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If you'd picked up a pen at the end of last year and listed the things to look forward to in , you'd have been spoiled for choice. The fruits of Guns N' Roses ' long-awaited return to the studio, maybe.
A new Deep Purple album, definitely. Plus a plethora of releases from rock's rising stars. And a year's worth of gigs to look forward to. It hasn't quite happened like that. Or Guns N' Roses. Deep Purple's Whoosh! And gigs? Who knows. Throughout all the uncertainty, rock has kept rolling. With the first three months of rapidly disappearing into the rear-view mirror, the picture is clear: has been a very good year for album releases.
Apart from Ozzy and Pearl Jam, the big names have been largely absent. Don't let anyone tell you that rock music isn't in rude health in Dance With The Devil is an absurdly exciting and wickedly nails-hard heavy metal record, full of dazzling musicianship, giant tunes and an overall sense that the Swiss quintet are giving the none-more-classic a significant sonic upgrade. New vocalist Laura Guldemond asserts herself from the off, imbuing explosive opener Lucid Nightmare with a presence and punch that their previous records occasionally lacked.
Buy from Amazon Listen on Spotify. They were robbed, of course, by a lengthy, Tony-free Tool song that literally nobody can whistle in the shower. Buy from Amazon Listen On Spotify. Taken as a whole, though, Random Desire could only ever have come from Dulli. As he reaches the status of elder statesman, here he takes the mantle with the utmost grace. There are even whiffs of power metal in the more anthemic flourishes, but their trump card is an immediacy of songwriting that many of their contemporaries would kill for.
In an age when truly blockbusting choruses are rare, H. And therein lies the great tragedy of H. The band succeed in weaving subtle twists into the song structures without taking outlandish risks, keeping things fresh without straying too far. As ever, the lyrics alternate between fantasy the title track and stark reality Man.
The Lost Art Of Conversation is full of gutsy, sinewy punk rock vim that reminds you most of garage-y early noughties snarlers such as The Vines, Jet and The Datsuns, but their lyrical targets are very much of the moment. The title track takes aim at all-pervasive social media, Song Of The City rails against the dehumanising effect of the urban jungle, Poison Apple despairs at the current post-Brexit state of the nation. But thankfully some things remain reliably the same.
But, ultimately, in these uncertain times, Pearl Jam have given us an unexpected album of hope. The Newcastle five-piece are imposing at full tilt. Utterly enthralling. Few would have blamed vocalist Angry Anderson for calling it quits.
The original is irreplaceable, but as an opening statement from the current crew this delivers bare-knuckle renditions of favourites One Of The Boys, Nice Boys and deep cuts Remedy. Reverent with occasional new twists, Outlaws finds the Tatts alive and rabid. What makes this album even more remarkable is that the band are not from parched environs, but Blackburn. Characterised by tar-thick riffing and grooves that ensure as much rolling as rocking, the band are both conscious of the world around them She Is So and, as evidenced on bong-loaded centrepiece Blue Desert , keen to expand consciousness.
If Supersuckers had an expiration date, they musta burned it for fuel a decade ago. We deserve this album, and we should suck it down greedily and with wild abandon. At this stage of their lives, Testament could be forgiven for moving away from those trademark heavy roots. This album thunders along right from opener Children Of The Next Leve l, as vocalist Chuck Billy roars with typical bullishness, complemented by guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, who swoop and snarl in tandem.
This follow-up to Murder And The Motive takes the promise inherent in their debut, ratchets up the intensity fold and positively rams home the qualities that made that record special. Here we have titanic riffs and instantly memorable choruses in blissful harmony, kind of like a Welsh Alter Bridge or Shinedown. The blustery title track and the folky Empty Man hit the mark with intricate long-form arrangements, allowing Powell and Abrahams to weave harmonised leads over shifting rhythms. A couple of weaker tracks Floreana, Back In The Day fail to connect, but the overriding consistency and variety make Coat Of Arms their strongest record in years.
Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. These are the 25 best albums of the year so far. Burning Witches - Dance With The Devil Dance With The Devil is an absurdly exciting and wickedly nails-hard heavy metal record, full of dazzling musicianship, giant tunes and an overall sense that the Swiss quintet are giving the none-more-classic a significant sonic upgrade.
Expect nothing but great things ahead for these great apes. Difficult second album? See more Classic Rock features.