France's Stonecast has something to brag about. At the 2009 edition in their native country, they closed Sonisphere after the 'Big Four' played. They didn't actually share the same stage with them; they merely closed the festival on a different stage later in the night. Yet, being in company of giants like Megadeth and Metallica, presents Stonecast with some big metal 'shoes' to fill with their second album Heroikos.
What you have with this recording is some traditional heavy and power metal, and a whole lot of potential. The arrangements are rather dramatic, thanks to some very strong lead guitar work, and some towering drum lines by guest, the well-known and talented, Kenny Earl aka Rhino (Angels of Babylon, Deathdealer, Manowar, et al).
For the guitar leads, you get a terrific one in the very first song, Jakuta, an epic song where the guitar soars above Rhinos thundering drums. Others come within Triumph and Of Fire and Ice, and one of things that makes Seb Casula's guitar sound so sharp is that they are juxtaposed against the bass and drums with equal clarity. (Production is at a premium here as well). Listening to the latter half of Gods of Dust, Stonecast made every effort to give Rhino room breathe. The latter third of the song is mostly bass player Lionel “Beev” Antonorsi and Rhino charging and pummeling away at a brisk pace. Another fine example of his skills comes within the true power metal song The Barbaric Rhyme, where his rhythm and pace keep the song raging.
But it's not all brisk heavy and power metal. Stonecast tosses in some lighter moments with the instrumental (mostly guitar) Elysian Winds, and the acoustic tales of Substance, Kings Unborn, and The Place, all very nice pieces. All in all, after several listens, I found Stonecast's Heroikos to be much stronger album than expected. This is quite entertaining melodic heavy and power metal, in the classic tradition, from a very talented band. Easily recommended.
Stonecast's Heroikos is quite entertaining melodic heavy and power metal, in the classic tradition, from a very talented band.
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