And there’s a raft of melodic music from the Frontiers Records stable with albums from Eclipse, Hess (pictured), Triumph and Loverboy.
If you like your metal much heavier we review and rate the new album from All Hail The Yeti.
And we check out some old school classic rock courtesy of newcomers Zodiac.
Every Sunday we reveal the identity of the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
And we round up the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
With their Canadian/American line-up, you would think this LA-based quartet would be hailing Bigfoot or Sasquatch, rather than their Himalayan cousin. Cryptozoological nit-picking aside, All Hail The Yeti make heavy, hairy music for heavy, hairy men – whether they wander the mountains or not.
This riff-laden debut combines elements of sludge and stoner metal with liberal splashes of hardcore to create a fearsome, hook-laden sound that’s surprisingly commercial (in a metal kind of way, obviously).
It helps that frontman Connor Garrity’s vocals are more accessible than some of his acid gurgling peers and that the LA-based band can write a chorus or two (After The Great Fire, I Am Wendigod). It also helps that their material is tight, focused and superbly executed.
Though All Hail The Yeti might be too lightweight for some sludge scenesters, fans of Down or Kingdom of Sorrow should lap this up: an impressive first effort. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Mountainous
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Melodic Rock
If the decision to call time on Canada’s Harem Scarem came as a blow to all fans of melodic hard rock then the return of frontman Harry Hess is a huge thrill.
And if North America’s answer to Def Leppard are no more then this AOR-rich collection of carefully crafted tunes suggests the future is rosier than expected.
Hooking up with guests of the calibre of Marcie Free, Tommy Denander and former HS band mates Pete Lesperance, Creighton Doane and Darren Smith certainly helps – melodic rock’s cognoscenti helping to create a cracking record.
The Leppard-esque It’s Over is classic Hess but the soft rock hits keep on coming thick and fast.
Quite capable of giving label mate Richard Marx a run for his money and equally at home belting out Bryan Adams-style rockers, one of the finest exponents of guitar-fueled melody is on fantastic form. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Hessential Listening
Genre: Melodic Rock
Eric Martensson and Magnus Henriksson have found the formula for melodic rock heaven and even by Frontiers’ high standards this is an epic release.
From the off the talented duo evoke memories of classic Bad English with the brilliant opener Wake Me Up. But the Euro metal of Battlegrounds is more akin to an Edguy anthem – proving Eclipse can still spring a surprise or two.
A Bitter Taste is better than anything on the latest Journey album (spookily called Eclipse) while Take Back The Fear surely belongs on Yngwie Malmsteen’s landmark Joe Lynn Turner-inspired Odyssey.
There’s barely a dud tune here as the super Swedes somehow manage to eclipse 2008’s equally stunning RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Are You Ready To Rock. They said it couldn’t be done. But here’s the proof that it really can. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Scream For Me Eclipse
Genre: Pop Rock
On the road with Journey and Pat Benatar this summer there’s no doubt Loverboy are making the most of the rock n roll revival giving so many mid-80s chart busters another crack at fame.
A second studio album in 15 years suggests the Canadians came late to the party but if 2007’s Just Getting Started secured their invite then Rock N Roll Revival reinforces their standing as party metal VIPs.
The band has a blast with the opening song and title track and if No Tomorrow fails to maintain the momentum then the Tom Petty-esque Heartbreaker truly hits the mark.
This isn’t the most consistent record you’ll hear all year but the highs hit the roof and the lows are still listenable as they mix a handful of new tunes with some reworked favourites.
Loverboy can afford to trade on the past but it’s to their credit that they’re carving out a future – and playing a key role in the rock n roll revival! SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 ‘Boy Band Revival
Genre: Melodic Rock
Four years since the revival to beat all revivals stunned fans at the 2008 Sweden Rock Festival it’s time to glory again in one of the greatest comebacks of the modern melodic rock era.
This CD/DVD live double pack captures every drop of emotion as it pours forth from the rejuvenated Canadians’ hit-laden show. And the only complaint is that it’s way too short!
Rik Emmett sounds like he’s never been away while Mike Levine combines keys and bass to brilliant effect as Triumph rifle through a Best Of set worthy of the name.
The epic version of Rock N Roll Machine – clocking in at just shy of 10 minutes – is magnificent and makes for a fist-pumping trip back in time. If you weren’t there then this is your chance to feel part of a genuine rock event. Enjoy. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Total Triumph
Genre: Classic Rock
Where Graveyard have blazed a retro-fuelled trail for blues-driven hard rock, Zodiac appear happy to follow. Featuring drummer Janosch Rathmer from Long Distance Calling, this is classy stuff with fuzzy riffs and pounding rhythms to die for.
Opener and title track A Bit Of Devil even has a hint of Thin Lizzy about it as it sets out Zodiac’s stall in fine style. Carnival’s a more up-tempo tune but hardly a pop rock anthem – reminiscent of pre-arena Kings Of Leon, its roots are still planted firmly in a forest of 70s cool.
The ZZ Top cover of Blue Jean Blues is remarkable and set closer Coming Home – more than 10 minutes of mindblowing jamming – sums up everything’s that so endearing about this breakout German quartet. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Devil’s Music