Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 9/5/2006
posted on 8/2006 By:
The Garcia (Kyuss) and Hetfield (Metallica) comparisons made in regard to Stonegard’s vocalist are dead on. Tongrim Torve IS an excellent imitator. The resemblance to John Garcia is especially uncanny. Does that mean much though? Can he carve his own identity? And more importantly, does the music have the same impact his voice promises?
Though the concept of combining doom, stoner rock, plain heavy, and thrashier metal may sound exciting and groundbreaking, Arrows makes some early noise but fades quicker than one would expect, and their sound is a far more bland blend of heavy. Surprisingly accessible, perhaps due to Torve’s pleasing tone, the album wears thin after a few listens. It’s like cleaning a really grimy sink. It looks like a complex process at first. There’s mold sitting in one corner, weeks-old puke in another. Marinara sauce blankets the two like red snow over Detroit. Uh-oh. I might have to come up with a plan of attack, right? Wrong. Just scrub a little and 35 minutes later you’re done. You’re staring at that clean sink. What was the excitement for? Maybe the sink wasn’t as layered as I had initially thought. Same goes for these Norwegians and their debut. Enticing, but quick, like the prostitute who promises you a great time, but stops halfway through a mediocre exercise in oral sex, picks up her shit, and leaves. Kind of sad, really.
That’s not to say that the prostitute wasn’t attractive as all hell though. This one’s got a pretty good set of hooters, and though they’re fake, we’ll convince ourselves that this really doesn’t matter. Who cares if Torve sounds like Garcia? It ain’t his fault. Maybe it’s not intentional. Does it matter either way? Eh, I guess not. It sounds a little cheap. Inauthentic. Manufactured. Mass produced. But at the end of the day, big boobs are big boobs, fake or not, and that’s always a good thing.
Ronny Flissundet and Torve’s guitar tones are nothing to write home about. Incredibly predictable given the genre, and definitely kept toned down in the mix so Torve’s voice is given the spotlight; nothing too bright sounding. There are moments where the two shine together, though. Passages of “White Shaded Lie” are particularly impressive and a few riffs really stand out running against the vocals. The chorus is extremely catchy, too. It would have been nice to hear more songs like this, the kind that you can really sink your teeth into. These guys can really write a great tune every now and then, the seductive “At Arms Length” being the most compelling evidence. Simple in design but extremely tight in execution, the song conveys a master of craft not heard on the decidedly more complex but forced faster-paced tracks.
Arrows is the kind of album you’ll forget about after a few months, but you’ll return to every now and then for Torve’s vocals alone. I’d almost prefer the more sterilized Black Stone Cherry, because at least their half-baked boogie’s got some groove, but when Stonegard plays well; they play REALLY well, hypnotic riffs, drunken screaming, and all, and without the overly pristine production.
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