We catch up with hotly tipped Germans Kissin’ Dynamite, sludge rockers Steak (pictured) and AOR hipsters Houston.
Quireboys’ frontman Spike releases his star-studded tribute to Frankie Miller.
There’s new music from Kobra And The Lotus and Towers Of Flesh.
Plus we deliver our verdict on American Hi-Fi.
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
This long drawn out project has been dubbed a labour of love but there’s nothing laborious about Spike’s passionate tribute to Scottish troubadour Frankie Miller.
There were times when the record was treading water but pulling together a cast list that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of British rock took time. It was WELL worth the wait.
How many albums do you own that feature Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, Free rhythm section Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke, Ian Hunter, Bonnie Tyler, Luke Morely and Quireboys/Down N Outz trio Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin and Keith Weir?
They’re all here and more as a magnificent celebration of Miller’s unique craft is realised in spectacular style. Wood’s slide guitar on Cocaine is an obvious highlight but Tyler rolls back her glory days with a bristling vocal on Fortune and only the distinctly average American Woman lets the side down.
Quireboys fans will be quietly impressed with Spike’s versatility as the Geordie boy breaks free from his day job to tone down the trademark rasp and truly connect with Miller’s distinct melodies. Stirring stuff. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Miller Time
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Hard Rock
Kissin’ Dynamite looked set to explode onto the metal scene after spiky debut Addicted To Metal and loadsa fun follow-up Money, Sex & Power. The band’s 2012 RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 sophomore release fused hard rock with sleaze metal to stunning effect but Megalomania is a massive step backwards.
For some reason the Swabians have turned their back on the party rock n roll that underpinned their early tunes and added elements of industrial metal and dance rock to their jumbled sound.
The Rammstein-lite refrain of DNA just doesn’t work while VIP In Hell is hopelessly misplaced. Legion Of The Legendary is like an EDM B-side and fans searching for a Sleaze Deluxe or an Operation Supernova will be sorely disappointed. It’s only on the outstanding Fireflies that Kissin’ Dynamite revisit the core sound that made the band such an exciting prospect at the turn of the decade.
Still young enough to right Megalomania’s wrongs, Germany’s next big thing require a blast from their past to get back on track. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 4/10 Kissin’ Goodbye?
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Disturbing, discordant blackened death metal is something that Brit bands excel at, and with their second album, Towers Of Flesh show that they’re up there with the best of them.
Antithetical Conjurations might only boast six tracks, but it’s brimming with creative verve, and there are more twists, turns and explosive riffs on Veiled Conception than many bands serve up in an entire album.
Also impressive is the trio’s command of rhythmic dynamics, with drummer Anil Carrier putting in a masterful performance behind the kit, and bringing a real excitement to the likes of Beg For Absolution – a stunning track that encapsulates everything good (and evil) about this Midlands outfit.
Towers Of Flesh may have kept live performances to a minimum, but extreme metal this potent simply needs to be heard in the live arena… let’s hope the interest created by Antithetical Conjurations will help get them on the road. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Towering Performance
If Houston’s first covers-dominated collection (Relaunch) proved to be an exercise in persuading the public that the band’s AOR obsession stems from a deep understanding of the genre’s unheralded classics then this bold follow-up is all about expanding their musical boundaries.
With last year’s critically acclaimed Houston II still garnering critical acclaim it’s time for Hank Erix and co. to slay convention and offer their polished slant on everyone from Lady GaGa to One Republic and Florida Georgia Line to Rick Springfield.
It’s Houston’s version of Springfield’s Souls that will really resonate with the band’s long-time fans – a song originally released in 1983 allowing these students of pop rock perfection to lay their cards squarely on the table.
But if you’re bored with certain bands’ slavish commitment to the past then there are a slew of new tunes here too: Downtown moulds Toto with Survivor and Don’t Look Back has a late 80s Leppard-esque quality. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Hous About That
Genre: Pop Punk
After four hugely successful albums, the Boston trio has come back with the perfect adolescent-focused summer soundtrack.
Every pop punk album needs a real ‘tune’, covered in the kind of cheese Bowling For Soup have sprinkled over their records for the last 20 years.
That pop-filled Parmesan comes in the shape of the album’s third track, Coma, and adds the right amount of catchy chorus-filled madness to get the blood flowing.
What sets Hi-Fi apart this time round, is the ability to mix the catchy choruses with well structured punk tunes – making for an album that retains the singalong aspect the band’s fans expect, whilst building a structured piece of dirty, almost grungey rock around it.
This grunge-like flavour is most obvious throughout Allison, as Stacey Jones drops his vocals to a lo-fi style before coming out strong in the chorus.
This is a fantastic piece of work and a very addictive album that will lodge its way into your brain – like all good summer soundtracks should! Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Hi-Five
Genre: Hard Rock
The Gene Simmons-approved US rockers have looked like America’s next big thing for some time now – it’s a pity, therefore, that High Priestess doesn’t quite live up to the band’s early potential.
It’s no coincidence that Kobra And The Lotus are fast morphing into a diluted version of In This Moment – Canadian producer Kevin Churko has produced three of the latter’s records in the last six years and he’s the man responsible for this polished piece of hard rock. High Priestess is incredibly slick but it lacks true passion.
When vocalist Kobra Paige first burst onto the scene it was her raw emotion that gave The Lotus their edge. These days she’s beginning to sound like every other generic metal goddess – flanked by riffs straight from the A7X book of commercial success.
Hold On, with its folk metal/symphonic metal crossover appeal, is a rare highlight but surely Within Temptation are way out of reach for a band struggling to find its identity? SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Paige Turning?
Genre: Stoner Rock
Imagine Pearl Jam and Queens Of The Stone Age joining forces to pen the follow-up to 80s sci-fi classic Flash Gordon and that’s the kinda sound Steak aspire to on the disarmingly-titled Slab City.
It’s sludgy, scuzzy, stoner-tinged rock that’s been done before and occasionally done better. But these loud and proud Londoners know their stuff when it comes to crafting a modern metal album with deep grooves and even deeper sentiments.
Pisser and Roadhead might sound like throwaway song titles a bunch of adolescent kids would deem too silly to call their own but Steak are far from insincere. The majority of their music is cerebral stuff that stands toe to toe with the best the stoner rock genre has to offer.
Slab City’s not like any place on earth but it’s a world away from the mundane. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Steak Out