There’s a look at the latest offerings from Echovirus, Subsource and the punishing Panic Cell.
Plus we check out Neverland, There For Tomorrow and Boe Weaver. And we finally get around to rating Saints Of Eden‘s 2009 release Forbidden Pleasure.
Power metal from Turkey could be the next big thing if this promising effort from Neverland is typical of the scene. Get past the dodgy voiced intro on the opening track, tune into the dual vocal style of Iris Mavraki and Oganalp Canatan and you might find yourself marvelling at some pretty intricate riffs and genuinely moving music.
It’s soaring, speedy metal complemented by beefy keys and an often meaty bassline. Silence The Wolves and the title track are catchy and intense – take the keyboards out of the former and there’s almost a Maiden-like feel to the guitar-heavy intro. The latter fuses traditional Eastern touches with Scando-heavy melodic rock bombast.
This is a record which needs to be heard and if it’s not always easy going then the rewards repay any time invested getting to grips with the mighty Neverland.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Off To Never Neverland
Here at rushonrock we’re genuinely excited about the UK’s new rock and roll scene with the likes of New Generation Superstars, The Crave and Fables Last Stand following Stone Gods and Hot Leg in carrying the Britrock movement forward.
To that group you can now add the fantastic Falling Red as credible flag wavers for 2010 – their mix of LA-influenced sleaze and an Almighty-esque edge make them real contenders and this eight-track debut album is a delicious hint of things to come.
Tracks like the cheeky How You Feel (On Me) and the catchy No Good, So Wrong, So Right make an instant impression – putting a smile on the face and implanting a hook in the brain. They’re back out on the road with AC/DC founder Dave Evans this summer and they’re just too hot to miss.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Red Alert
Once there was Innerpartysystem and Pendulum and before them both there was the mighty Prodigy. All three genre-defying dance metal giants equally at home rocking as they are raving and all three relying on a heavy bass line as the first point of ear-bashing contact.
Subsource follow suit as they comfortable fuse metal guitars with heavy disco beats. But it’s their innovative approach to electronica and the ease with which they throw in elements of dub, soul and reggae which makes this 11-track thriller such a compelling listen. Underpinning it all are the classic riffs and the title track sets the throbbing tine.
Single The Reason (Parasite) is a pounding piece of electro rock designed to get packed tents dancing and grown men moshing and the synth riff is as good as anything early Prodigy produced. An edgy, effortless, exciting album.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Sub Standard
UK metallers Panic Cell aren’t going anywhere and, after proving they were no flash in the rock pan with second album What Doesn’t Kill Us, this the record which confirms the band’s staying power. Fire It Up is a slick, focused and ferocious slab of modern metal and if it sounds like it’s straight out of the US then that’s no criticism – producer Will Maya has done a brilliant job transforming Panic Cell into future global stars.
Opener Burden Inside allows frontman Luke Bell to remind everyone of his ultra-powerful set of metal pipes and where the vocalist is concerned the pace never slackens. Occasionally, the single Unbroken a case in point, the riffs sound older than old school and lazier than a band of Panic Cell’s pedigree should be unleashing three albums in.
But it’s a minor criticism of an otherwise belting reminder that this lot really should be the next big thing in British metal. To Die For Love is something Korn would kill for and HIM might rip off in a heavier afterlife and it’s not the only song here that would sound at home on a very big stage. Rousing stuff.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Panic Over
It’s shocking to think this lot hail from Sheffield. Shocking and at the same time sublime. That La Folie crafted this sound from within the Steel City is incredible enough but the fact they pull it off with such swagger is quite incredible.
These are songs which wouldn’t seem out of place on the soundtrack to vamp series True Blood with the brooding vocals and fruity riffs creating an uneasy atmosphere. Guilty Pleasures is a creepy case in point with vocalist Nick Robyn trying hard to resist aping The Pogues in order to maintain a degree of sinister credibility.
Next up is the fairground frenzy of All Aboard and by now the band has sucked its listeners into another world – where the shadow of Marilyn Manson grappling with Soft Cell looms large. It’s either ridiculously brilliant or brilliantly ridiculous. Who knows?
rushonrock rated: 7/10 All Risus
The musical vehicle of US wrestler Chris Jericho (or at least that’s what it has become) is two albums into its reincarnation as a serious metal band and Chasing The Grail picks up where 2005’s big seller, All That Remains, left off.
Once again it’s clear why Jericho was the perfect fit for an act which started out as an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band. And it’s obvious why he still has such a huge part to play now that Fozzy have shed their image as a covers/spoof metal band.
Jericho often sounds more like post-Sabbath Ozzy than the man himself but that’s no bad thing. The massive Martyr No More is both melodic and heavy in equal measure and founder member Rich Ward’s production job is almost as good as his work across the frets. Finishing off with the epic 14-minute take on the book of Revelation – Wormwood – is brave bordering on the foolhardy. But it proves, beyond doubt, that Fozzy are deadly serious about the rocky road ahead.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Wails Of Jericho
This isn’t strictly a rock release and if you’re into Fozzy and Panic Cell then look away now. Ok, if you’re still with us then this instrumental assault on the senses veers from the triumphant to the frankly tragic with the album’s best moments dragged down by a series of lame fillers.
The jaunty but disappointingly brief Ghouls does what it says on the tin and wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack of The Goonies’ remake. And talking of films, the intro to Mysterious Island could come from cult Michael Caine classic Get Carter.
It’s difficult to get away from judging this diverse collection of tunes as a bunch of soundtracks within a soundtrack and if the lack of cohesion is to be expected then it does make for a frustrating listen. Approach with caution, handle with care.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Boe Selection
Just seven years old and with no more than a self-titled mini album under their belts it would be unfair to label TFT alt rock’s next big thing. But with almost 11 million MySpace plays under their belts and slots opening up for the likes of All Time Low, AFI and taking Back Sunday they’re already a buzz band Stateside.
Racy opener The Remedy mixes crunching guitars with a soaring chorus and main man Maika Maile is clearly a rather talented young man. At times this is heavier than you might expect from a bunch of Orlando pretty boys who attained hero status alongside UK stars You Me At Six on last summer’s Warped Vans tour. But the punchy intros which promise so much at the outset of the majority of TFT tunes too frequently give way to lighter and less effective moments – neither A Little Faster nor Wish You Away reach their full potential.
What is clear is that this bright and breezy debut is better than a whole load of alt rock shit pouring forth from the States right now and if you’re into gambles then take a punt on this. Given the right advice and the right breaks TFT could become huge and you can make your own minds up as they tour the UK throughout April with The Friday Night Boys.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 There For A While
For some reason this has been sitting at the bottom of the rushonrock reviews pile for far too long and we thought it high time Saints Of Eden were finally heard. But right from the tinny opening of Timesphere, with its fusion of trad growls and Adam Ant-esque vocals, we felt very near the bottom of the pile was where Forbidden Pleasure should have stayed.
Of course it’s unfair to judge an album on first impressions and while bands should always strive to place their best tracks first many, many don’t bother. The crunching riff which introduces Rip Fire Hold is a vast improvement on Timesphere‘s aimless dirge and Game Over is atmospheric enough with its Anthrax-like intro, Depeche Mode-style vocal and U2 lick.
And therein lies Saints Of Eden’s biggest problem. They’re trying to be all things to all men and never more so than on the synth poppy Surrender – a cracking song on the wrong album at the wrong time. Direction needed. Fast.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Saints Or Sinners
This lot had a lot to say for themselves at Hammerfest and, according to rushonrock‘s spies, emerged as one of the unexpected pleasures of the UK’s premier indoor metal event.
Daniel Kennedy’s brutal vocals guarantee a fast-paced ride through the history of thrash and the heavier elements of the NWOBHM. Opener Fragments shatters the illusion that this lot only look hard – they sound much, much harder.
Imagine an adrenaline fuelled Iron Maiden with a very angry Bruce Dickinson and you get the picture. Kennedy doesn’t stand on ceremony but it’s the deft duelling between guitar heroes Dimitri Savathrakis and Andy Slade which really makes this angst-fuelled album stand out. The intense opening to Our Dying Hours brings early Death Angel to mind and there is, in our opinion, no bigger compliment.
The epic Prelude To Dystopia reverts back to the ‘Maiden on speed’ approach and Kennedy just about succeeds in his battle to make the lyrics understood above his trademark shouts. By now the tone has been set for an unrelenting and unforgiving experiment in modern thrash metal and it’s something worth hearing for those who like to be pushed to their limits. For everyone else we urge caution.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Heavy Echo