2005, Unlimited Music Production
Peter and Jan, the band leaders of StoneLake, first met back in 1984 when Jan was involved with Ravage where he played guitar. Peter sang in Whitelight at the time, and when Jan quit Ravage he joined Whitelight, which played melodic hard rock influenced by Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, and later on Dokken, Whitesnake, Van Halen, and Journey. The band played a few shows, but the band didn’t go anywhere and Jan decided to leave the band in 1987. Peter stayed in Whitelight, now renamed Kee Avenue.
Jan kept on forming bands and so on, but in 1994 he only focused on writing songs and launching his own studio. Kee Avenue was finally put on ice in 1991 when both the keyboard and bass player left. Peter continued playing with various cover acts and kept on writing songs, and almost 15 years later they both got in touch and decided it was time for a reunion. A new project called StoneLake was born, and it’s their debut album I’m going to review.
StoneLake comes from Lund, located in the southern parts of Sweden, and is primarily a duo with a guest drummer. The music Jan and Peter stick to is nothing else but melodic hard rock. A few songs are covered with heavy keyboards and more melodic guitar playing, and the rest of the songs have heavier guitars with the keyboard beneath it all. It feels like they haven’t decided what kind of music they want to play; a harder melodic hard rock or plain melodic rock. I know that there’s a really thin line between those music genres, but I have to mention it anyway. It gives the album a shattered impression of what the guys really want to achieve.
The singer, Peter Grundström, hasn’t got the vocal range or the register it takes to sing a few of the tracks. In certain tracks it works alright, but when he’s about to take on the higher notes it all collapses; his voice becomes too thin and scream-ish instead. He should stick to singing within his capacity, which is in my opinion somewhere in the middle. Bonus points are given to guitar player Jan Åkesson and his varied and edgy guitar playing that shifts between melodic to a heavier riffing style. He also plays bass, keyboards, and sings backup vocals in addition to the guitar. Last, we have guest drummer Jeremy Child, a solid drummer that backs up the other members well.
The 11-track album closes with a 1-minute instrumental track dedicated to the victims of the Tsunami called “Tsunami (For the Victims in Asia)”. The quality of the material is solid and lasts throughout the album. The songs that really stand out are “You Strike Me With Love”, “Saint Or Evil”, “Mistreated Hearts”, “Mason (The Miracle Boy)”, and “Call My Name”.
The album was of course recorded/produced/mixed/mastered/engineered in Jan Åkesson’s own studio, Unlimited Production, in Lund during 2005. If Jan Åkesson produced it, he should have put the keyboards lower down in the mix and told Peter Grundström to keep more in the middle of his vocal range. Besides those flaws, the production feels solid. It feels like this duo has a little more to work on, but the ability is definitely there and it’s going to be interesting to see what they do on the next album.
Peter Grundström – lead vocals
Jan Åkesson – guitar, bass, keyboards, b-vox
Jeremy Child – drums
More info about the band
You Strike Me with Love
Saint or Evil
All I Need
Mason (The Miracle Boy)
Walk On the Rainbow
Only the Reason
Call My Name
Tsunami (For the Victims in Asia)