Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM
The album title may be Revelation but maybe it should have been reinvention. The changes are huge, the changes are strong and the changes are stunning.
I have to admit to not being a fan of over tinkering with a formula that obviously works or those over produced vocals but holy crap this album has left me a bit speechless.
I am a bit reluctant to say this word as for two albums and god knows how many live shows I have never mentioned the word Nickleback as 1 I thought it was lazy journalism and 2 even though I liked Nickelback I hated SB getting tagged with the name as there was so much more to them than a tag line…but…I believe Revelation will kill that dead and if I see a review with that name I will slap them in the face(does that mean I need to slap my own face?).
This album is a game changer for the band. They already were one of the big names in the NWOCR genre but this is a whole new level. Producer Dan Weller has had such a huge influence on the band I can only liken it to Bob Rock and the Metallica Black album but in reverse.
Mr Rock toned Metallica down and Dan has given Stone Broken a new and much heavier feel. Some tracks border Nu Metal, some are old school Stone Broken with amps turned up to 11 and some are just so far from what we have heard from the band previously but hey, let me stop rattling on and let me dive in.
The album opens with single “Black Sunrise” and the reason I was not overly excited when this came out was the messed up vocals at the start but now??? hell yeah, the vocal echo chamber is minute and this instantly has become the band’s heaviest sounding track to date. The guitars from Chris Davis and Rich Moss is brutal. The solo is immense and the Nu Metal barrage is trying to rip the skin from your face.
Next up is “The Devil you Know” and the catchy hook will drag you in. Keiron Conroy sounds as if the bass strings are hanging off the sound is so slappy. This song has the old SB chant along and this will be awesome on the upcoming tour. The song has lots of little gimmicks in the background that has been layered to make the sound huge. This is epic.
The Title track starts like a Sunday, hungover trance anthem but you know it is going to grow into a monster(more on that link in a minute). The riff is quirky, meaty and sporadic and has you with horns in the air and within an instant your eyes are closed and you can see Robin Haycock smashing the shit out of her kit.
Again the guitars are blistering and going back to the Monster bit…this track harks back to a band with another female drummer in Skillet and this should mean that on the other side of the pond this song will be huge. This is Stone Broken on a tangent, is it a phase? Is it them as they said trying anything? Who knows but this song on its own is outstanding.
The Skillet theme continues on “Make it out Alive” as like Jen ledger in Skillet, Robin has taken on vocal duties too and as with Skillet it is sublime. I love the shades of a male and female singer together. I hope that this tinkering is permanent as I loved it. Her fresh and haunting vocals against the crashing guitars was beautiful to behold. The heavy assed keys are also a great addition.
Stone Broken are no strangers to a ballad so it is no surprise to find one on here and “Me Without You” is another winner. It opens with a R’n’B feel which will be down to the vocal tone but all those ballad lovers have another to add to the soppy playlist. Laughing aside this is a belter and for SB a new take on the old formula.
Time to get back to the heavy as fuck genre on “Without a reason”. This is the Stone Broken we all know and love. That up tempo song that makes you want to sing and go a little bit apeshit. This slips into more keyboards and more vocal gymnastics on “Over the Line”.
We once again get Robin on vocals but I do have to say this album is definitely Rich’s biggest vocal performance to date. He seems to have jumped into the new techniques and changes with all his heart and I swear you can hear him smiling on some of these songs as he sings.
We have a semi ballad in “Stronger” and this could have been another album title in my mind as each and every track is a huge step up from “Ain’t Always Easy”. The keys lull you into a false sense of security, that is added too by the acoustic and then it goes full force and again Rich’s voice is sitting right out front and has so much more power than previously released. Everything is so much better, the vocals, the guitars, the drums, the production….holy crap…Sign up Dan to a multi album deal guys.
“This Revival” kicks in with the heavier feel before settling on that catchy shit the band do so well. Once again Kieron is sounding so deep, brutal and loose.
Every instrument has been tweaked to perfection in the mix. At some points everything is thrown together in what should sound like a cacophony but as you listen you can pick out every individual part with total clarity.
Back to the trance intros on “So Damned Easy” but that is before your cranium is bashed in before moving into hypnotising repetition from Rich. This again is new territory and it fits the well. Every track is solid, every track is an improvement and has the feel of a band coming of age and finding something that has lit a fire under their asses.
The final track “Gimme Some More” comes at you as a southern rock stormer from the 25th Century. It has the hooks but they are cranked up beyond belief. It, like every other track is definitely Stone Broken but with an extra 10% and a handful of magical fairy dust with the name “huge hit” on the jar.
I finished listening to “Revelation” and I swear I was shaking. This took me by surprise without a word of a lie. I always groan when I hear a band say this is our best album…you need to say that, I mean who is going to say this is a bit crappy or yip, this is our third best release….it does not happen but when it comes to Revelation I take a bow…they are 100% correct.
I have loved this band since the debut and as much as I loved both albums they never really managed to tie down the intensity of a live show but we now have an album that reflects what Stone Broken are all about…even if they changed their whole persona to do it.
Changes can be risky, they can make or break a band and my hat is doffed to the band they haven’t decided to tweak a couple of things…this sounds like they got in the studio and said…what does this button do?
This is the album Stone Broken needed to release and it is the album the fans wanted without even knowing it. It is a massive step up and in my opinion an album that will crack the market wide open for them.
Pre Order new album here: https://StoneBroken.lnk.to/RevelationID
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Official Website: https://www.stonebroken.com