This Noise Is Ours has always been about championing new bands and labels. Okay, so I do write about better known bands too, but for me it was always discovering new bands that I'd never heard that really got me into metal and hardcore. It was the feeling and satisfaction that you felt when spending hours reading music magazine's, album liner notes and of course the Internet and stumbling across those special bands. I'm not elitist though, far from it, I just found something in metal and hardcore that held my attention and that I could get really excited about and that is the essence of this blog.
That paragraph brings me to this review. Michigan City doom band Stone Magnum pretty much epitomise it. Forming in 2010 and taking their time to produce a doom-metal sound of their own, before releasing three-track demo and then a self-titled record in 2012 via founding member, Dean Tavernier's label Rest In Peace Records. They have just released their second full length earlier this year, again through Rest In Peace Records. From Time...To Eternity is seven expansive tracks of doom that only the US could produce.
1. From Time...To Eternity
2. Lonely God
3. In Tongues They Whisper
4. The Gallows of Ohrdruf
5. By An Omen I Went
7. In The Garden of Beasts
I'll admit that when I think of doom now, I tend to think of Scandinavia or the UK. I know it's lazy but they both have a knack of producing killer bands. The US despite it's illustrious history, seemed slightly off the radar for me but thankfully Stone Magnum are addressing that. Their sound is sorrowful and sombre, but at the time it's melodic and dips it's had toward the NWOBHM. It's Candlemass than it is Swallow The Sun. The vocals of Nick Hernandez feature the right balance of evil and histrionics, while the wailing lead guitar helps beef up the music. The title track that kicks it all off features some nice thrash-metal touches as well and the production aims toward the classic era, as opposed to today's clinical school.
They find more an upbeat stride with Lonely God and with it a slight channelling of Sabbath groove. I've not heard many bands with this nostalgic edge for a while and it's pretty refreshing. The riffs, while slightly toned down in the mix, sound pretty meaty and the drum sound is nice and organic, with no triggers in sight. The grooviness and the subtle dirge that subliminally buries itself in your head is hard to shake off. In Tongues They Whisper is a perfect example of this, with it's sudden flourishes of thrash and double bass which briefly snap you out of your trance and get you head banging like they're playing right in front of you. Such accomplished solos are what this type of music was made for!
The musicality of Stone Magnum really hits during fourth track The Gallows of Ohrdruf and so does the realisation that their music is so much more than just doom. The metal influences show through more and more and they progress through From Time...To Eternity. There's also a strange sense of the occult hidden in some of the vocal melodies, which remind me of why doom and the devil make good bedfellows. That said, those occult melodies occur during By An Omen I Want, which is probably the most straightforward heavy metal song on the album, especially when those awesome dual-guitar melodies fill you ears. They sound amazing!
Considering the extended lengths of their songs, they don't outstay their welcome and before you know it, penultimate track Uncontained is swooning you with its slow riffs and powerful vocals. The drums in the background are almost hypnotic. Closing with probably the slowest track on From Time...To Eternity was a nice touch, In The Garden of Beasts is probably the closest to doom that I think Stone Magnum get. It's epic in a very understated way and just highlights further how good their song writing is.
Sometime, not knowing much about a band before listening to them has massive advantages, as you don't have any preconceptions and more often than not, you're pleasantly surprised by their quality. That's part of the fun of discovering and experiencing new bands. Stone Magnum are such a band and will no doubt be noticed by more metal fans as this album gets greater attention. The Internet may make it easy to discover bands, but the chase is still a thrill!
I've been given the opportunity to help promote Stone Magnum by streaming "By An Omen I Went" on my bandcamp page. You can listen to the full track here for the next two and a half weeks:-
Of course, the whole album is streaming directly via Stone Magnum's bandcamp page too - http://stonemagnum.bandcamp.com/.
You can purchase the album digitally from their bandcamp page or head over to Rest In Peace Records at http://www.restinpeacerecords.us to find out how to order the CD version.
Stone Magnum Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stone-Magnum
Rest In Peace Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rest-In-Peace-Records