Gun RESIZEWith no major new releases scheduled until the New Year we look at a batch of CDs featuring some of our favourite artists from Hard Rock Hell: The Vikings’ Ball.

We rate Gun‘s (pictured) five-track mini album, Hysterica‘s 11-track debut, Marya Roxx‘s four-track EP and a demo of top tunes from our favourite Geordie rockers Remedy.

And we’ll be bringing you more reviews from the UK’s hottest winter festival all this week.

Gun – Popkiller (Townsend Records)

There are at least three tracks here which would have been huge hits had the Gun of old released them at the peak of their career almost 20 years ago. They should be massive today but we all know the musical landscape has changed dramatically since Better Days burst into the Top 40 – followed by a slew of similarly catchy rock anthems from the Glaswegian crew.

If only somebody, somewhere would take a punt on the lip smacking Let Your Hair Down or the sugary sweet Seraphina or even this magic mini album’s title track then Gun would well and truly be back. All three songs are produced with a pop rock market in mind and that pop rock market would lap them up if the message was loud and clear.

And here’s the thing. Those of you who have witnessed Gun live during the last few weeks will be surprised, possibly upset, at the slick commercial sheen all over this canny five-track comeback record. On stage and on CD they sound like two very different bands – but here at rushonrock we love ’em both.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Pop Saviours

Hysterica – Metalwar (CRoNG Records)

In a year when Steel Panther proved the piss take can be better than the real thing just where that leaves bands like Hysterica is anyone’s guess. They’re no spoof act sending themselves up at every opportunity and yet they live and die by the ultimate in rock cliches.

Lyrically and musically they’re not pulling up any trees on Metalwar. But what this surprisingly accomplished album lacks in originality it more than makes up for in terms of raw power, passion and technical precision.

Matron Bitchie has spent a great deal of time (and a little bit of money) bringing together a competent band of musicians who, when dressed head to toe in traditional metal gear, can really cut the rock mustard.

Don’t expect to unearth a deeper message from within the riffs and couplets of Girls Made Of Heavy Metal, The Bitch Is Back or Heavy Metal Man but do expect one hell of a nostalgic ride through metal’s golden age. This lot more than held their own against NWOBHM maidens Girlschool at Hard Rock Hell and we’d love to see them back over here very, very soon.

rushonrock rated: 7/10  Reinventing Hystory

Marya Roxx – 21 The EP (EAA)

Like Alice Cooper’s 18, the repetitive shout of 21 leaves an indelible impression on the ears of anyone fortunate enough to hear Ms Roxx’s most anthemic track but it’s the best of an otherwise average bunch on this tidy yet unspectacular four-track sampler.

Given considerable clout by a typically beefy Kevin Shirley production job, the 21 EP is hard rock by numbers and not much else. It’s a shame because the multi-talented Marya has the potential to go far given the quality of songs this showcase is lacking.

21 is, by some distance, the standout tune here and while Oh Yeah and Rebel hint at another level that promised land never comes into view. The cover of Clawfinger’s Nothin Going On sounds like the kind of song Marya and her red hot band should be penning and let’s hope this is the direction the LA-based Estonian will take ahead of her 2010 debut album release.

We’re expecting so much from the Roxx camp in the next 12 months but this EP simply doesn’t match the hype.

rushonrock rated: 6/10  On The Roxx

Remedy – Four Track Demo (Self-Released, promo only)

If work-rate alone won lucrative record deals then remedy would already be toasting a four-album contract replete with chauffer-driven limos and stadium supports.

Back in the real world and it’s a travesty that dynamic frontwoman Jenn and her merry band of rock warriors are still trying to impress music business bosses when they boast the talent and big rock tunes to overshadow any number of established acts.

Honest Child and This City’s A Desert – even as rough demos – wouldn’t sound out of place in a set by The Answer or, dare we say it, Whitesnake. There’s a blues rock vibe complemented by a modern electric approach which appeals to the classic rock fan and metal head in equal measure.

Perhaps the trick is finding the perfect set-up for Remedy’s soulful songstress. On a good night she can tease tears out of tatooed bikers but her voice needs suitable support. Thankfully these demos do justice to one of the best set of pipes on the uderground scene but just imagine what it would sound like given the full production package…

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Honest Effort