Today’s top picks include the latest releases by French metal titans Gojira, pop punk comeback kings The Audition and Accept guitar hero Herman Frank.
Plus we review and rate the definitive Fleetwood Mac collection and the return of one of rock’s most prolific singer songwriters – Ginger Wildheart.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK and wrap up the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Classic Rock
There’s no disputing the fact that Fleetwood Mac deserve their place in classic rock history and this richly entertaining four-disc career-spanning collection is a treat from start to finish.
Sure, there are numerous Greatest Hits packages featuring these national treasures already out there but in terms of validation, variation and value The Chain is the missing link for fans old and new.
There will be inevitable criticism due to the relative paucity of Peter Green-era material and a top heavy selection of the band’s 80s hits. However, there’s no escaping the fact that tracks like Big Love, Everywhere and Little Lies reinvented the Mac as serious players in the race for MTV glory.
Lindsey Buckingham’s impact is felt most keenly across the 72-track journey with the 12 fertile years from 1975 to 1987 showcasing a band able to move with the times and survive both internal strife and external discontent.
One downside is The Chain’s structure – or lack of it. Songs from every era are thrown together with no obvious plan or theme and as such it’s difficult to fully appreciate Mac’s stunning metamorphosis from rootsy blues rockers to chart busting arena fixtures.
But make no mistake about it – this is a magnificent body of work bursting with pride, passion and an incendiary power. If this is the last word on a brilliant band then Mac’s legacy has been dutifully secured. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Mac-nificent
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Pop Punk
Growing up is never easy for the myriad pop punk bands that flood out of America every year. Hamstrung by past glories, the pressure to dumb down and the desire to stay young, too many miss their chance to evolve into something with a little more substance.
For The Audition a parting of the ways with Victory Records two years ago has allowed the Chicago quintet the opportunity to do just that. And while they’ve retained the immediacy that made their music so accessible in the first place, Chapter II is a mature statement of intent.
If Great Danger proved a frustrating release for many fans it’s unlikely this five-track EP will fully placate the masses. But if Chapter II challenges preconceptions and pushes boundaries it also represents a bloody good listen.
Who Do You Think You Are and You Gotta Believe have the potential to open up The Audition to a brand new audience while retaining a foothold in the traditional pop punk market. As a taster of the future it’s full of optimism. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Opening Chapter
Genre: Heavy Metal
As the architect of the some of the finest riffs in metal Herman Frank has every right to create the odd self-indulgent pastiche on the genre.
A key player on Accept’s definitive albums Restless And Wild and Balls To The Wall, the Teutonic guitar hero answers to no-one when it comes to fret-burning prowess. But Right In The Guts is a stomach-churning taste of metal gone wrong.
Rick Altzi’s vocals don’t help matters with the normally assured At Vance frontman never fully appreciating the task in hand. Competing for top billing within a muddy mix, the concept of complementing Frank’s unique style appears lost on one of metal’s better vocalists.
Taking the dire title track as an example, too much of Right In The Guts sounds like a tired metal cliché. Frank has promised to tour this record extensively in between commitments with Accept: fingers crossed the godfathers of German heavy rock are very busy indeed during the next 12 months. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Frankly Disappointing
The distilled – rather than diluted – version of three-album project 555%, this single disc of original Ginger snapshots proves two things: the Wildhearts’ frontman has lost none of his creative mojo and his fans are a most astute bunch.
Given the task of picking their favourite 10 tracks from those recorded during the 555% sessions, those supporters of Ginger’s grundbreaking PledgeMusic campaign were always up against it. And by his own admission the man behind the mic wasn’t wholly convinced with the final selection.
But Ginger’s opinion counted for nothing in the final analysis. After asking his fans to pay for the 555% project he could hardly go against their will and the end product is a triumphant staging post on the road to a newly democratic and wholly inclusive music business.
Given the range and diversity of material on 100% it’s not a wild exaggeration to suggest this is the most immersive Ginger Wildheart experience ever. There’s indie pop, classic rock, hints of metal and great swathes of genre-defying melody. As a concept it’s exciting and as a product it packs a familiar punch. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Wild At Heart
Genre: Progressive Metal
For some time now the French metal scene has been promising to explode on a global level and Gojira are the standard bearers for the new breed of Gallic noise.
Mixing death metal aggression with a more progressive precision, L’Enfant Sauvage represents a giant step forward for a band oozing potential.
With high profile fans including Metallica championing their cause, there’s a crushing momentum behind Gojira in 2012 and this immense album will prove to be the foundation for mainstream success.
Planned Obsolescene and Mouth Of Kala are confident and classy examples of a mind expanding strand of modern metal. They’re the pick of a bruising bunch designed to raise the bar and redefine a genre. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Go-jira!