And today we turn our attention to the latest batch of Frontiers albums with five cracking releases making up their festive push.
A Perfect Day, Asia, Royal Hunt, Y&T (pictured) and Gene The Werewolf are reviewed and rated.
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: Hard Rock
This 22-song set from California’s Mystic Theatre proves that Y&T remain one of hard rock’s most underrated acts 35 years since debut Yesterday & Today suggested the world was theirs for the taking.
If the story didn’t quite turn out that way then Dave Meniketti still performs as if the dream is still very much alive. This is passionate, powerful stuff and it always was.
Meniketti remains the driving force, marrying his trademark vocals with a range of biting riffs and soaring solos deserving of far bigger stages the world over.
At least the Mystic’s faithful lap it up as their homegrown heroes return to their roots firing on all cylinders and desperate to impress.
Those who have caught Y&T on their numerous UK headline yours in recent years won’t find anything new here. But they’ll find a fantastic band in the form of their lives. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Y&Terrific
BEST OF THE REST
Fans of Italian heavy metal legends Labyrinth may well look away with horror when faced with the simple fact that this AOR-tinged side project created by Andrea Cantarelli is far better than anything he’s managed in his day job.
Persuading band mates Alessandro Bissa and Roberto Tiranti to buy into A Perfect Day might have been the hard part but it seems bringing a brave vision to life was easy.
A Long Road To Run is a classy ballad as good as the most emotive AOR on offer in 2012 and Here We Are Again echoes Tesla at their passionate best.
A Perfect Day are so far from heavy metal they belong on a different continent. Where that leaves Labyrinth is anyone’s guess. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Note Perfect
Genre: Classic Rock
Anyone looking for that definitive 80s fix – and hitherto unimpressed with the new breed of hair metal devotees doing their best to reprise the glory days – need look no further than Gene The Werewolf.
Ok, so the band name’s shit. Get over it. Because beneath one of the most ridiculous names ever conceived lies hard rock gold. This is an unashamed tribute to the music that made MTV its millions and there’s much to love and admire.
Whether you’re dancing along to the David Lee Roth-era Van Halen hooks of Superhero, imagining a classic Leppard album featuring gems Light Me Up and Heart Of Steel or recalling Paul Stanley without the make-up on I’ve Got The Love this is a pulsating trip down 80s memory lane.
There are AC/DC riffs and Aerosmith croons aplenty and the ridiculous lyrics to match. But the thing is Gene The Werewolf are only six years old and this is their international major label debut! It’s frightening to think what the future might hold. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Gene Therapy
Genre: Melodic Rock/Progressive Metal
Two decades have passed since Land Of Broken Hearts announced Andre Anderson as a force to be reckoned with in the world of progressive metal. Twenty years on and Royal Hunt – the super-slick vehicle for the Moscow-born virtuoso – is celebrating in style.
This career-encompassing Best Of package oozes melodic rock perfection as Anderson and reunited singer DC Cooper trade cerebral vocals and lightning licks for fun.
Incredibly Royal Hunt still occupy a position somewhere just above rock’s underground but listen to this and it’s impossible to understand why. Stone cold classics including The Mission, the epic Tears Of The Sun and Bad Luck (they’ve had plenty) scream talent ignored and commercial potential unfulfilled.
As a canon of work this blasts the opposition into next year. Royal Hunt have the songs and the experience to grave any stage, any size, anywhere. Here’s hoping life begins at 20 where this brilliant band is concerned. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Rock’s Hunt
Genre: Progressive Rock
Since the early 1990s Asia have released 20-plus live albums and while die-hard fans continue to lap up countless versions of the same hit songs (plus a few new tunes to keep things relatively fresh) Resonance is a clear case of quantity overshadowing quality.
Even the promotional blurb admits that this record ‘captures once again’ Asia in the live arena and there’s no point pretending that we haven’t been here before. The only difference is that this set was recorded in the Swiss city of Basel (rather than Moscow, Osaka, Nottingham, the Budokan etc.) and was delivered in support of 2010’s Omega record.
The fact that a more recent Asia studio album – XXX – has already been released tells you everything you need to know about this blatant cash cow. It does include Heat Of The Moment and it does feature the band’s original line-up. But neither is a big selling point in 2012. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Asian Buffet