This week we catch up with the hot new release from US punks The Swellers and check out a compact but catchy compilation of Disturbed‘s best work to date.

We review and rate Hollywood hard rockers Snew and deliver our verdict on Danish crew Clonecircle.

The Swellers – Ups And Downsizing

From the blue collar town of Flint, Michigan a town perennially undergoing hardship there is a glimmer of light and that is The Swellers.

A band formed on the ideals of some of the best punk bands of the early 90s.  The Swellers latest effort Ups and Downsizing is an instantly likeable album and is a testament to how well pop punk can be done.

Opener 2009 is hard-hitting, filled to the brim with catchy hooks and excellent guitar riffs whereas Fire Away has the classic sing-a-long vibe that comes with writing any good punk song.  The Swellers have a sound reminiscent of the punk heavyweights No Use For A Name with a pop element of an early Paramore.

Where Welcome Back Riders delivers a tale of living in a run-down town in a meaningless job title track Ups and Downsizing offers a message hope through times of trouble as front man Nick Diener delivers the line “I’m finding the beauty in everything since we said our goodbyes.”  The Michigan four-piece have all the tools to sit alongside the likes of Millencolin and No Use For A Name as punk pioneers and the class of 2010 now has something to aspire to.

With other excellent tracks like The Iron and Watch It Go there is no doubt that The Swellers have a very bright future ahead of them.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Just Swell

Tom Walsh

Snew – We Do What We Want (Maman Music)

This hard rocking Hollywood crew look like they should be resident on the Sunset Strip but often sound like a band stuck in the 70s.

Contradictions abound on We Do What We Want but the biggest challenge facing the four-piece is how to get the very best out of vocalist Curtis Don Vito. When he resists the urge to play Bon Scott mixed with Brian Johnson and a touch of Biff Byford he’s really rather good. But he doesn’t resist that urge often enough.

After a while the strained vocals start to grate and ultimately they detract from a raft of dazzling riffs courtesy of Andy Lux. Don Vito does boast the perfect rock voice and on Who The Hell Are You it shines through. But that’s the penultimate track on this frustrating record and by then too many potential fans will have been lost.

Snew might do what they want but perhaps it’s time they do what they should – play to their strengths and stop trying so hard to ape their classic rock heroes.

rushonrock rated: 6/10 Mixing The Old And The Snew

Disturbed – Disturbed (Reprise)

Although it’s difficult to imagine who this is aimed at (Disturbed die-hards will have everything here anyway and potential new converts may feel seven songs is an all-too-brief ‘Best Of”) there’s no doubting the quality of this career resume.

Taking tracks from each of Disturbed’s four studio albums to date there’s ample evidence that these boys know their heavy metal inside out. From the raw aggression of debut The SicknessDown With The Sickness and Stupify appear here – to the polished fury of Indestructible this is one band with a steely vision and a stunning repertoire.

With new album Asylum due later this year there’s no doubt this low price seven-track sampler is a timely reminder of Disturbed’s place at the head of the modern heavy metal table. But ‘Best Ofs’ don’t come around very often and this smacks of a commercially driven rush job rather than a careful compilation of their very best work.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Down With The Slick-ness

Clonecircle – Behind The Wire (Danmark Music Group)

The title track of this ‘Alice Cooper meets industrial-tinged Battle Metal’ opus promises so much but quantity far outweighs quality come the final throes of a disappointingly one-dimensional offering from the intriguing Clonecircle.

Every so often an ear-piercing synth or an ill-judged key spoils what could be a hard rocking, mind bending metal journey and the fusion of styles ultimately dilutes the best moments of a band with obvious potential.

As vocalist and keyboard king Martin Hellgren is, therefore, responsible for the best and worst of Behind The Wire. There’s brooding emotion in his haunting Cooper-esque vocal delivery and as a singer he rarely fails. But those manufactured electro notes do nothing to develop the Clonecircle sound and often appear to hamper Hellgren.

Your Own Worst Enemy is the track you need to hear in order to recognise this band’s true value but it’s a rare snippet of brilliance amidst a fog of mediocrity.

rushonrock rated: 5/10 Metal Clones