converge1There’s a truly mixed bag of rock to review this week as veterans Uriah Heep go head to head with hardcore metal kings Converge and hard rocking heroes Atreyu.

And for those of you looking out for the latest Saviours record don’t worry – the release date’s been put back a week and we’ll rate it right here next Sunday.

Plus we’ll be reviewing the rocktastic soundtracks of the new Twilight film, New Moon, and Jennifer’s Body later this week so watch this space.

converge albumConverge – Axe To Fall (Epitaph Records)

There’s only one word powerful enough to sum up this sumptuous metal beast and that’s ‘brutal’. It pounds at the senses from the first to the last and even the more mellow tunes can’t resist breaking out into a full-on aural assault given half the chance.

You don’t need to look any further than the Sabbath-esque grind of Cruel Bloom for one of the best riffs you’ll hear all year. But you won’t go too far wrong by picking Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feast for an example of just how far Converge have come.

This is one beast of a record, leaving behind the band’s more blatant hardcore roots for a fresh approach to intricate thrash metal. It will be interesting to see and hear how Slayer’s new record stands up by comparison but if it doesn’t tick all the boxes then Axe To Fall could well be the heaviest piece of shit you’ll hear this side of Kill ‘Em All.

rushonrock rated: 9/10 Axe Heroes

uriah heepUriah Heep – Celebration (earMUSIC)

So what’s to celebrate? Four decades of classic rock given a little tweak here and a touch up there as Uriah Heep re-record 12 standards before their Classic Rock Roll Of Honour show on November 4.

Throw in two new tracks in the shape of the impressive Only Human and the throwaway Corridors Of Madness and the Heep story is brought bang up to date. It’s a story which started alongside the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin at a time when British heavy rock was finding its feet. And it’s a story which should enter an exciting new chapter given the strength of Bernie Shaw’s vocals and Mick Box’s riffs.

Most die-hards will have everything here already in its original and best form – bar the two new tracks. But this is no lame cash cow – the reworked songs are given a new lease of life in 2009 and Celebration‘s version of Free Me actually sounds way superior to the original. A seriously worthy stocking filler for any fan of UK rock.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Heep Heep Hooray!

atreyuAtreyu – Congregation Of The Damned (Roadrunner Records)

Since when did hard rocking OC boys Atreyu wipe the collective smile off their faces and start delivering some dangerously dark rock? As of now if new album Congregation… is a barometer and you know what? It suits them.

Producer Bob Marlette has managed to underpin the band’s trademark hooks with a pounding bass sound which blows just about every other Atreyu album out of the water. This is a sonic triumph for Avenged Sevenfold’s poor cousins and it seems a decade of soul searching has finally resulted in the record of their careers.

Tracks like Bleeding Is A Luxury and Storm To Pass roll out of the speakers like some kind of heavy metal machinery and it’s worth listening to some impressively mature lyrics. Now that Atreyu have a message – or several – they must be taken more seriosuly than ever before. When a band makes its career-defining record there’s reason for celebration so it’s time to fix the bunting and deck the halls for Alex Varkatzas and his crew.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Damned Fine