There are a number of reasons why this EP from Texas rock project STONE – created by Trent Taylor – is exciting. Fans of classic or original hard rock will likely understand from the first few minutes, but more than the nostalgic feel of opening track Torn Nature, there’s a powerfully crisp finish to the recording, and the emotion of the vocal delivery from singer Tyson, combined with the lyrics, suggests consistently that there’s a certain level of weight and intensity inherent in the writing.
All of this brings you in for a listening experience that floats somewhere between the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, Rob Zombie and Iron Maiden. As you listen further, certain lesser known bands spring to mind, those who roamed festival stages throughout the nineties. It’s refreshing to listen to this at volume right now. Tyson’s leading voice has the perfect tone and grit to deliver the passion and power of these songs in a subtle but certain way. However, adding hugely to how exciting the collection is, the mood is redirected even just with the second track, showcasing a totally electrifying eclecticism that’s all at once heartfelt and musically skillful.
Mirror is a stunning song, beautiful guitar work accompanies a vulnerable and honest leading voice and a concept that reaches out to connect with your very soul. As the intensity rises, the music grows heavier, but never so much so that it takes anything away from the vibe of the piece – far from it. Everything has been expressively intertwined, so it feels artistic, relevant, and continuously reliable.
Birthright begins with a rather stunning riff, followed by another at the higher end of the spectrum. As the vocals, the story, and the beat come into play, the track has an increasingly immersive and beautifully melancholic vibe. The intensity rises flawlessly towards the hook, and this fusion of riffs quickly becomes an unforgettable moment of character within the track. The vocal sound is perfect throughout this project for the sheer emotion and grit of the writing. This song is an easy early favourite and one for the long-term playlist.
FTI follows with more superb guitar work, an increasingly impressive trait of STONE’s music. The ambiance set by the instrumental creativity and the skillful nature of it combined makes for something that feels inherently classic and quite important among today’s music world. This piece grows to be a gorgeously dreamlike and experimentally atmospheric bit of music. Conceptually the song deals with some heavy ideas, there’s depth to much of this writing – expanding its value to a large degree.
STONE take on the worries of the world to a great extent, but it’s not done in an overly confronting or blatantly obvious manner as you sometimes get with so-called ‘conscious’ pop music. The sound, for me, pours through with the perfect blend of nostalgia and newness. Dead Weight is a mighty moment that fairly well encapsulates this. I heard a welcomed dash of Audioslave in the development of the melody, by now though – the playlist is well and truly that of STONE; one you’ll likely come back to again and again.
Thunderstorm Mind is a song title to relate to and the instrumentation from the start creates something relevantly chaotic and passionately heavy. The song is beautifully noisy, a fitting tribute to its theme – it screams for you when you need it to. The Blackness follows and the intensity remains, as does the fast pace – thought intermittently with a solo bass-line; a wonderful touch. Immense guitar work continues throughout – expressive and captivating. The melody is slower, more spacious, poetically loaded with thoughtful imagery and personal turmoil combined.
The EP’s title track begins with a moment of acoustic anticipation – you’re reminded of the musician or artist at the heart of the work. A live solo performance would likely entrance in a different but equally powerful way to a full band evening. Tyson’s voice and Taylor’s songwriting create the perfect source of natural escapism for deep thinkers and soulful rock fans. The short lines let the track stand out, as does the underlying story and the satisfying, calmer resolve of the hook. The latter half sees an incredibly emotional outburst that finishes things up with power.
Gone Away brings the EP to a close, but not before presenting one of the simplest yet perhaps most effective guitar riffs and melody combinations. Tyson’s voice is gentle at first, the solo isolation of the opening line lays bare a notably vulnerable side to the performance and paves the way for an ongoing sense of rising intensity – a common trait throughout the collection. This final track also features a beautiful moment of structural breakaway – STONE once again utilising contrast to create the greatest possible impact. The final guitar solo is sensational. All of these songs reach some incredibly addictive heights.