Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Local Love: Review of Stone Magnum's From Time... To Eternity

Stone Magnum’s second album may only be out a year after their self-titled debut, but they’ve already gone through some noticeable changes. Following guitarist Dean Tavernier’s decision to stop performing vocals, Nick Hernandez was recruited and Ben Elliot was also picked up for bass duties. These moves aren’t enough to suggest a name change but they do make From Time… to Eternity a different animal compared to the one before it.

 While Stone Magnum’s debut was largely caught in the crossfire of 80s Sabbath and Scott Reagers-era Saint Vitus, this album is immersed in the throes of early Candlemass worship. The production is cleaner, the guitar riffs are of a more melodic and mystical nature, and the operatic vocals are torn between Johan Langquist and Messiah Marcolin. This style is best demonstrated on “The Gallows of Ohrdruf,” which might be the best track here thanks to it sounding like it could’ve come straight from Epicus Doomicus Metallicus.

This shift not only makes the album sound more unified but also results in a more stable band dynamic. Tavernier’s thin wail did have a certain uniqueness to it but there’s no denying that the vocal switch was a smart move as Hernandez offers an approach that’s easier to get a feel for. The songwriting is also more complex, no thanks to the guitars getting a little more freedom this time around.

But on the flip side, the unity does mean that the songwriting has a little less diversity to it. Having only seven songs on here does result in a lack of filler but there aren’t many moments that go beyond your standard doom pace. Songs like “Lonely God” and “By An Omen I Went” do have a rock flair and the climax of “Uncontained” opts for a faster direction, but it would’ve been great to see an anthem like “Pictures of Your Life” on here.

Overall, From Time… To Eternity is one of the more noteworthy efforts of 2013 and should secure Stone Magnum as a staple in the doom metal community. It may be easier to recommend it to new listeners over the debut but the two may be about even as far as quality goes. It certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to get the edition that has both albums together. Give that a listen and we’ll see where they go from here!

Current Highlights:
“Lonely God”
“In Tongues They Whisper”
“The Gallows of Ohrdurf”
“By An Omen I Went”

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