A tad unexpected, but more than welcome is this second effort by Cranston, simply titled II. And again the songs were written by the guy that can do no wrong, singer Phil Vincent, and axe slinger (and AOR God according to the press blurb) Paul Sabu. Helping out on drums is again B.F. D’Ercole.
And where I felt their first was a really solid affair with many cracking songs, on this one they have upped their game a notch or two (II 🙂 ). When you hit play you are welcomed by the fierce riff of Always On The Run. Okay, on the surface the guitar melody bears a slight resemblance to an AC/DC track, but the thing is catchy as hell. And from there on they only seem to go upwards. What’s It Gonna Take is spiced with some sitar alike sounds, and again the chorus is killer. Cool video too. Wrong Side Of Town, adds a bit of country it seems, but still rocks and grooves. Soul Crusher on the other hand, is a slow burner. After a soothing mysterious intro, the mid tempo drums kick in, and the guitars gain momentum. Fine organ and keyboards as well, really adding depth.
Lots of variation in between the 11 tracks. But all prove that Phil and Paul have a great thing going. Fingers crossed we are treated to more of this.
The first album from Suns Of Stone was discussed here not thát long ago (2 years) and I remember that I liked it, but also assumed the band could improve, as not all songs were of the same high calibre. So the question for the just released album number 2 (duh) is, did they?
Well one thing is for sure, that seventies vibe is still running strong. As is the choice to keep it all honest and authentic with little to no overdubs. So a guitar solo actually sounds like that, one guitar playing over drums and bass. And I must say, it surely feels that 2 more years under their belt and playing on every occasion provided, has paid off. This has swagger, sounds confident and energetic. It is still blues infused hard rock with a sometimes Southern flavour. Since they are from Canada, it must be in their system somewhere.
Listening to this a couple of times I do think the album is more consistent. They again prove to be masters of groove and riff and singer Alan has developed too, with a varied delivery and still pouring heart and soul into it.
So the obvious conclusion is the band have raised the bar and with their attitude of working hard and playing the planet, they seem to be destined for even greater things. Recommended!
After listening to this album I find it hard to believe they have released this independently. Either all label bosses are sleeping, or they are so confident about themselves they choose this route deliberately. Because make no mistake, this is easily one of the best melodic hard rock albums I have heard lately, if not in a long time.
This is a 10 track all killer no filler release that a lot of people would die for to be able to make. So singer Serge Naberman and guitar player Martijn Niggebrugge can be proud of their writing abilities. Together with Toine Vanderlinden on bass and Richard van Leeuwen on drums (with everybody joining in on backing vocals) they prove going Dutch sometimes isn´t a bad thing at all. 😉
No wonder the international press is picking this up and praises the guys work. It really is as good as is said. Whether it is the rockers like Big Bam Boom, All For One One For All or any other track, or the über power ballad Love Leaves Scars, this release has it all. Melodies, attitude and kick ass grooves. And guitar licks and solos in abundance too. Love it from start to finish, so make sure you don´t miss this and grab a copy pronto.