It’s the last chance to check out some belting new rock and metal before Christmas and we’ve rounded up a few latecomers to the 2013 party.
There’s the latest offering from Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson plus we check out Time Traveller and The Valient.
At the heavier end of the scale we review and rate new music from Slaughterday, Artillery (pictured), Bones and Derogatory.
There’s new music from Love/Hate’s Jizzy Pearl and we finally deliver our verdict on Linkin Park‘s polarising Recharged.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
And we round up the VERY BEST OF THE REST.
Plus look out for our albums, gigs and DVDs of 2013 when the definitive RUSHONROCK ROLL OF HONOUR returns later this week…
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Toby Jepson – Raising My Own Hell EP (Townsend Records)
Genre: Classic Rock
Songs like Soapbox, Womankind and Sail Away – smash hit singles culled from Little Angels’ number one album Jam – proved beyond doubt that Toby Jepson was the king of the early 90s Britrock ballad.
Always able to hold a tune, the endearing Yorkshireman hit new heights on the three standout tracks from his former band’s sign-off album. And 20 years on it’s like history repeating itself all over again.
Solo again – after the Angels apparently split for good – Jepson may be making a name for himself as a rather handy producer these days but boy can he still cut it as a seriously affecting singer songwriter.
Notably, the mix is masterful. The opener and title track kicks in with nothing more than Jepson’s voice and an acoustic guitar before the percussion and organ slowly but surely make their presence felt. Fantastic stuff.
The bluesy organ’s back again to usher in the soulful Dear Mama before Patience Of A Saint recalls Little Angels’ breakthrough years. The folksy Four Letter Word is delivered with genuine feeling while Shoes (occasionally Lennon-esque) and the funky brass-enhanced Shadow Boxing complete an all-consuming collection of Jepson classics. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Raising Expectations
BEST OF THE REST
Time Traveller – Morla And The Red Balloon EP (Rise Records)
Genre: Alt Rock
Time Traveller is an interesting band.
Mainly because they aren’t a band but a solo project of a record producer called Cameron Mizell, who worked with bands such as Woe Is Me, Memphis May Fire and Sleeping with Sirens – and as such it features guest vocals from Tyler Carter (Issues), Kellin Quinn (Sleeping with Sirens) and Matty Mullins (Memphis May Fire).
The songs themselves, as would probably be expected from a record producer turned musician, are solid enough – if a bit strange. There are track names such as 500ml, which features Quinn and opens up the album, Rokit Man and CMizell928.
Although maybe that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise coming from an EP where the album art is a space-turtle chasing a red balloon.
The idea of having three guest vocalists is an interesting one, as it keeps the tracks fresh as the style and voice is constantly being changed and updated.
By whether it has any long-term value remains to be seen. For now, just lie back and enjoy the weird and wonderful Time Traveller. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Their Time?
The Valient – Empress Heights (Self-Released)
The Valient are hardly giving 2014 time to hit its straps before they throw themselves head first into the new year with the launch of the debut album, Empress Heights.
It was record with the help PR stablemates Palm Reader’s producer Lewis Johns, and it’s easy to make the connection between the two bands.
Having two vocalists is always going to create an interesting contrast in the music that is produced, and just like bands like The Blackout did so well, The Valient follow in their footsteps.
The growing, aggressive locals of Ben Byrne harmonize wonderfully with Si Phillips’s more traditional mode of singing – and helps to provide an organic base of transition for the music to move from the heavy to the melodic.
Songs like Alive and the album titled Empress Heights showcase this in all its glory. 2014 is going to be busy for The Valient. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Valient Effort
Slaughterday – Nightmare Vortex (FDA Rektoz)
Genre: Death Metal
Fancy some murky, slime-coated death metal that reeks of USDM legends Autopsy… and hints at Entombed’s grooved-up brutality? You’ve come to the right place. Slaughterday cast aside the last 20 years of death metal’s evolution to go with for the jugular with ferocious offerings such as Cosmic Horror, or creepy little ditties like Addicted To The Grave – and on the whole, it works very well.
OK, the German outfit won’t win any points for originality, but what Nightmare Vortex lacks in creative juices it makes up for in heads down, gore splattered bludgeon, and a commitment to honouring the old masters that should be celebrated.
It’s also good to hear some DM that sounds genuinely spine chilling for a change – Cult Of The Dreaming Dead, the album’s highlight, is a good example.
An assured debut then, and one which strikes a blow for the old school. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Day Of The Dead
Artillery – Legions (Metal Blade)
Genre: Thrash Metal
It’s safe to say that Denmark was no Bay Area when it came to spawning 80s thrash acts… but it did give birth to Artillery, who first burst onto the scene with 1985’s Fear Of Tomorrow. The veteran outfit reformed in 2007 and Legions is their third album in six years, offering 10 tracks of slick, polished thrash, with trad metal/power leanings (especially evident in new singer’s Michael Bastholm Dahl’s melodic vocals).
The axe-wielding Stutzer brothers (founding members Morten and Michael) are certainly on form here, spraying out riffs and solos like old pros, but the Danes’ songcraft is some way behind their re-energised contemporaries, such as Testament.
That said, if you like to whip your hair around to some good old fashioned, pacey necksnappers of an evening, you could do a lot worse than crank up Legions’ Anno Requiem or Chill My Bones (Burn My Flesh)…Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5.5/10 Marching On
Bones – Sons Of Sleaze (Planet Metal)
Imagine the grimiest, punked-up death metal, blasted out by a Special Brew quaffing Motörhead in a sweaty, graffiti daubed basement, and you’ll have a fair idea of what’s in store on Sons Of Sleaze.
The Chicago trio’s second opus has a seam of blackened rock ‘n’ roll running straight through it and on tracks like Cold Knife and 13, Bones make a racket that would surely have Lemmy’s underworld alter-ego throwing some shapes on the devil’s dancefloor.
Elsewhere, first wave BM influences make their presence felt… and drummer Joe Warlord is certainly fond of the occasional blastbeat.
Subtlety and originality are in short supply on Sons Of Sleaze, but if you’re into thunderous, distorted basslines and riffs that would make the local WI branch run for the nearest fallout shelter, you’ve come to the right place…Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5.5/10 The Filth And The Fury
Derogatory – Above All Else (FDA Rekotz)
Genre: Death Metal
Derogatory might hail from LA, but the quartet take their cues from Florida’s late 80s/early 90s death metal explosion… with the likes of Morbid Angel, Death , Deicide and Atheist clearly influencing much of the material on Above All Else.
The production could do with a bit more polish, but there’s no denying the power and technical prowess behind tracks such as Cryopreservation and Immortal Divine… while the debut’s title track is a real gem, seething with taught riffs and dazzling leads.
And at a time when Swedish death metal is still very much in vogue, it’s pleasing to hear a new US band paying homage to some of their more illustrious countrymen instead… and doing it in style too.
Not a groundbreaking album, granted, but a promising start for Derogatory. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5.5/10 Rising Above
Jizzy Pearl – Crucified EP (Self-Released)
Genre: Hard Rock
No stranger to controversy, newly-appointed Quiet Riot frontman Jizzy Pearl is using this rebranded release to draw a line under ongoing problems with signature band Love/Hate.
Originally slated as a Love/Hate release, any mention of the US rockers has been scrubbed from Crucified. In addition Pearl will now undertake nest spring’s UK tour as Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate before severing his ties with the band forever (apparently).
So what about the music? Well, with Pearl at the helm it’s clearly resonant of Love/Hate’s golden ‘Blackout In The Red Room‘ era and that, in itself, will come as a welcome relief to the band’s die-hard fans.
Bold, brash, no-holds-barred punked-up party rock is what Crucified is all about although the EP title, lead track Hanging You Out To Dry and sign-off tune Too Late hint at a far darker theme underpinning the recoding of this eagerly-anticipated release. Ballad I Don’t Want To Be Your Baby fuses Zeppelin with the Georgia Satellites in tear-jerking style.
Never say never but…this looks like Love/Hate, Jizzy Pearl or whoever finally moving on. If that really is the case then the band/brand is going out on a high. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Pearl Jam
Linkin Park – Recharged (Warner Bros)
Genre: Alt Rock/Nu-Metal
A fresh take on 2012’s Living Things, and the most ambitious/controversial Linkin Park record since the band’s collaboration with Jay-Z on Collision Course, this is further evidence of the US band’s momentous shift from their metal roots.
The 2014 Download headliners might be all about playing classic album Hybrid Theory in its entirety at next summer’s Castle Donington show but it’s rare to experience the chart-busting arena-botherers nodding to the past.
And just as the anthemic, riff-lite Living Things was more Nu-2 than nu-metal, its companion work is all about Linkin Park looking to the future. The thing is, if the future features Pusha T, Bun B and Ryu it’s going to be a scary place for us rockers.
Rick Rubin’s slick production, Mike Shinoda’s bold vision and Linkin Park’s gradual migration from angsty nu-metal to corporate dad rock ensures Recharged packs a punch for those favouring a certain musical palate. But it’s bloody bizarre. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Park And Ride