Artist: Stone Sovereign
Album: Tales of Myth and Madness
Genre: Viking/Folk Metal
Review by: Simon Strelein
It's high fantasy adventure time, pack your 12 sided dice and sharpen your full-scale scale replica of Anduril. Today we voyage to the Land of Nyroda with Stone Sovereign.
Hailing from Orange, Australia, Stone Sovereign appears to be a band comprised of large men that like wearing cloaks in forests. You can almost smell the blood, sweat and dwarven beer that went into the creation of this album.
The resulting sound on 'Tales Of Myth And Madness' leaves the band between two genres: the first, their professed genre of Folk Metal. Although, Stone Sovereign classify themselves as Folk Metal this album is devoid of the hallmark anthemic choruses and traditional instrumental accompaniment so prevalent with more lauded bands of this genre, like Ensiferum, Turisas and the like. Stone Sovereign has the solid march to battle sorted, but lacks the fife or uilleann pipes to compliment it.
The second category they fall into would be of more proto-thrash origin. Yet here also the band hesitates in the doorway. Various riffs and solos remind me of reworked, early Metallica, the solos Hammett derivatives. There are moments of simplistic Iron Maiden-esque flavour. But the pace of the majority of the tracks, lacking the Folk hallmarks afore-mentioned leaves them stale after the third or fourth repeat.
Perhaps if the vocal pace was quickened, or more varied between death growl and anthemic chorus, these shortcomings might have been less noticeable. Perhaps if the two guitarists played independent parts rather than playing in tandem or if the bass shone through more regularly, the latter halves each song would carry more weight.
Overall, the album has a dated, ye olde metal feel. No molds are being broken here. That said, you can tell from its delivery that each member is wholeheartedly invested in what they are doing. There are dynamic moments that conjure the imagery that this band is trying to convey, barbaric voyages across boiling seas, sacred circles of magic in the forest, valiant heroes on quests. No doubt many of the themes and concepts behind this album were formulated during Dungeons & Dragons marathons that stretched long into the weekend.
Stone Sovereign have definitely put in some hard yards in the last month or so, touring Australia's eastern coast and playing Wizardsfire, Questfest, Mirkwood & Dragonsbane festivals, and supported Claim The Throne and Lagerstein.
4 out of 10.
For fans of Månegarm, Finntroll, Amon Amarth, Ensiferum
Tales of Myth and Madness is out now. Purchase your copy here: https://stonesovereign.bandcamp.com/