StoneLake- Marching on Timeless Tales

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, June 13, 2011

When it comes to melodic heavy metal, people seem to either love or hate it. The combination of very light keyboard driven arrangements and high pitched vocals can sometimes be too much for people, but there are a very dedicated group of people who really go for this genre when it’s done right. Sweden’s StoneLake has been trying to get the style down for a number of years, and just released their sixth full length album Marching on Timeless Tales. It takes a slightly heavier approach than some of the others in the genre while retaining the keyboards as a prominent element, and because of this there are some great hooks throughout the course of the album.

StoneLake’s last full length felt really messy at times, as there were moments where it sounded as though the keyboards and guitars were fighting with each other rather than working together to create catchy hooks. This time around the keyboards have been taken down a notch and the guitars are a lot clearer in the overall mix, which immediately gives the group a much more aggressive sound than before. You can really tell that the instrumentalists have tried to strike a very fine balance between the loud and bombastic traditional heavy metal moments and the lighter symphonic/power metal ones and they do a good job of transitioning between the two. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’re thinking outside of the box, there are some riffs on Marching on Timeless Tales that are infectious and make you want to return to the album.

Lead singer Peter Grundstrom has the standard high pitched voice that occasionally hits some falsetto ranges, but his performance on this album manages to avoid feeling too generic. The main reason for this is that he uses the falsettos sparingly and only when they will really add emphasis, and tends to use a slightly more rock oriented approach on many of the songs. Grundstrom has just the right amount of variety to keep things interesting, and I have the feeling that heavy metal fans who give this release a chance will enjoy his performance quite a bit.

Based on what I had heard of StoneLake in the past, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting that much. But Marching on Timeless Tales came as a pleasant surprise, as these guys have improved quite a bit and written an album that has some genuinely memorable moments. They may not quite be anyone’s favorite melodic heavy metal group just yet, but they do appear to be on the upswing and hopefully this disc is a sign of things to come.

http://www.massacre-records.com/

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Massacre Records

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