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Rewinding October | The Top Loudness

Airbourne, Wildhearts, Babymetal and more help Rocktober live up to its handle

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From riff-rock to punk and speed-metal to glam, there was plenty of headbangable fare on the roster this month. Guess that’s why they call it Rocktober. Here’s the biggest and baddest of the bunch. Click on the cover art to read the full review and listen to the album:


Airbourne
Boneshaker

WHO ARE THEY? The world’s greatest AC/DC tribute band — next to the most recent touring version of AC/DC with Axl Rose, perhaps.

WHAT IS THIS? The Melbourne ouftit’s fifth collection of high-voltage rock ’n’ roll, thunderstruck beats and bad-boy boogie-rock straight from the highway to hell.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The best songs Acca Dacca never wrote — and the kind of album they haven’t really made since the glory days of Bon Scott.


Refused
War Music

WHO ARE THEY? The Swedish post-hardcore heroes whose breathtaking music has proved to be every bit as radical and revolutionary as their rabble-rousing lyrics — and who are currently enjoying a long-overdue second act after reuniting earlier this decade following more than a decade apart.

WHAT IS THIS? War Music is their fifth album overall and the followup to 2015’s hard-edged comeback set Freedom.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Punk by grownups, for grownups. While War Music’s 10 blistering salvos aren’t as feverishly groundbreaking as their 1998 masterpiece The Shape of Punk To Come, their searing guitar lines, intricately heavy beats, throat-shredding vocals and incendiary protest lyrics prove that singer Dennis Lyxzen and his bandmates continue to have plenty of fire in their bellies.


The Wildhearts
Diagnosis

WHO ARE THEY? The on-again, off-again, ever-changing and recently reunited British hard-rock antiheroes fronted by singer-guitarist, chief songwriter and sole permanent member Ginger Wildheart.

WHAT IS THIS? A six-track EP that arrives five months after the deservedly acclaimed comeback disc Renaissance Men, the band’s ninth album and first new release in a decade.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Classic Wildhearts — which is to say, arena-sized guitar-rock anthems sweetened with poppy melodies and spiked with punky propulsion.


Babymetal
Metal Galaxy

WHO ARE THEY? The colourfully kitschy Japanese kawaii metal duo of Su-Metal and Moametal, who remain one of the most wonderfully weird bands ever to emerge from Asia — which is really saying something.

WHAT IS THIS? Their third studio album since exploding onto the global metal scene in 2014, and their first since third member Yuimetal left the band in 2018, reportedly due to poor health.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A headbanging odyssey. In keeping with its title, Metal Galaxy finds the maturing duo expanding their musical horizons — and reflecting their international travels — by incorporating a diverse roster of sounds and style, including Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin grooves and instrumentation, along with jazz, rap and more. But fear not: There’s still plenty of guitar crunch and speed-demon mayhem to satisfy the OG fans’ bloodlust.


Down ’n’ Outz
This Is How We Roll

WHO ARE THEY? A supergroup side-project from Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott, Quireboys guitarists Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin, Vixen bassist Share Ross, keyboard player Keith Weir and Wayward Sons drummer Phil Martini — all of whom share an near-obsessive and quite possibly unhealthy devotion to the classic sounds of Mott the Hoople and Ian Hunter.

WHAT IS THIS? Their third studio release and first disc to be dominated by original material after a pair of reverently, raucously Mott-centric covers collections — 2010’s My ReGeneration and 2014’s The Further Adventures Of.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Not surprisingly, they’re still channelling the ’70s boogie-rock of Hunter and Hoople — though they do expand their horizons with tracks reminiscent of everyone from David Bowie, Elton John and Queen to 10CC, Sparks and other legends and landmarks from Elliott’s record collection. Hell, even the cover art looks like it was lifted from an old BTO album.