There’s the return of supergroup The Dead Daisies and US metal titans Armored Saint (pictured).
We revisit some landmark classic rock courtesy of Jeff Beck and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
And there’s new music from The Graveltones, Dead Existence and The Great Discord.
Royal Psalms and Panic Island jostle for position. And we deliver our verdict on The Kut and The Damned.
Every week we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we check out the very BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Hard Rock/Classic Rock
The raw, classic rock n roll collective that is The Dead Daisies is back! And with ex-Motley Crue man John Corabi on lead vocals the band’s latest album is about as kick ass as it’s gonna get this summer.
There’s a compelling groove and a sleazy bump and grind at the heart of Revolucion but more than anything it’s throwback music made by a bunch of old stagers who really should know better – and just don’t give a shit.
Marco Mendoza – a huge miss on the latest run of Black Star Riders live shows – brings a wealth of experience to the rhythm section while Richard Fortus once again shines as he escapes the all-encompassing shadow that is Guns N Roses.
And on that subject check out Dizzy Reed’s delicious intro. to Make The Best Of It – it’s a modern anthem made for stadium stages and festival sets the world over.
Blink and you’ll miss The Dead Daisies at Download this month – they hit the Encore Stage at 11am on Sunday but kick the hangover into touch and join grizzled crooner Corabi for what promises to be a compelling wake-up call. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Revolucion Calling
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Classic Rock
It’s eight years since Jeff Beck took up residency at Ronnie Scott’s and invited friends old and new to celebrate his signature guitar style and voracious appetite for exploring every feasible genre.
This expanded edition of some classic sets includes seven songs with the Big Town Playboys –including a brilliant version of the Gene Vincent classic Baby Blue – and collaborations with Joss Stone, Imogen Heap and Eric Clapton.
Released as a three-vinyl set for the first time it’s on heavy wax where these timeless classics deserve to be heard. But the double CD package offers a brilliant insight into Beck’s talent, passion and mind-boggling artistry.
Stevie Wonder’s Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers is a particular highlight but the standout moments come thick and fast. Fabulous. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Beck For Good
Genre: Rock And Roll
There’s a moment on This Love’s Gonna Break where you doubt yourself as a listener: The Graveltones can’t really create music so groove-laden and powerful as a duo? But they do. They always have done.
And on Love Lies Dying the UK-based Aussies unleash something so sonically super-charged that it makes debut Don’t Wait Down seem somewhat tentative.
In tandem they create such an ungodly racket that there’s simply no room for any wannabe band member to join the fray. It’s frantic, frenetic and, like its predecessor, a whole lot of fun. Sure, The Graveltones are best experienced live but Love Lies Dying is cut from the same cloth as the band’s wild, sweaty shows.
Vocalist Jimmy O constantly seems on the edge, screaming for all his life’s worth to make himself heard above drummer Mikey’s monstrous beats but it’s not all about extreme volume – the bluesy Can’t Tell A Man rivals Rival Sons. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Dying For More
Genre: Sludge Metal
The UK’s extreme scene is currently awash with grimy, doom laden bands emerging from the darkness to wreak havoc. And London’s Dead Existence, while not exactly the pick of the bunch, do a stirling job of dragging you into the sewers and filling you full of dirty, caustic noise.
Their third album (and first in eight years) is full of crust-caked stoner riffs and tense, drawn out songs which stink of urban blight: songs like Worthless, a maelstrom Neurosis would be proud of, and Tear Apart The Veil, a punishing nine and half minutes of downtuned bludgeon. They’re not afraid to up the tempo either, with the punchier Obsidian Black one of this album’s highlights.
Ok, Endless Misery feels repetitive, even one dimensional at times and is immersed in gloom. Yet the band’s bleak call to arms is a powerful statement and a release which should see them tear through the underground and leave crushed souls in their wake. File under uneasy listening. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 End Times
Genre: Progressive Metal
‘Duende’ may mean having ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’, but the rather plastic production of The Great Discord’s debut does little to help the album live up to its name. It sounds flat and synthetic, which is a shame, given vocalist Fia Kempe’s obvious talent and the Swedes’ adventurous approach.
The quintet blur the lines between cinematic, melodic metal, prog rock and the kind of alt-extremism practised by the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah. In some places, it works, kind of – in others, such as The Aging Man, it’s an approach that jars and feels awkward.
The Great Discord need to hone their songcraft. But more importantly, they need a producer who will give their material much needed warmth and bring the beauty of tracks like Woes and Ephemeral to the fore. Maybe next time…Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5.5/10 Disengaging
Genre: Alt Rock
How do you take preppy rock and roll and turn it into the most melancholic collection of songs since Billy Corgan spun his lyrical web around us all?
This is a question that Royal Psalms have answered with this album, and it’s a question that you suspect they didn’t even know they had asked.
The combination of Nick Warchol’s voice and the world-weary content of his songs combines to take their brand of melancholic rock to a new level. Just take ‘for me the only constant is disappointment’ from Slow Horse as a prime example.
The thing that stops this album from being dragged down into depression territory is the music, that uplifting, soaring music that sounds so much like Polar Bear Club and The Gaslight Anthem.
The way that sensitive subjects are approached with such honestly, and almost celebrated in a way, is what lifts this album out of the doldrums and turns it into a surprising uplifting and reassuring piece of work. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Heir To The Throne
Genre: Classic Rock
Calm down, calm down. The future of guitar driven rock music is secure in the hands of Panic Island who, despite their name, exhibit no cause of alarm in their music.
Instead, they show an impressive eye for a catchy chorus and a guitar section that could grace the cover of a rejuvenated Guitar Hero.
If opening song We Start Fires doesn’t attract the attention of radio stations, there is something amiss with the way they identify new talent. There is a similar quality to the music of that shown by The Virginmarys, another band who burst out of the blocks with Bang Bang Bang.
More than anything, the guitar sings to you in a way that feels unique – so much so that you can really feel the rhythm of the music in the way Vinnie Shimia makes his guitar hum.
If this is a sample of what’s to come, you should get very excited about Panic Island’s debut album. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK Rated: 8/10 Fever Pitch
The new era of female punk is back. Step aside Bikini Kill and The Distillers, The Kut are here to take your place and are as angry as you’ve ever been.
Even though they can’t decide if they want to kiss or kill all men, The Kut bring a refreshingly stripped down and raw sound to their music – it’s full of high energy and statements that have punch and meaning behind them.
The market for this type of music may not be as strong as it once was, but The Kut seem determined enough to cross bridges that have previously been burned. Rock, Paper, Scissors isn’t pure punk rock – there are some abstract sounding screamo elements in Alekhine’s Gun as well as more straight up Ash sounding rock on I Don’t Need Therapy.
The Kut may have been influenced by the Distillers and Bikini Kill, but they are a band doing it their own way and it sounds great. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Kutting Edge
The Damned are full of a lot of firsts; the first UK punk band to release a single, release a full-length album and to tour the US, but Another Live Album From The Damned definitely isn’t another first to add to that list. In fact, this is the Damned’s 17th live album – so you’d think it might get a bit boring after a while. Right? Wrong.
The album welcomes us yet again to the world that is a Damned live show. Packing in a lengthy 22 tracks it highlights the band’s diverse career over the last 40 years from sneering punk rock to gothic groove and the quality of both their playing and the production probably makes this their best live album to date.
Classics such as Neat Neat Neat, Smash It Up and of course, New Rose are all included, along with the psychedelic licks of 80s tracks Bad Time For Bonzo and the more recent Thrill Kill. Dave Vanian’s velvety vocals are still as faultless as ever, and despite some of the cheap jokes in-between tracks (a lot of them aimed at Malcolm McLaren), you’ll still have the odd chuckle or two whilst being taken on their trippy journey. Emma Carter
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Damned Fine
Genre: Southern Rock
It’s the album title that never was and three words guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of music lovers the world over. Two live versions of the stirring title track – separated by 22 years – will be enough to pique the interest of Southern rock fans everywhere but there’s a whole lot more for your money within the double CD/DVD package.
Skynyrd fans might, of course, say they’ve seen and heard it all before. And live sets by rock’s great survivors – spanning almost every generation of this famous collective – are easy to come by. And 1996’s Loreley Festival show isn’t particularly special.
But the ace in Sweet Home Alabama’s pack is three songs lifted from the band’s Hamburg Musikhalle appearance in 1974. Free Bird and Workin’ For MCA make up a heavy-hitting hat-trick of Skynyrd classics with Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington in blistering form. Listen, watch, learn. From the masters. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Home Again
Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
The focus for any new Armored Saint album tends to be fixed firmly on charismatic frontman John Bush but the real treat here is the frenzied fretwork that ensures Win Hands Down will become a true metal classic.
Bush has never sounded better and yet it’s testimony to Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan that they easily overshadow one of the most distinctive voices in rock. The Saint’s twin guitarists are on fire – blazing a trail across a slew of beefy anthems with solos that soar and riffs that bury deep into your soul.
The magnificent Muscle Memory is as good as anything this core line-up managed to muster in the mid 80s – it’s ambitious, affecting metal that’s allowed to flourish.
With A Full Head Of Steam features Pearl Aday as a guest vocalist but yet again it’s the mid-song, almost Living Colour-esque funk metal section that steals the show. Like so much of Win Hands Down it’s wholly unexpected…and it works. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Saints Alive