Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, April 27, 2012

When in metal need you call the veterans to go from Zero to Rage

WHEN the armies of Alexander of Macedon conquered half the known world he kept his general Parmenion's verteran's in reserve to deliver the crushing blow to Persian hordes at the right time.

When Genghis Khan conquered half the known world, sometimes his shock tactics needed the determination of veterans to smash through stubborn ranks across the sub-continent.

And when you feel the odd twinge that the new shit ain't rockin' quite the way you thought, it's time to call up the metal veterans to slash and burn all in their wake: veterans who can go from Zero to Rage in a heartbeat.

Yeah, there are one or two members of Stormzone who have been around the block as much as we have, but fear not, because when you need yer rock and metal turbocharged with a heady mix of classicc vibes and bang up to date arrangements then it'll be a safe bet that veterans deliver everytime.

And on this, Stormzone's third studio album delivery is key to its success.

Opening up with a statement of intent Where We Belong the intensity stays high as the title track Zero to Rage keeps the rev counter pushing the red.

Stand-out tracks This Is Our Victory and Last Man Fighting are epic, for different reasons. Victory is a statment of where the band are, what they have achieved, while Last Man Fighting takes all the best plays from the rock playbook and melds them into shape with a slow build towards a juistified strut.

And perhaps it is not fair to pick out stand out tracks: there is a consistency here that puts many album artists to shame. Harv's vocals have matured in terms of intonation without sacrificing the high range. The unsung hero too often in reviewing albums is the rhythm section. Anchored by a drummer who knows his way round a kit like the back of the proverbial hand, Davey Bates proves that flash isn't what holds down a track: solid delivery and flourishes for punctuation beat the stick show-offs any day of the week; meanwhile Graham McNulty's bass holds the bridge between the guitars of Steve Moore and long-time Harv collaborator Keith Harris.

Moore and Harris as a duo mix together riffage with axemanship par excellence. Give the one dimension shredders a rest and let these two guitarists tear it up and show real understanding that soloing doesn't always need to be a blur when you can sprinkle reflections of the song's direction.

The nicely balanced solo on Fear Hotel shows that a solo needs real structure and must merge as part of the song seemlessly

With songs averaging at around six minutes there is plenty of room for expression without self-indulgence. The shorter mid-set Uprising keeps breakneck pace going throughout, while Voices in My Head nails down hard rock melodies from vocals and guitars.

This 12-track platter proves that Harv and his cohort can deliver their own conquest. With a short Spanish stint with Sebastian Bach and no doubt some well deserved festival appearances Stormzone's continental conquest lies ahead as they move through the gears from Zero to Rage to meet yer rockin metal needs.

Stormzone launch Zero to Rage at the Spring and Airbrake on April 28th.

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