And there’s a distinctly heavy flavour to this week’s fare as we present our very own rifflicious bake off.
Leading the way are Between The Buried And Me with their live reinterpretation of Future Sequence.
But hot on their heels are Butcher Babies (pictured), Evil Scarecrow and Revocation.
Solemn Sun and The Datsuns offer the least offensive sounds of the week with both bands back on form.
But there’s more heavy stuff than you’d find in the Incredible Hulk’s home gym as Krawwl, Barshasketh and Khold batter brains everywhere.
And there’s even new music from Mutagenocide.
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: Progressive Metal
It’s heartening to see an outfit as innovative and experimental as Between The Buried And Me make such an impact in the metal scene: to the point where a live performance at Fidelitorium Recordings in North Carolina was deemed worthy enough to get the blu-ray treatment from Metal Blade (the first time the label has done this for a band).
We haven’t seen the footage, but the audio CD which forms part of the live package is a glorious, multi-textured trip into deep space, running through BTBM’s 2012 masterpiece The Parallax II: Future Sequence in its entirety. So you’ll hear glistening versions of euphoric prog metal gems such as Lay Your Ghosts To Rest and Astral Body, and also feel the force of the quasi-death metal assaults of Telos and Extremophile Elite. And that’s just for starters.
With an album as majestic as The Parallax II… as their set list, any live performance by this unique quintet was going to be a real treat. And the fact that BTBAM can execute their music so flawlessly is testament to their incredible musical abilities.
Sensational. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Showing off
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Punk Rock/Folk Rock
After two very well received albums under the name Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, the band hit a crossroads, becoming frustrated and unsure of what was next. The answer: change their name (slightly) and rebrand themselves with a whole new style. While this may be what Jim and his troops think they’ve done, the reality is that they are not all that different.
The most noticeable difference within the unit is Jim’s guitar playing which has switched from acoustic to a more direct electric style, meaning the folk element has disappeared and the band have a more polished punk sound. As opening track Josef cracks into life we’re are greeted with the familiar sound of Jim’s effortlessly infectious vocals and suddenly everything feels like it should.
While this is branded as a new direction for the band, it feels more of a natural next step than a whole new project, with the vocal and lyric styles remaining and the same the track layout, despite the introduction of powerful cymbals and guitar solos. Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Sun Shines
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal
Though they’ve been around since 2006, it wasn’t until their self-titled forth effort was unleashed last year that Revocation really started their ascendancy.
Coming hot on the heels of 2013’s full length, Deathless has therefore been hotly anticipated: there’s a buzz around the US quartet’s virtuoso thrash/death metal assault, and they’ve started moving up to the big leagues.
This opus, thankfully, lives up to expectations. David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo’s axework is sublime, there are plenty of hooks and importantly, Revocation manage to keep their music tight and focused; not for them the kind of indecipherable riff concoctions churned out by many a tech death band.
It’s an approach which works tremendously well on the excellent title track, with its catchy chorus and thoroughly rockin’ solos, and a sure way of picking up fans of more prominent acts, such as Lamb Of God or DevilDriver. However, this isn’t meathead, gym-core either, and tracks like The Blackest Reaches and Apex explore some truly progressive territory.
Deathless, then, is inventive, perfectly executed state-of-the-art metal for the 21st century – and should surely see Revocation’s stock rise. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Revved-up
Genre: Black Metal
Two bands, two nations, one similar approach to exploring the outer reaches of black metal, this split EP features Irish duo Krawwl, formed from the ashes of the much-missed Altar of Plagues, and Edinburgh-based Barshasketh. And it’s well worth your time.
Krawwl’s two offerings – And Oceans and Rhizome – are, perhaps unsurprisingly, similar in their bleak, post-BM vision to AoP, and as such anyone who had their life changed forever by that incredible act should lap up the Irishmen’s contribution to this EP. For Krawwl, like their predecessor, command total respect when it comes to creating tense, atmospheric soundscapes from blackened elements. If these two tracks are anything to go by, we can’t wait for new material.
Barshasketh, therefore have a lot to live up to. The quartet’s music nods more obviously to second wave Norwegian BM, its melancholy punctuated by blast beats and tremolo picking, and although they don’t have the otherworldly quality of Krawwl’s efforts, As Flesh Becomes Earth and Pneuma Akatharton are fine tracks nonetheless.
A fascinating release, this split leaves you wanting more from both bands. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Deadly Duo
Genre: Black Metal
Black metal with groove? While this might be anathema to pure BM kvltists, Khold have still carved out a 14 year career making, stripped down, mid-paced black ‘n’ roll – albeit with a macabre edge.
Til Endes, introduces some punky spirit to the mix, which fits hand in glove with the band’s more aggressive side, and as ever, their music is driven on by Gard’s spiteful vocals, with every song delivered in the Norwegian’s native tongue.
The band’s sixth full length is not without its faults however, with the likes of Ravnestrupe and Det Dunkle Dyp feeling flat, and failing to ignite or truly excite.
When Khold do get it right though, they will have every self-respecting headbanger begging for more: Skogens ùye’s icy chords and stomping rhythms, for instance, are sure to snap necks across the globe. There’s also a cover of Sepultura’s Troops Of Doom thrown in for good measure… and the quartet manage to pull it off in their own style.
A solid release, rather than an essential album, Til Endes is no game changer for Khold, but it has its moments nonetheless. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Khold Snap
Genre: Thrash Metal
See the name, look at the logo, read the song titles (Entombed and Swallowed anyone?) and you know you’re dealing with a thrash band. But Brits Mutagenocide are no thrash-revival, late bandwagon jumpers – you know, the kind of band who think that a pair of hi-tops and some recycled Testament riffs pave the way to fame and glory.
Instead, this formidable quintet are intent on taking on modern metal’s pack leaders armed with wonderfully contorted guitar licks, jaw dropping time changes and a fistful of attitude (helped enormously by vocalist Jay Taylor’s vicious delivery).
And it’s clear as soon as Hysteria blazes through your speakers that the Cotswolds boys mean business – and the quality doesn’t dip one bit.
It’s a shame, then, that Devolve is only six tracks long, as their sophomore opus leaves you wanting much more. So let’s hope that Mutagenocide can go from strength to strength after this release, as the UK needs bands like them. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Devolved Power
Genre: Hard Rock
The Datsuns could have been the next Black Rebel Motorcycle Club had BRMC actually fulfilled their own potential and taken their garage rock groove to the next level.
Instead the Kiwis have crafted a modern rock record that will have the cool kids clicking their heel and their dads shuffling along for a piece of the action.
Deep Sleep is pretty grown up by Datsuns’ standards but that’s not to say it doesn’t contain bursts of urgent, angsty alt rock action. Leaning on everyone from Sabbath to Purple and a slew of stoner rock legends, this infectious album is a serious contender.
Lead single Bad Taste will go down as the massive rock hit that never was and Claw Machine isn’t too different to the glam-tinged fare on the new Sixx:AM record. But then there’s still pkenty of the riotous scuzzed up garage rock that made 2003’s Datsuns such a killer album.
Thought The Datsuns had had their day? Think again. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Dats Entertainment
Genre: Heavy Metal
Hailing from a long line of British metal maniacs, Evil Scarecrow boast the name, the power chords and the clichéd lyrics to make even the most grizzled promoter sit up and take notice.
Think a heavier, more evil and yet equally hilarious version of Steel Panther and you won’t go too far wrong. Like their US arena-bothering brethren, the Scarecrow have a laugh at metal’s expense but it’s funny as f**k.
The joke never really wears thin because these boys can play. And if Galactic Hunt is a spaced out epic that’s been done to death by so many better bands it never pretends to be anything other than utterly unoriginal.
Frontman Dr Rabid Hell really has been working on his vocals with some genuinely impressive bursts on tracks like Crabulon and Flight Of The Dragons. He’s no Ronnie James Dio but then who is?
Give Galactic Hunt a chance and at the very least you’ll struggle to suppress a cheeky smirk. Most metal fans will find it funnier than Metallica’s Lulu collaboration. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Galactic Heroes
Genre: Groove Metal/Thrash Metal
If debut Goliath suggested that Butcher Babies were much more than the pretty face of metal then this unconvincing EP hardly covers Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey in glory.
Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers is a rotten reworking of the ZZ Top original but their take on the Napoleon XIV novelty hit They’re Coming To Take Me Away is way, way worse.
Covers EPs and albums have become an increasingly familiar means of bands maintaining their momentum in the middle of the album cycle. For Butcher Babies it’s a means of butchering their brand just as the metal community was beginning to take them seriously. Shame. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 4/10 Babies Rattle