Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Local Love: Review of Stone Magnum's Holy Blessings to None

Stone Magnum of Michigan City, Indiana has always been able to bring diverse songwriting to their particular brand of Trouble-inspired epic doom metal. Their third full-length album is certainly no exception and showcases even further evolution to their sound. The result is easily their most varied effort so far.

While past efforts, particularly 2013's From Time...To Eternity, proved that the band could pull off differing moods and tempo changes, Holy Blessings To None pushes them even harder and ends up being their most aggressive effort. Much of this can be attributed to the recruitment of drummer Justin Henry; his double bass work makes the fast jumps on songs like the opening "As I Burn Your World to Ash" even more hard hitting and turn the curiously self-titled "Stone Magnum" into a borderline speed metal tune. The vocals also add to the shift as Rick Hernandez brings in a grittier performance with more unhinged operatic moments.

The diversity is welcome but I do find the songwriting doesn't quite have the same impact as their first two albums. The performances are stellar and the changes keep the songs from getting dull, but there aren't as many memorable riffs or vocal lines to stand alongside past tracks like "Fallen Priest" or "By An Omen I Went." Fortunately, greatness can still be found as "The Illusion of Faith" brings the most stirring moods while the title track closes things out in a wickedly plodding fashion.

Overall, Holy Blessings To None hits harder than their past efforts in terms of style but results in a slightly lesser impression. It may take more time to grow on the listener than usual but should be particularly rewarding for those seeking a more energetic approach to epic doom. From Time...To Eternity is still their effort to top but this is a worthy entry.

"Stone Magnum"
"The Illusion of Faith"
"Holy Blessings To None"

No comments: