Stone Broken

Ain’t Always Easy – Special Edition

(Spinefarm Records)

Currently out on tour in support of this release, Stone Broken have honed this collection of songs by playing them at shows. Hence a lot of them are already familiar to followers of the group.

Starting cut Worth Fighting For bursts into action, filling your speakers with riffing, fuzz, deep bass, thunderous drumming and then a declamatory treated vocal spitting out an emphatic call-to-arms lyric. It’s satisfyingly tense and a big, fat sound with no sacrifice of definition. And it’s rather catchy, with its wah-flecked guitar break…

Let Me See It All is as jagged as a Highland peak, the strong vocal gives way to a blurry chorus with its own sway. The distorted guitar tone is pretty impressive and the key choice appropriate. The sound on this is all-enveloping, no stops or spaces, again the gurgling wah guitar has a banshee cry. Heartbeat Away is soon pounding out, with surefire drumming and that trademark chattering chordal motion. Quite a strong song, insistent and already a crowd-pleaser, as we know from seeing the act.

Home with its twangy opening brings a lovely and well-sung country grinder. Better separation on the guitars, which SB could do more often, really. A highlight of this collection. Follow Me stabs away, keeping the guitar sound gritty. I Believe goes for a haunting guitar intro before whacking in the full works. For me, a tad too fat but this one has another killer chorus. Doesn’t Matter is swift, direct, catchy and shows the band off well. Again the vocal delivery is on the money and here maybe a tinge of Alice In Chains in vibe?

Anyone is my favourite cut here, still that bit too busy but a song that sounds complete, well-constructed and heartening in its own way. Just A Memory is pretty much standard metal, for this listener but the chord progression in one on the better examples. Other Side Of Me has pace and edge, good singing. Closing cut The Only Thing I Need is led by electro-acoustic and finds the crew in heavyweight country rock once more, spirited and tuneful, so a very good track to finish on with a bit of air in the sound.

The only carp one might have about this act is some over-reliance on the lightning chug as a rhythm, but every other box is surely ticked on the playing singing and material. Worthy of their keen following, which includes us.

On to the bonus tracks on this version, quickly – with this edition, you get live in the studio takes of Just A Memory and then Follow Me. After that, acoustic renditions of Doesn’t Matter and finally The Only Thing I Need.

Pete Sargeant

 



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Live Photo Credit: Laurence Harvey

You can read our live review of Stone Broken with special guests Jared James Nichols and The Bad Flowers with a photo gallery by Laurence Harvey here: http://bit.ly/2FxhjlH

Stone Broken’s second album ‘Ain’t Always Easy’ is out now on Spinefarm Records on CD, Deluxe CD, Download and Vinyl.

For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2ktVpGH

 

Stone Broken
Stone Broken