wednesday-tallSteve Vai might have had the good sense to delay the release of his new album for seven days (we’ll rate it right here next Sunday) but we’re still bringing you the rushonrock verdict on a whopping eight albums this week – including the debut from Wednesday 13’s (pictured) new project Gunfire 76.

There’s the story so far from Funeral For A Friend, a triumph though adversity from Paramore and a punk rock double via Bullets And Octane. Heavyweight Best Of releases by Rainbow and Mott The Hoople slug it out for the heritage vote and we’ve got Germany’s Toja and Italy’s Fab Box flying the flag for Euro rock.

FFAF albumFuneral For A Friend – Your History Is Mine: 2002-2009 (Atlantic Records)

This could be seen as a blatant major label cash-in following FFAF’s decision to depart Atlantic after three records. And it may well have been had the band not got on board to add a degree of authenticity to this excellent career resume. Setting aside any differences they may or may not have with thier former paymasters, the fan friendly FFAF actually added an EP’s worth of new tracks to 12 familiar modern rock faves.

There is no doubt that 10.45 Amsterdam Conversations, Roses For The Dead, History and Into Oblivion (Reunion) will stand the test of time as truly anthemic guitar-driven classics. All four of this CD’s standout tracks showcase a band always seeking to push the boundaries and there’s a clear progression from raw energy to polished power over a frantic seven-year period.

Rock bands don’t normally release Greatest Hits records four albums into their careers and FFAF wouldn’t have dreamt of doing so. That Atlantic made the decision for them, however, has done every self-respecting fan of British rock a huge and timely favour.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Friends Reunited

paramoreParamore – Brand New Eyes (Fueled By Ramen)

This is the record that nearly never was and it’s an album Paramore needed to make. Fueled by disparate visions and bitter in-fighting it proves this teen-friendly troupe really have grown up – without deserting the hook-laden pop rock which so appealed to disaffected kids everyhwere in the first place.

Predecessor RIOT! has sold more than two million copies but it’s immaturity fast became grating. This time Hayley and her mates have pushed the boundaries to pen tunes such as Ignorance and Where The Lines Overlap – songs which feel like they’re real.

They’re also songs fit for December’s UK arena tour and from the ashes of self-destruction this is one band rising to the very top of the rock tree.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Paramore Of The Same Please

rainbowRainbow – Anthology 1975-1985 (Universal Music)

If you know Rainbow for Stargazer, Since You’ve Been Gone, All Night Long and I Surrender then you probably think you know Rainbow. Think again.

This extensive and fully comprehensive history of one of the finest melodic rock bands that ever was throws up the quirky and the classy, the hit singles and the hidden gems. Even if you already boast one of the band’s many Greatest Hits packages in your collection then this is even better. 

Any double CD featuring Ritchie Blackmore pounding out the riffs alongside vocalists of the calibre of Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnett and Joe Lynn Turner has to be a sure fire classic. It’s incredible to think three singers of such pedigree passed through the Rainbow ranks in less than a decade but every one made their mark.

True collectors will appreciate the previously unreleased Donington version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow but everyone else will still love Since You’ve Been Gone and the rushonrock repeat button has seen some serious action in the last fortnight. If you buy one Greatest Hits package this year then buy this.

rushonrock rated: 10/10 Ritchie Pickings

mottMott The Hoople – The Very Best Of Mott The Hoople (Sony Music)

In the middle of a sold-out reunion run of London shows, Mott is big news right now and so what better time for Sony to repackage the band’s very best tunes yet again?

And while this won’t throw up any major surprises for fans of the 40-year-old glamsters it serves as a timely reminder to the rest of us that there’s so much more to the band with the silly name than big hit All The Young Dudes.

In fact track two, Honaloochie Boogie, is brilliant snapshot of the way early 70s rock was seeking a route into the disco pop mainstream. Blending the Beatles with a soulful horn section it adds a certain polish to the previous year’s …Dudes and cements Mott’s reputation as true rock and roll visionaries.

The fact that Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott was persuaded to follow his musical dream due to Ian Hunter and co. is good enough for rushonrock. Unlike Rainbow’s Best Of the quantity outweighs the quality. But what quality! Give us the intro to Roll Away The Stone any day…

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Hoop La

gunfire 76Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies (Wednesday 13 LLC)

Is there no end to the creative whirlwind that is former Murderdoll Wednesday 13? Seemingly not if this, quite possibly his best offering to date, is anything to go by.

Inspired by the time spent touring with old buddy Todd Youth, this raw rock and roll record actually outshines either of the most recent records the two men were plugging earlier this year. In the same week that Kiss release their most relevant record for more than two decades it’s surely no coincidence Wednesday has chosen to unleash a record so close to his rock heroes’ hearts.

The terrific title track and the super sleazy Los Angel-Less are worthy additions to the canon of everybody’s favourite Alice Cooper clone and that trademark vocal style never strays far from the supreme shock rocker himself. A revelation.

rushonrock rated: 9/10 Wednesday’s Fired Up

bullets and octaneBullets & Octane – Laughing in The Face Of Failure (Bullets & Octane LLC)

This double album package is meant to introduce the So-Cal rock crew to a UK audience, pulling together their latest US releases Song For The Underdog and Bullets & Octane. In truth Britain would be a better place without these lame punk rockers and their laughably unoriginal tunes – even across two CDs it’s difficult to unearth anything resembling a standout signature song.

Tracks like The Perfect Bitch and Welcome To Our Holiday would make a seven-year-old songwriter cringe and if the quality is turned up a notch on Bullets… it’s a small notch at that. After the rubbish that is Song For The Underdog the best you can say about B&O is that they managed to persuade somebody to record the follow-up.

Awful. Just awful.

rushonrock rated: 2/10 Bullet’s Shot

tojaToJa – Train Of Life (Avenue Of Allies)

Germans really know how to rock. And rock hard. They always have done and it seems they still do as these decade-old Teutonic riff meisters belt out a record steeped in the tradition of Accept and Helloween with respectful nods towards Priest and Dio-era Black Sabbath.

The title track and six-minute plus masterpiece End Of A Nation are nothing more than no-holds-barred heavy metal but then who needs anything else? Occasionally attempting to ape the peerless Kamelot, ToJa are better suited limiting their ambition and doing what they really do best – crafting classic hard rockers synonymous with continental Europe.

An underground band with the ability to dig themselves out of Germany and into mainstream contention. Watch this space.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 ToJa So.

fab boxFab Box – Music From The Fab Box (Avenue Of Allies)

Here at rushonrock we’re not averse to mild mannered pop rock. But we draw the line at pap rock. To compare this Italian duo to the likes of Richard Marx and John Waite is rude in the extreme and yet that’s exactly who we’re told Fab Box really sound like. If that is the case then our ears need a damn good dunking.

In actual fact the bulk of this record sounds more like Italian pop prince Eros Ramazotti than melodic rock but even that’s a slight on an artist we know and love. I Still Believe is Ok but then since when has OK been good enough to capture the attention of a competitive music market.

There is still time for Fab Box to re-market themselves as Italy’s answer to PJ & Duncan but rock fans will chew this up and spit it out faster than a soft pork scratching. Stomach wrenching stuff.

rushonrock rated: 3/10 Flab Box