Stonelake come up with the goods on an album not to be missed.
Sweden has a damn fine habit of producing bands of high quality and that tradition is continued with Stonelake. ‘Monolith’ actually represents the bands sixth full length release but they may be a band who have slipped under your radar until now.
Lead singer Peter Grundström and guitarist Jan Åkesson go back a long way, having started out on their musical paths together some thirty years ago, then going their separate ways before reacquainting and deciding to take the plunge and breathe life into what we now know as Stonelake.
Musically, the album is a pretty diverse and eclectic mix of styles, ranging from bombastic, powerful Heavy Metal, right through the spectrum to a melodic and progressive Rock sound, all seamlessly linked by some seriously good musicianship.
Kicking off with ’Fanatical Love’ the album certainly lays down the gauntlet, a track that is extremely catchy to put it mildly, Peter’s vocal projecting a powerful foil for some powerhouse drumming and almost Symphonic tinged keyboard work, all carried along by some low down and dirty riffs that really hit the spot.
Whilst the overall vibe of the album is one of a bang up to date affair the band have managed to weave in some excellent retro elements that really enhance proceedings, most of the compositions on offer here tend to twist and turn in terms of both tempo and direction, resulting in the listener never getting bored, quite the opposite in fact. I found myself thoroughly engrossed for the whole forty five minute duration, not wanting or indeed daring to switch off or turn away lest something was missed.
‘With Someone Like You’ is a good track to point to when describing the bands sound, although slightly faster paced than many of the other songs on offer it encapsulates all that is Stonelake in a glorious four minute stint of head banging, thunderous Metal that will have most dancing in the aisles. The darker elements of ’Hater’ are also worth a specific mention, menacing riffs balanced out with tinkling piano and Jan’s demonic backing vocals make for possibly my album favourite. I say possibly because it’s followed by the wonderful ’Will You Be Loved’, a march along, jump along pop tinged masterpiece that demonstrates everything that is good about this band and is nigh impossible to fault.
Having been produced, mixed and mastered by Jan himself, you get a real sense of intimacy and closeness in the production sound, which is beautifully balanced throughout, bringing all elements of the band to the fore in just the right places.
A most impressive album indeed and one I would highly recommend checking out.
Peter Grundström – Lead and Backing Vocals.
Jan Åkesson – Guitars and Backing Vocals.
Lasse Johansson – Bass.
Annika Argerich – Keyboards.
Fredrik Joakimsson – Drums.
Out now on Massacre Records.