New releases from Iron Reagan, Cannibal Corpse, Myrkur and Num Skull kick things off.
And we focus on the latest EP from hard rock survivors Skid Row (pictured).
There’s new music from Motionless In White and Violet.
We run the rule over Black Moth and Nick Oliveri.
Plus we finally deliver our verdict on the number one album by Royal Blood.
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: Alt Rock
Where Royal Blood are concerned don’t believe the hype. They’re better than that.
More commercially savvy than The Graveltones, less whimsical than the White Stripes and sharing the destructive nature of Deap Vally, this deliciously fresh duo make music that simply must be heard.
Beloved of the easily influenced indie crowd as much as wizened hard rockers, Royal Blood’s universal appeal is down to the songs: Little Monster, Figure It Out and Out Of The Black are loud, proud and perfectly formed.
Creating a startling cacophony is easy enough but where Royal Blood leave their rivals in the shade is with an acute understanding of where to go next once the maximum volume has been reached. It’s destination dreamland if you’re searching for modern rock nirvana. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Bloody Fantastic
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Hard Rock
Snake Sabo and Rachel Bolan are two of rock’s great survivors and while former band mate Sebastian Bach has successfully remodelled himself as a derisory figure of fun and a self-styled metal parody, the Skid Row founders continue to deliver punchy, authentic hard rock that stays true to their late 80s roots.
Johnny Solinger doesn’t boast the widest range or the most melodic tone but he fits the 2014 version of Skid Row like a glove. The feisty Give It The Gun and power ballad Catch Your Fall allow the band’s frontman ample opportunity to prove his worth.
Sleazy, punked up covers of Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack and Aerosmith’s Rats In The Cellar are better than your average dull reinterpretation and reinforce the feeling that Skid Row’s dynamic Download Festival set this summer was no flash in the pan. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rock N Rowl
Soaked in the fine traditions of crossover – short sharp songs, even sharper time changes, and lashings of attitude – The Tyranny of Will is the work of Municipal Waste’s Tony Foresta and Phil Hall, alongside members of Darkest Hour and Mammoth Grinder.
Certainly, there’s more than a hint of ‘the Waste’ to this thrashed up, hardcore fun fest, but Iron Reagan are a fine entity in their own right, and serve up some real treats on their second full-length. Rat Shit is a killer, mid-paced thasher with a big, dirty metal riff as the hook, while Your Kid’s An Asshole and Bored To Death are hyperspeed hardcore blasts that are guaranteed to cause serious pit mayhem.
You’ll do well to reach the end of The Tyranny of Will without having head-banged your way into oblivion, but Four More Years (at four minutes, practically an epic by IR’s standards), is a worthy closer, with its chant-a-long chorus and head-splintering groove. Plus, it shows that Iron Reagan can mix things up (a little) if they want to.
Not big, not clever – just a bloody great crossover album, The Tyranny of Will is a spitting, snarling triumph. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Presidential Approval
Genre: Death Metal
Cannibal Corpse. The best death metal band of all time? Quite possibly. The most consistent? Almost certainly. The most brutal? Well, take a listen to tracks like Sadistic Embodiment or Kill Or Become, and you’ll have your answer… if you manage to survive their unrelenting, gore-drenched assault.
The US legends are now an album 13 of their illustrious career at the top of the DM tree, and A Skeletal Domain shows why, 26 years since their inception, they remain a hugely popular act, and a band for whom compromise was never an option.
The title track slays all before it, armed with steely, barbed riffery, Funeral Cremation is a whirlwind of neck-snapping rhythms, The Murderer’s Pact is as vicious as its title suggests… anyway, you get the picture.
Technically dazzling, brilliantly produced and never letting up for a second, this opus is extreme metal at its finest. Hat’s off to the veteran quintet – they’ve done themselves proud once again. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Rib-rage
Genre: Black Metal
Black metal which taps straight into your soul, which transports you to ancient worlds, which connects you to something primal… it’s a style that few musicians can truly pull off, but is arguably the most rewarding and exciting aspect of this most extreme of genres.
And with her debut EP, Myrkur, a one woman project from Denmark, has made such an impact on this seam of BM that people will be talking about her self-titled record for years to come. Why? The blend of beautiful, ethereal vocals with raw, second wave black metal riffs and superbly crafted time signatures. The ice-cold, wind-swept melodies that conjure up vast, Nordic landscapes. The sheer joy of hearing a track like Nattens Barn or Ravnens Banner for the first time – and feeling the hairs on your arm stand up on end.
Frankly, Mrykur’s debut full length can’t come soon enough, if more of this is what awaits us. Stunning. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Lone Star
Genre: Thrash Metal
How many resurrected thrash classics prove to be anything but? Quite a few, and even rose-tinted glasses don’t help to make up for a lack of songwriting nous… however initially charming much of the genre’s 80s output sounds on first listen.
Num Skull’s 1988 debut, re-mastered and re-issued courtesy of Relapse, thankfully bucks the trend. It’s a raging, dark hearted beast of a record, a maniacal collision of Slayer and Possessed, played like the Illinois boys’ lives depended on it.
Death and Innocence opens with a sinister riff, before blasting off into the stratosphere, while Off With Your Head reeks of leather, sweat and spilt beer, a perfect soundtrack to shaking you dandruff loose in a dingy basement bar. However, for all their fury, Num Skull could also write great, inventively structured thrash, which is genuinely exciting to hear – even 26 years after it was first created.
Granted, Ritually Abused doesn’t hit the heights of the Big Four’s best moments, but its re-emergence should be welcomed by anyone with a pair of hi-tops and a bullet belt in the wardrobe. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Num’s The Word
“This is the first time in my life I’ve composed an album and have departed from the studio feeling like everything I’ve ever wanted to accomplish, has finally materialised.”
That’s a big statement from Chris Motionless, lead singer of Motionless In White, as he talks about their new album Reincarnate.
The shock jockeys of the hardcore/metalcore scene, MIW’s third album mixes the dark mind of Marilyn Manson, the song names of glamcore (Everyone Sells Cocaine is a personal delight) and the positively delightful Dead As Fuck.
Reincarnate is a wonderfully polished album, full of different sounds and layers that make it an instantly listenable and enjoyable experience. You can trip between the frantic and energetic Break the Cycle to the Rob Zombie-ish aforementioned Dead As Fuck.
This is an album that takes everything that is best from the last decade of metal and all their sub-genres, and mixes them together into 13 excellent songs. Maybe Motionless wasn’t exaggerating. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 White Hot
Six piece Violet have emerged onto the UK music scene after extensive work cracking the underground audience through a self-funded album and two EP releases, with their Small Town Records debut The Love/The Lust ready to hit shelves on the 15th of September.
Violet may play metalcore/hardcore music, but you can tell that they have grown up listening to all sorts. There are shades of an R&B love on the first song of the album, As Children Final, but don’t expect this album to be all autotune and bling as Car Rides and the Passenger Side has an aggressive, guttural quality to the dirty vocals.
The Love/The Lust is a varied and thought-out album, with shades of Dance Gavin Dance and Heights about their sound. They have grafted for where they are, and don’t expect them to do back underground any time soon. Russell Hughes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Love It
Genre: Heavy Metal/Stoner Rock
Harriet Bevan could go toe to toe with Jill Janus of Huntress any day. In fact it’s a fight we’d love to see.
The doom-fuelled frontwoman of Leeds collective Black Moth is like Ozzy Osbourne’s evil little sister as she sneers her way through some seriously disturbing lyrical matter.
But it all seems a little too contrived on opener Tumbleweave and the bizarre Looner. Black Moth might be trying to do ‘cynical’ but too often it feels like ‘comical’.
If a reflection of biting reality is what Condemned To Hope is striving for then it falls some way short. Maybe Black Moth aren’t quite that clever. Yet. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Moth Bawl
Genre: Alt Rock
Opener Human Cannonball Explodes is a lame, winsome, acoustic-led affair utterly at odds with Nick Oliveri’s work as bass player with Kyuss, QOTSA and Vista Chino…or not! It’s a thunderous, rhythmic beast of a tune that almost threatens to eclipse a back catalogue bursting with similarly brutal efforts.
And the angsty, edgy, effortlessly ‘alternative’ theme continues into the frighteningly cool Keep Me In The Loop with its screeching lead vocal, haunting whispers and jarring time signatures.
Oliveri isn’t in the mood to revisit the past and even the Kyuss die-hards might find some of Leave Me Alone’s content too much to stomach. For those open to evolution, however, this a record that reinvents a rocker who had, apparently, done it all.
‘Don’t start trippin’ or our love will go into detox’ is a line to die for but Oliveri has always made music like his life depends upon it. Leave Me Alone is his best work for years. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 St Nick