In This Moment make their play for major league success while British newbies Heartbreak Remedy release their second EP.
Beans On Toast serve up a tasty return and there’s new music from Monster Magnet (pictured) and Skalmold.
We deliver our verdict on Pain Of Salvation.
Plus we run the rule over Thanatos, Soulburn, Deathtrip, Voices and Bloodbath.
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
Cumbria has always boasted a reputation for producing the world’s finest slate – right now it’s a county celebrating a resurgence in rock. Falling Red and Colt 45 might be setting the pace but Heartbreak Remedy – a major draw at this weekend’s Hard Rock Hell Festival – are catching up fast.
The laid back rockers rooted in the 80s look and sound like the real deal. Kicking off with Single And Free and the excellent Devil Woman it’s easy to imagine them laying waste to the Sunset Strip 25 years ago. But by the time Chasing The Sun and Life are unleashed there are welcome hints of Blackberry Smoke’s countrified blues.
It would be unfair to suggest Heartbreak Remedy are attempting to cover multiple bases in a bid to fit at least one blueprint for rock’s next big thing. Make no mistake, this quartet boast their own identity and a stunning armoury of classic rock originals. And two EPs in that’s no mean feat. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rock N Roll Remedy
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Death Metal
Formed way back in 1984, Dutch outfit Thanatos haven’t mellowed with age – and if no frills, head cracking death metal is what floats your boat, then Global Purification will have plenty to offer.
It’s not the most inventive album you’ll hear this year – and much of Thanatos’ sixth full length feels stodgy or uninspired. However, tracks like Feeding The Machine, with its mid-paced thrash assault, or the titanic closer, Bastion Of Blasphemy, do hit a particular spot (or rather smash it to pieces with a big old sledgehammer) – and there’s no doubt that Thanatos are deadly serious about their art. Indeed, World Jihad – undoubtedly the album’s highlight – is a vicious, three-plus minutes of DM mayhem.
But in a world where many of this quartet’s contemporaries are reforming and re-conquering, and death metal is being pushed to its limits by a swathe of young upstarts, Global Purification doesn’t quite cut it. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Basic Instinct
Genre: Alt Rock
At a time when we’ve just seen the release of Russell Brand’s Revolution, seen his face plastered over every screen and heard his cries for a cultural revolution, Beans On Toast has made the ideal soundtrack for this revolution.
This absolute gem is made for late night drinking, offering a rallying cry of up to date relevant punk that has been lost for over 30 years. No track will have the power and honesty of A Whole Lot Of Loving, as BOT says exactly what he thinks with lyrics such as ‘UK Independence Party are just the BNP in a different dress, they’re the same old homophobic racists as before’.
Where else would you find lyrics like this? At a time when Jack White is retracting each statement he makes, offering apologies each time, you have to ask yourself, who has the balls to really stick it to the man? The answer: Beans On Toast. A breathtaking piece of work from a modern day Oscar Wilde! Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Toasting Success
Genre: Death Metal
Dragged back into life in 2013, Soulburn have a point to prove, especially since it’s been 16 years since their last album. Considering the pedigree of their line-up, which includes Eric Daniels and Bob Bagchus of Asphyx fame, as well as members of Grand Supreme Blood Court and Legion Of The Damned, a quality offering was always on the cards: and that’s exactly what the Dutchmen have delivered.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Celtic Frost and Bathory, but melding their influence with doom, black and death metal, The Suffocating Darkness is aptly named, and could only have been created by musicians steeped in decades of sonic extremity. Absinthesis is a perfect distillation of Soulburn’s sound, its fierce, BM inflected, mid-paced stomp segueing into a headlong charge at its mid-point, while I Do Not Bleed From Your Crown Of Thorns boasts the kind of gargantuan riff that will have Asphyx and Bolt Thrower fans salivating.
A menacing, finely honed album with more depth than first meets the ears, Soulburn’s comeback opus will leave you wanting more; let’s hope this revived project isn’t just a flash in the pan. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Soul-Power
Genre: Hard Rock/Nu Metal
Just, for a moment, imagine rewording Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of, giving the song a female vocal lead and then calling it Big Bad Wolf. It seems that’s exactly what In This Moment decided to do during the recording of Black Widow – it’s hardly original but very little of this album is.
Respectful nods towards nu-metal, combined with the hard rock by numbers that’s become such a bland feature of America’s musical landscape, make for a competent if yawningly predictable stab at further mainstream success.
Indeed, it would be a major surprise if Black Widow didn’t trump Blood’s Billboard Chart high of 15 given this record’s major label support, polished production and Maria Brink’s obvious charm. A top 10 position would be a huge success for a band that, until 2010, operated on the periphery of metalcore’s congested scene but a lack of creative ambition appears to be the overriding cost.
That Sexual Hallucination features Shinedown’s Brent Smith should come as no surprise as In This Moment pitch themselves into the same commercial ballpark as one of the US’s most successful arena rock bands. It’s a great song.
Sadly it’s surrounded by cheesy dross in the shape of Sex Metal Barbie and Bloody Creature Poster Girl. Disappointing. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Momentary Lapse
Genre: Black Metal
The spirit of true Norwegian black metal is still very much alive, if this opus is anything to go by. Featuring the distinctive, anguished vocals of Dœdheimsgard’s Aldrahn and mixed by Thorns man Snorre Ruch, Deep Drone Master takes you on a ghastly journey through ancient forests and haunted catacombs, scored by guitarist Host’s atmospheric axework.
Indeed, the six stringer conjures plenty of black magic here, and with Aldrahn unleashed over his dark compositions, Deep Drone Master makes for an unnerving – and highly potent – offering.
Cosmic Verdict is simply incredible, a hypnotic slice of prime BM with a trance-inducing, repetitive riff anchoring it to the underworld, Something Growing In The Trees works as a slow-burning anti-anthem, Sewer Heart brims with blastbeat driven fury… and there’s plenty more to get your teeth into.
A debut 11 years in the making, Deep Drone Master is vintage black metal for a modern age. We’re glad it finally arrived. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Masterful
Genre: Extreme Metal
When Voices released their 2013 debut, From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain, they unleashed a maelstrom of psychedelic – and psychotic – extremity which set them apart from their contemporaries in UK death/black metal.
And the band – formed from the ashes of Akercocke – have not only repeated the same feat, but built on their initial work to create an exceptional second opus. Presenting Voices’ vision of ‘dead London’, this 14-track effort explores the capital’s dark passageways and crumbling cityscapes, and does so to a soundtrack which veers from pure, exhilarating fury (The House Of Black Light) to rhythmically complex, progressive territory (Megan) to the grandiose and dramatic (The Antidote).
It was difficult to see, last year, how much further Voices could take their unique sound, but just one play of the likes of The Ultimate Narcissist, with its discordant riffs and twisting melodies, will show that there are no limits to their ambition (or technical ability).
A bleak representation of our capital city and a monumental piece of metallic art, London is calling. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Capital Punishment
Genre: Death Metal
When Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt announced that he was stepping down as Bloodbath’s vocalist, it understandably left a void in the Swedish supergroup’s ranks.
That Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes has stepped into Åkerfeldt’s shoes was a surprise to say the least, but anyone familiar with the Brit’s early work with his ‘main’ band – notably Lost Paradise and Gothic – will know that the Yorkshireman can growl with the best of ‘em. And his macabre delivery is the perfect accompaniment to Bloodbath’s raging, sinister paeans to old school death metal.
Grand Morbid Funeral, the quintet’s fourth album, draws less from the Morbid Angel influences so evident on The Fathomless Mastery, and instead boasts a more distinctive Swedish flavour… as well as some decidedly gloomy moments (Church of Vastitas and the title track in particular).
As you would expect from a band whose ultra-talented members are drawn from Opeth and Katatonia, this opus is high grade DM through and through, with Famine Of God’s Word one of the best pieces of ferocious, gore-drenched mayhem you’ll hear all year.
The only problem? After this performance, Holmes may have to give his throat a rest before the next PL album… RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Grand Stand
Genre: Progressive Rock
There’s no doubt that the standout on this stripped back taste of Pain Of Salvation is a stirring cover of Dio’s Holy Diver. It’s so subtle, so superior and so superbly reimagined that it makes the album’s other cover – a tepid version of Lou Reed’s Beautiful Day – appear dull by comparison.
If Falling Home is more about the old than the new (only the title track is an original) then it should come as no surprise that these supremely talented Swedes have still crafted a seminal release worthy of critical acclaim.
Vocalist Daniel Gildenlöw has freely admitted he channelled his inner Tony Bennett on much of Falling Home’s reworked material but this is less about the crooning and more about the swooning arrangements.
This might be an acoustic album but turning down the volume doesn’t deny POS the opportunity to construct a reassuringly different wall of sound. Where there were once powerful blasts there are now focused fills and measured melodies. Beautiful Day aside it’s an exciting new dawn for POS. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 No Pain No Gain
Genre: Stoner Rock/Hard Rock
Little over a year since Last Patrol received mixed reviews and Monster Magnet are on a mission to give a reasonably good record a new lease of life.
To those who remain unconvinced by the band’s scuzzed up blend of stoner rock and trad metal it’s likely Milking The Stars will sound like just about every other Monster Magnet album. There are the stoner-influenced riffs, the Doors-heavy melodies and Dave Wyndorf’s distinctive vocals – yet there really is a darker 60s vibe underpinning this mix of something old, something new, something borrowed and something that resembles heavy blues.
Occasionally Milking The Stars is way out there – even by MM standards. And to those familiar with Last Patrol this is a different beast altogether: reworked takes on the best of that album’s key cuts are mixed with new tunes and live versions of Last Patrol’s title track and Three Kingfishers.
Normally Milking The Stars would be filed under ‘one for the fans’. But, bizarrely, if you’re not a fan then this might be the one Monster Magnet record worth checking out. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Milking Time
Genre: Viking Metal
Ears were still bleeding and bruised on the RUSHONROCK office floor weeks after 2010’s Baldur blasted a hole in our collective consciousness and bagged the coveted Record Of The Week gong.
It was a brilliantly raw and yet commercially powerful – so much so that fellow Viking metallers Turisas were casting nervous glances in the direction of the scarily dark Skàlmöld. If follow-up Börn Loka, released two years ago, didn’t carry quite as much of a creative threat then Meò Vætum is a mighty return to form.
Meò fuglum is a fantastic call to arms from one of the most frightening bands on the planet and the relentless rhythm of marching song Aò sumri buries itself somewhere deep inside the brain – where most music would never dare to venture.
Skàlmöld boast a keen sense of the epic and trump Turisas simply because they never come across as anything less than deadly serious. These boys wouldn’t tolerate inflatable axes at their shows – it would have to be the real deal or no deal. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Skàl Right Now