And tonight we throw the spotlight on guitar hero Eric Clapton (pictured) – reviewing and rating a lavish reboot of his fertile mid-70s years.
There’s new music from Helloween’s Andi Deris and French power metal newcomers Operadyse.
Plus we check out the latest in loudness courtesy of Deicide and Sapiency.
Brit heroes Funeral For A Friend see their early work given the reissue treatment and there’s new music from Spanish rock n rollers ’77.
Rhapsody Of Fire deliver their latest album and we rate the fourth long player from Germany’s Eat The Gun.
Every Sunday 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
In the mid 70s Eric Clapton was the king of rock, the king of blues, the king of soul and, increasingly, the king of reggae. 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One In Every Crowd, fully remixed and expanded in this sumptuous five-disc collection, are testimony to the fact that the former Cream man could turn his hand to any style, anywhere – and triumph.
Packaged alongside the remixed and expanded version of the legendary live release E.C. Was Here, this fabulous flashback to a time when the guitar was god truly delivers. Clapton’s version of I Shot The Sheriff, a US number one crossover smash, remains an iconic moment in 70s rock while Singin’ The Blues is the rootsy, heartfelt highlight on TOIEC.
But what about the live stuff? E.C. Was Here deserves its place in every self-respecting music fan’s collection but treats abound within the expanded edition. Previously unreleased versions of Crossroads, Layla and Little Wing genuinely add to the spirit of reinvention underpinning this carefully considered reboot of Clapton’s glory years.
Consistent yet ambitious, emotive yet assured and fusing radically different genres with due respect, Clapton truly capitalised on a fertile songwriting period with the chart-topping 461 Ocean Boulevard and its often overlooked successor. Forty years down the line both records, and the complementary live set, cast the main man in a vivacious new light. Simon Rushworth.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Eric Idol
BEST OF THE REST
Welsh screamo pioneers Funeral For A Friend re-release their debut EP just over 10 years after its initial release back in 2002.
However, the only genuinely interesting thing this retro rock collection has going for it is the nostalgia that comes flooding back upon pressing play.
In particular, standout tracks The Art of American Football and Juno are great to hear again. Also included are rarities including the unreleased Grand Central Station – far from the strongest song FFAF have ever penned and probably why it hasn’t been released before.
The EP also comes with live versions of the original four songs which, on such a short album, and the fact that the songs sound very similar to their studio counterparts, feel like you’re just listening to the album again.
This is a nice reminder of just how influential FFAF were as the leaders of a new sound and subculture. But it’s far from an essential purchase. Stuart Wharton
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Old Friend
Genre: Death Metal
While Scars Of The Crucifix marked a welcome return to form for Glen Benton and his children of the underworld, its follow ups – Till Death Do Us Part and To Hell With God sadly didn’t match that album’s impact…or come close to hitting the peaks of their early 90s material.
In The Minds Of Evil, however, is an improvement. There’s nothing here to match the pure spite of classics such as Sacrificial Suicide or Dead By Dawn, but Deicide’s 11th full length is still packed with raging, blasphemous fury, with songs like Thou Begone and Misery Of One raining hellfire on everything and everyone in their path.
The title track is a particular highlight, boasting the kind of snappy time changes and fearsome riffery that represents the band at their cross inverting best.
Still musically relevant – and still having a right old go at Christianity – Deicide aren’t slowing down any time soon. Richard Holme
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Prime Evil
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Incredibly these Italian legends are in their 20th year but Dark Wings Of Steel represents a brave new dawn for the symphonic metal stars.
Coming to terms with life post-Luca Turilli, this stirring album suggests the latest chapter in the Rhapsody Of Fire story could be the most revealing yet.
Roberto Di Micheli slots in seamlessly as a guitar hero par excellence and fellow new boy Oliver Holzwarth (bass) adds powerful rhythms and precise beats alongside drummer brother Alex. The new – and even improved – Rhapsody Of Fire are moving forward with confidence.
Fly To Crystal Skies is a heady mix of classic symphonic metal spliced with old school Malmsteen-esque licks and there’s plenty more to thrill the old school. Stirring stuff. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Fire In Their Belly
Genre: Hard Rock
When 2011’s High Decibels thundered through the RUSHONROCK PA system it’s fair to say there was an instant attraction to ’77. In fact we loved ‘em.
The best thing to come out of Spain since tapas and San Miguel, the unashamed AC/DC clones have shot another arrow through our hearts with the equally likeable Maximum Rock N Roll. It does what it says on the tin. And that does it for us.
There’s no messing about where these hard rock heroes are concerned and every fresh tune guarantees more of the same singalong rock n roll gold.
According to the band the dream was to produce ‘even more powerful riffs and catchy choruses’. Those familiar with High Decibels won’t believe it but that’s exactly what ’77 have gone and done. Incredible, but true. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Maximum Pleasure
Genre: Heavy Metal
A rousing rant against those responsible for bringing the global economy to its knees, Million Dollar Haircuts On Ten Cent Heads is an ambitious call to arms by Helloween frontman Andi Deris.
Opener Cock is a little too crass: a brave but ultimately foolhardy song with which to kick things off. There’s much better metal fare on offer and it’s best to skip straight to Will We Ever Change.
A solo vehicle for Deris – recorded with a band mentality – this is the polished, powerful and politically charged record you’d expect from a performer enjoying the creative freedom to let rip.
Must Be Dreaming – a mix of Dio and vintage Queensryche – might be tucked away in the middle of a varied setlist but it’s the standout track and a stirring tune. More of the same might have been the way to go.
Deris is usually a banker for those seeking meticulous trad metal. This neat record proves the point – although he probably wouldn’t appreciate the sentiment. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Handy Andi
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Successfully making yourself heard in the congested world of symphonic metal is no easy task – even less so when you’re relatively unknown.
The trick, therefore, is to pack your debut with pure quality from start to finish. French newcomers Operadyse have done just that and Pandemonium has the sound of a genre classic.
Fronted by Spheric Universe Experience’s Frank Garcia and benefiting from the backing vocals of original lead singer Jennifer Lasasalle, the lyrics are delivered with feeling and ferocity. Anything less and Operadyse’s bold symphonic vision could never be realised.
Keeper Of The Flame crosses Helloween with Maiden and the metal influences are loud and clear. However, Pandemonium boasts its own identity, a unique flavour and the songs to seriously shake up the power metal community. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rolling The Dyse
Genre: Hard Rock
Eat The Gun know how to pen an irresistibly catchy rock tune and use Stripped To The Bone to continuously dilute a tried and tested formula. The band’s fourth long player is the culmination of a decade of hard gigging, focused songwriting and undiminished self-belief.
It’s obvious why the Munster men have become the go-to guys for many of the biggest names touring Germany. But it’s just as clear why Eat The Gun have remained second division with their generic output lacking any big league quality.
Stripped To The Bone, for all of its driving riffs, catchy choruses and supreme confidence is an ordinary record. Eat The Gun are good but rarely great and what they do has been done many, many times before.
Apocalyptic Blues is the kind of ambitious reach for glory this seasoned trio should repeat more often. In reality At The End Of The Day and Made Of Stone are simply too safe. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Gun Slingers
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Melodic death metal is a cluttered genre with few truly outstanding bands flying its flag… and Sapiency aren’t one of them. The Frankfurt outfit certainly bring plenty of aggression to the table, and Tomorrow’s not short of passion either: the six piece give it their all on tracks like Unknown Enemy.
However, they lack the killer hooks to really make an impact, and too much of this opus – the band’s second – blends into one, long stream of uninspired riffs and double bass pounding.
There are a few highlights though. The title track uses Lars Bittner and Krsto Balic’s vocal interplay to great effect, and closer Dying Illusions, which boasts a huge chorus, lifts Tomorrow up by its boot straps. This track in particular shows what Sapiency are capable of – it’s just a pity that they had to leave the best till last. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 4.5/10 Sapped