Release Date: 2nd March 2018 on Spinefarm Records
With Stone Broken about to head out on their headline tour of the UK and Europe, the timing of their new album release is probably expected. Their first album, All In Time which brought us a sound which had initially been compared to Nickelback, until you heard the whole album that is, and saw the band live. These guys play loud and they play hard. With lyrics drawn from life experiences both bad and good, emotional and complex, the songs from the first album are addictively good.
Their new album has been hotly anticipated and the tracks already receiving airplay have impressed the critics and delighted the fans. Produced by Romesh Dodangoda, the album promises so much, I was itching to get a listen, but would it deliver?
‘Worth Fighting For’. This has already been a hit for the guys receiving extensive airplay since its release in October/November 2017 and deservedly so. It’s a cracking catchy, guitar driven, melodic hard rock track that once inside your head, you just can’t shake. Repetitive riffs, smashing, crashing drums held together by a rumbling fuzzy chug of a bass-line. Powerful lyrics and a wonderfully energetic track.
‘Let Me See It All’ full of warbling riffs and harmonious vocals. This has a very grown up feel to it, Rich’s vocal delivery has more expression whilst still retaining his delicious depth of tone.
‘Heartbeat Away’ had me hooked from when it hit the airwaves and it continues to be one of my favourite tracks they’ve ever recorded. This is so ‘Stone Broken’ it’s absolutely unmistakable. Catchy hooks, full on melodic drumming, rampant riffs and that wonderful slightly gravel toned voice. Passionate lyrics and ear-wormingly good.
‘Home’, a lighter fuzzy guitar opening, slightly southern feeling but the star of the show are the lyrics and Rich Moss’s vocal. It’s such an emotionally delivered song, even the guitar solos are emotional. Consistent rhythmic drumming and that wonderful low bass brings the track together but there are no words to say just how lovely the whole thing is. Beautifully played, beautifully arranged, beautifully sung and lyrically, beautifully written.
‘Follow Me’ Robyn’s drumming keeping the pace going with a big bouncy chorus shrouded in smokingly hot riffage and rumblings. Another solidly good track.
‘I Believe’, a country sounding twang to the guitar which becomes engulfed by the thumping and rumbling which is again, so ‘Stone Broken’. Whilst it is more of the driving riffs and massive chorus, it is far from samey. The changes in key, in complexity of the arrangements give each track a strong individuality while maintaining the familiar feel to it all.
‘Doesn’t Matter’ a song that builds in intensity to a crescendo of guitar epic-ness and crashing cymbals. This is stadium rock, chugging hooks breaking it down into levels of guitar work which show the skill and cohesiveness of Chris, Kieron and Rich.
‘Anyone’ chugging guitars exploding along with the drums to allow the vocal to reach into the realms of power ballad territory but all the time with the rumbling undercurrent that is so recognisable. I love the feel of this track, it’s emotional and it’s the vocal performance of the album for me. Rich has a massive voice with so much power it should be reverberating around a stadium.
‘Just A Memory’, spluttering guitars, toe tapping melody, funky bass and groovy hard drumming. Another spot-on track, fast paced and an aggressive feeling in its delivery on all counts. Snarling riffs leading into harder snarls break the track up before the catchy chorus brings the track to a close.
‘Other Side Of Me’, “Live your life with no regrets because the future hasn’t happened yet,” lyrics which evoke emotions and memories staying in your head long after the song finishes. Wrapping the lyrics up in the fast-paced familiarity but also breaching another dimension of the bands musicality.
‘The Only Thing I Need’ a lighter feel to this song with a catchy clear vocal, it’s an upbeat, happy mood song. Not as big a track as just about all of the others on the album, but it adds colour, adds another facet to the music. The vocal does build and demonstrates the versatility in Rich’s delivery and a squeaky-clean riff cracks through adding more complexity to the music.
Only criticism is I’m not sure this is an album closing track, but that is just a personal thing, I’d have liked one of the big songs to close it, to remain in your head and make you put it all on repeat again and again.
That notoriously difficult second album for a band who had so much success from the first one is always a big ask, but I can honestly say Stone Broken have absolutely smashed this one out of the ball park.
Every song has an element of progression, a development of an already strong sound. Building on that sound we get complex melodies, beautifully constructed arrangements and lyrics to make you smile, make you cry, make you want to sing and bounce about.
Yes, I am gushing over this album. Stone Broken have delivered a superb album. Production is absolutely spot-on, I don’t think the Walsall rockers will be having success with this only in the UK and Europe, world domination is on the cards. The Broken Army will be expanding its ranks.
These tracks deserve to be heard in a big arena, they are huge, loud, powerful but most of all still ‘Stone Broken’.
Go, buy a ticket for a live gig while you still can, the songs deserve to be heard live, the energy and drive of the melodies, the strength of the lyrics and vocal prowess together with very talented musicianship will transfer to a live gig so well, it would be a crime to miss.
Stone Broken are:
Rich Moss - Vocals/Guitar
Robyn Haycock - Drums
Chris Davis - Guitar
Kieron Conroy - Bass
Worth Fighting For
Let Me See It All
Just A Memory
Other Side Of Me
The Only Thing I Need