Up and coming rock bands always fascinate me. Either they attempt to carve out their own niche with a fresh sound or they take a handful of influences and either use them greatly or pepper them into their music. Either choice, there are two options; people take to them with great fervour or they fall flat on their face. Stone Angels manage to straddle the line between the pair of them with their debut album Give In To Temptation.
Citing their influences as Black Stone Cherry, AC/DC and Alter Bridge, it should make for a combination I adore. With that in mind, the only one I can pinpoint is Black Stone Cherry and instead I hear a sprinkling of Motley Crue and Royal Blood with perhaps the occasional Angus Young-inspired riff.
With massive, crunching, chunky riffs, Stone Angels plant their flag in the no-nonsense, balls to the walls rock and roll camp. Having played in many venues across the UK in the last few years, it’s safe to say they’ve paid their dues. Something like that can’t be faked and it shines through with the passion in their music.
Sometimes, less is more and with nothing clocking in above the four minute mark, everything here is pruned back to be short, sharp and punchy, nothing overstaying its welcome.
Tracks like “Misplaced Memories” and “Lines in the Sand” hit like a speeding train, sounding eerily similar to the early works of Black Stone Cherry with their chugging, crunching rhythms, an occasional squeal thrown in for good measure.
Meanwhile, the appropriately named “Devil’s Child” has the filth and sleaze of Motley Crue baked into its dirty riff. It highlights the versatility of lead guitarist James Innes. Without trying to force too many influences into the music, he manages to cherry-pick the best and make them his own, even if some are eerily similar.
However, Stone Angels prove they can step it down a notch with the more melodic “Last Goodbyes”. One of the more sombre moments of the album yet it still manages to retain its sneering grit with a hint of wistfulness. Stone Angles pick this up again with “Thousand Years”, frontman Niall Kersey rasping his lyrics with emotion bedded into them.
The one knock I do have against Give In To Temptation is its familiarity. While I’m all for bands showing their influences with pride, it’s not enough to excite me. It could be the fact that other bands have tread their same path before them and managed to eke out a career by using the same influences but they managed to put a spin on it which made it their own. Here, the influences merge to create something which already exists.
As the band are poised to hit the road later this year with a massive sound, I can see them picking up some new fans along the way. Despite the familiarity, Give In To Temptation is hardly the worst thing I’ve ever heard. Should I get the chance, I’ll try to get along to see them myself.
Give In To Temptation is out 4th September