This week we check out new music from 77 (pictured), Sleigh Bells, Ektomorf and Halestorm.
And next week we’ll be bringing you a bumper batch of latest releases on one of the busiest weekends of the year so far.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Classic Rock
Barcelona isn’t exactly renowned for its classic rock scene and yet the Lionel Messi of retro rockers might just be about the change all of that.
77 wear their hearts on their sleeves as they roll back the years to a time when glam was still hip, Bon Scott’s AC/DC were making a big impression and Def Leppard were preparing for global domination.
It’s surely no coincidence that 77 take their name from the year Let There Be Rock blew fans away and the Lepps emerged from the Steel City to champion the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.
If the band’s trademark sound owes more to Scott-era AC/DC then (Gotta Go) Gotta Hit The Road casts a casual nod in the direction of Wasted-era Leppard.
Throw in the glammed up vibe of Let’s Beat It Up and the Mona-esque Gimme A Dollar and what you get is a record guaranteed to thrill any self-respecting fan of classic rock.
Spain might be renowned for fancy football, tasty tapas and all-inclusive Costa breaks but 77 can add another string to their nation’s bow. As breakout albums go this is a reputation maker. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 With Decibels On
BEST OF THE REST
Genre – Hard Rock
Released to coincide with their hugely successful UK jaunt alongside new Roadrunner label mates Shinedown, this feisty seven-track EP is no mere stopgap ahead of April’s brand new long player.
Once again Halestorm prove there’s more to this band than the Hollywood looks and personality of foxy frontwoman Lzzy Hale. And not for the first time Mz. Hale confirms her reputation as one of the finest singers (male or female) of the modern rock generation.
The three versions of opener Love Bites (So Do I) all rock in their own unique way and this hard rocking tune is already a firm favourite with the band’s legions of die-hard fans. But it’s the raucous Rock Show that really hits the mark and underlines Halestorm’s potential as your favourite festival’s party starters of choice.
Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to hear some truly entertaining hard rock in 2012 just because there’s a girl out front. Halestorm were designed to kick such petty preconceptions into touch. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Hyde And Seek
Genre: Electro Metal
If The Prodigy did hair metal then Reign Of Terror would surely be the brain curdling result. This is the sound of New York duo Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss ripping up the dance rock rule book and delivering some seriously impressive takes on an 80s scene still resolutely refusing to go underground.
If the pedestrian Born To Lose probably requires a monstrous bass booster to be fully appreciated then the electro-pop of Comeback Kid – underpinned by a sleazy guitar riff – will appeal to mainstream clubbers and rock night regulars alike.
There’s a welcome hint of The Runaways on Crush and if you can get over the fact that much of Sleigh Bells’ latest offering sounds like the soundtrack to an episode of CSI:NY then this is pretty laudable stuff.
Quite why a pair of mucky plimsols adorn the cover is anyone’s guess but beneath the surface lies an unexpected treat. Broaden your horizons, lie back and dream of Sleigh Bells replacing Chase And Status at Download 2012. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Acid Reign
Genre: Nu-metal/Groove Metal
After the disappointment of 2010’s unlucky seventh studio album Redemption it’s time for the real redemption where Hungarian metallers Ektomorf are concerned.
Whether their fans across continental Europe will see this acoustic album of covers, new tracks and old favourites as the right move is open to debate. An awkward version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man does nothing to promote founder member Zoltan Farkas as a world class frontman and yet the title track from Redemption sounds far superior than the original.
This is another mixed bag from a band struggling to find consistency at a key stage of their career. The Acoustic is neither dramatic enough to appease the old guard nor accessible enough to open doors to a new market.
Farkas boasts a voice tailor made for belting out thrash metal standards and groove metal growers but in a stripped down environment his heavily accented delivery does tend to jar. Imagine Klaus Meine slightly off key and you’re halfway there. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Morf Or Less?