It’s that time of the week when we look at the best new music hitting the rock and metal scene.
And today we check out the debut from Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo’s side project Philm (pictured) plus the new record from Download-bound spoof metallers Tenacious D.
There’s a melodic blast courtesy of AOR flag-bearers Luley and Bangalore Choir. And we review and rate new music from experimental crew Bong and fast-rising Brit pop punksters Summerlin.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. Plus we round up the BEST OF THE REST from the worlds of rock and metal.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Luley – Today’s Tomorrow (AOR Heaven)
Genre: Melodic Rock
When a band opens up with a song so powerful it makes you pause for breath the only danger is that the rest of the record will pale by comparison. And if Luley can’t quite match the sheer quality of Can’t Live Without You across the remainder of Today’s Tomorrow they come incredibly close.
The lead track on an exceptionally rich record relies on a memorable keyboard riff and Foreigner-esque chorus to kick things off in some style. If Klaus Luley’s heavily accented vocal occasionally grates then it’s a minor quibble – the talented former Tokyo frontman even gets away with delivering the toe-cruling line ‘I build a mountain of love’ due to his obvious passion for all things AOR-tinged.
And talking of Tokyo, the pertinent nod to his former band – slap bang in the middle of this monstrous pile of melodic rock gold dust – is Luley’s standout moment. Fusing snazzy synth work with another cracking chorus, the veteran vocalist reprises a trademark tune with a fresh zeal to bring a classic sound bang up to date.
Any fan of late 80s Scorpions or classic Bonfire will love every minute of Today’s Tomorrow and the back to the future album title aptly describes a glorious throwback given a truly focused 2012 production.
If you enjoyed Tokyo and Craaft back in the day then this is the Luley-fronted record you’ve been waiting for: if neither band has ever crossed your melodic rock radar this album will have you delving into the archives long before set closer When The Night Comes Down brings a brilliant record to a fitting finale. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Luley Loaded
BEST OF THE REST
Tenacious D – Rize Of The Fenix (Columbia)
Genre: Heavy Metal
In the history of spoof metal Tenacious D follow Spinal Tap, predate Steel Panther and occupy an endearing place in the hearts of heavy metal fans who occasionally crave a comedy release.
For 51 weeks of the year the genre is a pretty serious kettle of fish – for the other seven days there’s nothing better than a blast of Jack Black to keep things real (or unreal, as the case may be).
Rize Of The Fenix has been a long time coming but with the ‘D’ due to take to UK arenas and Download’s main stage this summer there’s no better time to digest 13 new tunes from the kings of rock comedy.
As expected Black ‘s latest pastiche on his beloved metal is brilliantly done. Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage is hilarious self-parody while the spoken-word Classical Teacher is classic Tenacious D.
Rock Is Dead rocks out like Little Richard on acid (check the Axl Rose reference) while Roadie is so sharp it hurts. Rize Of The Fenix will have you coming back for more. And more. And more. Just don’t accidentally play it at the next kids’ party. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Black Comedy
Genre: Alt Rock
Drummer extraordinaire Dave Lombardo has gone to great lengths to stress that Philm are no Slayer clones.
And if Harmonic’s take on heavy rock is testimony to that view then the two bands do share some common ground – namely a dedication to delivering cerebral music par excellence.
This is ambitious, expansive and thought-provoking stuff guaranteed to cast the multi-talented Lombardo in yet another new light.
Taking his drumming to a deft new level, the tub-thumping thrash metaller fuses hard and soft to create the perfect percussive mix.
It’s not Slayer but that’s not a bad thing. Philm score a hit anyway. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Philm Phwoar
Summerlin – You Can’t Burn Out If You’re Not On Fire (Rude)
Genre: Pop punk
It would be easy to dismiss Summerlin as nothing more than a New Found Glory tribute band such is their commitment to producing breezy pop punk.
Easy, yes. Yet a little far from the truth. You see NFG haven’t made an album as good as this one since 2002’s Sticks And Stones and Summerlin have made a strong case for taking on their mentors’ mantle.
Let It Go and Vertigo might both have three syllables and both end with ‘go’ but they have something else in common, too. They’re also a couple of the coolest new tunes you’ll hear this summer.
Summerlin hail from Yorkshire but their sound is full of the kind of SoCal goodness every festival stage should include as standard. As debuts go this is more than decent. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Summer Lovin’
Bangalore Choir – Metaphor (AOR Heaven)
Genre: Melodic Rock
The Whitesnake-lite Metaphor sees former Accept singer David Reece do his very best impression of namesake Coverdale on an album designed to cement the reputation of one of rock’s more unlikely reunions.
However, this poorly-mixed follow-up to 2010’s Cadence suffers from its RUSHONROCK RATED 6/10 predecessor’s faults – flaky production values, lazy lyrics and half-hearted riffs.
Indeed, if this is album meant to be a metaphor for melodic rock success then it misfires spectacularly. And yet as a metaphor for mediocrity it more than meets expectations.
Identifying a standout track is a tough ask but Never Trust Ole Joe Alone is, by a countrified mile, the most ill-conceived song here. Bangalore Choir should be better than this but it’s a sad fact that Metaphor is a mess. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 4/10 Bang Out Of Order
Bong – Mana Yood Sushai (Ritual)
Genre: Space Rock/Sludge Metal
Across two tracks, just shy of 50 minutes, the totally bonkers Bong manage to rip up rock’s rulebook and rewrite it with bells on.
Don’t even attempt to listen to Mana Yood Sushai if the sun is shining and you’re full of optimism. A gloomy outlook and early onset depression are prerequisites for placing this particular dish of doom on your decks.
Yet there’s something painfully addictive about a raw approach to making music without boundaries and Bong have mastered the art.
Their no-holds-barred blueprint for crafting the craziest sounds this side of the late 60s ensures no chance of commercial success. But Mana Yood Sushai is no money-making exercise – more a glorious experiment in art for art’s sake. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Mana From Heaven