Monday, June 3, 2013

... STONE MAGNUM "From Time... To Eternity" (New Album Review !!!)

Founded in 2010 only, this Indiana/Chicago-based group is relatively new on the Doom scene, yet sounds as (positively) old as you can imagine - and for a reason: Stone Magnum features Skullview's guitarist Dean Tavernier and Nick Hernandez, formerly of Chicago-crazies Kommandant, so with their second album, expect some sluggish Metal goodness from the back row of Metal-stardom.

The title track of "From Time ... To Eternity" sets the overall tone. The band's music is best described as unassuming epic Doom, meaning that Stone Magnum cling to long-winded song structures, yet without all the drama and pathos that can make this type of sound awkward and pretentious at times. Plus, there is a significant amount of straightforward old school Metal within, as you can imagine with respect to the members' background. Just take "In The Garden Of Beast" with its sudden upward shift of gear (as it happens time and again on the record) and tremolo picking as we know it from Scandinavia's satanic brigades. Add Hernandez enchanting, but beefy voice, and you have the mystical flair of groups like Raven Black Night (the singer doesn't get on your nerves like theirs, though) or Nightmares End (if you happen to know these Siegen Records artists).
As much as these tracks belie expectations of catchiness, they display their' composers focus and intelligence with respect to building up suspense as well as creating emotion, which - of course - is essential in any case and successful not least due to the frontman. Without him, the tunes would probably maintain their narrative character, yet you would not want to listen to the words while at the same time, the often unspectacular riffs (big exception: the rocker "Lonely God" with its intervowen bass and guitar leads) would turn you off. As it is though, Stone Magnum turns out to be a whole unit, the constituents of which are all indispensable. You hardly find a rhythm section that beats it out with so few frills but still as convincing as during the bridge of highlight "In Tongues They Whisper", whereas on the other hand, the mesmerising "The Gallows Of Ohrduf" could even be called a hint at progressive Rock in terms of arrangement.

All in all - "Uncontained" is a driving headbanger and probably the band's most compact song - Stone Magnum do better on their sophomore than on their 2012 debut, while not a few other bands, especially in this genre, lose momentum as they run out of ideas. To get into the ones of these musicians here though, you have to listen closely, so no immediate reward ... yet who needs that anyway?

words by Andreas Schiffmann


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