NWOCR – Volume One (Self Released)

Let’s get one thing straight.

It’s neither necessary to be ‘new’ nor ‘classic rock’ to be part of the New Wave Of Classic Rock.

This 42-track compilation features a fair few old faces.

At the same time, it showcases metal, alt rock, goth, Southern rock and so much more across two seriously diverse CDs.

There’s nothing new (apart from their name) about veteran Germans The New Roses.

And even after a few pints of Trooper it would be impossible to describe Elles Bailey, South Of Salem or Rews as classic rock.

So why the ever-so-slightly misleading NWOCR moniker?

It’s a good question.

Four years ago, when a group of hard-gigging mates wanted to set up a Facebook page celebrating the very best in emerging rock and metal, they needed a name.

And given that the majority of the music here has some connection (however loose) to the classic rock roots of the 70s, 80s and 90s then why not NWOCR?

Everyone loves a good acronym. 

And it’s better than TVBIERAM. Just.

NWOCR Volume One talks the talk

On the back of the double CD digipack, the curators of NWOCR Volume One boldly claim this is ‘The ultimate compilation of 42 of today’s most exciting new rock bands’.

This is far from vainglorious bluster.

And it’s the antithesis of fake news.

Ok, so there’s no Inglorious, Vega, Buffalo Summer or Howling Tides.

And Tomorrow Is Lost have already been lost to the great rock and roll graveyard.

The talented Geordies were one of today’s most exciting rock bands before announcing their decision to stand down before the NWOCR Volume One release date.

But in Hideaway, included here, their all too brief legacy lives on.

Otherwise, that brave description stands up to the closest of scrutiny.

Of course, there will be tracks that aren’t to everyone’s taste.

And this potentially divisive release has already spawned the inevitable New Wave Of Critical Review.

But the common thread running through the 42 tracks here is one of passion, commitment to the songwriting craft and a blunt refusal to be sidetracked by Gene Simmons and his frankly boring ‘rock is dead’ narrative.

Gene Simmons can Kiss goodbye to lazy verdict

Gene should give NWOCR Volume One a whirl while he’s relaxing by the pool with his team of accountants.

If he did, even corporate rock’s favourite anti-hero would reach the undeniable conclusion that rock is far from dead.

It’s alive and kicking. Kicking and screaming. Screaming for vengeance.

Take bullish opener Tokyo by the favourite uncles of the NWOCR movement.

Massive Wagons represent the very fabric of this pop-up genre with their feisty lyrics and reliable riffs.

And if ever a scene needed leaders, Barry Mills and the boys are the perfect fit.

Of course, the NWOCR doesn’t need leaders. That’s not what it’s about.

It’s a collective, a meeting of minds and a collaborative environment where bands — and their fans — can thrive.

Maybe nobody here will ever headline Download on a Sunday night.

Perhaps it’s a pipe dream to imagine any of the chosen 42 will shift a million albums before they’re 70.

And it’s unlikely the NWOCR movement will spawn the next Def Leppard, Iron Maiden or Saxon (in commercial terms, at least).

But different times require a different standpoint.

And the NWOCR scene is an uplifting reminder that men and women the world over will still pick up a guitar and plug in a mic to realise that fabled rock and roll dream.

New to NWOCR?

So what if you’re new to the NWOCR?

Where to start on this magical journey through the musical ages?

Aussie heroes Massive are ready to Rise again if their new single (CD2 and released today) is a marker.

Frontman Brad Marr is a pocket rocket of Antipodean attitude and the band’s party-starting anthems are rarely anything less than a riff-fuelled joy.

Elles Bailey’s soulful blues is wonderfully realised on Woman Like Me (CD1).

And surprise package South Of Salem are like a jilted version of Black Veil Brides on the brilliant Dead Hearts Don’t Break (CD2).

If you’re looking for the classic rock on NWOCR Volume One then Jack J Hutchinson’s Jimmy Page-meets-Zakk Wylde swagger fits the bill.

World On Fire (CD2) offers a glimpse of the bearded warrior’s brand new music as he continues to transition from trad bluesman to genuine rock god.

Fans of the Sunset Strip’s late 80s heyday will love Collateral’s melodic rock earworm Merry Go Round.

And for something entirely different — but equally alluring — Rews’ Today We’re Warriors (CD2) can’t be ignored.

Chart-busting trio Mason Hill (CD1), The Dust Coda (CD2) and SKAM (CD2) are living proof that the NWOCR’s big-name standard bearers have the sales to match their soaring reputations.

And look out for newbies The Hot Damn! (former Rushonrock Red Hot Track Of The Week Dance Around is ridiculously addictive) and Twister to provide the stereo-fresh soundtrack to your summer.

Too many bands, too little time.

But a couple of hours in the company of this cracking compilation is time well spent.

  • Read Rushonrock’s exclusive deep dive into the NWOCR scene here
  • Check out Rushonrock’s Top 10 NWOCR albums of 2020 here