Kent based Wicked Stone first came up on my radar when they played a superb set on the Rising Stage at Ramblin Man Fair back in 2016. That set really grabbed my attention and not only did I grab the magnificent two track CD the band were handing out afterwards I found a great new band that I have followed and listened to ever since.
It is an absolute pleasure for me to review Devil In Me, Wicked Stone’s brand new 5 track EP which is due to be released on September 13th. As soon as the band released the details of the EP I just knew I had to review it. I actually made it a mission of mine to get hold of a copy so that I could do just that and must thank Joe Hawx for replying to my each and every message.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMD6ZWJ2HkQ&w=560&h=315]
As soon as I put the CD into my stereo, the quality of the music gripped me. It is a real fist pumping, foot stomping roller-coaster of a release, full of hard edged guitars, sing-a-long lyrics and a groove from the powerhouse rhythm section that I have just found completely infectious. In fact, I found it almost impossible to write down any review notes as I was singing along and tapping my feet and fingers. I have now had it on continual rotation at home for a few days, it is that engaging and that damn bloody good.
There really is nothing to disappoint you on any of these superbly written 5 tracks. As soon as Olly Smith’s drums and James Forrister’s guitars kick in on opening track Couldn’t Take Anymore, you can feel your chest pounding with every thunderous beat and that feeling just runs through every track on the EP. I defy anybody to not have body parts moving in time to the killer beats laid down before them.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TyxJ6xoeo8&w=560&h=315]
Forristers guitar work on this EP is nothing short of scintillating, whether it be during the exquisite guitar solo’s or the chunky, meaty riffs the songs are built around, that are clearly evident on every track. Bassist James Amos backs up his rhythm section partner perfectly to provide a pounding and mesmerizing beat behind every track that just drag you in and then spit you back out with your body uncontrollably moving to the Wicked Stone groove.
Unchained, starts off with a slower more moody intro with some delicate guitar work and then just kicks in to be another outstanding rocker with even more smoking hot guitar parts. Keep Fighting is another powerhouse of a track that I just wrote 3 words down for….chunky, chunky, chunky! Then there is Saviour, a really bouncy, heavy track with more hypnotizing riffs, pounding beats, great lyrics and sensational vocal parts from Joe Hawx, who I have to say sounds better than ever on this release. He really seems to have matured in his songwriting and as a vocalist and I cannot wait to see them live again on the back of this release as he is a great frontman who builds up such a great rapport between the crowd and the band whenever they play.
Devil In Me, the EP’s title track brings it to a finish, with a flurry of swirling guitars and a really punchy, in your face, pulsating beat. If drinking all Joe’s whisky and wine and smoking all his cigarettes brings out the Devil in him, my advice would be make sure you have plenty of your own if and when you go and see them.
The EP is over far too quickly in my opinion. It is of such quality that it’s 20 minutes running time seems to fly by in about 10. I really have listened and listened to this and enjoyed it more and more each time. I can’t get enough of the whole sound, from the pounding drums, the killer guitars that are sure to bring out the air guitarist in anybody and the heartfelt vocals.
If this EP does not raise the profile of the band and take them further up the ladder then there is something wrong with the world. This is Wicked Stone’s first release since the 2017 album Ain’t No Rest and has seen them grow and mature, both musically and lyrically and sees a band on the verge of something special. Do yourselves a favour and invest in this little gem, you really won’t be disappointed.
Review by : Darren Smith- for metalplanetmusic