Stella Blackrose

Death & Forever

Written by: PP on 01/10/2012 21:52:37

So does anybody still remember Anouk from the 90s? The female alternative rock/pop icon whose chart-topping megahit "Nobody's Wife" was all the rage back in '97-98? Those that do should namely find remarkable similarity in how Anouk sounded on her debut "Together Alone" and how Danish rockers Stella Blackrose sound on their sophomore album "Death & Forever". Perhaps not so much instrumentally, given that Stella Blackrose have a distinctly heavier hard rock / alternative rock soundscape in comparison, but there's just no way of going around how much vocalist Rebecca Lou Armstrong sounds like Anouk during her pissed off days. We're talking a female singer with an attitude and the kind of far-reaching power in her pipes to front a rock band, which has always been a rare feat for any female vocalist and the reason why there are so few successful female fronted rock bands around.

That attitude already existed partially on their debut album "Kiss The Dirt" from two years ago, but has been enhanced through a better production and a move away from the more blues oriented rock'n'roll and into a darker, more nu-metallish and post-grunge inspired place. That's not to say that Stella Blackrose necessarily belong into either genres, but inspiration has certainly been taken from the late 90s / early 2000s bands in both genres at least instrumentally and in terms of the vocal melodies presented here. As such, opener "My Sanctuary", while decent, sounds like something straight outta 1998 and not in a positive way (although I do love the 90s offerings usually). Though it's a good song, it's just not one that sticks to mind for much longer than the initial listen. "Vultures Pt. II" is a little more catchy, but again suffers from the same problem: it just sounds so god damn generic and derivative of a thousand bands before them. Fortunately, the vocal melodies for the most part are good enough to save the album from disaster, but there's hardly a chance to ignore the fact that their chosen genre just isn't very popular or interesting in 2012.

That said, credit must be given where credit is due. Rebecca Lou Armstrong almost single-handedly carries the band from generic hard rock with a pseudo-heavy base into something marginally more interesting, but her attitude-fueled efforts alone aren't enough to pitch up the tent properly. The Sin City crowd will probably lap this up, while everyone else moves on to genres and styles of music that actually matter in 2012.

Download: Propaganda, Vultures Pt. II, Morphine, My Sanctuary
For the fans of: Anouk, Royal Thunder, Juliette Lewis
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.05.2012
Target Records

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