It’s the day of rest and the clocks have gone back but here at rushonrock we’re working harder than ever and there’s no time to waste -as we count down three of tomorrow’s hottest new releases.

Cradle Of Filth – Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder (Roadrunner)

Let’s not beat about the proverbial bush here. This is some heavy shit. Heavy in terms of ear-bleedingly intense, heavy in terms of lyrically challenging and heavy in terms of coming to terms with a concept based around a French serial killer. Yep, it’s heavy, heavy, heavy stuff.

But then again we like a bit of heavy from time to time. And once we’d fought our way past In Grandeur And Frankincense Devilment Stirs and Shat Out Of Hell (!) this frankly weird and wonderful record began to possess a certain appeal. You can’t beat voiceovers straight from the depths of a religious cult’s dungeon and classical bursts bound to impress the most demanding of musos. Throw in Dani Filth’s famous penchant for a ridiculous song title and there’s enough here to keep you busy for weeks.

We haven’t got weeks. And we’re always busy. But get your teeth into standout track Honey And Sulphur and you’ll be ready for anything 2008’s winter of discontent can throw at you.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Filthy Dirty Fun

Axel Rudi Pell – Tales Of The Crown (SPV/Steamhammer)

No this isn’t Axl. It’s Axel. And frankly the former Steeler axeman is a far cooler guy than the bloke about to release his first album in 500 years.

Herr Pell has been flying solo for almost 20 years now and like a fine Bavarian beerkeller you just can’t help going back for more. Widely recognised as one of Europe’s finest guitarists he is at the very top of his game with the hugely enjoyable Tales Of The Crown.

In complete contrast to Dani Filth’s desire to make every song title more complicated than the last it’s refreshing to listen to the likes of Higher, Crossfire and Buried Alive knowing that it’s the music doing the talking. But don’t be fooled by the simple song names – within this latest collection of Pell classics lies some truly magical musicianship.

Vocalist Johnny Gioeli is the perfect foil for his gaffer’s guitar playing and there doesn’t appear to be any pecking order spoiling the flow of a fabulous record. In fact what we have here is a terrific slab of classic rock for 2008 and an album that demands to be heard.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 In Rudi Health.

Gamma Ray – Hell Yeah! The Awesome Foursome Live In Montreal (SPV/Steamhammer)

This live album looks, on the surface at least, like one for the die-hard Gamma Ray fan and no-one else. In fact it’s a fascinating record of a band who coined the phrase ‘feelgood factor’ with their high-energy, low-maintenence approach to good old fashioned rock. As the nights draw in and the cold bites this could warm the cockles better than a hot water bottle and fleece blanket combined.

Ex-Helloween hero Kai Hansen has given his best years as a muso to the ‘Ray and the people of Montreal really appear to appreciate his hard work on a night which restores your faith in the power of rock. New World Order is the pick of the early tracks but once the second half of the set is underway the sparks begin to fly.

We’re no fans of the live album genre but this is as good as one of these records gets. Spread over two CDs and encoring with the superb I Want Out and Send Me A Sign even Gamma virgins might enjoy this 22-track showcase for testosterone-fuelled Teutonic rock.

rushonrock rated: 6/10 Ray Of Light