And this week we focus on hard rockers Stormbringer (pictured), metal maniacs Lonewolf and the return of metalcore’s Like Moths To Flames.
We might be late to the party where one of Britain’s best emerging bands is concerned but Buffalo Summer‘s self-titled debut finally gets reviewed and rated.
And we deliver our verdict on Pat Travers and Willie Nile.
Every week we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the very BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Classic Rock
About to wrap up a triumphant trek across the UK in support of fellow Brit heroes Heaven’s Basement, the super cool Welsh quartet of Buffalo Summer have been given ample opportunity to showcase the brilliance that is their sparkling debut album.
Recorded in a fortnight and mixed over several months – whenever the money came in – it’s a record that screams raw emotion, an ethos embedded in the very heart of rock n roll and the determination to entertain.
Down To The River – already a rousing live favourite – perfectly showcases Buffalo Summer’s consummate songwriting craft with its sumptuous hook and irresistible chorus. But it’s not alone. She’s All Natural shimmers with positivity and March Of The Buffalo makes an unashamed play on this band’s unstoppable momentum.
With frontman Andrew Hunt’s confident delivery coming across all latter-day Toby Jepson it surely can’t be long before Buffalo Summer become British classic rock’s next big thing. If, like us, you’re late to the party it’s time to catch up – and fast! Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Red Hot Summer
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Hard Rock/Post Grunge
Mike Stockley boasts a voice made for rock. Loud, proud, driving, deadly rock. And Stormbringer allow the Narkan frontman the perfect platform to deliver a full-throttle performance capable of catapulting his band to the next level.
Part Chris Cornell, part Mike Patton and part Myles Kennedy, there’s never a moment when Stockley steels himself. His style is relentless and his classic rock roots obvious – even if there are times when Stormbringer are closer to Down than Deep Purple.
Naming the band after one of Purple’s classic albums is brave enough but confidence oozes out of every note crammed into this blast of a record. Single Grinder is Alice In Chains meets Shinedown while Control is pure hard rock par excellence.
Set closer Welcome To Hell sounds like some kind of heaven for anyone who favours 2013’s breed of heavier classic rock bands. This is bold stuff and Stockley has played a blinder. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Storming Effort
Genre: Post Hardcore/Metalcore
An Eye For An Eye is the second album by Ohio-based Like Moths To Flames and follows up on their debut album When We Don’t Exsist – a record that received poor reviews from the music press.
So the crucial question is: ‘will this be any better?’.
The short answer is yes. This isn’t an album that will become an instant classic but it is a listenable piece of work. Pulling influences from bands such as Tear Out The Heart and Funeral For A Friend, LMTF pull away from their metalcore sound and move more towards a post-hardcore vibe.
An Eye For An Eye is as aggressive as the title sounds and the tracklist is permeated by song titles such as Nothing But Blood and Lord Of Bones. But despite the rage, the anger and the aggression there’s a rhythm to the music that keeps the listener interested.
Where LMTF fall away, on occasion, is with songs like Serpent Herders, on which the band sound like they are just making noise for the sake of making noise.
But for the most part this is an enjoyable album that will blow the cobwebs off a cold winter’s day and energise a hot summer’s afternoon. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Flame Grilled
Genre: Post Hardcore/Alt Rock
Hands Like Houses are another band on the Rise Records roster that has changed its sound for the second album. And just like stable mates Like Moths To Flames, they produced a debut album that reviewed mixed reviews – something that you’d assume would spark a change.
And change they have. Hands Like Houses have moved away from the post-hardcore sound of Ground Dweller and have embraced a more commercial sound for the follow-up, Unimagine.
The opening track, Developments, is clearly designed to be a big radio player. There are plenty of ‘woo ohhhs’ and inoffensive guitar twiddling. That doesn’t make it bad, however, as it is an infectious song that has flavours of Twin Atlantic before they became the Radio One darlings that they are today.
HLH pull together an album that has strong songwriting and a strong sound. The House You Built and Shapeshifters are the two standout songs while Wisteria finishes off the album in fine style and showcases lead singer Trenton Woodley’s full vocal range.
The departure from HLH’s original sound may annoy some fans but on the evidence of Unimagine it will be a move that brings the Aussies a whole lot more. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 House About That?
Genre: Classic Rock
Canadian rock royalty Pat Travers first came to prominence in the late 70s and early 80s with a slew of ‘albums of the time’.
Always possessing a keen ear for what was in – and what was the next big thing – the singer songwriter jumped on the back of 70s blues rock before piggybacking the more melodic 80s scene and enjoying a late blues phase.
Can Do is a reminder that the Pat Travers Band really could. Well. And often. Fusing styles honed over four decades, it’s a record that combines careful nods to the past with a modern edge synonymous with a Frontiers stable boasting the very best in new melodic rock.
Diamond Girl is an absolute gem and Long Time Gone is typical Travers – mixing a screaming riff with lyrics guaranteed to resonate with rock fans the world over: it’s metal, blues, funk and sleaze all rolled into one. It can be done and you can bet that the Pat Travers Band will do it. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Pat On The Back
Genre: Classic Rock/Rock N Roll
Often touted as the musician’s musician, Willie Nile has been making records for more than 30 years – records that have won him slots playing alongside The Who, Bruce Springsteen and more.
Boosted by the patronage of Bono, Lucinda Williams and Little Steven Van Zandt, confidence is not a problem where the man from Buffalo is concerned but his failure to enjoy sustained mainstream success just might be.
American Ride is another example of Nile’s talent for describing America and all its quirks through the beautiful medium that is his unique music. The title track may be just a little too predictable for those expecting an incisive commentary on the US but it’s a song that roars through its simplicity.
Standout track Life On Bleecker Street is, by contrast, a deep and meaningful blast of songwriting gold – had Springsteen or The Gaslight Anthem penned this song the powers that be would be falling over themselves to saturate the airwaves and book the festival stages. Maybe they still will, one day. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Nile Belter
Genre: Power Metal
Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2013, the French metallers of Lonewolf are clearly in thrall to Europe’s power metal kings. But The Fourth And Final Horseman peaks after the opening – and title – track before drifting into a generic and painful downward spiral.
Frontman Jens Borner doesn’t help with vocals straight from an underground metal karaoke bar. On Time For War the Lonewolf founder slumps to new depths and it’s to the discredit of his band members that nobody’s ever broached the subject of singing or the need for a singer. There’s a pressing need for that conversation to take place soon.
So bad is Borner’s delivery that much of his band’s power metal riffery is nothing more than background fuzz, set against the frontman’s guttural, uninspired growling. Lonewolf might make good music but who knows?
On the slower songs like Another Song Means poor Borner really, really struggles. The bloke clearly lives and breathes Lonewolf but without a new singer this is one band destined to remain cut adrift from the chasing pack. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 3/10 The Fourth And Final Hoarseman