Finland's Stud dates back to the late Eighties where they had a modicum of success in their native land. Back then they sung in Finnish, released a single, and had enough momentum to attempt a full length debut. Failing to get label support, it never happened. Now, a second time's the charm. The original members reunited in 2011 to finish what they intended, creating that album, this time on their own. The result is Out of the Darkness.
What Stud delivers with this recording is straight up melodic hard rock and metal, balanced by clean clear vocals, good melodies, and darn fine guitar work. On the strength of riffs and leads, it's tempting to call Out of the Darkness a more guitar oriented album. Guitar enthusiasts will find Mika Kansikas's fret more than adequate to the task. The leads he rips off on this album fiery, fresh, and enthusiastic, playing as if he may never get to record another album again.
Yet, we can't that easily over look the other members. Ari Toivanen has a vocal style that can straddle between rock and metal with ease, throwing in a few high pitched screams. The rhythm section is sturdy and steady with Stenda Kukkonen offering both precision and flurry; bassist Pasi Hietanen (for this recording, then replaced by Matti Jalonen) is in the mix, but basically overcome by drums and riffage.
Putting it all together the band offers mostly melodic metal rockers. Excepting a single anthem/ballad, Traveller, and a moderate number, Sea Child, most everything here has a heavy metal edge, thanks mostly to Kansikas's sharp riff and heavy back beat. That former number, Traveller, offers a could example of vocalist Toivanen's style and strength. Top pick from the rest of the litter include the title track, Renegade, the quick paced Run to the Shelter, and the mostly instrumental, NWoBHM vibe of Reach Out, which displays more great guitar riffs and leads from Kansikas. I'm sure Stud feels Out of the Darkness to be both a milestone and a new beginning in their career, and it is. It's also some really good melodic hard rock and heavy metal. Easily recommended.
Twenty-four years in the making and Finland's Stud delivers their debut full-length album, Out of the Darkness, and it's a good one: solid melodic metal rock.
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