tim-ripper-owens-2It must be great to have famous mates and former Judas Priest singer Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (pictured) rolls most of them out on his latest star-studded solo offering.

Not that he’s alone as Dane Oliver Weers does the same with the worldwide release of his Scandinavian hit record. Finns Stratovarius are also back on the scene this week with a blast of pure power metal and we check out the new four-track EP from those wacky Brit kids the Wall Street Riots. Read on for full reviews on four of the hottest new rock releases money can buy.

tim-ripper-owensTim Ripper Owens – Play My Game (SPV/Steamhammer)

You’ve got to give credit to TRO. Even after his unceremonious dumping by Judas Priest there’s been no discernable lack of confidence in the Ripper camp and following his recent stint with Yngwie J Malmsteen, the multi-faceted frontman is back with a plethora of A-list pals to showcase what could be one of the metal albums of the year.

Drafting in the likes of Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Michael Wilton (Queensryche), Billy Sheehan (Mr Big), Simon Wright (AC/DC) and Vinniy Appice (Heaven & Hell), there’s no way Play My Game was going to disappoint and the likes of Believe and The Cover Up are classic slabs of the kind of straight ahead metal European fans love.

Wilton’s influence is clear on standout track To Live Again and there’s really very little not to like about one of the best works in the Owens’ cannon. It’s nothing new but it sounds fantastically fresh.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Game On

oliver-weersOliver Weers – Get Ready (Target Records)

There’s no doubt that our near neighbours from across the North Sea have developed a handy knack for knocking out a slew of quality hard rock records and this previously hidden gem is no different.

Here frontman Weers works alongside project leader, famed producer and impressive guitarist Soren Andersen plus long standing Whitesnake rhythm section Marco Mendoza and Tommy Aldridge. With the right ingredients this record is a melodic rock feast.

Angel is a cracking tune and Coming Home has a Def Leppard circa 1987 feel with its layered guitars and humalong melody. Mr Weers will be supporting Motley Crue in his home country this summer after a stint with Whitesnake before Christmas and it’s quite clear just why he is the support act of choice for any band hitting Copenhagen these days.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Weersy Does It

stratovariusStratovarius – Polaris (earMUSIC)

It is 24 years since Tuomo Lassila first emerged with Finnish legends Stratovarius and it’s little wonder the band has become past masters in the art of power metal. But with none of their founder members remaining in the ranks is this really a record representative of one of Europe’s finest rock exports?

In reality Polaris stays true to the Stratovarius mantra of fusing rock with a neoclassical twist. Renowned keyboardist Jens Johansson – recruited more than a decade ago – remains a strong influence and fans of his shredding style won’t be disappointed.

With this month’s five-date UK tour in full swing there’s every opportunity to judge Stratovarius in person but download the likes of Falling Star and Winter Skies and you’ll understand just what makes this diverse band matter to so many people.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Strat’s Entertainment

wall-street-riots-sleeveWall Street Riots – Playground Politics EP

One listen to this four-track showcase and it’s obvious that the nu-metal and pop-punk influences which first persuaded Karnig Karayan and Charlie Cosser to form a band still play a part in the Wall Street Riots sound today.

But the London-based quartet have clearly carved out a sound all of their own and the infectious tunes which pepper the Playground Politics EP promise big things for the future.

Opener Dr King oozes urban cool and closing track Karma Kids is an uncomplicated exercise in power pop heaven. These guys could go far – or at least further than the playground.

rushonrock rated: 6/10 Politics Is Cool