Today we cast a critical eye over the debut album from European doom metal duo The Oath (pictured) and check out Gus G‘s first solo offering.
There’s new music from iTCH, Elder Brother and Oxygen Thief.
Plus we check out some seriously heavy shit courtesy of Twilight and post-Mitch Suicide Silence.
And there’s the latest volume of Townes Van Zandt classics given an alt-rock makeover.
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: Doom Metal/Heavy Metal
Two girls playing at being Black Sabbath? Surely not. Is that actually allowed? Now where’s the real thing…
But wait. Not only do The Oath play doom-laden, foreboding rock straight out of the 1970s but they do it a whole lot better than most of the many and varied retro-fuelled bands out there.
This is no gimmick. It is, in fact, a great big kick up the arse for heavy music and proof that women in rock don’t have to warble their way to the top, Within Temptation-style.
If Huntress and Blues Pills have blazed a trail for darkly affecting female-fronted rock and metal, then Johanna Sadonis (vocals) and Linnea Olsson (guitar) are poised to bash down the door and bludgeon all before them.
The epic Leaving Together, sensational Silver And Dust (check out that recurrent, rabid riff) and ‘no-messing’ opener All Must Die are three of the coolest – in a chilling way – songs we’ve heard all year. Black who? Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Oath Of Allegiance
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Heavy Metal
These days, it seems any guitarist worth his salt is taking a break from the day job, ringing round his mates and piecing together a star-studded solo record in a bid to remain ‘relevant’.
Slash did it first and then Leslie West proved you really can teach an old dog new tricks. Even Bad Company’s Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell released a reasonable solo record a while back – his best music for many a long year.
So now Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man Gus G is at it. Sensing an opportunity to head down the solo route – with Ozzy taking a post-Sabbath sabbatical and gigging band Firewind on hiatus – this set of hard rock standards is exactly that: standard.
Even Dave Ellefson, Billy Sheehan, Mats Leven and Steel Panther’s Michael Starr can’t add the missing ingredient required to give I Am The Fire its relevance and its charm.
On Summer Days the ever-reliable Jeff Scott Soto lends his hand to the album’s outstanding track but true quality’s at a premium here. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Gus And Them
Genre: Alt Rock
In 2012 the first volume of Townes Van Zandt back catalogue classics were given an ethereal re-working by Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till and friends and the stunning success of a potentially awkward series of collaborations meant a second helping was inevitable.
Once again My Proud Mountain have signed a roster of alt-rock legends to add weight to one of the most significant American songbooks of the 20th century.
Katie Jones joins Baroness’s Baizley for a remarkable version of St John The Gambler and the good stuff doesn’t end there.
Scheidt’s version of Rake ripples with raw emotion and the harmonized vocals on Waitin’ Around To Die are deliciously dark
This is life-affirming music, written from the heart and performed with soul. There’s nothing quite like it – and that’s why you’re certain to like it. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Townes Crier
Genre: Rap/Alt Rock
Having split from the King Blues after claiming he had take the band as far as they could go, iTCH has come back with a bang, but in a whole different style.
From the opening key of the piano intro to Life Is Poetry, you realize this is not a King Blues album – this is a proper hip hop album, like Scroobious Pip meets Kendrick Lemar.
There’s no doubting iTCH has always been a hugely talented rapper and he’s shown it here with tracks like Another Man, Not My Revolution and Children Of The Revolution showing it won’t be long before he’s treated like a real force in the rap business.
However, despite its undoubted quality, Blues fans may be disappointed, as iTCH appears to have lost virtually all of his rock influence, with his bluesy, ska undercurrent being replaced by the pop friendly, electric backing music that dominates the rap world. Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Scratch That iTCH
Having met while touring together over the last few years, Dan Rose of Daybreaker and Kevin Geyer of The Story So Far stuck their heads together to produce a truly excellent album from start to finish.
The is a far cry from the styles the pair created with their respective bands with this record taking on a more polished, refined approach that has perhaps taken much of the punk aspect out of their music. But by doing so it has allowed them to reach an unprecedented new level.
The album’s real stand out comes in the form of Who’s Gonna Carry Me Home, a slowed down acoustic number that would be a welcome hit music fans of all genres.
While this album does contain a huge acoustic element and is much more radio friendly than you would expect, it is a brilliant compilation that rock fans will enjoy. AK
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Oh Brother
Genre: Black Metal
III apparently marks the end of this project/kvlt collaboration/black metal supergroup; if it does, Twilight have certainly gone out on a high.
Featuring USBM luminaries Wrest (Leviathan, Lurker Of Chalice) and N. Imperial (Krieg), both founding contributors, plus Minsk’s Sanford Parker and The Atlas Moth’s Stavros Giannopoulos, this album, like those before it, was always going to intrigue and surprise. Add Thurston Moore, of Sonic Youth fame, to the mix, and you have some very spicy ingredients indeed.
Moore’s wild, squealing guitar tones certainly add extra flavour to the black metal foundations of tracks like Oh Wretched Son (the album’s highlight), but across all of III’s six tracks, you’ll be disorientated, unnerved and taken on a jarring sonic journey through the netherworld.
Not a comfortable listen then, and certainly light years away from meat and potatoes extreme metal, this opus is nevertheless a must for the open minded. It’s just a shame that time is being called on such a fascinating act. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 What Lies Beneath
Suicide Silence had successfully taken deathcore to the masses before tragedy struck in 2012 with the news that the band’s vocalist, Mitch Lucker, had been killed in a motorbike accident.
It’s testimony to Lucker’s popularity then – and the respect in which he was held – that the metal community united for a special show in his memory, held in December 2012 in Pomana, California.
Raising money for his daughter’s future education, the gig saw Suicide Silence perform with a slew of guest vocalists (as well as Lucker’s replacement, Hernan Hermida) and the results, by the sounds of this album, were phenomenal. Packed with deathcore ragers like Distorted Thought Of Addiction and Price Of Beauty, it’s a release full of energy and genuine love for a fallen brother.
There are appearances from the likes of former Sepultura/current Soulfly mainman Max Cavalera (who roars his way through Roots Bloody Roots) and Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe (who spearheads You Only Live Once), but it’s Mitch Lucker’s legacy to extreme music which really takes centre stage.
A fitting tribute to a much missed talent. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Making A Noise For Mitch
Genre: Punk Rock
Having stalked and pestered Xtra Mile for years, acoustic punk star Barry Dolan finally broke the label. They gave in and offered the Bristol-born muso a record deal in 2012 after seeing his huge talent and enthusiasm for the business.
Dolan’s passion is matched by supreme songwriting ability, with his aggressive lyrics and scratchy, heavy handed strumming combining to give a personal, high-powered punk performance.
The ragged feel to the record gives a beautiful, throwback touch to the DIY roots of punk, with Dolan’s rough vocals more like shouting than anything that could be described as singing.
While these points may seem like a dig at the album, they are in fact the opposite: these are the things that make this LP so magical.
From start to finish this seven-track compilation screams wholehearted punk. And if this is anything to go by, it won’t be long until we’re hearing a lot more from Oxygen Thief. AK
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Fields Music