Buckcherry (pictured) kick it off in typically sleazy fashion before things start to get ugly…
…and we review and rate new records from Blodig Alvor, Ulcer and Enshadowed.
But that’s not all as we check out the latest offerings from Skineater and Shai Hulud.
Every Sunday we review and rate the hottest new releases and reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Hard Rock
Keeping the flag flying for classic hard rock in the vein of Guns N Roses, Aerosmith, the Crue and more for the best part of two decades, it’s not always been an easy ride for LA bad boys Buckcherry.
Conceived just as the music they loved and respected was on the wane, this is a band that’s been up for the battle from day one. And so it’s a happy quirk that Buckcherry’s most angst-ridden, introspective and soul-searching album to date comes at a time when Josh Todd and co. have never been more popular, respected and en vogue.
Confessions does what it says on the tin with assured songwriting and faultless delivery underpinning an album bursting with emotive bombast and typically gritty determination. Todd has never sounded more like Axl Rose than on The Truth but that’s no bad thing – his raspy vocal was born to brush over the sleazy riffs and malleable rhythms so prevalent on this remarkable record.
If Buckcherry were always born to make albums like Confessions then they’ve never quite managed it in the past. Why now is their time nobody really seems to know. But it’s surely time to celebrate the glorious evolution of hair metal’s bastard son and usher in a bold new era of quality assured hard rock. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Bucking The Trend
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Black metal
The title of Enshadowed’s first full length in nine years is misleading: while plenty of modern BM acts sound like they wander through forests rummaging around for exotic mushrooms in their time off, this Greek quartet aren’t one of them. In fact you have to reach this album’s creepy closer – and title track – before anything genuinely hallucinogenic seems to kick in, though kick in it certainly does…
Up to that point though, Enshadowed deal in more straightforward melodic BM fare, which they execute with aplomb. Tracks such as The Dual Hypostasis of Nihil and the devastating Black Holes, Death Planets, go for the jugular and draw plenty of blood, bringing to mind Polish titans Behemoth in the process.
Granted, Magic Chaos Psychedelia is far from groundbreaking, especially in a scene where the boundaries are being pushed back every day. But the heartfelt passion and commitment behind this opus lift it far above the mundane – and show once again that Greece can hold its own in the extreme metal scene. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Black magic
Genre: Death Metal
With a name like Skineater, you’d expect this Swedish outfit to play barely listenable, guttural goregrind. Instead the quintet, whose members are culled from the likes of Dark Funeral and Carnal Forge, have crafted a superb slice of modern death metal, mixing mid-paced crunch, fearsome blastbeats and subtle melodic touches to produce an impressive debut.
Opener He Was Murdered practically foams at the mouth as it bursts out of the traps, but then surprises with its deft changes of pace and glistening leadwork, while Made Of Godsick is the slime-covered spawn of Carcass and Morbid Angel, and Stab brings to mind the darkened riffery of fellow Swedes Bloodbath.
OK there might be a few obvious nods to DM royalty among the album’s ten tracks, but Skineater have succeeded in carving their own place in the scene with Dermal Harvest. And that’s no mean feat these days. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Tasty
Genre: Death metal
Entombed’s brand of low end, high distortion, bludgeoning death metal has been a major influence on countless bands, with the Swedes’ sound heard loud and clear in current extreme scene faves Trap Them and Black Breath.
Polish sextet Ulcer might not be as high profile as those acts, but their take on the classic Stockholm DM style deserves attention, as quite simply, it’s great fun! Chainsaw guitars, growled vocals, spurts of wild leadwork bursting through the grime, song titles like My God Has Horns and Devilspeed… all the ingredients are there for a blood spattered death metal shindig.
Original it ain’t, but Grant Us Death is a demolition hammer of an album which, thanks to a suitably weighty production courtesy of Grzegorz Kulawiak, could reduce buildings to rubble. And sometimes, that just does the trick…RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Entombtaining
Their monicker translates as ‘bloody serious’ and it’s clear from the start of Mørkets Frembrudd that these Norwegians put plenty of snarl and spit into their punked-up Scandirock.
Blodig Alvor’s lyrics – sung in their native tongue – are a vent for the quartet’s frustrations at society’s ills (we’ll have to take the press release’s word for it though, as RUSHONROCK’s Norwegian isn’t exactly up to scratch) and there’s plenty of youthful vigour and verve present on this album’s nine tracks. What it lacks, though, are the kind of hooks which might have elevated it to from ‘solid debut’ to ‘breakthrough’ status.
Nevertheless, with Ordets Mak and the likes of Blodig Alvor especially, they’ve laid some impressive foundations, and vocalist Markus den Ouden’s distinctive vocal style helps to lift the weaker material too. Ones to watch. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Getting serious
They might be one of the progenitors of metalcore, but Shai Hulud don’t have much in common with the numerous cookie cutter bands populating that scene. And as Reach Beyond The Sun proves, there’s an emotional depth to the US band’s music and lyrics which makes their output rise far above mere mosh fodder.
New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, Shai Hulud’s former singer, returns to the mic for Reach Beyond The Sun – he also manned the production desk –and does a sterling job; he’s joined by a menagerie of hardcore vocalists, including The Ghost Inside’s John Vigil, who lends his talents to the towering If A Mountain Be My Obstacle.
There are plenty of highlights on the quartet’s fourth full length and much to absorb, but To Suffer Fools in particular stands out as an example of how metal and hardcore can collide to devastating effect. The sun is shining once again on Shai Hulud.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Solar Flair