I wonder if bands like Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin had any idea back in their heyday that thirty years later we’d refer to them as “classic” rock. And I wonder if the fans who saw those bands back then, when it was all new and exciting, recognised the immensity and the staying power the music would prove to have. And now it’s my turn to wonder – are Rival Sons to modern music what Led Zeppelin were to the 1970s?

The British are often seen as something of a complacent nation; all tea on the lawn and dainty sandwiches for lunch. Well, Onslaught dispel all the stereotypes. They’re rough, they’re dirty, and they’re very, very loud. After taking a 15 year break from making music, Onslaught made their comeback in 2007 with the fantastic Killing Peace. And keeping up the momentum, their newest album, Sounds of Violence is set for release in early 2011.

More often than not, when bands are hailed as ‘one to watch’ they end up being unable to live up to the hype. For most of 2010, Straight Lines have featured on the undertones of British music press, and although they haven’t made the “big time” yet, they’ve developed a steady following, played some big UK festivals, and in November managed to pull off their own headline tour. So they might not be top of the pile thus far, but they’re definitely doing something right.

This two song EP of “All Souls’ Day” and “The Graveyard of the Atlantic” secures The Ataris’ standing as one of the most consistent alternative rock bands since the 1990s. While the band have never veered too far away from their ‘signature’ sound, this latest release echos their earlier days; its melodic punk rock is sure to please both old and new fans.

Volbeat is a band who manage to craft perfect pop melodies into rock songs. Throughout their career they’ve consistently delivered their own brand of tuneful singalong metal, and Beyond Heaven / Above Hell sees them on top form. The first track, “The Mirror and The Ripper” is a brilliant start, and its successor “Heaven Nor Hell” is even better, and wonderfully catchy, as singer Michael Poulsen’s brusque vocal rings out over the power chords.

With its atmospheric layered sounds and haunting twangly guitars, the opening track, “Return of the Son of Fog Rider” off Del Rey’s latest album Immemorial is an intriguing and ambitious effort. Clocking in at just over 11 minutes, it’s a strangely wistful and progressive song that blends the energy of the band’s five members; and although it’s purely instrumental, the musicianship and song crafting is lyrical in itself, telling its own wordless story.

With Fall Out Boy and Paramore having enjoyed the saccharine taste of success, it’s surprising that former label-mates Punchline are pretty much unheard of. Despite their somewhat unmemorable, vaguely ska-inspired first album, they grew into a pretty great band, releasing their last album under previous record label Fueled By Ramen in 2006, titled 37 Everywhere.