And today we bring you the usual mixed bag with the brand new album from LA Guns and a mighty release courtesy of Zatokrev (pictured).
There’s new music from Fozzy, In This Moment, Zonaria, Scott Kelly And The Road Home plus some heavyweight metal courtesy of Kontinuum.
And we review and rate the latest offering from legendary pagan/folk metallers Waylander.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Sleaze Rock
Timing is everything where music is concerned. And the decision to release Hollywood Forever – the first LA Guns studio album in seven years – in the same month that Tracii Guns called time on his version of the band appears inspired.
For too long now Guns’ band and this line-up – fronted by Phil Lewis – have jostled for position in the hearts of fans and the minds of the media with the end result a feeling of frustration and confusion.
Now that Guns has done the decent thing (and he deserves a huge amount of respect for walking away from the band that carries his name) and moved on there’s never been a better time to assess LA Guns in the here and now.
Hollywood Forever fuses the glorious excess of the Sunset Strip with the wild optimism surrounding the current hair metal revival endorsed by the fabulous Rock Of Ages movie.
And if it occasionally morphs into a sleazy version of W.A.S.P. (the title track, in particular, apes late 80s Lawless) the Poison-meets-Georgia Satellites party rock of Vine Street Shimmy proves this is a band that’s more than happy to embrace its past.
Hollywood Forever is the album Motley Crue would love to make – if only they knew how. And if Lewis’s ill-judged posturing has proved an almighty pain in the ass in recent years then at least this cracker of a record proves he can still make an almighty rock n roll din. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Sleaze Forever
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Atmospheric metal
With their first full-length, Reykjavik five-piece Kontinuum have conjured up something truly spell-binding.
Earth Blood Magic evokes the cold, windswept landscapes of the band’s homeland – but it’s never bleak or foreboding.
Instead, the album blurs the darker edges of indie/post rock with goth and black metal to create an intriguing, unique body of work that demands attention – whatever your genre allegiances.
The opening quartet of Endgame, Steinrunninn Skógur, Moonshine and Stranger Air are mesmerising, with moments of ice-coated beauty to savour, while Lightbearer fuses melodic leads a la Paradise Lost with eruptions of frostbitten BM, and City is an off-kilter, proggy curveball.
OK, Earth Blood Magic runs out of steam a touch towards its conclusion, but it’s still one of the best debuts to rear its head this year… and proof of the quality and diversity on offer in Iceland’s metal scene. Recommended. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Magical
There are times when heavy music can be so crushing, so immense, that listening to it is a cathartic experience. You give your body and soul over to it and see where you end up. US bands Neurosis and (the sadly missed) Isis are/were adept at channelling this primal force – and at times, Zatokrev create that feeling too.
The Swiss quartet are at their best on Goddamn Lights, which opens the album and burns like molten lead; Rodeo With Snakes, with its tinges of dark Americana; and 9, where the band employ sparseness in their music to great effect.
The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere doesn’t quite hold the attention throughout, but if these boys from Basel are half as powerful live as they are on record, they could crack tectonic plates. You have been warned. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 On the right road
Genre: Alt Rock
Neurosis frontman Scott Kelly remains one of the most diverse, talented and ambitious musicians in metal and on his third solo album it’s time for another dose of dark acoustica.
Roping in Noah Landis and Greg Dale to craft a stripped back, doom-laden collection of cerebral compositions, Kelly is particularly doleful on the delightfully morose title track.
Imagine a depressed Frank Turner holed up in an asylum with no prospect of early release – and only a beaten up guitar for company – and you begin to get a taste for TFGIM.
It’s unlikely this album will ever be heard in vacuous arenas but imagining it delivered in all its grisly glory in front of a handful of wizened club regulars glowering in the shadows is a spine-tingling prospect. We would want to be there. So should you. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 He’s Scott The Lot
Genre: Pagan/Folk Metal
Fast approaching their 20th anniversary, the wayward Waylander are a prime example of potential unfulfilled.
Boasting a metal growl rooted in blood-soaked Celtic history, theirs is a sound mimicked by so many less talented wannabes during the past two decades.
And yet Waylander’s initial inability to lock down a settled line-up has cost the band the momentum, critical acclaim and commercial success it surely deserves.
Thankfully things seem to be changing. A second album in four years for Listenable showcases Waylander’s best material since 1998’s major label debut Reawakening Pride Once Lost.
Ironically that’s exactly what Kindred Spirits does to devastating effect – reawakening the pride within a band that should start to believe again. Before it’s too late. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Spirited Effort
Genre: Heavy Metal
Maria Brink has made her play for mainstream domination with the broody Blood and it may well work: this is an accomplished album mixing nu-metal angst, edgy electronica and pounding rhythm. Very much a record for the moment.
The relentless title track evokes memories of Marilyn Manson at his ambitious best and appears tailor made to emerge as the soundtrack to a dirty black summer with its remix-ready dance rock refrain.
There are flashes of the band’s raw past writ large across Blood but long-time producer Kevin Churko has managed to refine a winning blend. Compared to The Dream and A Star Crossed Wasteland this is a giant leap forward in both sound and substance.
In This Moment have been bubbling under for the best part of a decade but having paid their dues and honed their identity this is surely the record to beckon the big time. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Bloody Great
Genre: Heavy Metal
For a brash, muscle-bound wrestler Chris Jericho continues to do a very good impression of a genuine rock star. Those who saw his brief but ballsy Download set will testify to the fact that his fast-rising band, Fozzy, are the real deal.
Sharing a stage with Sebastian Bach at Castle Donington this summer, it became clear that Jericho comfortably peddles the kind of modern metal sound the former Skid Row man was desperately attempting to create on the awful Angel Down.
Ripped and raucous, and occasionally sounding like a latter day Bruce Dickinson, the Fozzy frontman showcased Sandpaper, from Sin And Bones, at Download and it went down a treat. There’s much more of the same right here.
With punchy tunes like Shine Forever and Inside My Head leaving an indelible impression it’s clear Fozzy have found their feet. Now for take off. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Bones Shaker
Genre: Death metal
The Swedish town of Umeå has spawned many important acts, from tech metallers Meshuggah to hardcore heroes Refused.
Whether Zonaria will ever be listed among such illustrious company remains to be seen, but Arrival Of The Red Sun should certainly help them on their way.
For the quintet’s third full-length is a pristine, polished slab of melodic death metal that will turn heads within the extreme metal community.
The album’s bombastic, epic feel brings to mind Dimmu Borgir’s recent efforts and hints at the band’s power metal roots – keyboard work is prominent throughout its ten tracks.
Although this approach can easily go awry, Zonaria have the musical ability to pull it off – and backed by a huge, powerful production courtesy of Scar Symmetry axeman Jonas Kjellgren, they’ve unleashed a monster in Arrival Of The Red Sun. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 In the zone