Release DetailsLABEL Ulterium Records
RELEASED ON 1/26/2007
Carved In Stone
posted on 3/2007 By:
Grand Lux play a simple and catchy style of vintage 80’s heavy metal with a slight glam-ish gloss. Having recently inked a deal with Sweden’s Ulterium Records, Carved in Stone is the Norwegian five-piece’s first with the label and third official release overall. If I had to complain about one thing it would be the obvious lack of originality, but I must say the performance on hand is one of competence as well as one that shows an ability to write songs that stick in the mind long after the album comes to a close, even if the vibe they're going for is a tad...outdated.
With the help of engineer Endre Kirkesola and Dub Studios in Kristiansand, the band certainly didn’t get cheated in the production department, as each instrument comes across with enough clarity to give the listen a nice taste of guitar, drums and vocals. Ran-dee’s drumming is not too showy but is as solid as say a Tommy Lee or a Peter Criss. His ability to drive the songs home, like the up tempo opener "1000 Paper Cranes" and the energetic "Eternity in Fire", shows proficient foot and hand work, and bassist Zack Rament’s solid low end licks provide a fine basecoat for the twin attack of guitarists Kirk Evin and B.D. Hughes. Though never overly flashy, they rely more on the riff to make the songs work, yet when those dual licks come by you can tell who their influences are - think Maiden, Priest, Thin Lizzy, etc. Songs that flourish with some solid dual licks are the very harmonious "Like Hail From Blue Sky", "Love Reflection", and closer "Rainbow’s End", and other tracks like "Escaping the Clouds" and "Through Dire" rely more on the riff to hit the nail where it counts. Shining throughout is the performance of vocalist Phil Goode. He hits each note with authority and does a great deal to come up with a variety of vocal melodies from song to song. Think a slightly less Halford-ish "Ripper" Owens, if you will, combined with a younger and grittier Vince Neil. There are other crooners out there that I know Goode reminds me of but they escape me at the moment, but when all is said and done there’s no doubt the man has the pipes to lead the way for this promising band.
At the end of the day this album probably caters more to the crowd that has never quite accepted gruff vocals into their listening world. Ozzy, Kiss, Dio, Mötley Crüe and the like made millions doing this kind of stuff, but these days it typically comes across as nothing more than a tribute. I wouldn't necessarily put these guys anywhere near those elite bands, but Grand Lux has the chops and probably would have made enough noise to at least be a solid opening act back in the day. Unfortunately in this day in age there are just too many that have done what they’re doing already, and quite better if I may be so bold. All in all an adequately played and well produced outing, but it’s just a bit outdated in its overall approach.
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