Blackberry Smoke follow up The Whippoorwill with a live double bill and punk rock heroes The Gaslight Anthem unveil their latest sound.
There’s new music from former Kiss star Ace Frehley (pictured) and Scots alt rockers Twin Atlantic.
We review and rate the latest releases from Dragonforce and newbies Black State Highway. Plus we run the rule over Trioscapes.
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/Country Rock
The coolest cats on the classic rock circuit capitalise on the runaway success of The Whippoorwill by serving up two discs of smoking live cuts ahead of another UK tour later this year.
Riding high on the back of their critically acclaimed first full UK and European release, the Georgians have, nevertheless, got far more in their armoury. Three albums into a decade-long career, Blackberry Smoke dip into their extensive back catalogue to mix old favouirites with new standards in front of a frenzied North Carolina crowd.
It’s the perfect companion for those new to the band and proves the quintet can hold a crowd like the grizzled arena veterans they aspire to be. Mixing Southern Rock with country and blues, Blackberry Smoke are big on catchy choruses, hummable hooks and laid-back assurance.
Pitching themselves as the best live band you’ve yet to see, Leave A Scar is the perfect calling card for those classic rock sceptics yet to be convinced by Rival Sons’ much-loved label mates. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Scar Issue
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Alt Rock
For seven years, Gaslight fans have clung to every melancholic tale Brian Fallon delivered but questions were raised after TGA’s last effort of how many more sorrowful stories the 33-year-old could recall for another album.
However, this time we were promised something completely different.
From the Velvet Revolver-inspired Stay Vicious, the dabbling with new styles is evident. The same, mournful nostalgia underpins each track but there is greater depth in the music.
Stadium Rock makes its entrance on Stray Paper, while Underneath the Ground is a refreshingly soft change of pace.
While the album’s epicentre lies with Dark Places, it lacks the true killer track that would make it a must-buy.
Shedding a niche is a bold move for a band that has established a tried and tested formula and while not being the standard-bearer The ’59 Sound was, it still represents an eminently listenable record. Jamie Durent
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Fallon Skies
Genre: Hard Rock
Space Ace is back with the album that Kiss fans the world over have been waiting for. Evoking memories of Destroyer and Love Gun, this set of killer 70s-flavoured hard rock blows expectations out of the water – after the relatively tepid opener and title track this is red hot thrill-a-minute stuff from one of the greatest guitar players on the planet.
A brilliant fusion of blues and glam makes for some of 2015’s coolest grooves and most infectious riffs. Cast aside any preconceived ideas or petty misconceptions formed as a result of Frehley’s continued bad press and open your mind to one of the standout albums of the year.
Gimme A Feelin, I Wanna Hold You and Toys are top notch modern rock anthems that suggest Frehley’s far from finished as a relevant recording artist. In fact this is, by a country mile, his best non-Kiss output since 1987’s Frehley’s Comet record.
Space Invader is a special album from a special musician. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Ace In The Pack
Genre: Power Metal
There’s no point beating around the bush where Dragonforce is concerned. Herman Li and co. could have plumped for a thought-provoking, obtuse album title but what’s the point? Maximum Overload does what it says on the tin as the power metal kings push their brand of breakneck riffage to the limit.
Opener The Game and Tomorrow’s Kings are typical ‘Force fare as Li and Sam Totman trade ridiculously complicated licks for fun – contrast their technical wizardry with Ace Frehley’s natural talent and feel (see review above) and it’s easy to understand why this band divides opinion like no other.
Depending upon your particular point of view Dragonforce are soulless or passionate, meticulous or manufactured, bland or boundary-stretching. But for all of their faults the ludicrously overblown Londoners are great fun.
Vocalist Marc Hudson’s swift evolution from nervous newcomer to assured frontman is what makes Maximum Overload a more worthy addition to the band’s back catalogue than patchy predecessor The Power Within – even if he comes across all 80s synth pop on the unconvincing No More. Thankfully Hudson soars on epic trad metal triumph The Sun Is Dead. Maximum Overload = maximum value. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Force Of Nature
Genre: Classic Rock/Hard Rock
The explosion of female-fronted hard rock has given a genre treading water a timely kick up the arse and Brighton’s Black State Highway deliver driving anthems and old school hooks guaranteed to strike a chord with AC/DC and Zeppelin fans everywhere.
Latvian powerhouse Liva Steinberga channels her inner Joplin to emerge as more than a match for Lynne Jackaman of the much-missed St Jude – North East readers will also be reminded of RUSHONROCK faves The Karma Heart at their emotive best.
Lead single Ain’t Got Know might not make much sense on paper but it becomes clear that BSH know their heavy blues rock roots as the album’s standout track makes a compelling statement. Sacrifice and set closer Trouble prove guitarist Olie Tretheway is one to watch – and to admire. On this evidence Black State Highway’s final destination is rock nirvana. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Brighton Rock
With their debut opus, 2012’s Separate Realities, jazz trio Trioscapes managed to turn more than a few metallers’ heads- and not just because the band features Between The Buried And Me’s Dan Briggs on bass… or because they’re on Metal Blade. For their first album was brave, inventive, and awash with superb musicianship, and this follow-up sees the band honing their style and pushing themselves even further.
The title track, driven by Briggs’ driving, heavy bass lines, is a phenomenal opener, and has more than a whiff of psychedelica about it, while Stab Wounds sees Walter Farncourt unleash some frighteningly good tenor sax, with wild soling bursting out all over the place. Delve deep into closer, The Jungle, meanwhile, and you’ll find plenty of surprises.
Ok, so the lack of six-string riffery might put a few RUSHONROCK readers off Digital Dream Sequence, but if you’re a music fan not just a rock fan – then check out this talented threesome as soon as possible. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 All That Jazz
Genre: Alt Rock
Midway through a hectic 2014 schedule, Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic have finally found time to drop their second album Great Divide.
Supporting Kings of Leon, a huge amount of airtime on Radio 1 and playing some of the country’s biggest festivals, it should come as no surprise their sophomore effort has been gaining all the plaudits.
Kicking off the album with atmospheric ballad The Ones That I Love is a brave choice but one that is wholly justified when the final strains seep into the barnstorming Heart And Soul. The track is stadium rock at its finest – a punchy chorus, hard hitting bass and simple yet effective vocals.
Sam McTrusty’s Glaswegian tones provide a rough but powerful foundation for Great Divide, the frontman crooning on slower tracks but soaring on tracks like Brothers And Sisters.
The entire album seems littered with influences from across the Pond, many tracks sounding like a Scottish Jimmy Eat World. The one negative that could be drawn is the constant shift in pace. Blistering along at 100mph to a crawling tempo breaks up the overall cohesion but it’s a minor criticism.
If Twin Atlantic go on to release more albums of a similar ilk then their back-catalogue could become a modern alt-rock treat. Andy Spoors
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Great Scots