Like a Shane Warne over in the IPL we’ve got six of the best for you this week including the latest offering from Sunstorm featuring David Coverdale’s best mate Joe Lynn Turner (pictured).
It’s another big week for melodic rock with Hardline and The Trophy hitting the mark and not-to-be-missed newcomers 4Bitten releasing a tasty little debut.
Throw in the strangely addictive ska-core of Sonic Boom Six and a rock band from Belgium (!) in the shape of The Black Box Revelation and this is one of those weeks when we can confidently predict there really is something for everyone…
Hardline – Leaving The End Open (Frontiers)
In the week when Joe Lynn Turner returns to the fray his is not the best melodic record you’ll hear this week. No, that comes in the shape of the quite superb Leaving The End Open from hair metal heroes Hardline and it’s all because of the fret jangling maestro that is Josh Ramos.
If the vocals and melodies on a real jewel of a record are steeped in quality then it is only when the guitar solos attack you from every angle that you realise this is one special album.
Ramos – who we last heard from on 2008’s Ramos Hugo project – is a perfect fit for founder member Johnny Gioeli and the pair dovetail like pure rock demons throughout 11 Bob Burch-produced thrillers. Recorded in California and made for the Sunset Strip’s sweatier little dives this is soaked in riff-fueled sunshine.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 …End Is Just The Beginning
4Bitten – No More Sins (Rocksector Records)
There aren’t too many ‘fiery female fronted American/Greek hard rock bands’ out there but one listen of No More Sins and you really have to believe the hype.
By track five keyboardist and singer Fifi is telling us all about her Rock N Roll Dream and on this evidence there’s every chance it could become reality one day soon. Like the Greek team which triumphed in the 2004 European Football Championships, the four piece that is 4Bitten stick to the basics well and their polished blues rock is occasionally a revelation.
Only a lack of consistency spoils No More Sins – indeed the title track is just a little too tame – but the potential here is massive. Check ’em out opening up for Dan Reed in the UK later this month.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 No Greek Tragedy
The Black Box Revelation – Set Your Head On Fire (T For Tunes)
Name one great rock band from Belgium. Yep, anytime tonight will do. And yes, they have to rock. And be a band. Brussels doesn’t sprout too many musical icons but TBBR might just be about to buck the trend.
Sensibly they sound nothing like you’d expect a Benelux act to sound like. Stealing their style from early Rolling Stones, 70s garage rock and the likes of Black Rebel Motorcyle Club this sparky duo has delivered a rather nifty little batch of 10 dancefloor fillers and we can’t wait to hear more.
The odd catchy chorus wouldn’t go amiss but that’s just being picky. Tracks like Love In Your Head stick in your head. And that’s good enough from any band – especially a Belgian band.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Box Of Tricks
Sunstorm – House Of Dreams (Frontiers)
In slagging off fellow former Purpleton David Coverdale in a pre-release interview the canny Joe Lynn Turner has guaranteed more mentions of this record than he could possibly have dreamed of.
I say canny but it could backfire such has been the storm of protest surrounding JLT’s accusation that Cov uses backing tapes. And that would be a shame because this is a decent melodic rock record which was going to claim rushonrock‘s CD of the week until Hardline hit the stereo.
The Dennis Ward production, Desmond Child song credits and Turner’s uber professional pipes suggest there’s a fair bit of quality here and there is. In abundance. But for all the classy hooks and hand-clapping choruses there are points where House Of Dreams comes across a touch soulless. But only a touch.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Hail The Storm
Sonic Boom Six – City Of Thieves (Rebel Alliance Recordings)
Too many musical cooks spoiling the broth mean what could have been a smashing little album is more crackpot than cracking. The hair metal solos cut across Specials-style ska and grungy chords slice through reggae beats. On a lazy, hazy spring day it’s all a bit too much to digest.
Perhaps SB6 are a band you need to see live. The release of energy on City Of Thieves is too much for a single CD and only serves to mess up the best bits of some bloody good songs. Transfer the chaos to the live stage and you could be onto something special. Maybe.
rushonrock rated: 5/10 Boom And Bust
The Trophy – The Gift Of Life (Frontiers)
And so to the last of this week’s Frontiers trio and The Trophy ain’t going to win any prizes for this rock standard. Multi-talented singer and instrumentalist Michael Bormann is a supremely talented guy but for too much of this self-produced album it seems like he’s simply going through the motions.
When you sing, look after the rhythm section, play occasional keyboards, indulge in the odd blast of guitar and produce the record then the issue of quality control comes into play. And while the level of consistency across The Gift Of Life reflects a professional at the height of his game there are times when fellow band mates or an outside production team would have sensibly stepped in and advised against the odd potential error – like calling a song by a band called The Trophy, Get The Cup.
Is it a purpose-built football anthem? If so then all is forgiven. Well, nearly all.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Silver Wears