This week we review and rate the debut album by Milwaukee’s finest Major Tom (pictured) as the unsigned rockers make their bid for stardom.

But if 70s glam-influenced tunes aren’t your bag then we’ve got more metal than you could possibly manage as we check out new releases from the disturbing Nachtmystium, the furious Angelus Apatrida and terrifying Brit crew Trigger The Bloodshed.

Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle PtII (Candlelight)

If you can imagine the Daleks fronting a black metal band then that’s the sound underpinning the fifth studio album from Blake Judd and co.. In fact the similarity in vocal styles is uncanny and in a very weird way it works.

Judd has been at pains to point out that his band shouldn’t be lazily labelled black metal for the sake of pigeon holing his ambitiously progressive project. It’s a fair point – in fact the riff at the heart of Nightfall rips off Foo Fighters and that’s not a bad thing.

What becomes clear on the follow-up to Assassins: Black Meddle Pt 1 is that Nachtmystium have grown into a band of extreme contrasts and their ability to fuse the darker arts of metal with a more progressively commercial sound make for fascinating, if never easy, listening.

If you’ve always wondered about black metal (ok, Blake, we know you’re not) then this is an accessible place to start. But if you’ve been to see Bon Jovi or Aerosmith at the o2 this month it’s probably not for you.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Meddle’s Sum

Angelus Apatrida – Clockwork (Century Media)

Welcome to the Spanish Megadeth! If you thought the home of the World Cup favourites was all about paella, weak beer and Flamenco then think again – these thrash metal merchants from Albacete are ready to put their nation on the map of noise.

The Megadeth influence is so obvious that at times AA do sound like a second rate covers band. But when they find their groove and give their songs some substance it’s clear why Century Media have snapped them up and opted to bill them as the bright new things of Southern European metal.

Vocalist Guillermo Izquierdo does possess the sharp vocal range necessary to bring no-holds-barred thrash to life and on tracks like Devil Take The Hindmost (excuse me? ed) his powerful delivery veers away from Mustaine and more towards old school Death Angel. In other words it’s brilliant.

If you find the Big Four just a little bit dull these days then try AA for size. They thrash like they mean it and they clearly mean well.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 AA Rescue Thrash

Trigger The Bloodshed – Degenerate (Rising Records)

Three albums in three years and TTB are fast becoming one of the most prolific and ear-piercing bands on the planet. Proof that brutality can be brilliant, their intoxicating brand of death metal continues to push the boundaries and ask questions of the opposition.

If Jonny Burgan’s uncompromising vocals won’t be to everyone’s taste then there’s no doubt his snarls and growls perfectly complement the vicious riffs and rhythms thrown out by his energetic band mates. Tracks like Hollow Prophecy and Dethrone deliver where so many extreme metal peers fail and there’s a reason this lot have become a must-see act on the live circuit.

With enough trad metal tendencies to intrigue a more mainstream crowd TTB could be on the brink of even bigger and better things. Their work ethic alone should reap rewards.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Bloody Great

Major Tom – A Night On The Lash (Self-released)

What do you get when you stick a County Durham lad in the middle of Milwaukee and leave him to ripen for the best part of a decade? The answer is a record steeped in 70s glam rock tradition with nods to 80s hair metal and good old fashioned classic rock. It’s raw around the edges but Major Tom’s jaunty debut has the makings of an underground classic.

Frontman Stephen Kilkenny appears to have captured the sound and created the band that Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott craved 30-odd years ago. Only now, with tribute band Down N Outz, has Elliott been able to pay proper tribute to Mott, Bowie and the like but Major Tom do it with a modern twist.

Interestingly theses staples of the Midwest scene marry Bowie’s finer moments with bands which came to prominence more than a decade later. As well as Leppard-esque harmonies there’s no getting away from the fact that Major Tom sound spookily like Poison at times. That is, of course, a compliment.

Tracks like Hot Stuff, Good For You and the emotive Goodbye are as good as anything we’ve heard all year but this album is far from the finished article. There’s considerable room for improvement but we’ve got a funny feeling this is only the start of a long and exciting journey for a band which demands to be heard.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Major Potential