Hotly tipped bluesman Philip Sayce (pictured) returns to the fray and Opeth follow up the divisive Heritage.
There’s new music from remodelled Ulstermen The Rising and an 80s-soaked debut from X-Drive.
We review and rate The Haunted and Dictated. Plus we deliver our verdict on Swedes Adrenaline Rush.
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: Blues Rock/Classic Rock
It’s almost four years since RUSHONROCK bestowed a 10/10 review on Philip Sayce’s sensational Innerevolution and just two albums into his career the quality of that album left us with nowhere to go.
As a consequence Influence deserves a Spinal Tap-esque 11/10. It’s a marked improvement on Sayce’s previous work and the decision to mix covers with original compositions works incredibly well on this mature, meaty, mesmerising album.
The Toronto-based Welsh native has been blues rock’s next big thing for far too long. With this Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) produced gem under his belt that major breakthrough must be beckoning.
This is beguiling, brilliant, genuinely mind-blowing future-proof classic rock that successfully pays homage to Hendrix, Little Richard and Graham Nash without a hint of affectation. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Sen-Sayce-ional
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Death Metal
Drawing inspiration from the likes of Asphyx and Bolt Thrower, Dictated offer crunching, brutal death metal that is sure to set the dandruff a-flying. The Dutch outfit’s second effort is a no-nonsense affair, and doesn’t win many points for originality; indeed, it has a tendency to veer into meat and potatoes turf at times, with the likes of Stonebreakers Rising lacking creative zest.
However, there are some fine moments on The Deceived, such as the mid-paced No Mercy For Cowards – which boasts a clutch of nuclear powered riffs – and Dispossession, a track which switches from double kickdrum powered grooves to hyperspeed blasts with real aplomb. And in vocalist York, Dictated have man who can roar along with the best of them too.
If Dictated can write more songs like No Mercy… album number three might be a very serious proposition indeed. For now though, they’re a solid DM act, but with some work to do to climb out of the second division. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Malevolent Dictators
Genre: Extreme Metal
Exit Wounds, The Haunted’s eighth studio album, needed to make a statement. A big one. That’s because since 2011’s Unseen, they’ve lost enigmatic vocalist Peter Dolving, founding guitarist Anders Björler and long-serving drummer Per Möller Jensen. The fact that their replacements include singer Marco Aro and sticksman Adrian Erlandsson – both former members of The Haunted – plus Ola Englund, of Six Feet Under fame, only adds to the sense of anticipation surrounding Exit Wounds.
Thankfully for the Swedes’ many acolytes, this opus doesn’t disappoint, and fans of 2000’s The Haunted Made Me Do It and 2004’s rEVOLVEr will be particularly pleased to hear tight, caustic ragers such as Cutting Teeth and Kill The Light burst out of their speakers. Aro spearheads the album in his own unmistakeable style, and although you might miss Anders Björler’s trademark axework, his brother, bassist Jonas, brings plenty of groove to the likes of All I Have.
Not The Haunted’s finest hour, granted, but Exit Wounds is still a show of strength from the reinvigorated quintet. Welcome back. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 New Haunts
Genre: Progressive Metal
Where to go after the hugely controversial yet critically acclaimed progressive metal of RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Heritage? Right here.
‘This is treason’ wails Mikel Akerfeld on the closing track of another cerebral affair and for long-time fans of the former death metal heroes it is. Again.
Evidently the screams, shouts and growls have gone for good – this is a brave extension of Opeth’s 2011 metamorphosis and for the progressive metal connoisseur it’s an absolute treat.
It’s a fair bet those who prefer their Opeth at the heavier end of the scale will – like the band- have moved on some time ago. This is a record that caters to the more open-minded but even they might baulk at some of Pale Communion’s more medieval moments.
There’s plenty of sweeping electronica, luscious rythms and the odd riff for good measure and it’s another opulent offering from Opeth. It’s the right move after Heritage but another wrong turn for the death metal die-hards. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Beyond The Pale
Genre: Hard Rock
Dokken, Def Leppard and Danger Danger are writ large across this excess-all-areas debut from Swedes Adrenaline Rush but this isn’t quite the sugar-sweet tribute to 80s hair metal it promises to be.
Frontwoman Tave Wanning’s edgy tone is better suited to a harder rock sound and this record appears to be a case of right vocalist, wrong band. The Swedish quintet might still be enjoying their honeymoon period but there’s little chemistry driving Adrenaline Rush’s expertly-produced music.
Wanning is quite capable of making waves with her rock star looks and powerful delivery but this is more deep sigh than Adrenaline Rush.
Oh Yeah!, No, No No and Playin’ To Win are the pick – bizarrely they’re shunted to the end of an unconvincing setlist. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Rush Job
Genre: Hard Rock
The engine room of X-Drive – Burning Rain’s Keith St John, James Lomenzo (White Lion), Fred Fisher (Midline) and founder Jeremy Brunner – accelerates through a dazzling debut of radio-friendly anthems on this glorious hard rock throwback.
If you’re a fan of classic Dio, Whitesnake, Extreme and Van Halen then park up and enjoy the ride. Forget the dire band name and awful artwork – beneath the surface Get Your Rock On is a devil of a record.
Skip straight to Turn The Noize Down to experience the band’s heady mix of Bettencourt and Hagar: X-Drive are quire capable of creating the funky, party rock vibe beloved of their MTV-approved heroes.
Believing they’re capable of crafting ballads, the quartet don’t pass up the opportunity to show their lighter side but Fly Beyond The Angels flatters to deceive.
X-Drive excel on the fast-paced title track and super-cool California. This is reinventing the wheel 80s-style. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Driving Rock
Genre: Classic Rock/Melodic Rock
Formerly know as EXIT, The Rising might just have found a way in to rock’s mainstream. Coming Home is a chorus-driven, hook-laden treasure trove of an album that channels Springsteen (no surprises there), U2, Thin Lizzy and even Nashville’s finest.
There’s no denying vocalist Tristan Harris is a dead ringer for fellow countryman Ricky Warwick and if Black Star Riders are ever looking for a temporary frontman they need look no further.
Guitarist Chris Logan inspires uplifting positivity with every fresh note and The Rising’s more melodic moments reflect a trio with a wealth of experience and ambition to burn.
Break The Chains is a belter, Highway To The Lost And Found has universal appeal and Label Girl is a joy. Just how the sickly City By The Sea made the cut is anyone’s guess but it’s a rare wrong turn on The Rising’s journey home. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rising Force