Swedish hard rockers Rough Rockers announce the release of their brand new EP, ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ via Dutch label RVPrecords on April 29. Originally conceived as a songwriter/recording project in 2012 by vocalist/bassist Peter Ljungberg and guitarist Magnus Hällström, the group finally secured a permanent line-up with the recruitment of Australian guitarist Joe Matera and Swedish drummer Roger Eriksson in 2018. The band signed to Dutch record label RVPrecords in late 2018. Matera – who’s solo material we have previously reviewed at Rock-Zone UK – was invited to join the band after both he and the band undertook support slots for NWOBHM band Weapon UK in Sweden in 2017. “I’m looking forward to rocking out with the band” says Matera, “and bringing our unique brand of guitar driven rock to audiences across Europe”. Adds Ljungberg, “I`m so pleased with the way we have put the songs together. We’ve captured the energy of the band in the essence of the songs, and have created a powerful sound of solid catchy rock `n` roll”. The new EP features a special appearance by legendary singer Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Michael Schenker Group) who guests on lead vocals on the track, “Unleash The Beast”,

What we have is a 6 track EP of hard rocking, retro fuelled songs (“Why retro fuelled”, you say? More of that later) – actually, 5 songs but one of them is an acoustic version which gives “Rebel at Heart” an even more reflective feel to the ballad (and sounds much more like Joe Matera’s solo work than the other tracks on offer here). The personal favourite on the EP is track 6 “Unleash the Beast” – Graham Bonnet gives the extra dimension that can only come from a legendary rock vocalist with such a history. It is also possibly  the most “metal” sounding song on offer. Now this is where we come to the retro-fuelled comment earlier. The EP resonates with New Wave of British Heavy Metal – from the style and themes of the songs right through to the production. The whole EP has that true NWOBHM “let’s get this done, in our way” attitude from the late 1970s/early 1980s. The sound will truly take those fans of that era and who still yearn for the days when it was all about the song not the studio tricks.

“Smoke and Mirrors” is another favourite one, slightly more  1970s rock in styling (huge dollops of it remind me the kind of track The Sweet would write, just before Brian left the band (vocally reminiscent too on this one)

All in all, a solid release which fans of the softer side of NWOBHM might want to check out. It is released on 29th April  both on CD and as a special limited 12” RED vinyl. The band will tour in support of the new release in May.

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