Every Sunday we review and rate the latest guitar-driven sounds before settling on the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
Today we focus on perennial favourite Glenn Hughes as he reacts to the ugly break-up of Black Country Communion by unleashing new act California Breed on the classic rock community.
Northern Irish newbies Screaming Eagles drop their eagerly anticipated debut.
And there’s another taste of Dutch Symphonic metal as Epica look to make up ground on fellow countrymen Within Temptation and Delain.
Plus we run the rule over one of the heaviest collaborations of 2014 as Killer Be Killed (pictured) lay their cards on the table.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Hard Rock/Rock N Roll
Label mates of the Quireboys, fellow countrymen of The Answer and devotees of AC/DC, Northern Ireland’s Screaming Eagles are steeped in no-frills rock n roll with attitude.
From The Flames is no game changer, no genre-busting set steeped in originality and certainly nothing we haven’t heard before. But it’s a brilliant debut album – of its kind.
Bands who play to their strengths and strive for perfection are few and far between but the Screaming Eagles are fully focused and here they’re on fire. Opener All The Way is simple, effective and straight to the point. And that’s this sparkling record all over.
Rock N Roll Soul says it all. You can almost taste the passion as Chris Fry belts out the lyrics that best reflect a band with huge potential. Watch this space. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Flying High
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Classic Rock
Glenn Hughes’ response to the ugly implosion of Black Country Communion is emphatic: California Breed’s self-titled debut is akin to two fingers in the face of Joe Bonamassa with new kid on the block Andrew Watt an energising addition to the classic rock scene.
With Jason Bonham in tow and a typically astute Dave Cobb production there’s quality writ large across a bluesy, moody, mighty album. Watt’s ferocious fret work may lack JB’s finesse but his passionate approach perfectly complements a vocal tour de force from Hughes.
Spit You Out is thick with vitriol while Scars could be a biopic for the band’s main man.
Those who feared the demise of BCC had brought Hughes’ Indian summer to a premature end can breathe easy. This is his best work since that classy band’s startling debut. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Different Breed
Genre: Groove Metal/Thrash Metal
Pace, deep metal grooves and a complete disrespect for convention underpin this punishing top flight collaboration between Greg Puciato and Max Cavalera.
Face Down’s frantic percussion, raw power and piledriving hardcore sensibility makes for a ferocious melting pot of must-hear modern metal and there’s much more where that came from.
Puciato and Cavalera’s astute decision to share vocal and guitar duties keeps things fresh – the mix-and-match approach creating a sense of deep malevolence and unnerving unpredictability.
Killer Be Killed have crafted a raft of killer tunes in the mould of Melting My Marrow, Save The Robots and Dust Into Darkness. Needless to say this was a project worth pursuing. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Killing It
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Another week and another Dutch symphonic metal band edge closer to the big time. Epica’s highest charting album to date certainly doesn’t disappoint and the fact it almost cracked the UK top 50 suggests mainstream success outside of the Netherlands is no longer a pipe dream for Simone Simons and Mark Jansen.
Interestingly, this isn’t a giant leap forward from 2012’s RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Requiem For The Indifferent. Once again Jansen feels the urge to punctuate Simons’ dulcet tones with his trademark grunting and yet again it does nothing to enhance Epica’s overall sound.
Nevertheless, the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach has already reaped rewards in terms of commercial success and highlight The Essence Of Silence marks a career high for this most mystifying of bands.
Epica remain one of mainland Europe’s most engaging acts but there’s a nagging feeling that The Quantum Enigma is still missing its magic ingredient. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Enigmatic