IN just three short years Stereo Nasty have managed through some magic elixir to conjure through some strange alchemy the Philosopher's Stone of pure metal joy.
On this their second full length release 'Twisting The Blade' the Irish four-piece have managed to produce no-frills metal - and that lack of frills is the strength of this album.
It harkens back to what the band themselves refer to as "the golden era of 80s heavy metal". However, this is not a slavish interpretation of the past. This is a take on what metal was as it emerged from the trauma of punk, the verbose mid to late-70s rock while absorbing the lessons NWOBHM learned the hard way.
Sure you can pick out the influences - early Maiden on 'Reflections of Madness'; Priest on 'Near Dark' and WASP on 'Through The Void' but that doesn't matter at all.
What Stereo Nasty have achieved is a release that makes any fan of pure classic metal smile and want to don their cut off, pour themselves into skin tight jeans, strap on a bullet belt and start banging their heads.
The only issue is that the era of the early 80s saw producers such as Martin Birch take particular attention with engineers to enable clear separation of all the instruments and patterns. It's not that there isn't separation in the mix, it's just a little more definition across the instruments would have helped.
For example, on the superb title track 'Twisting The Blade' at times the bass and guitar aren't distinctive enough. That being said it is a great song, with a nod to the edgier side Twisted Sister, naturally, but with a sneer and smile, and a tasty measured solo from Adrian.
And, while some may focus on Mick's great vocal work it is the band's tightness that stands out. Unadulterated work as Adrian, Fran and Rud work as a unit to deliver metal.
The only blips is on the instrumental 'Vengeance' - to put it kindly it's unnecessary, and sounds like an intro to a track that has been thrown away as unnecessary.
Set that aside and what you have are eight tracks that are delivered with poise and precision, with closer 'Becoming A Beast' an absolutely - if you excuse the pun - a beast of a track.
Stereo Nasty have pulled out of the bag a superb album, that with a few tweaks is within reach of being a classic.
What excites us most is that the songs on here will translate to the live environment, where the inherent power will sear audiences aural tracts. Catch them on their summer tour!
Review by Jonathan Traynor