Album Review: Stone Broken - Revelation
Reviewed by Dan Barnes
Closing in on their tenth year as a band, Walsall’s Stone Broken is set to release that all-important third album. Having paid their dues on tours with the likes of Living Color and Cheap Trick, along with appearances at festivals such as Steelhouse, Ramblin’ Man and the Download Pilot; and with a slot at this year’s Stonedead on the horizon, it would appear the time is ripe for the band to make that step up into the big leagues.
Revelation steps up to the plate and opens with a swing for the bleachers. Black Sunrise is a hook-laden slice of Classic Rock, full of sharp riffs and punchy guitar that is a foreshadowing of what is to come. And if Stone Broken had recorded an album of eleven songs in this vein, then no one would have batted an eyelid. It would have been a very competent record indeed.
In fact, Without a Reason and the closer, Gimme Some More, give you a taste of what that record would have been like. Full of pounding beats and driving rhythms and, let’s face it, who among us does not go weak at the knees for a killer solo. All here, all present and correct.
Stone Broken could have released that album, no bother.
But they didn’t. Instead, they looked to flex those creative muscles and spread their song-writing wings and head off in a slightly different direction. Devil You Know and This Revival are slower and more sleezy, built around low-end chugging and down and dirty riffs. So Damn Easy is your standard Classic Rock fare but with urgent off-beats giving the song an uncanny feel.
Rest assured, Traditionalist, for Stone Broken have not abandoned ye and Revelation features not one, but two, lighters-in-the-air ballads for you delectation. Me Without You would have been a sure-fire hit back in the day, with vocalist Rich Moss laying his soul bare to an acoustic accompaniment. Those strings are back for Stronger, a glorification of positivity and self-reliance.
In the execution of this you’ll hear the locked in rhythm section of bassist Kieron Conroy and drummer – and sometime backing vocalist – Robyn Haydock setting a foundation for six-string slingers Rich Moss and Chris Davis, the latter making hay whenever a solo is called for.
As I said, Revelation would be a very competent album indeed. But, rather than rest on their laurels, the band allowed those creative juices to flow and added industrial and electronic elements to the proceedings; most notably on the title track and Over the Line. They haven’t gone full-on Ministry with these touches, nor have they been used as some sort of gimmick; instead, they add character to the otherwise solid sounding songs.
When Stone Broken do what they do they are able to create moments of magic. Make it Out Alive is the longest song on the record and is a journey of a track. Unfolding through mood and atmosphere, conjured by gentle piano keys and heavy bass lines, the band pack more into the five minutes of this song than many of their contemporaries manage on a full album.
Revelation feels like a mature record that walks the fine line between tradition and progress and shows a band straining at the slips, ready to get out there and show the world what they are about. The time is indeed ripe and Revelation will be a potent weapon in Stone Broken’s quest to conquer.