It’s 2015. “Hard Rock” is on the short list of what metalheads consider dirty words. Almost every time I click a Play button on something described as “Hard Rock,” I regret it.
Through The Stone is here to show us that hard rock can be a descriptive term, and not necessarily a warning of “BULLSHIT AHEAD.” Bassist Toby Wandel sent us a link through our facebook page to their new song “Blood For Crowns.” I clicked Play, and I was delighted to hear something that sounds a helluva lot closer to Dio than Linkin Park. The vocals delivered by Kate Prokop are excellent and reminiscent of the “heavy metal” of olde. The band kills it too, with dynamic instrumentation courtesy of Tanner Ashland on guitar, Wandel on bass, and Wes Graffius on drums, who also beats the skins for MurderHouse, who we just covered here.
Check the event page out for the deets.
The band was kind enough to send me an advance copy of the new record so I can get you all pumped up! After a building, dramatic intro, TTS drops right into “Blind Psyche.” This track features heavy riffing and vocals that grow from gritty and soulful to huge and soaring. The band uses a lot of tension-and-release in the arrangement to keep things interesting.
“Junkie” starts out with a lurching, staccato verse, and then releases into a driving chorus. The band expands on this with the second verse. “Junkie” then shifts into a psychedelic bridge that builds back into the chorus. After a breakdown and a few musical moves that could have been lifted from the Pantera playbook, we’re into “Porcelain Eyes.”
“Porcelain Eyes” starts out with a spacey, slinky verse groove, and then slips into a chorus that is equal parts delicate, heavy, and ethereal. About a third of the way into this nearly 7 minute (!) song, the distortion kicks in, and we are treated to some heavy groove work that lays a foundation for still spacey vocals.
Track 5, “Buried,” plays with the same atmosphere as the previous track, but puts it in ¾ time. TTS stomps on the dirt pedal for the chorus, and toward the end of the track, Tanner Ashland lays into an epic, bluesey solo that fades into a slick ending with well-produced vocal overdubs.
The sludgy, sweaty waltz of “Buried” gives way to the heaviest track of the record, “Blood for Crowns,” which kicks off with a tasty drum fill. This track is representative of the record in the way that it is complex, the main taste is rock, but there are notes of classic heavy metal and rock, modern space metal, and southern rock.
The heavy waves of “Blood for Crowns” give way to “Vapor Trails,” a piano-driven instrumental interlude piece that tune-drops right into “Decisions, Decisions.”
This penultimate track flips the script on the rest of the record by building a big, heavy pre-chorus, and then stripping it down into a funky-wah guitar refrain.
The last track is a 40 second a cappella number named “Lullaby.” This one shows a different side of Prokop’s vocals, which is interesting, but I found it a bit anticlimactic.
Overall, this is a very solid record. The band is fantastic, and the members use their instruments creatively. This is definitely not a “rock by numbers” album. There are not huge variations in tempo or tone, but the skillful arrangements keep you listening.
But check it out for yourself! The video below is for “Decisions, Decisions” and “Blood for Crowns” is on BadassConcert.com’s own Crank it Up Radio!
I can’t wait to see this band live, and if you haven’t yet, you don’t have to wait much longer! September 11th at the Waiting Room in Omaha.
But there’s a whole weekend in between now and then, so…
…get out and pay some cover charges!