Tomorrow’s new releases include Jettblack’s latest long player and an EP release from fellow Brits Toseland (pictured).
Robben Ford unleashes his latest album and we check out Turbowolf. There’s new music from Brigades and a live album from Katatonia.
We finally wrap our ears around more live music from Romeo’s Daughter ahead of the band’s brand new studio album.
There’s the latest sounds courtesy of Undersmile, Apophys and a raft of Anathema reissues.
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: Alt Rock
If someone took all the heroes of hard rock, gave them LSD and locked them in a room with orders to make the best album they could, Two Hands would be the result.
Turbowolf are the masters of rock that has an edge to it, whether it’s in the electronic intro to Let’s Die, from debut album Turbowolf, or American Mirrors with its 1950s variety show style introduction. Hell, even their music videos look like the band has fallen into a time warp, gone back to the 80s and never returned.
Make no bones about it, this is an absolute gem of a rock record – there isn’t a bad song in sight and Turbowolf’s blend of psychedelic rock, punk and electronica rocks hard but never feels repetitive or boring.
The worst thing about this album is that the band will be playing it in front of 100 people at smaller venues across the country instead of thousands during their upcoming tour. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Show Of Hands
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Pop Punk
For those used to listening to their brand of pop/punk/rock, Our Lives Unfold is a bit of a strange EP from South Carolina foursome Brigades. It includes two acoustic versions of old songs: The Writing On The Wall and Small Time Crooks, while two acoustic originals make up the other tunes.
Their latest release comes across as one for the ‘proper’ fans, the type that would line up for an hour in the freezing cold to watch them play or to grab a signature. For the uninitiated, Our Lives Unfold offers an interesting way in and an avenue to explore the lyrics (which actually do a fair amount of heartstring pulling), rather than just the music.
Bruiser and Under My Skin are the two originals on this EP and whether or not Brigades choose to keep them in the current format, they have two songs that hit deep and could work in either style. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Rock Brigades
Genre: Death metal
Featuring members of God Dethroned, Detonation, Prostitute Disfigurement and Toxocara, Apophys may be making their debut here, but they boast plenty of established death metal talent in their ranks.
And that talent more than makes its presence felt on razor sharp, livewire tracks like Requiem for the Absurd, Humanity’s Epilogue and The Antidote (complete with scary I Am Legend sample): here you’ll find Apophys get the balance right between infectious riffs and technical brilliance, with drummer Michiel van der Plicht pushing the intensity levels into the red.
However, for all the Dutchmen’s explosive delivery, Prime Incursion fails to stand out from the crowd: too many tracks lurch from one rhythm to the next without settling into a groove, leaving no real lasting impression. It’s a problem by no means unique to Apophys (named after an Earth-threatening asteroid, by the way), but is frustrating nonetheless.
Perhaps, with more focus, this opus could have achieved more – let’s see what the follow up holds. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Near Miss
Genre: Doom Metal
Soaked in red wine and melancholy, Anhedonia is a slow burning, mournful opus, an album that treads a fine line between hypnotic doom and downright dreariness.
Undersmile’s second album asks a lot of the listener: tracks like opener, Labrinyth require great patience and repeated plays before they sink in, if they ever do. There is, however, a dark beauty to Anhedonia, with Jo Quail’s cello giving Song of Stones and Emmenagogue a higher sense of drama than they might have otherwise achieved, and once you’ve journeyed into the heart of Sky Burial and Knucklesucker, you’ll find pitch black doom riffs that threaten to drag you into the abyss.
Unfortunately, the Oxford quartet don’t give their more intriguing – or heavier – passages enough room among the gloom, leading to a real endurance test of a record.
Played live though, in a candlelit cavern, Anhedonia could be a very different experience…Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5.5/10 Underworldly
Genre: Progressive Rock/Alternative
Anathema are surely one of the most underrated bands in the UK; a prolific and consistent outfit, their ten-album career has seen them evolve from crusty doom metallers to prog rock visionaries, with albums like Judgement showing just how polished their songcraft had become by its release date in 1999. This re-mastered version, part of a three album package celebrating the Liverpudlians’ Music For Nations years, sees the band embracing their Pink Floyd influences on songs like Emotional Winter and Wings of God, with Daniel Cavanagh unleashing streams of soaring leadwork.
Elsewhere, you’ll find the yearning, heartfelt alt-rock of Deep and the new wave-esque, synth driven, Make It Right – just two of many highlights here.
Ok, so it may lack the immediacy of other Anathema albums, but Judgement saw the band close the 20th century with an album smouldering with emotional intensity… and brimming with quality. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Holding Court
Genre: Progressive Rock/Alternative
Anathema announced their arrival in a new decade with the beautifully composed, instrumental opener A Fine Day, and proceeded to take us on a journey that both spanned their myriad influences and showed just how expansive their songwriting could be.
There’s a hint of The Beatles – albeit a much darker version – in Pressure, where Les Smith’s piano wonderfully complements Vincent Cavanagh’s vocal delivery, while Panic sees the quintet up the pace and hit the distortion pedals, and Underworld tops its hard driven riffs with sprinklings of electronica.
A more rock-orientated and varied album than Judgement, 2001’s A Fine Day To Exit is packed with moments of high drama and superb musicianship, and hints at the masterpiece that was to come two years later…Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Day Dream
Genre: Progressive Rock/Alternative
Anathema’s finest moment? There was much more to come from the band following this 2003 classic, but A Natural Disaster is a simply stunning piece of work from the Liverpool outfit and boasts some of their greatest songs. The pairing of Balance and Closer will make your hairs on the back of neck stand on end, and as the latter track reaches its crescendo, you know you’re in the presence of genius. Built on simple piano motifs, Balance and Closer saw Anathema’s songwriting reach even loftier heights… as did the melancholic, dark blues of the title track, over which vocalist Lee Douglas delivers a mesmeric performance.
Pulled Under at 2000 Metres Per Second and album closer, Violence, meanwhile, reveal the band’s heavier side, with Violence an especially potent ten plus minutes plus of epic, atmospheric metal that eventually drifts serenely into calmer waters.
Few British rock bands of the noughties – from any musical hue – came close to matching A Natural Disaster and the Fine Days package is arguably worth buying for this opus alone. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Natural Wonder
Genre: Hard Rock
During their brief stay with Spinefarm, Brit rockers Jettblack were touted as the next big thing alongside label mates Reckless Love. From the outset the smart money was on both bands to capitalise on the renewed fascination with 80s-styled rock but only one has really taken off.
Reckless Love aren’t yet superstars but their relative progress has put Jettblack in the shade. As a result Disguises is a potential career-changer: with that in mind it’s a brave record that deserves success.
Harder edged than Get Your Hands Dirty and Raining Rock, it’s an ambitious album that casts Jettblack in an exciting new light. Eschewing their sleazier side for a more mature songwriting approach, tracks like Poison Rain pull the band way beyond their comfort zone with shades of Blue Oyster Cult and Dio colouring this early highlight.
The slow burning Evidence (think Skid Row meets Clannad – honestly!) and hard rocking title track bristle with confidence but the glue that holds Disguises together is a rhythm section that’s rarely less than astonishingly tight. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Clever Disguises
Genre: Progressive Metal
Listening to Sanctitude, it’s difficult to imagine that Katatonia are often cited as forerunners of the death/doom genre – this is chilled-out, laid back, lounge music benefitting from luscious arrangements and lavish attention to detail.
Recorded at London’s intimate Union Chapel in 2014, the outstanding mix ensures every musician is given room to breathe. It’s clear the decision to capture this sensational show in all of its natural glory was no lazy afterthought – weeks of careful preparation and rehearsal have spawned a truly unique insight into Katatonia’s remarkable evolution.
Early on Jonas Renske tells the crowd ‘we’re all very nervous but we hope it works out’. It does. In fact this set goes way beyond simply ‘working out’ – by the time Teargas is in full flow there’s no doubt a classic recording is on the cards.
The decision to take their Unplugged And Reworked tour on the road was a huge gamble on Katatonia’s part but Sanctitude is proof that it paid off big time. Skip to Undo You (midway through the set) and experience a band at its creative peak. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Sancs For The Memories
Genre: AOR/Melodic Rock
These are thrilling times for fans of Romeo’s Daughter. On the road across the UK with FM this spring and fresh from one of the sets of the weekend at Hard Rock Hell AOR3, new studio album Spin hits stores on April 20.
And if that’s just too far off then live CD/DVD release Alive offers compelling evidence that Leigh Matty and co. have lost none of the spark that persuaded Mutt Lange to produce the band’s self-titled 1988 debut.
Guitarist, songwriter and RD stalwart Craig Joiner is in scintillating form from start to finish and fans of mid 80s Def Leppard and Magnum will revel in classy riff after classy riff. His breathtaking work on Bittersweet and set closer Wild Child (beloved by Heart and covered on the American band’s three-million seller Brigade) is a revelation.
Of course Joiner and Matty are perfectly complementary and the latter’s unique voice has comfortably stood the test of time. On crowd favourites I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night and Heaven In The Backseat, RD’s sultry singer rolls back the years and, at the same time, confirms melodic rock’s future is in safe hands. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Alive And Kicking
Genre: Blues Rock/Jazz Rock
Five songs in and Robben Ford is getting into the groove: alongside special guests Keb’ Mo’ and Robert Randolph, the five-time Grammy nominee has never sounded better than he does cruising through the jaw-dropping Justified.
Although collaboration-heavy (ZZ Ward, Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth and Tyler Bryant all pop up at various points) there’s no doubt Into The Sun is all about the main man. Ford is confident enough to allow his pals their moment in the spotlight safe in the knowledge that he’s in the form of his life.
Significantly the first four songs are Ford-focused. Opener Rose Of Sharon is riveting while Howlin’ At The Moon is familiar blues with a neat twist. In fact Into The Sun is a rich and varied record that’s never allowed to slip quietly into the comfort zone. Ford would baulk at the very thought and 35 albums into a phenomenal career it’s quite incredible that quality still trumps quantity. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Rockin Robben
Genre: Hard Rock
Sounding more and more like Myles Kennedy – and that’s no bad thing – James Toseland is back with a taster for the follow-up to 2014’s debut album Renegade.
Anyone who remembers short-lived Darkness offshoot Stone Gods should grab this three-track blast of good old British rock and roll now. It’s a reminder that there’s much to be said for passion, attitude, blazing solos and singalong choruses.
It’s a tried and tested formula that was writ large across Renegade and Toseland (the band) show no signs of trying to fix what ain’t broke. The title track and The Closer I Get are the new tunes here with The Teardrop Explodes cover Reward included as an added bonus. All three fit the Toseland blueprint and bode well for this month’s UK headline tour. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Bones Shaker