It’s that time of the week again when we check out the best in new rock and metal.
And who better to steal the show that today’s Download main stage Slash? We review and rate his new live album.
There’s the latest release from German metallers Helloween plus a box set of Anneke Van Giersbergen (pictured) treats.
We check out the Scott Weiland-fronted Art Of Anarchy and the new album from Anuryzm.
Plus there’s new music from Demon Lung and Iwrestledabearonce.
Every week 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
Fair play to Slash. When the world feared the golden age of rock and roll heroes was dead and gone, the coolest cat in the hat reinvented himself post-Velvet Revolver to single-handedly fill the void.
Now firmly established as the co-leader of the Conspirators, alongside Myles Kennedy, Slash has never sounded better. Three albums into his ‘solo’ career and there are plenty of fresh tunes to complement the so-called classics and this career-spanning set is stunning.
Fans at Sweden Rock were treated to a truncated version and Download will get 60 minutes of Slash-tastic riffage this afternoon – the latter set is likely to follow CD two of this double disc release.
New tune Bent To Fly ushers in Starlight with the Conspirators given every opportunity to prove their worth. Not for the first time Anastasia is the pick of the bunch with its soaring intro. and then it’s the big finale every fan demands: Sweet Child O’ Mine, Slither and Paradise City sending the Roxy crowd wild. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Roxy And Roll
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Doom Metal
Its muse is Juan López Moctezuma’s 1977 Mexican horror flick, Alucarda, and it’s wrapped in a typically weighty production from doom overlord Billy Anderson. Fair to say, then, that A Dracula is not a collection of whimsical love songs.
Demon Lung’s second album is immersed in a sinister, occult vibe, with heavy, lumbering trad doom as its primary influence. The results are, in some places, magnificent. Rursumque Alucarda, for example, flattens all before it with a crushing, slo-mo intro, before kicking into a titanic groove, topped with Shanda Fredrick’s seductive vocals. I Am Haunted, meanwhile opens with one hell of a catchy riff, then opts for an infectious, Saint Vitus-like strut.
However, too often, the Las Vegas-based act are too ponderous and unimaginative to ensure A Dracula holds your attention throughout. There are some great ideas lurking in the album’s darkness, but they don’t quite come to life on songs like Deny The Saviour.
Still, if you like to listen to your doom in a candlelit crypt, you could do a lot worse…Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Heavy Breathing
Genre: Experimental Metal/Avant Garde
Explaining metal to non-metal appreciating mates is tricky at the best of times, without throwing bands like Iwrestledabearonce into the mix. Metalcore, math rock, deathcore, grind… the Louisiana crew mix a whole host of influences into their vivid sonic onslaught and spit them out over whoever dares to come close.
One minute, you’ll be drowning in a deluge of convoluted riffery, the next, wrenched out of the storm by some beautiful, melodic vocals by Courtney LaPlante… and then plunged back into a hurricane of Meshuggah-esque rhythms. Hail Mary, their fourth album, is not for the close minded, or faint hearted, but there’s a verve to tracks like Trips, Carbon Copy and Your God Is Too Small that you can’t ignore.
Are Iwrestledabearonce too clever for their own good? At times, definitely. However, the talented quintet make music on their own terms. And they should be hailed for that. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Wrestle Mania
Genre: Hard Rock
Scott Weiland’s insistence that he is not, in fact, a member of Art Of Anarchy doesn’t bode well for this supergroup’s immediate future. If a singer so desperate to kickstart his career is so quick to distance himself from this self-titled debut then something must be up.
According to Weiland he was simply hired as a session musician to add vocals to songs written and ultimately produced by Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal with brothers Jon and Vince Votta. And it shows.
Where Bumblefoot’s guitar work – check out Til The Dust – is consistently exceptional, Weiland’s vocals are lazy, laboured and lack focus. Compare tracks like Death Of It with the singer’s best work on new solo album Blaster and it’s abundantly clear where his priorities lay. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Anarchic
Genre: Power Metal
Straight Out Of Hell, released 18 months ago and worthy of a RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 review, was Helloween at their very best: dynamic, determined and devilishly mischievous.
For some reason the band has ripped up that familiar blueprint and chosen to veer towards generic, forgettable and inexplicably bland metal on the cumbersome My God-Given Right. It’s a shock – and for all of the wrong reasons.
Russian Roulé could be one of the worst songs in Helloween history but even Heroes – the opening track and a potential rallying call for metal heads everywhere – suffers from a flimsy production and no discernible passion.
This is a band – and a brand – synonymous with consistency, authenticity and songwriting prowess. Or it was. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Helloween Horror Show
Genre: Progressive Metal
The United Arab Emirates might not be the first place to turn in the quest for progressive metal perfection but Anuryzm are a band conceived to shatter perceptions and promote diversity.
The name does them no favours whatsoever but overlook their awkward monicker and the music is both exciting and energising. Echoes of Opeth and Dream Theater punctuate the best of the material and by the time Humanoid is in full flow it’s clear Anuryzm’s message needs to be heard.
Split into two sequences, All Is Not For All allows the band – originally from Lebanon – to explore the boundaries of their creativity and fuse their technical prowess with an old school approach to album making.
It’s intriguing stuff without ever threatening to challenge the genre leaders. But two records in there’s more than enough time for Anuryzm to blossom into an act that can flourish far beyond its Abu Dhabi base. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Anuryzing
Genre: Alt Rock/Folk Rock/Pop Rock
When Anneke Van Giersbergen quit The Gathering a cloud of collective depression descended over the progressive rock community. It was a split that prompted heartache and optimism in equal measure and fans still remain divided over the thorny issue of whether the present is a match for the past.
Where Van Giersbergen is concerned the break allowed her to push her creativity to the limits and this four-album box set – charting the first chapter of an increasingly noteworthy solo career – is a genuine treat.
Part folk rock, part pop, part alternative it’s a diverse mix of styles and approaches. But it’s all good. And at the heart is Van Giersbergen’s unique voice: whatever her genre of choice it’s the vocal that always stands out.
So where to start with this immersive selection? The interplay of vocal and brass on Day After Yesterday is dazzling but the upbeat Euro pop of I Want is equally engaging and Hey Okay! gloriously fuses singalong folk with feverish blues.
Cynicism and reality bite but this box set is surely all about putting smiles on faces such is the sweet innocence of Van Giersbergen’s dreamy tones. Set aside a week and enjoy a truly unique listening experience. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Van Tastic