From despair to hope and then to despair once more; there is no end to the cyclic journey. It always begins with such aspirations, such fine ideals and good intentions, but the fatal flaws remain and greed, selfishness and a hunger for power eat away at the noble plans from the moment of their conceiving, until everything collapses in ruins. We compromise our ideals and beliefs as the sky grows dark above us; we repeat the mantra that ‘the ends justify the means’ while we slowly forget what the ends ever were. Only when all we once had is burnt to ashes do we remember our better selves and start to strive towards our dreams once more. This tragic, never ending cycle of inevitable destruction is the story of mankind; and the story of Stonecast’s magnificent third album, I Earther...
The nature of mankind, the flawed creation, explored through a story that takes us through the absolute ravaging of earth and on into space, in search of new homes that will ultimately be doomed at our hands as well. It’s an incredibly ambitious concept to be contained within the confines of a heavy metal album...but Stonecast have risen to that self-imposed challenge and triumphed in glorious fashion! I Earther possesses a grandeur, fitting to its lofty subject matter, but its melodies are infectious, its hooks utterly addictive and the immediacy of its appeal undeniable. There is a breathtaking depth and texture to the sound, helped in no small part by the mixing skills of Roy Z (Sepultura, Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson etc), which brings out the full range of emotions explored in these incredible songs. Songs like ‘Goddess Of Rain’ really show a world class band at the peak of their powers – the stunning chorus, the electrifying guitar work, the locked in thunder of the rhythm section and the superb range and delivery of vocalist Franck Ghirardi – Stonecast genuinely have it all.
Stonecast’s ascent has been a steady one, from their humble beginnings in the streets of Marseille to the stage of the monstrous Sonisphere festival in 2011, alongside Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Their second album, 2013s Heroikos hinted at the glories to come and with Rhino (ex-Manowar) behind the kit, brought Stonecast to even bigger audiences and greater critical acclaim. Now, with I Earther, their greatest achievement to date ready to be unleashed by Pitch Black Records on March 8th, Stonecast’s time has come. Be ready for what will surely be one of the greatest heavy metal releases of this year and beyond.
Less sludge and more death metal, anchored in a progressive metal framework, with even more hilarious lyrics about slugs than ever before, what we have on Esoteric Malacology is Slugdge at the peak of their songwriting powers. Is this gimmicky? Sure it is, but much like Nekrogoblikon play amazing melodic death metal with a fixation on goblins and bears, Slugdge do the same here with an angrier, progressive death metal lens to express the joys as well as sorrows of the world of slugs. Heavy as hell, quite varied from song to song, and full of compelling riff craft and surprises, do not sleep on this one. Ippocalyptica
Wow! This is astonishing. Musical and complex, amazing song writing and playing plus quality vocals.
There are only a few albums do you realise from the moment you start it playing you have to hear it to the end no matter what you are doing or had planned. Like Operation Mindcrime, like The Mountain (Haken), this is one of those very special albums. Andre Veloux