Wednesday, October 30, 2013

... STONE MAGNUM "From Time...To Eternity" (DCD special edition Review)

After several features here - including Interviews and a review of their new album a few months ago by Andreas Schiffmann, do I need to present STONE MAGNUM again ? Well, in a few words, S.M. is a five piece Heavy/Doom Metal band from the Chicago area founded by much respectful Dean Tavernier of Skullview ... and if you're not aware of their 80's Heavy Metal infused form of Doom, this special edition of their last album "From Time...To Eternity" released this month by Witches Brew - includes the brilliant self-titled debut album (for the first time on CD) as kind of (very) special bonus and is a perfect introduction to the band, also this is an essential purchase for the fans as a unique piece, gathering both albums with lyrics and separated booklets including nice artworks and pics of the vertical quintet... !!! 

Where the debut contains an underlying feeling of bleakness and negative sounding with at times rough anger and despair in the delivery - including from vocalist of the time Dean Tavernier, new album is finding a surgical balance between ominous and dynamic pieces of cursed and nasty Metal. An evolution in the overall mood and in cohesiveness after some line-up changes. 

From the 1st notes of the opening title track, things are as obvious as the cover let suggest, we're in here for a real trip in the true grand Metal court - the one of no stretched-to-sleep droning riffs, no extravaganza, no keys, no precious chorus... Stone Magnum is rather consisting in an overwhelming abundance of slow to mid-paced rolling metallic Doom played with a lot of integrity and tightness, filled with tense atmospheres within a perfect representation of obscure Heavy Metal codes where guitars and vocals predomine but always to serve the composition and never turn demonstrative or as a perpetual duality.
The delivery is faultless, nothing akward, it clearly hides lots of hours composing, harmonizing lyrics and melodies and this you can hear and are used to if you know the Tavernier's manic-sharp style of 80's guitar attack, it's just that in Stone Magnum he magnifies his darkest side and this time the dude has found a pefect team of old brigants (great work of the whole rythmic section really) - respect to all of them cause each song is here a pure flow of heavy pounding hooks making you headbang hypnotically in a fusional sweating bath of doom !!! An association of names is nothing without unity and collective faith in your own sound, in that sense it's really palpable that with this album Stone Magnum made a big step forward...

There's a foreboding atmosphere on 'From Time...To Eternity' which makes songs sounding much darker and crafted collectively too. Dean is still on guitar naturally and compose + write lyrics for a great part but the comings of ex Kommandant's Nick Hernandez and Ben Elliot on bass ('Lonely God') have strengthened the band's identity.
Hernandez is vocally very close a reference of the genre - Johan Langquist (listen 'the Gallows of Ohrdruf', that's impressive) and finds here a perfect playground in the traditional yet refined soundscapes of his comparse, not only Candlemass comes to mind but also Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell period), Trouble, Rainbow, Solitude Aeturnus... But he's not trying to clone anyone, it fits just so well with the music and probably is that his latin origins coupled with woeful stories to tell about (those rolling rrrr are amazing - especially on a very vocal-driven melodic song like 'By an Omen I went') or simply he has an awesome voice - in any cases now I understand why Dean was so deeply convinced of the benefit resulting from his introduction!

I can not end without coming back on the very nice addition of the first album which was a pretty memorable debut and deserved a CD treatment - 'Fallen Priest', 'Savior in Black', 'Grave of Cryptic Sorrows', argh I still fucking dig those ones... thanx to Witches Brew for this nice and essential release of masterful haunting Metal !!!

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