duffThis week we review the latest releases from ex-Gunner Duff McKagan, hardcore superstars Hundred Reasons, metal giants Black Sabbath and new kids on the rock block Nightvision.

And if that quartet of killer records doesn’t get your six-string juices flowing then what will? Maybe the new reissue of Metallica’s Black album in a deluxe four-vinyl box…more on that later this week.

duff-sick-albDuff McKagan’s Loaded – Sick (Century Media)

While we weren’t overly impressed with last year’s taster EP and if this still isn’t quite as catchy as the best of McKagan’s work with the mothballed Velvet Revolver, there’s no doubt Sick suggests nu-punk is in rude health.

The title track takes you by the scruff of the neck and from that moment on you’re in no doubt that this sonically aggressive slice of raw garage rock was designed to make you shudder.

McKagan might be on the fast track to anti-addiction these days but it’s clear the inner frustrations still exist – these days his drug of choice is former college band Loaded and for that we have to be thankful.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Sickly Sweet

hundred-reasons-quickHundred Reasons – Quick The Word, Sharp The Action (PIAS)

Hands up if you’ve seen this one somewhere before? Well you’d be right but you must have been pretty quick off the mark to pick it up first time around.

Released for a week before HR were dropped (again) by their new label, this vibrant return to form was cruelly withdrawn just seven days after making a typically understated impression on the music buying public.

Blink and you would have missed it but now’s the time to see this album for what it is – a cocky confirmation that all is well with modern British rock. Featuring four previously unreleased tracks and new pacakaging (just in case you did buy it first time around), QTWSTA is bursting with energy and pride as well as the standout tune and new single I’ll Never Know.

Here at rushonrock we’ll never know why HR aren’t absolutely huge but this is the true beginning of an exciting new era. We hope.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Action Packed

sabbath-paranoidBlack Sabbath – Paranoid Reissue (Universal)

At first glance this iconic record on three CDs boasting three identical track lists might seem way too much – even for the Sabbath die-hard.

And it has to be said one of 2009’s most eagerly anticipated reissues is very heavy going. But in a good way. The original record, revamped and remastered, reaffirms the view that this was one of the best metal albums you will ever hear.

But it is the quadrophonic mix which really blows you away and, a word of warning here, it literally will blow away all but the best speaker systems -such is the sheer voracity of its rich volume.

Has there ever been a better Sabbath song than the title track? Certainly not in the Ozzy era and that’s how this album must be judged – in the context of a certain Mr Osbourne making his presence felt as a true rock superstar. Mind blowing stuff (for Ozzy, certainly).

rushonrock rated: 10/10 An Oz Fest

nightvisionNightvision – As The Lights Go Down (Rocksector Records)

It is mere coincidence that this intriguing record has been released at the same time as Pearl Jam’s Ten reissue? At times Nightvision’s new album evokes memories of grunge’s more melodic moments with it’s crunching bass lines and searing riffs and this is certainly no nod to traditional heavy metal.

Vocally, Dave McKee gives the band more than a hint of Black Stone Cherry-esque drive and so suddenly we’re looking at a very US-sounding slab of rock rooted in the tradition of the UK’s finest metal monsters. It should be good but it doesn’t always do justice to a technically gifted and fiercely ambitious band.

Love Ain’t Cheap is a chugging effort coming, as it does, just two tracks after the superb Something Better – the third track on As The Lights Go Down should be the benchmark for Nightvision in the future because it’s by far their best crack at classic hard rock. And this is the style which suits McKee and his mates best.

rushonrock rated: 6/10 Skewed Vision