Trial By Fire

Written by: PP on 05/09/2011 20:59:32

Stonecollar are from Cape Town, South Africa. Needless to say, it's extremely rare to encounter a rock band from that far down south, because although they certainly exist, they just never reach the ears of Western music press and listeners. The only other SA band I'm aware of is Seether, the mainstream rock / post-grunge band that has been doing well in the US market for the past decade or so, but I'm fairly sure they've relocated there as well. And although the first couple of tracks on Stonecollar's debut album "Trial By Fire" suggest that Stonecollar has been listening to a ton of Maiden and Priest when they were growing up, the shadow of Seether starts to rear its, err, modern hard rock head on the tracks that follow.

By the time you reach the end of the record, you've been presented a compelling argument that Stonecollar are very much interested in following in similar steps as their successful countrymen. They are going for that radio-friendly alternative rock sound with big riffs and big choruses, such as the melodically spiced one in lead single "SQT" and the Alter Bridge-inspired one on "Turn A Blind Eye", which leads into airplay and interest from mass-manufacturing major labels, who see this type of music as an easy sell to the average American rock music listener. Other bands that creep into mind thereafter are Rev Theory, Creed (especially on the balladic "...As The Crow Flies"), PhaZer, Three Days Grace, any many other similar bands, although Stonecollar are noticeably less polished and a little crunchier in places, probably due to the lack of a production budget, and therefore don't sound identical to these bands.

That said, the low-end production does leave the overall listening experience a little flatter than one would ideally want. The thing is, they have a very competent singer whose pipes are good enough to deliver Scott Stapp-esque powerful choruses and interesting verses, but his ability is held at bay due to the sub-par production that never really allows him (or the rest of the band) to flourish properly. That's why "Trial By Fire" overall feels like a record with a few solid hard rock tracks scattered that could warrant airplay and label interest, but one which hasn't had the means to properly execute their vision and love for modern hard rock in a way that would bring international success. My advice? Stick to Seether until they find a higher production budget.


Download: SQT, Turn A Blind Eye, ...As The Crow Flies
For the fans of: Alter Bridge, Seether, Hinder, Creed, Three Days Grace
Listen: Soundcloud

Release date 18.03.2011

Trial By Fire by STONECOLLAR

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