And this week we welcome back Aussie pub rockers Airbourne and check out their new Mutt Lange-inspired album.
We review and rate the latest releases from Rob Zombie and Delain .
Plus we check out new albums from Trucker Diablo (pictured), Kadavar, Battle Beast, Satan and Entrails.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we reveal the BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Gene: Classic Rock
It’s been a Lange time coming but the man responsible for many of the best – if not the best – production jobs in rock history has inspired another stone cold classic.
In 1980 it was AC/DC’s Back In Black that benefited from Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange’s unique ear for a genre-defying guitar anthem and now another bunch of hard drinking Aussies have taken the uber-producer’s lead.
Airbourne have made no secret of their love for all things Lange and even coined the phrase ‘Muttanation’ to describe their approach to making Black Dog Barking. The South African’s influence is writ large right across this monster of a record – in fact it’s very often over-bearing.
Opener Animalize – fusing the names of Def Leppard’s lead single from Hysteria and that album’s follow-up Adrenalize (Lange was at the helm during the production of both albums) is typical of Airbourne’s unwavering devotion to all things 80s.
Imagine Joe Elliott with an Aussie twang, Phil Collen’s guitar down-tuned and backing vocals rougher than a kangaroo’s arse and this could be Warnambool’s answer to the mighty Lepps.
Of course there’s the classic AC/DC-like riffing that underpinned previous long players Runnin’ Wild and No Guts, No Glory – check out the intro. to Live It Up – but Airbourne occasionally drift into spoof rock territory. When Joel O’Keefe sings ‘A mouthful of garter/is just the starter’ on Woman Like That the co-headline tour with Steel Panther doesn’t seem too far off.
Airbourne have already managed what so many peers struggle to achieve – a hat-trick of anthemic, no-holds-barred rock n roll albums destined to stand the test of time. But the brilliant Black Dog Barking could be the game changer. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 The Dog’s Bollocks
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Dutch masters Delain don’t mess about when it comes to doing exactly what it says on the tin: Interlude is the break between 2012’s We Are The Others and next year’s as yet untitled follow-up.
Featuring two new songs, a fresh mix of current single Are You Done With Me, a trio of questionable covers and six live tracks this is a mixed bag and a challenging listen.
The ballad version of We Are The Others boasts the ‘wow’ factor – with Charlotte Wessels’ haunting vocals to the fore – but the band’s uninspiring cover of Such A Shame is more about the ‘woe’ factor.
Of all the female-fronted melodic metal bands in the world – and there are a few – Delain deal in the grittier side of pomp and their music is far more endearing as a result. But Interlude is for die-hard fans only. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Interludicrous
Genre: Heavy Rock/Doom Metal
If classic rockers Rival Sons did doom metal then Abra Kadavar is the album they’d love to make. Steeped in 70s tradition and cooler than an English summer, the brilliant Berliners are about to hit the big time.
Where one scuzzy riff will suffice Kadavar deliver three and when it’s all getting just a little bit Sabbath there’s room for sweeping Hawkwind-esque psychedelic twists and spaced out Teutonic turns.
Super Swedes Graveyard have been here before but their label mates are catching up fast with a compelling fusion of old school doom and en vogue metal.
If Kadavar keep delivering heavy rock of this quality – and in such quantity – they’ll be busting through the gates of every major festival this time next year. For now enjoy your favourite new underground prospect in mind-bending moderation. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Kadavictory
Genre: Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Less than 18 months since their RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Steel caused quite a stir on the trad metal scene, the ferocious Finns of Battle Beast are back with another slab of molten riffage.
Disappointingly there’s some of that debut album’s raw charm missing on this polished – even over-produced – follow-up with the fusion of new girl Noora Louhimo’s growly vocals and Janne Bjorkroth’s shiny keys an uncomfortable mix.
Neuromancer is as good as anything on Steel and is proof that the ‘Beast hasn’t entirely lost its metal mojo. But the bizarre Black Ninja is a dog’s dinner of a song that sounds so contrived it could be the soundtrack to the porn version of Kung Fu Panda. And there’s plenty more pap where that came from.
Second album syndrome cuts down many bands before they ever reach their prime but Battle Beast are better than this self-titled side swerve. Expect bigger and better things next time out. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Losing The Battle
Genre: Hard Rock
If Northern Ireland’s heavy blues heroes Trucker Diablo believed they’d hit a career peak by opening up for heroes Thin Lizzy in Belfast towards the end of 2012 they’d better think again. Songs Of Iron can propel the ultra-impressive Ulstermen into rock’s big league.
Many more famous nights beckon for the Emerald Isle’s best export since The Answer and it’s all down to the tunes. Simple, effective and made for heavy radio rotation, Trucker Diablo have honed their songwriting craft to perfection. Little wonder Drive is Classic Rock Magazine’s Track Of The Week.
Opener Red Light On comes across like a supercharged Nickelback and the band even manage to impress on the potentially tricky power (with the emphasis on power) ballad Maybe You’re The One.
It seems there’s nothing Trucker Diablo can’t do and it’s time the rock world woke up to Britain’s answer to Black Stone Cherry. Simply stunning. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 For Truck’s Sake
Genre: Death metal
Entrails don’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to old school death metal. But of the many acts blasting the infamous Stockholm DM sound, they at least have deep roots in the genre – guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist founded the first incarnation of the band in 1990, bringing his monster to life in a converted woodshed in southern Sweden.
Reactivated after a 14 year hiatus, the quartet have been making up for lost time and Raging Death, their third full-length in three years, is aptly titled. It’s fierce and furious, like Swedish DM should be, but boasts a hint of groove too – vital when this style can often become one dimensional.
Lundqvist, plus fellow axeman Mathias Nilsson, excel in spurting crunching, skull splitting riffs all over tracks like Bloodhammer and Headless Dawn, while Joakim Svensson’s roar ups the intensity even further.
Although it’s no match for classics such as Entombed’s Left Hand Path, Raging Death is highly enjoyable nonetheless – and a perfect case of ‘does what it says on the tin’. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Trail Of Destruction
The NWOBHM era spawned both world conquering bands and acts who, for whatever reason (such as Metallica not covering their songs), never received the recognition they deserved. Newcastle’s Satan were a good example, with name and line-up changes not exactly helping their progress.
But the line-up which produced their 1983 debut, Court In The Act, reunited for this opus… and thank God (or the guy down below) they did.
For Life Sentence has all the ingredients that made NWOBHM so appealing in its heyday: razor sharp riffs, glorious dual guitar interplay, soaring vocals and best of all, great, great songs. Songs like Time To Die, Twenty Five Twenty Five, Tears Of Blood and Cenotaph, to name but a few.
Aided by a warm, organic production and a guitar tone which will have most six stringers green with envy, Life Sentence is classic metal in the truest sense of the word. And it’s proof that the devil does have the best tunes after all. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Horns-up!
Genre: Heavy Metal
As Alice Cooper’s bastard son and Wednesday 13’s weirdo uncle, Rob Zombie knows his place in the family of shock rock. Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor pays homage to the genre’s key facets but, as is Zombie’s wont, there’s a freshness about an album that is never allowed to drift into lazy cliche.
Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole) is a compelling case in point with the industrial/electro foot stomper as infectious as its lyrics are simplistic. Hardly the most gifted vocalist in metal, Zombie nevertheless sings like he really, really means it. And that counts for a lot.
Whether courting controversy with opener Teenage Nosferatu Pussy or going all sleaze metal on White Trash Freaks there’s plenty going on within this whirlwind of a record. And it’s not just the music. The CD booklet is vibrant, shocking, informative and innovative – tear yourself away from the music and it’s a must-read.
As one of metal’s genuine game changers, Zombie continues to push the boundaries and blast a hole in staid convention. VRRV is business as usual. And business is good. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rat Poison