Released by: Massacre Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Metal/Hard Rock
Peter Grundström: Lead & Background Vocals
Jan Åkesson: Guitars / Background Vocals
Lasse Johansson: Bass
Annika Argerich: Keyboards
Fredrik Joakimsson: Drums
01. Fanatical Love
02. You Light The Way
03. End This War
04. With Someone Like You
05. Double Life
07. Will You Be Loved
08. In A Freezing House
Stonelake is a swedish metalband with it’s roots going back to 1984 the year in which vocalist Peter Grundström met guitarist Jan Åkesson and Jan joined Peter’s band at the time Whitelight. In 1987 both parted seeking new musical adventures with lots of other groups. Finally 15 years later both reunited and Stonelake was born. Monolith is already their 6th full release so these guys know how to use their musical skills. Don’t let the album cover fool you as the music is not related to stoner rock or black metal as the artwork suggests.
Though I’ m not familiar with their previous work a little research learned me that their latest album is a bit more proggy and I can agree on that point as the band plays a kind of melodic progressive metal in the vein of German Vandenplas and a bit of Dream Theater as well. The songwriting however is not focused on the creation of complex compositions with a lot of twisted instrumental parts but mainly heads to straight forward metal. So no long, epic tracks but ten decent and catchy, mid-tempo compositions.
The album’s opener Fanatical Love immediately starts with some blistering guitar riffs and an excellent melody. And this opener sets off for the nice counter parting vocal styles that features on the rest of the record, blending a clean rock voice and some deep growls similar as DT showed on their straightforward metal album Train of Thought.
Besides Jan’s great guitar work (both rhythm as solo parts) and Peter’s competent vocals we’ve got the genre-fitting rhythm section. But to me the most interesting sound on this album comes from Annika Argerich’s keyboards. With her nice pallet of sounds she even manages to bring in some progressive house influences as well (at the end of You Light The Way and in the track Will You Be Loved). The final track Desolation however is totally different, it’s a dark atmospheric piano composition that ends the album in a rather strange way.
Production wise the record stands like a rock. I believe the band really concentrated on this one, maybe more than the variation in songwriting which is a bit of a bummer. There are no low points but no high points either on this effort so it’s a rather safe course the band takes here and I wonder how long this album will stick in the listener’s mind. Still in the end I liked what I hear so I’m certainly jumping on the bandwagon of this Swedish outfit and I might check their previous release as well.
Written by Ruud