England’s cricketers might have lost out on $1m a man this weekend but they can still afford a new CD and this is the place to start. It’s rushonrock‘s weekly preview of Monday’s hottest new releases and do they come any hotter than a new Thunder record?

Thunder – Bang! (Townsend Records)

Let’s just get one thing straight – Thunder don’t do bad records. Danny, Luke and the boys might not always hit the creative peaks of yesteryear but they never ever deliver anything less than a consistently cracking slice of blues rock. And in the case of Bang! they might just have topped the lot.

Opener On The Radio is a typically tongue in cheek offering from the kings of self deprecation and from then on in it just gets better and better. Stormwater is a stonker of a track and free download single Carol Ann cannot be omitted from this month’s live set as it clearly has modern day classic written all over it.

Such is the strength of Thunder’s best record for yonks that it might have been considered the most amazing thing we’ve heard all year – had those cheeky tykes from Tesla not released Forever More. But the fact that it comes close to topping the 2008 best-of list is testimony to one of the UK’s true rock treasures.

Watching Over You is a ballad par excellence and even One Bullet is worth a shot hidden away as the second last song on the record. We’ve tried to pick fault with at least one song here but it’s just not happening and here’s hoping Bang! gets a decent airing at the band’s shows throughout November.

rushonrock rated: 9/10 Bang! Is A Blast!

Marshall Law – Razorhead (DR2)

Tyneside-based Global Music Ltd continue to do their bit for rock more than most but the decision to release Marshall Law’s latest record on their DR2 imprint is strange to say the least. The supposed home for new music doesn’t appear to be the natural place for a band celebrating its 20th anniversary but Razorhead is definitley new.

The problem is it just isn’t different enough to suggest the latest incarnation of this much maligned Midlands-based troop can earn a foothold in an increasingly congested rock market. This a solid rock album very much rooted in the British NWOBHM tradition of pounding riffs and killer choruses but it just doesn’t capture the imagination.

In a year when the likes of Tygers Of Pan Tang and Waysted have returned to form with genuinely edgy records, Marshall Law don’t quite hit the mark. Live and it might be a different matter so we won’t lose faith just yet…

rushonrock rated: 6/10 Razorhead Lacks Cutting Edge

Girlschool – Legacy (SPV/Steamhammer)

Had Girlschool been boys it’s difficult to imagine them making the rapid progress on the rock scene which saw Motorhead supports and minor chart success within months of initial media interest. The band boasted talent but no more or no less than a hundred other acts all looking to make a killing out of the burgeoning NWOBHM scene. And yet Girlschool were, well, girls.

Over the years they more than made up for the faith shown in their early potential and went on to become a vital band on the British scene. Their classic rock sound tinged with truly heavy metal moments is alive and well on Legacy and this record deserves to be heard.

A glut of star guests suggests those in the know are still glad to lend their support to Kim and her crew. Lemmy is an obvious cohort and the Dio/Iommi mix of I Spy is something ver special indeed. But it’s hard to beat the Neil Murray-infused Legend when looking for the track which proves Girlschool are back – and this time for good.

The feisty fourpiece have made a career out of proving their critics wrong but in 2008 all they need to do is prove their own relevance. Legacy does the job.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Girlschool Teach Lesson In Rock