds from Darkest Hour, Mongrel and Along Came A Spider.
We review and rate new albums by Bad Case Of Big Mouth, Waheela and Monsterworks (pictured).
And we cast a critical eye over Calling All Cars, Rocket Dolls and Counting Days.
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: Melodic Death Metal
Darkest Hour? More like finest hour. Washington DC metal demons Darkest Hour have recorded the album that’s destined to carry them into the genre’s big leagues – visceral vocals jostling for position with rabid riffs and a rhythm section hewn from heavy rock’s rugged heartland.
Opener Wasteland showcases the band’s melodic side but by the time bone-crunching two-minute blast Rapture In Exile rips into the consciousness it’s clear John Henry and co. have lost none of their trademark ferocity.
This is modern metal at its most expansive and engaging with the intro. to Infinite Eyes encapsulating everything that’s so exciting about Darkest Hour’s self-titled masterpiece: emotion, passion and a foreboding sense of hopelessness pour forth from a truly affecting track.
2015 will see the band celebrate its 20th anniversary and this outstanding album is a fitting career peak. The Hour is upon us. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Darkest Thoughts
BEST OF THE REST
Mongrel, as the name suggests, are the ultimate guitar-fuelled crossbreed. Fronted by the sensational Jessica Sierra, this bristling hybrid of raw punk attitude, adrenalised hard rock and trad metal fury make music for the 21st century masses and it’s a wonder their widespread appeal hasn’t won a raft of fans worldwide.
For now they’re an urgent quartet rapidly forging a reputation as one of America’s hardest gigging, must-see live acts – sharing stages with Sepultura, Halestorm and even GWAR. As go-to guys for getting the party started it appears Mongrel always deliver.
Standout tunes Snakes and the addictive Over And Over serve as compelling evidence that this is a band on the brink of something very big indeed. Mongrel might well be the dog’s bollocks of the new metal world. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Barking
Genre: Metal/Post Hardcore
Six piece band Along Came A Spider might be two legs short of the full web, but that doesn’t stop them from making music good enough to make you jump like you’ve just stepped on a Tarantula.
Resurgence is their second album and includes 16 songs and last just under an hour. When you listen to it in full, it suddenly makes sense as to why it’s taken them nearly two years to record it.
Richly layered, and taking the listener through genuine metal, screamo and post-hardcore vibes, Resurgence is an excellent album – and when some bands get struck down by second album syndrome, Along Came A Spider avoid the pitfalls magnificently.
Having toured with the likes of Memphis May Fire, The Devil Wears Prada and Crown The Empire have clearly done the band good, and their latest album comes out as a polished but hard-hitting affair.
Along Came A Spider are here to stay, and are ready to ensnare you in their web if you give them half a chance. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Web Site
Genre: Pop Punk
Bad Case of Big Mouth might seem like your average pop-punk outfit at first glance, like All Time Low before they started becoming a big deal. Give them a few minutes of your time, however, and you’ll soon find out that they are nothing like Alex Gaskarth and his band-mates.
With names like Elmer and the Man That Feeds Him and From the Shallow End of the Gene Pool, you could be forgiven for thinking that they belong on the same side of the rails as Fall Out Boy. You’d be wrong.
Bad Case of Big Mouth are forging their own path between pop-punk and post-hardcore, and the results are brilliant.
From I Have Got To Get Me One Of Deeze to the afore-mentioned songs, Straight Up Bad Luck is an album that captures a listener and doesn’t let go. It’s infectious, surprising, and makes you appreciate the quality of the songwriting. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Mouthing Off
Genre: Noise rock/experimental
Waheela are a force of nature, not just a band. And with HX Pop, the Newcastle act have captured not only their primal, groove-laden sound… but also the sense of adventure that makes the quintet such a unique proposition.
For one, HX Pop is a cassette release in glorious, vibrant pink (though the package comes with a download, should your tape deck lie in the loft). More significantly, it shows that while Waheela can conjure both titanic, heavy riff driven compositions such as opener Teams, their mellower side is equally as enticing: Hoffman, for example, is a brooding, atmospheric piece, a sprawling, shimmering track imbued with a subtle Far Eastern vibe.
What Makes It Red, meanwhile, builds, releases and descends in a style Waheela have made their own… and you’ll also be treated to a recording of last year’s incendiary live set at Left Bank, Leeds, to round things off in glorious fashion.
It’s impossible to pigeon-hole Waheela, and to do so would do them a disservice. But fans of doom, noise, post-rock and any music that explores the outer limits, need HX Pop in their lives and on their Walkmans. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Pop Art
Genre: Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal
Few bands push metal’s boundaries quite as far as the prolific Monsterworks and Overhaul – incredibly their second album of 2014 – is the epitome of the quartet’s burning ambition, bold conception and understated cool.
The fabulously wacky To Do What Must Be Done is like Alice In Chains covering Testament at a Wolf tribute band convention. It’s a heady mix that sounds unlike anything else out there in 2014.
The title track could provide the background music to some dark medieval big screen epic and if you’re worried that the decision to release 11 studio albums in 14 years has somehow diluted the quality of Monsterworks’ music then don’t be: this is up there with the band’s very best work.
The thrash metal meets progressive doom of Penultimate provides the perfect platform for vocalist Jono Blade to pull out all of the stops. And he does. Monsterworks might still be nothing more than a footnote on the page of metal’s most influential bands but on this evidence they deserve a chapter all of their own. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 ‘Haul Right Now
Containing members from bands such as Architects and Prowler, this London-based ‘supergroup’ bring a wealth of experience together to try and bring something different to metalcore. While the band’s talent will never be questioned, they also bring with them a tight knit, well synced approach reminiscent of a band that have been together a lot longer than a year.
While the sound on this five-track EP is almost perfect, the band seem a long way from being ready to produce an album that is going to offer anything new or truly original, hence the opening of the debut EP with a cover of Slipknot’s S!C. With the high demand for the band to release something official, perhaps they were rushed into this release to keep fans happy. However, tracks like This Life Is Black sound no different to any other death metal track produced over the last 10 years, with long, solo driven riffs, drum patterns finishing with smashing symbols and over aggressive vocals. Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Summer Days
Genre: Post Rock/Alt Rock
Aussie rock trio Calling All Cars are back with a bang with this high energy, genre crossing gem. Having teamed up with some of the world’s top producers, the band have come up with a more indie, post-rock record than anything they’ve done before, with the album’s second track, Black And White, echoing synth pop duo Hurts. This British indie vibe continues with Running On The Sun, which could only be more Kasabian-esque if it was performed by Meehen and Pizorno themselves.
While these influences are clear to see early on, the rock roots of the band come more into play at the midway point when Every Day Is The Way is unleashed. This drum-led number allows Hayden Ing to show off his aggressive, rock vocals, and really go for it.
What holds this album back is the lack of a distinctive sound throughout, making it seem like a playlist of various artists. If Calling All Cars want to truly reach their potential, they will need to stamp down their sound and put their mark on their next album. AK
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Driving Rock
Genre: Hard Rock/Alt Rock/Post Grunge
Five years in the making and Rocket Dolls have finally delivered with fist-pumping ferocity. From the big riffs, powerful, drum lead tunes to the epic, anthemic vocals, this EP has been more then worth the wait. With a number of different rock genre being thrown together, this primarily alt rock/grunge masterpiece is a real headbanger’s paradise with tracks like Gotta Get A Grip offering prolonged rattling riffs, and skin splitting drum patterns.
The album’s real standout comes early on in the record with Can’t Keep Him Down, a vocally rousing track with an uncanny resemblance to Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Wieland. With bags of enthusiasm and the ability to capture the raw energy of a live performance, Rocket Dolls have an unusual gift and a talent that is not often seen in the modern airbrushed, digitally mastered world. A great debut, and a band with immeasurable potential. AK
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Rocket Fuelled