After Nomad Son's killer new album reviewed last month, today we're speaking about the 2nd chapter of this "summer of Doom" from Metal on Metal rds by swedish doomsters STONEGRIFF.
A new band added to the yet impressive roaster of the italian label, specialized in classical Heavy/doom/Power Metal of the highest order...
Hum, well, Stonegriff ? a pretty unknown band, coming from ...? Sweden !!! and playing ... ? classic Doom !!! well, that's more than a good start in terms of expectations, even if their references in 4 years of existence didn't allow their name to cross frontiers. But seriously, how can those responsible adults go now wrong when they decide to sign a new (Swedish) Doom band ??!
I'm personally fan of just a part of their protégés (the doomiest, hu!) but believe me those people know something about tight heaviness, right attitudes and respect to all parties concerned , from the artist, to the cover-designer and fans of course with stunning final products in hands !!!
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not gonna tell you that we've got here the successors of Candlemass or the best alternative of the year to the long expected new album of Sorcerer ... and in all cases, chilean master Felipe Platza and his Procession moved there to raffle the status of new leaders !!! But "Prologus Magicus" is a very solid and consistent album of classical Doom paying hommage to the great ancients - most essentially from the US school (Trouble, Saint Vitus) with at times hints of epic Doom that their countrymen elders (above mentioned) invented more than 25 years ago.
Beyond a logical ominous overall, the most essential quality that Stonegriff has in common with all those references is vocally speaking, a true distinctive force... This guy seems to come directly from the 70's , has a golden voice with a wide range of tonalities from raspy and somberly bewtiching to high pitched wails and screams; at times I really hear some Rob Halford in the darkest and most imaginative days of Judas Priest ("Mercenary Bay", "For Madmen Only"), some Ian Gillan too... He succeeds to always inject a dynamic, even in the most crushing parts of "Black Magic Circle" or "Impossible" - both highlights of the album where harmonies and catchy choruses are particularly memorable.
The sound is reasonably vintage, just guitars sound could have been thicker to my ears but it's maybe due to the singer charisma that some may found at times too prominent, it's just that such slow and heavy as hell yet melodic riffing style would certainly need a bit more development, in the soloing too (pretty rare for the genre, which doesn't range the band immediately in the HEAVY Metal category).
Songs like "Black Snow" and closer "In the World that you Rule" are other good pieces worth to mention for their wretched and dragging atmospheres, riffs are pretty simple yet always effective and cohesive with a witchy scope that definitely turns out like a makeover !
There's always been and sadly there'll always be quite many dedicated and interesting classical Doom Metal bands remaining largely underated like Revelation, Dawn of Winter, Mirror of Deception, Gallow God, etc... so I guess nobody can predict with certainty a bright future to Stonegriff but one thing is sure: with a clear conscience, those guys offer through "Prologus Magicus" a very recommendable celebration to the glory of old school doom, so come on, now track this down through Metal on Metal !!!