There’s live efforts from hair metal heavyweights Extreme (pictured) and Tesla plus album number three from sleaze merchants Crashdiet and the latest offering from the legendary Asia.
But what could be one of the biggest records of 2010 has arrived in the shape of Bullet For My Valentine’s follow-up to Scream, Aim, Fire. In addition we take a look at Chris Laney‘s latest hard rock triumph, check out Solution .45 and review and rate The More I See‘s new record. Hang on to your hats…
If this had been an unmitigated disaster we would have been surprised to say the least. In fact it’s everything you’d expect a record featuring Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone: polished, emotive, expansive and addictive.
Featuring the best of the band’s memorable back catalogue and the cream of comeback record Saudades de Rock this is a creative tour de force – and it’s all recorded is crystal clear quality in the band’s Boston backyard.
There’s just enough crowd noise and interaction to make the album a truly immersive experience but the music is always centre stage. From the blistering intro to set opener Decadence Dance thru an eight minute version of 1995’s Tell Me Something I Don’t Know and into the classic More Than Words this is wonderful stuff.
Cherone is in fantastic form throughout and Bettencourt proves he’s lost none of the incendiary fretboard skills which made him a darling of the MTV scene two decades ago. If you love live albums then you’ll just adore this and if they’re not your thing then Take Us Alive could seriously change your mind.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Extremely Impressive
As if one barnstorming live record isn’t enough this week those generous souls at our favourite melodic rock label have gone and served up a second. This time it’s 15 tracks of US gold from 2008 rushonrock Album Of The Year winners Tesla.
The record in question, Forever More, is given ample room to breathe on the electrified follow-up to the band’s career-defining Five Man Acoustical Jam release. So What is a cracking tune made for the live arena and opening up with the album’s title track and I Wanna Live sets the tone for a fine body of work.
But as with Extreme it’s the classics which come on strong with Modern Day Cowboy and Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out) reminding fans early doors of Tesla’s incredible knack for knocking out emotion-fueled belters.
Hang Tough and Signs are the highlights here – the latter sounding almost as good as it did on the Download main stage almost 12 months ago. It’s amazing to think Tesla are back to their brilliant best more than a quarter of a century after their formation in Sacramento. And it’s also incredibly comforting.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Alive And Kicking
If Scream, Aim, Fire was a superb release in its own right then it didn’t quite capture the sound of BFMV’s startling debut. Fever combines the raw power of The Poison with the production values of its follow-up to capture a band which may well have conjured up a career-defining opus.
This is BFMV’s Killers – its 80s-tinged hard rock knocking Avenged Sevenfold for six to deliver a slew of crunching riffs and singalong choruses. With its roots firmly embedded in the NWOBHM, Fever manages to hoover up everything that was (and still is) great about that classic UK rock movement and spit out a modern metal record better than anything we’ve heard this year.
Opener Your Betrayal is unrelenting in its pace – Matt Tuck and Michael Padgett have forged a creative partnership the envy of rivals acts everywhere and with two critically acclaimed albums to fall back on the duo display a renewed confidence and swagger on their third. Alone, with its soaring solos and sensational vocal is, perhaps, the pick of a faultless record but Dignity runs it damn close.
With Iron Maiden’s new album set to be unleashed later this year the boys from Bridgend have laid down a metal-infused marker. The pupils have learned from the masters and now it’s over to Bruce and co.
rushonrock rated: 10/10 Bullet Point
He may be known in his native Sweden as one of the finest producers in the business but Chris Laney is fast forging a reputation as key player in front of the glass as well as behind the desk.
His second solo album in 12 months represents a clear progression from 2009’s impressive Pure with a number of special guests adding to the feel that this is a meaty piece of focused hard rock. Europe’s Ian Haugland, Thin Lizzy’s Brian Robertson, Kiss’ Bruce Kulick and Electric Boys’ Conny Bloom are just four of the musicians Laney called upon to give OCOAN a timely boost and this record is a joy for any dyed in the wool AOR fan.
But, and there’s a big but, Laney’s vocals don’t always seem suited to the riffs he loves to peddle. There’s a rough edge to his distinctive pipes and at times he would appear better placed fronting a metal band rather than a melodic act doffing its cap to Bon Jovi, Europe, Whitesnake and the rest.
Then again tracks like Love So Bad and One Kiss Tonight are outstanding within their genre and neither would sound out of place on the last Def Leppard record. This is good but not great but two albums into a fledgling solo career there’s ample room for improvement.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Night Songs
Three albums with three different singers doesn’t normally equate to sustained success but the remarkable Crashdiet have, somehow, overcome adversity to remain at the forefront of the 21st century sleaze revolution.
The suicide of original frontman Dave Lepard, just two years after the band signed to Universal and released its memorable debut, should, in all probability, have ended the Crashdiet story before it had really begun.
But Generation Wild is a gutsy, ballsy, f**k you statement of intent: this is a band here to stay whatever the cards they have been dealt in the past and whatever fresh trauma the future might hold.
Sticking to the blueprint of early Skid Row and classic Motley Crue, the Swedes belt out 10 adrenaline-fueled anthems (and a dodgy intro) with So Alive, in particular, resonant of Sebastian Bach and the boys in their prime.
Save Her and Down With The Dust do an excellent job in terms of keeping this record ticking over and even if things become a little bit laboured by the end Generation Wild offers a lively soundtrack to a promising summer.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Wild Things
Mixing melodic rock with dark metal this debut release from Sweden’s new supergroup is a challenging record. Right from the off, with the bristling The Close Beyond, questions are asked and the answers aren’t immediately forthcoming.
Former Scar Symmetry man Christian Alvestam doesn’t always seem at home fronting Jani Stefanovic’s multi-faceted metal beast and it takes a while to capture the mood of For Aeons Past. Take the title track: there’s the vocal interplay as melody is fused with growling before every guitar style imaginable – from Maiden to Malmsteen – kicks in.
There’s so much to appreciate and evaluate where Solution .45 are concerned that this is not a record to take a risk on. Listen to this and you’re in it for the long haul – with no guarantees you’ll find what you’re looking for.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 The Solution?
The second release from the reformed 80s super group is a giant leap forward from the safe as houses Phoenix. And two years on from that comeback record it’s clear this is a band back in the groove and back to its best.
Opener Finger On The Trigger is classic Asia with an AOR vibe underpinned by typically expansive work from the ultra-consistent Steve Howe. But there’s no obvious formula to the tracks which follow – John Wetton’s versatility allows his band mates to deliver a masterclass in rock style and it’s fair to say the singer has rarely sounded better.
What makes the second coming of Asia sound so good is that it’s clear there’s no pressure to deliver – just a desire to make this record the best album it can possibly be. Through My Veins sounds a little lacklustre sandwiched in between the urgent Finger… and the epic Holy War but it’s a song so many bands would be proud to call their own.
Geoff Downes makes the track with his understated keyboard work and the king tinkler’s contribution throughout is a joy to behold. But there’s nothing to dislike about Omega as four musicians at the very top of their game prove that form may very well be temporary but class is clearly permanent.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Omegod!
When Metallica emerged from the US thrash scene there was an exciting sense of urgency about their no-holds-barred music and The More I See play with similar disregard for convention or commercialism. Opener Veiled By Greed has Battery-era Hetfield written all over it with TMIS vocalist Peter Ellis a young British singer boasting massive potential.
Mixing 70s-style Black Country metal with the best of the Bay Area thrash scene there’s always a hint of Exodus and Death Angel about everything TMIS unleash on this accomplished release. And it’s good to know a sound like this can emerge from the sleepy southern counties at a time when metal’s landscape is changing fast.
The decision to include Smack My Bitch Up, by TMIS member Gizz Butt’s former band The Prodigy, is bizarre bearing in mind the strength of the original material on offer but when you’re looking for a filler to finish things off…
Overall this may well be a band which must be seen to be believed. On CD they sound sensational but pulling this off live is another challenge altogether.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 See More
Yet another refreshing blast of Scandinavian rock proves there’s no end to the number of quality classic rock records coming out of the region which hand delivered us Europe, Hanoi Rocks, Mustasch and the rest.
Originally thrown together as a classic rock tribute act, this retro four piece discovered a common appetite for all things 70s and 80s and the resultant Shake It! is a true celebration of an era experiencing a welcome rebirth. The underlying Led Zepp vibe makes for a very pleasant listening experience and tracks like Shine On Tomorrow and Crazy Woman are perfect for any lazy July afternoon.
This is barbecue music with stadium potential and it would be no surprise if Karma Cowboys gain quite a reputation on the underground festival circuit this summer. Born entertainers with an ear for the rock hit, theirs is a very exciting future indeed.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Modern Day Cowboys