There was a time when rock'n'roll was a young man's game, but it's no longer true. You want proof? Check out last week's Tracks Of The Week fracas, when Doro and Rob Halford triumphed after combining almost a century of experience to cover a 43-year-old song.
Can some whippersnappers rock the boat this week? Only the next 168 hours will tell. For that's how long you have to choose this week's ultimate winner.
And now, it's on with the next round of matches. Go forth and listen! (And don't forget to vote, the form is at the foot of the page).
Creeper - Teenage Sacrifice
"All my friends are digging graves and I’m handing them the shovels". With an opening line like that – flanked with spooky choirs, colossal riffs and Phantom of The Opera-sized organ blasts – you’re clearly not in for something vanilla. Or that takes itself too seriously. Conjuring the same leather-jacketed, dry-iced heights of vintage Ozzy Osbourne, Bat Out Of Hell and Ghost’s glitziest moments, Teenage Sacrifice is a huge, enormously fun example of the sort of 80s metal-meets-horror movie theatre you can expect on their new album Sanguivore, out on October 13th (Friday 13th, because…well, of course).
Saint Agnes - Follow You
Produced and mixed by NIN collaborator Sean Beavan, rising Brit stars Saint Agnes sound thrillingly unhinged on this propulsive, tearaway but laser-focused shot of industrial punk ‘n’roll. Waves of expansive distortion and pummeling stop-start riffs pair excellently with Kitty A. Austen’s white-hot shrieks, building into a monster-catchy, rock-til-you-drop chorus with a menacing heart. Breathless and brilliant. One of our favourites from new album Bloodsuckers.
When Rivers Meet - Seen It All Before
“We’ve always stuck to a certain structure to create our songs,” says WRM vocalist/violinist/mandolin-player Grace Bond, “but with this song we removed any limitations, and we consider it to be a really unique song for our repertoire and from the new album, Aces Are High.” The result is a sensual, hypnotic and heavy dose of blues rock that swerves through hand-claps, stompy chain-gang rhythm and treacly yet gritty guitar lines. Stripped back yet rich.
Shepherds Reign - Nafanua
Named after Samoa’s Goddess of War (daughter of the God of Pulotu, the underworld in Polynesian mythology) Nafanua finds the rising Kiwi rockers on guttural yet melodic form, all fearsome chugging guitars, impassioned vocals and primal energy. Could they do what The Hu have done for Mongolia with Polynesian history and folklore? Time will tell, but this is a mightily satisfying headbanger in the meantime.
Hannah Wicklund - Witness
The last time we heard from Hannah, she was playing bluesy Hendrix-y rock as the face of Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones. Now just Hannah Wicklund, she’s going down a slightly different, more individual route, without losing touch of the classic rock DNA that drew us to her initially. Taken from her new album The Prize – produced by Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet – Witness tells a phoenix-from-the-ashes tale of healing through heartbreak. Unfurling from piano roots, it’s a soul-charged, uptempo ballad with commanding 70s guitar tones and an earthy pop melody that places her in the present.
Oli Brown & The Dead Collective feat Jo Quail - Haunted
Oli Brown’s piercing, emotive acoustic ballad (previously released as a beefy hard rock number) acquires new cinematic depth and poignancy with Jo Quail’s cello and string sections – offering a truer reflection of the dark times that inspired it. With its smouldering, grungy undertones, you could have imagined Chris Cornell singing this. Like what you hear? Catch Oli and co on tour across the UK in September.
The Struts - Too Good At Raising Hell
"Sex so good, make a neighbour smoke a cigarette" is another great line from the pen of Struts frontman Luke Spiller, as Too Good At Raising Hell finds Derby's favourite sons sounding as much Muscle Shoals as they do Sunset Strip. Horns parp, the hooks pile up, there are multiple bits where you can sing along, and it's the kind of thing Primal Scream might pull off if they were as good as Bobby Gillespie actually thinks they are.
Alice Cooper - Welcome To The Show
Following last month's White Line Frankenstein, Alice Cooper has released a second single with a title that harks back to days of yore. Welcome To The Show finds the Coop in typically rumbustious form, which a song that could have been released in 1974 as much as 2023, a couple of shred-friendly solos the only real clues that this wasn't actually recorded five decades ago. Essentially it's a lively assemblage of Alice Cooper tropes, but it's all the better for it. "The show is ready to go and we are fully loaded," warns Alice. "Here it comes!"