Review – Geoff Jenke
Stone Cold have been around the Adelaide metal scene for about two years now. 2020 seemed liked a good time to release their debut mini album, North of the River, and in the theme of a lot of metal songs, disease and virus came along to spoil everything, mainly live shows to promote the album.
But Stone Cold went ahead and released the album anyway. It is a totally independent release so unfortunately you won’t find it in the shops. Unfortunately, because this is a fine collection of heavy metal tunes. Guessing most people won’t know the band and will be firstly asking, “What do they sound like?”. Well…. Take a slab of Black Sabbath, a hint of Metallica, a splice of Motorhead and you will get some idea, although this is a generalisation…. They go well beyond these bands at times.
The song North of the River opens the set with the sound of someone changing radio stations, a small explosion, sirens before a heavy driving guitar rift send the song on its way into the killing season and bloodshed. “North of the River/ just follow the blood / North of the River / even Death should be afraid of us”. However, even with some epic guitar playing and heavy subject, the vocals remain restrained throughout, adding a sinister sound to the song.
Bad Devil Trip follows on, sounding a bit like “son of” North of the River (and that is no bad thing). Last Laugh is probably the least metal of the six songs on the album, but it rocks and rocks HARD. (The drum roll chorus is annoying me, as it sounds like a famous song, I know but cannot put my finger on – nice drumming though). Reminds me a bit of Blue Oyster Cult.
The first three songs are but the entrée, leading up to the main course songs, which raise the bar substantially. Lords of War is pure metal with a heavy bass mid-section, before the rest of the band catch up once again. Darkness Falls is pure epic metal! The intro is worth listening to alone but the song just continues to build before almost collapsing in on itself and then having to climb its way back up out of the darkness. An absolute beauty of a song.
And it all leads to dessert finale, Burn the Witch. Who says metal bands don’t have a sense of humour. The song starts with a short bit of dialogue from Monty Python, “She’s a witch – Burn her. How do you know she is a witch? Coz she looks like one. Burn her Burn her” before the song kicks in. And the song will have you singing along “Into the fire / Burn the witch” at the chorus. Yes, heavy and catchy. How clever.
The music on the album is as infectious as a certain disease going around these days, but this infection is a good one.
Even the cover is dark, almost an outtake of Sabbaths debut album, only darker.
The band are currently filming/editing a film clip for Burn the Witch but for now if you are interested in checking them out, have a listen to Burn the Witch and North of the River here-
Personally, I cannot wait to catch them live.
If you are interested in getting a copy of the CD, leave a message on Facebook and they will get back to you with details. You won’t be disappointed if you like your music loud and heavy.
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