The New Year’s new releases are coming thick and fast as the rock and metal world recovers from festive excess and finally swings into action.

This week we focus on a trio of albums from the Century Media stable with hard rock, Israeli prog and death metal making for an eclectic mix of guitar driven music.

Read on as we review and rate Dream Evil, Orphaned Land and Dark Fortress.

And remember to check out Rock Solid every Sunday – tomorrow’s releases today!¬†

Dream Evil – In the Night (Century Media)

There’s something about old school metal which warms the cockles of your heart in the bleak midwinter and while Dream Evil might flirt with parody their fantastic feel for all things Maiden, Priest and the like is a joy to behold.

At times this is Steel Panther-esque stuff in its cheesy approach to a much mocked genre as the band champion metal, tell of battles won and even show their lighter side with a song aptly titled The Ballad.

Then again these boys don’t go in for over-complicated monickers as they prefer to let the music do the talking – Bang Your Head is reminiscent of Anvil at their best and Kill, Burn, Be Evil is an absolute belter of a hard rock anthem. It’s difficult to imagine a Grammy nomination any time soon but a rushonrock award? Maybe. We just love this smile-on-your-face metal mayhem.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Dream Scenario

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way Of The ORwarriOR (Century Media)

Now maybe we’ve been living under a rock (and not just the shadow of rock) for too long but until this month Israeli prog metal just wasn’t on the radar. In fact we didn’t realise Israel had a rock scene at all.

But that’s all changed thanks to this incredible album mixing traditional Eastern sounds with classic Western rock. It’s almost as if Dream Theater have been asked to do the soundtrack for religious epic.

And yet Orphaned Land insist they are not a religious band. What they are is a group of musicians with political intent and songwriting class. It’s a winning formula which should propel their name far beyond the Middle East.

This record is, quite simply, stunning and will come as a huge surprise to anyone who has the balls to buy it. The confusing titles aside it’s an album full of neat twists and meandering turns – check out The Path parts one and two for an example of just what this band is capable of. Orphaned Land – remember the name.

rushonrock rated: 9/10 Land Mark Release

Dark Fortress – Ylem (Century Media)

Here at rushonrock we don’t pretend to be masters of the death metal scene but we feel it’s only fair and proper that we review the records which land on our desk. Then again these German noise terrorists have tested that policy to the limit.

Listening to Ylem you really wouldn’t want to meet a member of Dark Fortress on a dark night. Clocking in at close on eight¬†minutes The Valley, in particular, was a true test of this reviewer’s mettle. In fact let’s not beat around the bush here – it scared the shit out of us with vocalist Morean in brutal form and the haunting keyboards creating an other-worldly atmosphere.

And there’s little let-up elsewhere. Title track and opener Ylem sets the tone with an ear-piercing riff before the boy Morean gets his chops around another batch of frankly terrifying lyrics (well they sound terrifying, anyway). It’s difficult to know when you’d listen to this record but it makes an indelible impression at the very least.

rushonrock rated: 5/10 Fortress Fear