We had the chance to sit down with James of the amazing She Burns Red after their set at Winter Rocks Festival a couple of weeks ago (read our review of the festival here). Check it out as we talk about the set and what they have planned for the next year!
So, how was the gig?
Really good, I really enjoyed it! Really fun! Always love playing Sheffield, we’ve done it a few times now. We did HRH Sleaze and then we played here last year on the Saturday. It was just good fun, I just love playing music!
And how would you describe your sound?
So we’re a wee bit punky and a wee bit grungy and a wee bit heavy… I don’t know man! A bit Wildhearts and Therapy and a bit all over the place, in a good way!
What’s it like being a part of this scene at the minute? It seems like the NWOCR genre is encapsulating a bit of everything nowadays!
Yeah, I mean because the New Wave of Classic Rock is a fanpage on Facebook, if they like a band then you’ll be included in it, it doesn’t matter what you sound like. ‘Oh, you should check out this band, they’re great’ and suddenly you’re part of that scene. Whether you like it or not, and I don’t mean that in a bad way! It’s almost like this creation of this scene out of nowhere. It’s really good though because people are coming to gigs, and after Covid especially which we were all a bit worried about. But no, it’s been an amazing thing to be part of.
I mean you think about the grunge scene; there were load of bands that sounded fuck all like each other. Like The Gets and Pearl Jam and all these bands, nothing like each other. But they all kinda worked together. And it’s the same here. It means that we can play with bands like South of Salem or Twister or Ward XVI or Massive Wagons, all these that sound different but all fit together.
You’ve released a couple of singles this year, right?
Yes, our next single is also due I think the start of next year. We’re actually in the studio from Monday to record the next part of the album. Finishing that around January/February time. Releasing it hopefully May or June.
So I assume it’ll be touring for the rest of the year after that?
I really fuckin’ hope so! The stage we’re at at the minute is we’re doing a lot of support tours, because there’s less financial risk involved. However, if things start to spike by the summer, fingers crossed.
Any surprises from the new music? Anything a departure from what you’ve put out so far?
Not really. As we said earlier, there’s a few songs that are a bit punky, a few that are more grungy, some melodic stuff in there too. So nothing out of the ordinary. If you’re familiar with our stuff you’ll know what to expect.
We’ve kinda got our sound harnessed. And that’s what’s really good, is that we did our EP and that kinda took us one direction, but then we managed to harness our sound and go in a different one. We’ve got everything going at the minute and it’s working really well.
And do you have a dream tour line-up you’d love to be a part of?
Fuck man, I’d love to support Danko Jones, they’re one of my favourite bands. That’d be amazing! They just get on with it on stage, play three songs and then ‘hey, we’re Danko Jones’ and then bam, loads more music. I love them. To the extent that this year on Spotify, 4/5 top tracks were Danko Jones.
We also love the South of Salem guys, it’s so great to be playing with them. I’m sure some people would say like Aerosmith or Metallica or something, but for me it’s Danko Jones and South of Salem, that’s who I’d want!
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Another huge week of New Music Mondays, with everything from metalcore to… well… The Proclaimers. Now that I have your attention, let’s dive into it!
Electric Callboy: Tekkno
The band that have taken 2022 by storm with the growing anticipation of this album thanks to their singles. We loved all of them and just had to review the album fully. You can check it out, alongside our review for it, here.
Behemoth: Opvs Contra Natvram
I’ve tried for years now to get into Behemoth, and it’s just not happened. I have heard tit may happen if I see them live. I feel like it must do, because this album did nothing for me. Those who read these regularly know that I don’t really get black metal, and it turns out big, well produced black metal still isn’t my thing. Sorry to any Behemoth fans out there, I know you’re quite the devoted lot. I really tried, listening to the entire album in one sitting. It just seemed like noise; I couldn’t pick out a highlight track. 3/10… please don’t cancel me…
Clutch: Sunrise on Slaughter Beach
Now, this is more my sort of speed. The stoner rock band have been consistently great for years now, and this is no exception. From the opener, ‘Red Alert’, the tone and quality of the album is set and it doesn’t waiver at all. I don’t understand how this band aren’t bigger than they are, given how fantastic tracks like ‘Slaughter Beach’ and ‘Nosferatu Madre’ are. Hopefully tracks like the ones I just named will finally help push them to greater heights.
If you are into blues or stoner rock at all I can guarantee you’ll love this, and it’s maybe one of the best albums the band themselves have done so far. Each track is amazing, it’s had to pick specific highlights. 8.5/10
Marco Mendoza: New Direction
Yep, we’ve been busy this week and given you TWO full reviews of albums before Monday. Aren’t we good? Check out our review of the awesome new Marco Mendoza album here.
The Devil Wears Prada: Colour Decay
In a world where bands that have been around for a while (especially in the metalcore scene) either go lighter and more pop or heavier after complaints from fans, The Devil Wears Prada laughed, flipped them of and said ‘we’ll do both’. I remember checking out the ZII EP last year and while none of this is quite as heavy as ‘Nightfall’, it’s still a heavy album. ‘Watchtower’ and ‘Exhibition’ for the most part might as well be deathcore tracks. But then at the same time we have plenty of clean vocals and tracks like ‘Salt’ and ‘Broken’. It’s an amazingly diverse album, and both sides of the coin are very good.
From the riffs to the INSANE breakdowns and both types of vocals, it’s all amazing. This is the best I’ve heard the band sound in years and is up there with some of my favourite work by them. This album will be on a lot in the Griffiths household over the next few weeks and months, as it really does have something for nearly every emotion. Another 9/10. A solid week so far!
The Mars Volta: Self-Titled
A complete change of pace now as we get to the US prog rock band’s seventh album. I have a confession to make; I don’t think I’ve heard a track by the band before. I know the name but have at least never gone out of my way to check them out. So I guess where better to start than with the band’s first album in a decade, since their breakup and recent reformation.
They’re weird… but I kinda dig it. It took me a couple of tracks to get into the groove with them, but by the time ‘Graveyard Love’ finished I was all in. The remind me of a darker Scissor Sisters, giving me a big nostalgia kick as I loved that band as a kid. While some of it isn’t typically the sort of thing we’d cover or that I’d like too much, there is enough awesome upbeat stuff to keep me entertained. Tracks like ‘No Case Gain’ and ‘Equus 3’ are strangely awesome. It’s not all for me, but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed or turn it off if the album was on again at some point. 6.5/10
The Proclaimers: Dentures Out
Yes, they haven’t just done ‘500 Miles’ and that song from Shrek. They do in fact now have 12 studio albums, and I have to say, this new one is fantastic. The opening and title track is one of my is one of the best soft rock songs I’ve heard in years. ‘Feast Your Eyes’ is a fantastic, epic ballad with a good point and seniment behind it. And ‘Praise’ is almost a surfer rock track with that riff. There is plenty of great stuff to sink your teeth into here if you like it softer and, while there could have been another faster track or two, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be listening to it again! A surprisingly great album from a band I’m sure most haven’t listened to in years. 7.5/10
No Devotion: No Oblivion
This was not at all what I was expecting. Given the name and album artwork, I was thinking I was in for heavy, not alt/indie. While I’m sure it’s great to the band’s fans, I wasn’t too into it. There was some fun, catchy synth and some interesting vocals, but I felt this was a bit of a slog to get through. I feel like/hope it’ll grow on me as they are all very clearly talented musicians and songwriters and I feel like I should get it, but I currently do not. 4/10 at a push, I’m sorry.
Starcrawler: She Said
This bands image doesn’t quite fit with their sound. From their artwork and pictures, I went into this expecting glam. This was not glam. I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, built I’d have preferred glam or NWOCR over the punk/old school rock I got. It is interesting to hear an American indie tinge to the British punk rock sound, but I found it didn’t do much to hold my attention. Having said that, ‘Stranded”s chorus did seem vaguely familiar, and it was a definite highlight of the album. Not a bad album by any stretch and I feel like it might grow on me with another couple of listens., it just didn’t catch my attention immediately. 6/10
Sinnery: Black Bile
This is right up my street. Heavy-ass death/thrash metal, filled with big fast riffs that will break your neck after the full 50-minute album. Having never heard of them before, ‘The Burning’ was as fantastic introduction to them as any. Between the huge riffs, hardcore screams, gang vocals and filthy lows, it’s a highlight for sure. However, the album goes HARD for its entire run, giving the world some of the best the genre has to offer in 2022. ‘Sever’ and ‘Bleak’ are also highlights of a very strong album. I honestly feel like they are the second coming of Slayer, they are that good and heavy. I can see them getting the same cult following, and I am definitely going to be in there in it! 8.5/10
Somehow Jo: Scales and Details
Tool’s crazier child are back with their third studio album. Heck, just the two fantastic opening tracks, ‘Fata Morgana’ and ‘Freind’, channel so many different styles and genres it’s insane. From prog to folk to death metal to whatever the hell people classify SOAD as, there is something for everyone. Both are insanely impressive track and easily make the playlist, and there’s another seven tracks still!
I have to say though, every track had me hooked from start to finish. This was a damn good album full of some of the best playing I have heard in a LONG time. I have not a single negative thing I can say about the album, and I am desperate to see the band live now. Check this out if you are into any sort of music at all, you won’t be disappointed! 8.5/10
Dead City Ruins: Shockwave
This is what I was expecting Starcrawler. Just good old-fashioned hard/sleaze rock. I’ve been a fan of the band for a few years now after checking them ahead of a HRH (They unfortunately didn’t end up playing) and after the album being postponed a little, I’m excited to finally hear it.
It’s really good. Unfortunately, you’re wanting me to write more than that, aren’t you? Fine… It’s honestly as good as anything the rest of the NWOCR scene is putting out at the minute, and that’s saying something as the scene is currently at its peak. Opening track ‘Preacher’ feels like a fan-favourite live right off the bat and the album honestly doesn’t slip on quality afterwards. ‘Vision’ is another huge highlight. ‘Madness’ and ‘Speed Machine’ are both also awesome. ‘Rain’ gives me Alice in Chains vibes in the best way, and also makes the playlist with a bunch of other stuff on this album.
I honestly cannot say enough good things about this album. It’s the best they’ve put out so far and may be one of my favourite albums of the year. CHECK THIS OUT! 9.5/10
It’s about time we had some thrash on this list, right? The German band have been going on and off for over four-and-a-half decades at this point, releasing a total of 16 studio albums. Their latest, Too Mean to Die, is awesome. From the balls-to-the-wall intro track to the more glam-oriented ‘Overnight Sensation’ to a couple of slower tracks, Accept show their wide versatility an awesome song writing. I believe I gave it an 8/10 upon its release!
Volbeat: Servant of the Mind
Very much a return to form for the Danish metallers. After a lighter, rather lackluster previous album, Servant of the Mind returns the heaviness and shows that Volbeat very much still have it. Highlights include ‘Becoming’, ‘Wait a Minute my Girl’ (I can’t believe it still keeps growing on me), ‘Sacred Stones’ and the awesome ‘Shotgun Blues’. 8.5/10
Inglorious: We Will Ride
Another return to form, in my eyes. I wasn’t the hugest fan of Inglorious’ second and third albums, but damn if their fourth offering isn’t awesome. Tracks like ‘Messiah’, ‘Medusa’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’ are all amazing, showing off a more mature, slightly heavier side of the band. I hope this is their sound moving forward as they are back on track to be Britain’s breakout rock band in a few years! 8.5/10
Of course this made this list. It had to, it’s Gojira. The band that are yet to put out a bad album keep that streak going with Fortitude. Epic, crushing riffs combine with an at times slightly more radio-friendly sound and vocal delivery to make this one of the best metal albums of the year. Tracks like ‘Amazonia’, ‘The Chant’ and ‘Sphinx’ are all a must to check out if you are into the heavy stuff! 9/10
Evanescence: The Bitter Truth
A band who always leave pretty substantial gaps between their albums, this one felt worth the wait. The album highlights a band that now feel confident in their sound for the first time in a while. Tracks such as ‘Yeah Right’, ‘Use My Voice’ and the hauntingly beautiful ‘Wasted on You’ are all massive highlights, the but the album is arguably full of highs. 8/10
Iron Maiden: Senjutsu
Talk about a band comfortable in their sound. I have been a massive fan of the band for most of my life and am a big advocate of their 2000s albums. This is another corker. Be it the shorter ‘Stratego’ or the longer epics of ‘Death of the Celts’ and ‘Lost in a Lost World’, there is a LOT to love on this album. While for some it may be a bit of a slog, 81 minutes across two discs, it is well worth the listen. It may be one of my favourite albums from the band, or at least up there in the top five! 9/10
A band that have been quietly putting out stellar albums over the last 20 years or so, Chevelle may have topped them all with Niratias. From the opening note to the closing one, this was incredible. The best album they have ever done, hence why they got a 9.5/10
Trivium: Court of the Dragon
Somehow the best album they have put out in years, even though I have now said that about their last three. Sin and Sentence was great, Dead Men was amazing and then Court of the Dragon somehow tops them both. With tracks like the title one, ‘Shadow of the Abattoir’ and ‘The Phalanx’, this very well be the best album the band have ever done. It’s at the very least my favourite by them, even beating out Shotgun. 9.5/10
The Pretty Reckless: Death By Rock and Roll
An album that has definitely grown on me, TPR’s fourth studio album is actually damn good. I (Joe) was pretty harsh on it upon its release, while Charlotte was a big fan, hence thejoint review. Even the singles have grown on me, as well as the lighter album tracks, making it a pretty solid, well rounded album. The band have really come into their own with this release and it shows in a big way. I’d happily bump the score up to a 7.5/10
Ice Nine Kills: Welcome to Horrorwood
My album of the year, and a perfect album based on my review score. I stand by it, too, and anyone who tries to tell me otherwise can fight me. From the four singles of the album to blistering tracks like ‘Ex Mortis’, ‘Rash Decision’ and the insanely heavy ‘Take Your Pick’, it is a 50-minute long masterclass in metal, and once again feels like a genre of its own. After Silver Scream was so hard to top, I thought for sure this would be a comedown, but it somehow builds on things even more. I’ve seen nowhere near enough love for this album from the mainstream press, while fans are crying out for them to be massive. 10/10
What did you think of our list? Do you agree with them all? Did we miss any? Let us know over at our Instagram here.
So with the end of the year fast approaching and a whole host of albums already announced for the next (a few of which you can check out here), we thought it was about time to look back on the last year and how amazing it has truly been for rock music. While the live music scene is still a little stop start, there have been some tremendous studio releases over the last 12 months. Heck, we’ve reviewed a lot of them! So, given that it is still 2021 for another week or so, we thought it was only fitting to bring you a list of 21 of the best rock albums of 2021.
P.S. these are in no particular order, given that we couldn’t really decide on one together!
Offspring: Let the Bad Times Roll
A return after nearly a decade from the pop-punk icons saw a real return to form, too. With fantastic singles like the title track and ‘Coming For You’, the band felt reinvigorated for the first time since Rise and Fall. Add into it a great, stripped back rendition of ‘Gone Away’ and you have an awesome album! It got a 7.5/10 from me!
Florida Georgia Line: Life Rolls On
Okay, so technically not a rock album (there may be more), bro-country mega-stars Florida Georgia Line released a damn solid album this year. It’s just rock enough to qualify for this list and while yes, it’s mass produced radio-country, just watch the video below and just try to tell me it isn’t catchy. Check out the album if you like country at all! I gave it an 8/10
Unknown Refuge: From the Darkness
Our good friends from Unknown Refuge put out their debut album this year, and it was amazing. It was straight forward heavy metal with just a tinge of metalcore and it worked perfectly. From ‘To the Light’ to ‘Battle Hymn’ to ‘Palace Walls’ the album is brimming with awesome stuff, hence why it makes this list with ease! It’s an 8/10 from me!
Jerry Cantrell: Brighten
Another album with slight country leanings, although it is definitely more rock than FGL. The Alice In Chains guitarist has always had leanings towards this style of music, just look at Jar of Flies. However, I would argue this does it even better than that record. Cantrell’s vocals sound as fantastic as ever and really fit with the lighter, blues-drive music. An awesome record for any light rock fans out there! It got a whopping 9/10 from me!
Foo Fighters: Medicine at Midnight
A definite grower for me. The album came out before Overtone became a thing but there is a review of it floating around on my laptop still. It received a pretty harsh 4/10 from me, when in actual fact I’d probably bump it up to a solid 6.5/10, maybe a 7 at a push. My main critique at the time was that it wasn’t as heavy as I like Foo Fighters being. I think that still very much stands, but there are still some good tracks on here regardless, like the fantastic one below!
Bullet For My Valentine: Bullet For My Valentine
The title for most creative album title they will not be winning, but for comeback of the year this is definitely up there. It’s a return to heaviness for the Welsh quartet after a commercially panned lighter previous album, and it works perfectly. Highlights are the singles but honestly there isn’t a bad track on it. I gave it 8/10
Florence Black: WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
Another smaller band that put out a phenomenal debut album this year. Welsh NWOCRers Florence Black showed the world this year that they have what it takes to be the next big thing. Tracks like ‘SUN & MOON’ and ‘ZULU’ are amazing and a big reason why it got an 8.5/10 from me!
Rise Against: Nowhere Generation
It should surprise no-one that the modern-day punk icons Rise Against put out another great album this year. The veteran band have been on a fantastic run of albums all the way back to 2004s Siren Song, in this writers opinion, and Nowhere Generation adds to that lineage very well. Tracks like ‘The Numbers’ and ‘Forfeit’ really show off the bands range, and while it is a formula and sound they use every album, it has somehow not yet got old.
Bo Burnham: Inside
Another album that is not at all rock, but how could I exclude it? For anyone who is a fan of music, comedy or drama I cannot recommend watching the Netflix special enough, but the music in of itself is fantastic. The story of Bo finally feeling confident enough in himself after a 5 year absence in order to perform again and then locks himself alone in his small pool house for months on end, slowly going from confident, wacky and glad-to-be-back comedian to a manic depressive terrified that the world will still judge him is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s hilarious, heart-breaking and mesmerising all at the same time. See this out and watch it ASAP, even if you’ve already seen it before. 10/10.
The flag-bearers of a new wave of nu-metal, Tetrarch put out their second album earlier this year. Unstable is full of huge riffs, catchy vocal melodies and enough breakdowns to keep even the heaviest of metal fans going. If they keep going like this they will be one of the biggest bands in the future of metal, hence why I gave them an 8/10.
Thunder: All The Right Noises
Whoever says they don’t like Thunder is lying to you. The band have put out some of the best glam/sleaze rock out there, they just had the disadvantage of hitting their peak in the UK in the 90s. However, I would put All the Right Noises up there with Backstreet Symphony, it is really that good. Tracks like the opener, ‘Destruction’ an ‘You’re Gonna be my Girl’ are infectiously catchy and some of the highlights of a solid album. Check this out if you liked any of their other stuff! 8.5/10
2021 was a massive year for rock music. As the world came out of the pandemic (for the most part) and people could get together again, we got a massive slew of fantastic rock and metal albums being release, from the start of the year right on through to the end. From huge bands like Iron Maiden and Gojira to some of the smaller bands, it has been an impressive, high-quality year for music. A lot had been highly anticipated albums given that most had been pushed back a year.
However, next year doesn’t look like it’ll be any different. With a slew of albums already fully announced as well as many that are teased, hinted at or don’t have a set release date, next year definitely has some stuff to get excited about. We thought we’d give you a brief rundown of some of our favourites and list our most anticipated albums of next year. Check it out and let us know which you can’t wait for the most!
But first, a few honourable mentions: Billy Talent, Slash, Placebo, Anthrax, Ghost, Megadeth and Stereophonics.
Avenged Sevenfold: Untitled
An album that has been teased for a good year now, yet outside of the fact that it is coming we know very little about it. The follow-up to 2016’s masterful The Stage, whatever they have up their sleeves it will most likely be completely different to what came before but equally awesome. It has been so long since we have seen much activity from the band at all, especially here in the UK, so a new album has been on the wish-list of fans for a few years now!
Another album announced but not yet titled or dated, but at least this one has its first single out for it! ‘Back From the Dead’ was a fantastic re-introduction to the band, and their first new music since 2018. While the only other hint of a release date is ‘early 2022’, that if anything only adds to the anticipation. The band did some fun stuff on social media leading up to the single dropping, and you’ve only got to imagine they’d do the same for the full album, too.
Stone Broken: Revelation
Time to throw in something that’s actually all confirmed, don’t you think? British hard rockers Stone Broken are set to return with their third studio album 15th April. If it’s anything like their last two, their fans are in for a treat. The band are yet to release any tracks from it, but we are waiting rather impatiently. I’m sure when they do it will surely be awesome, too!
Even sooner than that is the release of the nu-metal originals 14th studio album, Requiem. Arriving at the very start of February, we have gotten a taster of it already with ‘Start the Healing’. It’s a fantastic track, though the band have a lot to live up to after 2019s The Nothing. The band have been on a run of form as of late, ever since The Paradigm Shift really, so there is no reason to think this is going to be anything less than great. We can’t wait to hear it!
Frank Turner: FTHC
Another February album, punk-rock mainstay Frank Turner is releasing his 9th studio album on the 11th. While his last album was a little slower and stripped-back, focusing more on acoustic stuff, from the sounds of the lead single this one brings him right back to his rocky sound. I am personally very excited, the man writes lyrics better than almost anyone, so this is easily one of my most anticipated albums!
Another album that has an announcement of being finished and out by early 2022 with no release date or single penned is the follow-up to 2018s Attention Attention. This is an interesting one for me, as anyone who knows me knows I have not been a fan of the last couple of Shinedown albums. However, with Brent promising a return to a more basic, rock-oriented sound, they definitely now actually have my attention (yes, pun indented). If they put something out akin to their first four albums, I could see it as an early album of the year contender easy.
Animals As Leaders: Parrhesia
How could I not include this album after the insane song and video they put out for it a couple of months back (below)? The instrumental, experimental metal band have always been at the forefront of incredible musicianship, but this looks to be taking things to an even higher level. And LOOK AT THE DANCING GUYS? HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS?
Zeal & Ardor: Self Titled
A band that I had not even heard of before getting a subscription to Primordial Radio, I now cannot escape them or get enough of them. The Swiss avant-garde metal band are set to release their third album on February 11th (busy day, I know), and I for one cannot wait. They may not be for everyone, but their interesting blend of styles makes for one hell of a listen!
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Untitled
Another one that has been teased is the funk/pop-rock legends’ 12th studio album. After their last album, The Getaway, felt like a rather large dip in quality, the return of their former guitarist and song writing aficionado John Frusciante to the band after a decades absence has sent the hype for this album through the roof. The last album he was on, Stadium Arcadium, hit #1 in 10+ countries. Can they replicate that success again with this release?
Slipknot: Look Outside Your Window/Untitled
A cheeky wildcard entry to finish off, I know. Yep, that’s right, not one but TWO new Slipknot albums could hit shelves next year. While they put out a single a month or so ago and Corey had spoken about how the whole album is nearly done, a release date has not yet been confirmed. Look Outside Your Window, however, is even more intriguing to me. An album of B-sides from when they recorded All Hope Is Gone (one of my favourite albums from the band and the first tour I saw them live on), it’s the half of the album that was lighter and more experimental than the rest, hence why it didn’t make the cut. The album has been spoken about since AHIG’s 2008 release, with various plans for release over the years. Will it finally see the light of day next year? Man, we hope so!
And there we have it. Were there any we missed? Let us know on our Facebook here if we did!