And there’s one album bound to dominate the next seven days as Iowa metallers Slipknot debut their first Best Of – Antennas To Hell.
But we also find time to review and rate new releases by Fatal Force, Night Terrain and We Caught The Castle.
Each Sunday we reveal the identity of the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
And we always round up the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Heavy Metal
Few metal bands have made such a significant impact during the last decade as the masked men of Slipknot and this stunning collection of modern day classics proves, beyond doubt, that image isn’t everything.
Sure the visual impact has always been extreme in the case of this colourful, edgy and sprawling collective of high-energy musos. But there’s a deep talent pool here that has helped to ensure Slipknot will always be remembered as much for their artistic substance as their unique style.
Touched by tragedy two years ago – and yet seemingly more determined than ever to keep the dream (or the nightmare) alive – these are challenging times for Corey Taylor and company. Yet Antennas To Hell is a timely reminder that when Slipknot are on top form they’re quite simply peerless
A stunning live version of The Heretic Anthem, the timeless classic Wait And Bleed and the anthemic Psychosocial are the picks here but in all honesty you’d be hard pressed to find anything less than impressive on this fan-focused 19-track compilation.
Long after numbers 0-8 have gone their separate ways this definitive Best Of will stand the test of time as an example of how metal evolved throughout the noughties – adding a fresh twist to the genre’s finest traditions and reinventing a wheel that just keeps on turning. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 ‘Knot Finished Yet
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Hard Rock
Fate guitarist Torben Enevoldsen has remodelled Fatal Force for 2012 – six years after the band’s debut release – and the result is another standard slice of Europeam metal. Unholy Rites lacks the wow factor necessary to propel it beyond the myriad albums of a similar ilk and yet the odd track demands respect.
Lessons In Evil and In Silence stand apart as the outstanding songs here with both delivering an endearing mix of melodic rock and mid-80s Dio-esque metal. Enevoldsen can easily tweak his style to replicate Satriani, Malmsteen and Vivian Campbell and what’s never in doubt is his ability as a true modern day guitar hero.
Where Unholy Rites lacks bite is in the vocal department. It would appear Mike Vescera’s best days are behind him with the ex-Loudness and Malmsteen singer singularly failing to stamp his mark on an album that calls for some serious warbling to complement Enevoldsen’s soaring hooks and post-shredding.
Yet Vescera excels on the superb Listen To Reason – a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on the new Europe album – and why there’s no vocal consistency is a question for all involved with Fatal Force’s unconvincing return. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Rites And Wrongs
Genre: Pop Punk/Alt Rock
Imagine if Bjork fronted an angsty guitar band. Welcome to the addictive sound of breakout Brit crew We Caught The Castle and their superb long player Time To Grow.
It’s always a mistake to judge a book by its cover and attempting to judge WCTC by their dreadfully dull and unimaginative album artwork would, of course, be plain wrong. Similarly it would be remiss to dismiss lead singer Holly Elizabeth simply because her surname is a forename.
Beneath the obvious image problems lie a series of fine pop punk tunes guaranteed to garner favour with the Rock Sound-buying youth of today. Elizabeth’s often haunting vocal style works remarkable well alongside some seriously angular guitar breaks courtesy of main man Simon Jackman.
Generations makes the most of both and throws in a passionate chant for good measure. Some will call it derivative and others the work of genius. We’d rather go for the latter as, in our eyes, there’s something special about the work of We Caught The Castles. Summers is a delightful ballad with Elizabeth in emotive form.
Many lesser bands have overcome the barriers of a ridiculous name, awful album artwork and poorly Christened singers. Crucially, WCTC have the songs to make giant strides forward – and they will. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Castle Wails
Genre: Sludge Metal/Desert Rock
The Albuquerque three-piece might only be two-years-old but already Night Terrain sound like a band that means business with their psychedelic heavy rock pounding away like a JD-fuelled hangover spiked with a cocktail of mind-altering drugs.
No vocals mean no frills and American Dream really is all about the music. Riff lord Dave Walsh plays like he doesn’t ever give a shit and James Bixler’s bass is high enough in the mix to showcase him as a must-follow talent. Throw in Joe Bachmeier’s seismic drum work and the sound of the summer is complete.
Or at least it was the sound of the summer to date. With fine weather forecast for the remainder of July and August it seems like Night Terrain might have missed the boat with the ill-judged timing of this doom-laden release. This is a record designed to be heard in the unforgiving company of torrential rain and relentless winds.
Try Beyond Walls for size and you’ll get the picture. And it’s a pretty gloomy picture at that. But Night Terrain can be the masters of their art if American Dream is a hint of things to come. File under: huge potential. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Dreamscape