Having sold their souls to the corporation with recent pop hit ‘Gotta Be Somebody’; you can imagine my feelings of betrayal after removing the birthday wrapping paper and resultantly clutching a copy of Nickelback’s latest album ‘Dark Horse’.

However, as no receipt had been retained, I forced a smile in my friend’s direction and thought I may as well assign it a few seconds of my life.

I wasn’t expecting much; more sell-out commercial idiocy in the vein of ‘Rockstar’ interspersed with plenty of epic, ‘Photograph’-style musical constructions perhaps (as it turns out they really haven’t left us short in the power ballad department…) But amidst the emotionally soppy offerings are scattered some of the most hard-hitting, ballsy, and rampant rock licks and riffs you are quite likely to hear in your lifetime.

Never before has “do not judge a book by its cover” rang so true. This album works wonders for the overdrive-craving soul – it’s as if Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin have somehow spawned a new modern-day breed of face-melting splendour, inviting Black Label Society and CKY to the Christening.

In fact, album openers ‘ Something In Your Mouth’ and ‘Burn It To The Ground’ have “Ozzfest headline” written all over them. And this is an album whose celestial presence recently graced the UK Top 20? Good times.

Likewise, former Darkness front man Justin Hawkins has launched a new musical group in the shape of “man rockers” Hot Leg. Personal grievances aside, it is quite refreshing to see pure rock still being pursued, and by someone who has previously had such success in the genre.

Rock needs its ambassadors to keep fuzz-swamped, guitar-laden debauchery alive and kicking, and while ever the tiniest pang for lavish and extravagant musical carnage exists somewhere in the bowels of an underground sect of rock enthusiasts, it has every chance of recapturing the public’s affections and breaking through into mainstream society.

In a week where X Factor single sales are set to dominate the charts, I know whose tracks will be firmly and duly placed upon my portable music device’s “Now Playing” list. Looks like my friend knows me better than I first thought!

Maybe this manufactured pop cruelty we’re currently forced to endure is approaching the end of its shelf life? Maybe Hot Leg will nab this year’s Chrimbo Number One honour with the festive ‘I Met Jesus’? Maybe ‘The Jonas Brothers’ will equip themselves with the Digitech 'Screamin Blue Distortion' stomp box and Zakk Wylde’s signature ‘Cry Baby Wah’ pedal (apparently these boys epitomise popularity and can do no wrong…?) The future’s bright – the future’s Orange Amps.