-- 5.5/5 -- Stars
(Please note that Blogger has been acting up.
My words are underlined and anything from the label is not
How is it that the score is higher than the maximum amount?
This is one of those albums that takes you by surprise and gives you such joy as only some incredibly talented musicians can do!
A mix of great skills on a vocals & keyboards-guitar-bass & drums all share the experience these talented musicians share and it comes across in some of the best music that I have heard this year!
If you like to hear songs that change tempo often and exactly like the last one that just played and enjoy progressive rock music-this is the album for you, well it is for me anyway.
Ivan - Vocals, guitars
Dino – Vocals, keyboards
Marko – Bass
John Macaluso – Drums
Below is from their bio:
“Dark-Prog” act STONE LEADERS came to life in early 2016 when renowned drummer John Macaluso (of ARK, Yngwie , TNT, Symphony X, James , Labyrinth and Michael Romeo) was contracted to do a drum clinic in Zagreb, Croatia. Asking the clinic organizer to find a band to accompany him in the clinic, Macaluso then met guitarist Ivan and bassist Marko of Croatian band Side Effects ten minutes before the clinic began and decided on what they would play. The start of the clinic (now basically a full-fledged gig) was the Deep Purple classic “Burn” and it brought the house down. Right then, the trio knew they had something special here so when New Yorker John went back to Italy (where he now lives) he contacted Ivan and plans were made to get together and write and record an album. Throughout the meetings together in Italy and Croatia the band discovered that they also clicked as friends as well. As songwriting began. John and Ivan started the process with Macaluso recording his drum tracks with song arrangements in mind after which then took the drum parts and started writing riffs and moods over top with some help from Marko on a couple of songs. John lays out the writing and recording process. "The writing and recording process is much different than the way most bands do it. We did it the way my past band Ark did. I went into the studio and did a demo of only drum arrangement before any notes were written. I recorded the track with songs in mind, intro, verse, chorus etc. Then I sent these tracks to Ivan and then the songwriting process began: recording over the drum tracks while writing the song. I also gave him a song title so he could capture a mood and not just write cold over drum beats. It worked with Ark and worked for STONE LEADERS also. Ivan and I really click as a writing team, he is very talented and thinks out of the box."
I feel very privileged to hear this music -such a treat for the ears for me. My ears are enjoying every riff-vocal note, bass line and crash of the snare and crash cymbal. As well as every note on the keyboards, a fantastic solo on Box of Time followed by an equally great guitar solo.Each song is so wonderfully orchestrated and being a drummer myself I love that the songs when recorded all started with the drums done first.
1-Box of Time-5:01
3-Fire Up Oceans-4:58
More from their bio:
The punchy “Box of Time” opens the album, a track that addresses erasing and deleting someone or something from your life and eventually your mind. “You know, one day you’re doing fine until soon you’re walking down a street and a voice or scent, or even a song, pulls you right back to where you were before,” explains Macaluso. “Ultimately, the song is about the power of the mind because sometimes survival depends upon this deleting mechanism in the brain. “Fire Up the Oceans” touches more on contemporary prog rock than perhaps the rest of the album, while enveloping itself in fantasy. “ it can also be interpreted in modern day reality with war and religion,” muses the drummer. “Every religion prays to their own god, which, of course, is the only God. Everyone wants to bring their God to life but, what if you do and you find out that you really dislike them? You’ve ritualized to get them here and it can’t be reversed. You’ve played with fire, it’s not what you expected and now you’re about to get burnt.” The infectious “Toxic Guide” opens with a touch of a jazz riff before settling into a melodic moody piece driven by . “This one is about that girl. You know the one – you’re convinced that she’s the perfect one for you but she winds up being toxic. The song is about the moment you realize she’s the devil’s daughter and you need to get the hell out of there. “Ignited” was written by John in memory of his longtime friend and bandmate Randy Coven (1960 – 2014), “When someone passes they’re actually with you for eternity.”
I cannot name just one song that I prefer off of this album although if I had to they would be:
Box of City -love the crash cymbal here & the time kept with the drums in the quieter places of the song & Seeker, really love the drumming on all three songs.
Most of this music gave me and again as I listen to the album one more time as I finish this review.
I sincerely thank all the members of the band for some quite inspiring music to enjoy.
Thank you for reading this